I haven't learned all that much in my 39yrs of life. I'd like to say different but the truth of the matter remains, right when I think I've got it, I don't. I think this to be true for most everyone and if it isn't for you than you have even more to learn than me. See, the issue lies in that life is fluid, ever changing, shifting, rearranging. The moment you get comfortable , you know, figure things out, BOOM! A nice smack in the face shows you otherwise. There's nothing wrong with it so long as you realize that it's the only truth in this life, change. The one thing you can depend on is that everything changes. Not one sunrise or sunset is that same, not the feeling of the wind on a different day, not a day at the beach or a night in the snow. Never once will you see the same thing in nature exactly the same way again. Change is the only constant.
For so many years I aimed to achieve a certain level of sameness. Striving for the same goals society has taught us to revere. I wanted a big house, nice car, well paying job that also happened to make me happy (ha!), no debt, smart and beautiful kids (check mark that one), a loving & devoted husband (doesn't always happen on the first attempt), an in shape body and the perfect family holidays all while maintaining excellent family health, hefty savings accounts and travelling the world but without taking any risks because, let's be honest, no one tells you about the risks you have to take when you're in college. It would be a perfect life. Secure, well planned, executed flawlessly.
Had my original plans worked out I'd be an attorney making six figures living in the Gables, driving a BMW and shopping at Neiman Marcus on the weekends with my perfectly accessorized and thoughtfully aged out children in tow along with my adorable teacup Yorkie, Gigi, who comes along with me on such trips happy to ride along in my Louis. I'm glad it didn't work out that way. That life is so far from who I am and where I want to be that it's laughable to think that something like that would have even been a dream of mine (it wasn't by the way, I actually don't remember thinking all that much into my future other than me having 3-4 children and doing something I loved but also happened to be naturally good at, at that time law made the most sense for the sole reason that I could typically shut anyone up with just a few factual talking points, I thought that'd be enough to be a good attorney).
I've come to embrace life's uncertainties. Living in the present as much as one possibly can and enjoying the moment of now if it's a good now but knowing that if it isn't it's okay because things WILL change. A quote by Henri Bergson states, "To exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly" I dare you to embrace the changes in your own life, to keep moving, creating, and never once settling. Life can be mundane but only if you choose not to change it.
There isn't much written on the matter well, beacuse it's a sensitive issue. Every time you are about to just put it all out there, something is waved over your head (like a threat) or because most of the times you hope that in avoiding the horrible truth you will will it to be better. But the truth is this, you divorced your ex because you didn't get along and so it's likely you wont get along during your course as co-parents (which, by the way, doesn't end at 18).
Sure there are those exceptional occassions where the exes get along so well that they still spend time with eachother, new husband, new wife, new children, all in tow but that's not the reality for the most of us. Heck, there are even circumstances where one parent is such a disaster that they are no where to be found, the present parent claiming that it's tougher on the kids this way bc, well, that whole absent parent thing can really screw with your head, I not disagreeing. But...no one talks about the shit show that is trying to get along with your ex, who is your ex for many reasons, for the benefit of the children all the while your children are torn from limb to limb as pawns in the game of "civilty and getting along". Sure they are blessed with the love of 2 plus parents but lets get real here, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing and it couldnt ring more truth than here.
Co-parenting sucks, period. There is nothing awesome or even remotely nice about it. Imagine your life is a constant group project where you walk on egg shells, ask for permission (even though you're doing all the work but because you need that "Team" grade thing), have to report setbacks and progress, have to put up with someone purposely looking for errors in your work to prove their worth, assigning responsibilities and scheduling dates only to have to put up with whining or slack or kickback because, well, that's how group projects go. Only when you complain or share a frustration with people not in that class, people sympathize with you knowing how much group projects SUCK. Not in the co-parenting project. Nope. Instead you get crap like, "just get over it", "why can't you guys just make it work", "seriously how long has it been", "think positive", "you could make it work you're just not trying" or, my personal favorite, "you just like the drama".
Ok, so back to the group project analogy...Imagine that you were paired with a team that sucked so freaking hard you asked your teacher/professor/God to do anything and everything to change your group and so they did but every class assignment, test and project after that you were paired with them again and again, and again and again and this time there was no "get out of jail free card" but rather your teacher told you, "just get over it", "why can't you guys just make it work", "seriously how long has it been", "think positive", "you could make it work you're just not trying" or, my personal favorite, "you just like the drama". Ok, now take away silly things like grades and points and add in family trips, holidays, special occassions, birthdays, expenses, curfews/discipline (you know, child rearing, the stuff the "mean" parent gets stuck with while the other one gets to be the "cool" parent but who is actually working against mean parent by pointing out how difficult mean parent is and how so cool they are but, then calling mean parent to make sure they are doing their job bc they don't want the kid to be a fuck up but they don't want to lose their connection with said kid). Are you still pushing for that A, would you settle for a C+ because you can't drop out of this class (well, I guess, technically you could which, quite honestly probably makes you the not so great parent where walking away from it all would truly alleviate the other parent so, just go, it wasn't a graded assignment anyways).
This is the part where some of you are thinking, ugh, bitter ex-wife momma drama. Think outside the box people. But who am I kidding? Life has taught me enough times to know that people don't really care about other people's problems so this isn't for you. This is for those of you that know the frustration of living the life of the songless co-parent. Those that have suffered restless nights wondering if their kids are safe or being cared for as they would be at home while at their "other home". Those trying to find the balance between setting boundaries and fostering a blended family. Those tossing and turning wondering am I being too strict, too inquisitive, too demanding, too paranoid, too overbearing, too forgiving, too hopeful, too stupid, too bitchy, too easy, too complicated, too yielding. For the ones that don't take the credit and bite their tongues. For those that show up and make vague excuses for the noshow parent. Heck, for those that say it how it is. For all the ones in between that sprinkle the truth here and there, just enough to instill valuable lessons but not enough to jade.
I always wanted to be a parent. For as long as I can remember, I wanted 4 children, close in age and best of friends. When I became a parent, at the age of 19, I wasn't scared one bit because I knew I had it in me from the beginning. I went head first into everything parenting from laboring options to college scholarship opportunities with sights set for Ivy. But, co-parenting....no one prepares you for that one, even still there is a haze around it's reality. And truth is, it's a lot harder than unmediacted vaginal birth and it lasts a lot longer than 18yrs.
Fidel Castro died and although I didn't quite feel the gusto to get out my pots and pans and celebrate I did feel a sense of relief. One less tyrant to walk among us. One less evil genius to sway things to the dark side. One less asshole to see on any sort of media. He was a symbol of ultimate oppression, only he was quite diplomatic in his ways. In fact, his diplomacy is what I find to be most infuriating. See, the thing is the world rarely recognizes the hard fact that the wolf always comes in sheep's clothing.
History proves that the most powerful of oppressors are often the most complimentary and beautiful story tellers. It starts like this, they befriend you and ultimately their communities by listening to your qualms intently, making sure to take note of that which is most often desired throughout a general people, equality, recognition, resolution, ideas, sometimes just simply being listened to and acknowledged or praised (mind you, this is not only true for world dictators but also for the most basic of hypocrites). They gauge their power based on their connections and their reach in terms of information, information which they stifle, misconstrue or manufacture for their own benefit. Those who don't know any better (lack of education, ignorance, arrogance, prejudice) follow suit because, well, why not. The person at the helm is eloquent, intelligent (to a certain degree or maybe in the sense of an evil genius but I like to consider true intelligence as a balanced mind not an oppressive one) and offers solutions to the problems they didn't even realize they admitted they had. The oppressor stands tall and confidant (because a lie is only believable if the teller believes it themselves) and weaves a web of lies that would make a person feel stupid to question. So now there are followers. The hopeless believers who support without question or interrogation (because questioning requires effort and rationale and that is often too much to ask of anyone) they chant alongside the malicious master revering and applauding the victories being fed to them and all without scrutiny of the chosen one.
You might be wondering, what is my point, exactly. Well, I recognize that a step by step analysis of what I believe was Castro's evil but perfect plan to destroy the beautiful island nation of Cuba, my family's homeland, would be somewhat irrelevant at this moment because it would be diving into a deep pool of the past and would offer little to no condolence to my people. I know these words will be lost on those that simply just don't understand oppression or those that face different monsters believing their plight and their woes to be worse. The point of my writing today is to ask you all to heed the lesson of Cuba's ugly history. Fidel was a master of words, a diplomatic adversary if you will, who gained followers and built an army based on his promises. He instilled fear and stifled truths once his power grew beyond the scope of one community. Castro's regime grew out of lies, it's as simple as that. Why aren't there more stories, movies, novels, tv shows, because the Cuban people are an optimistic people, forever believing that the blessings bestowed upon our lives, even in the course of tragedy and misfortune, far outweigh the horrors of the past. Our people teach our children to forgive and forget and move forward, that nothing will come from vengeance. That the thousands of lives lost at the hand of one of history's greatest Goliath is something that cannot be altered so why dwell upon it if no change will come of it.
Well, the story of David's bravery against Goliath would never have served as an example to us all had we never heard the story in the first place. To quiet triumphs and silence victories as well as injustices simply to appease the weak at heart is to devoid the world of hope and inspiration. Those that attempt to quiet the truths that need be spoken are a different sort of monster but, one just as strong in their power to change the courses of history and perception. Do not be deceived by the stories best told for often times those stories are more fiction than fact and as beautiful as a lie may be, the ones we most want to believe are the most dangerous kind.
Yesterday I had a strange encounter. One that left me thinking quite a bit. I started my day in the usual fashion, the morning hustle to get lunches packed, water bottles filled, breakfast ready, some quick house chores squeezed in and everyone dressed in the right outfit for the day (since when did schools have SO many different theme days). Finally out the door and on our way (we've been on time to school almost every day this year so far!). After school dropoffs I typically head to the gym for about 45mins before taking a quick shower there and then heading to work. I've upped my water intake so I went straight for the restroom as soon as I walked through the gym doors.
Now, this is the part that was a bit different. As many moms know, most handicap accessible restrooms offer added comforts. When my children were little, I often chose this restroom stall for things like breastfeeding when I was a young and embarrassed mother (although I outgrew that rather quickly), packing three kids in a restroom with me while everyone took care of their business, using the changing table which is often located in this stall, taking advantage of a private sink for many feminine reasons when flushable wipes are not at your disposal. In the four years as a member of this gym I have used that stall maybe 4 times, and, yesterday was one of them. Now let me add, during the same four years at this overloaded Hialeah gym where literally hundreds of people frequent at any given hour, I have never once seen a person who would be restricted to only using this stall. People at gyms tend to be routine in their arrival times and during those 4 years I have learned the faces of almost every frequent member. But I digress.
So I rush into the coveted stall, which is typically occupied for the reasons I listed above but never once for its handicap accessibility. I am a multitasker in everything I do, so even in the restroom I am quick. I'm typically not even done and I already have my t.p, in hand ready to wipe and go. Right when I'm about to wrap things up I notice an electric wheelchair move up to the stall door. I'm immediately horrified by my own lack of consideration. I call out instantly, "I am so sorry, give me a minute and I'll be out". No response but the chair moves in closer so that I can now see the person's feet. I'm reaching for the t.p. only to realize, to my horror, there is none. I repeat my apology a second time and add the fact that there isn't any toilet paper. No response. I scurry over to the sink with my pants around my ankles and am relieved to find paper towel in the dispenser (doing this is never fun but you do what you gotta do to get things done). If a timer was set, I'd swear that I was out of there in less than 25 seconds.
As soon as I open the door I apologize once again but I am already being yelled at. She begins to tell me, in Spanish, how inconsiderate I am and starts yelling about the fact that I have no business in that restroom. I apologize in Spanish and let her know of the missing toilet paper situation but she's not hearing it. She continues on to tell me that it is illegal for me to be in that restroom which is designated for the old and disabled. I repeat again that there isn't any toilet paper and if she would like for me to get her some. She forges on to belittle me with insults refusing to hear me. Now, I start to get upset. Most people that know me well know that I can be very nice and understanding but also am intolerant of arrogance and entitlement. Had this been a one stall bathroom this person would have had to wait till I was good and ready to be done to use the restroom as one stall restrooms at any establishment are also the handicap accessible restroom.
When she starts quipping laws I start losing my patience. The one remark that set me off was when she stated that it was illegal for me to use "her" restroom. I had already moved on to washing my hands (which I didn't do inside the stall, even though there was a sink, to give her access as quickly as possible). Instead of hurrying into the stall to do her business she turned her chair around to face me, while I washed my hands, to scold me, with absolutely no rush on her part to actually use the restroom. This is the point when I decided to dry my hands and walk out completely aware of the fact that there was no toilet paper in the stall she was about to use.
Sometimes not everything is our problem to solve. Sometimes you just have to turn around, walk away and not feel sorry.
My father-in-law loves to share stories and tell jokes. He often surprises me by sharing a joke that relates perfectly to my day without knowing it. Today he insisted on an Alvarez Guedes oldie.
Two couples met after quite some time and immediately start catching up. "What have you been up to?" "How have you been feeling?" "What about your parents?"....
One man asks the other, a father of two, "hey, how are your kids? They must be grown with lives of their own." To which the other replies, "Ugh, my poor son. He's been married for some time but to a lazy woman. She doesn't work, stays home all day and constantly goes out shopping. Meanwhile, my son, who graduated with an engineering degree and makes a pretty decent salary, has to work all day only to have to help with the children while his wife takes a break. It's insulting really, the gull of this woman to squeeze my son in this way but he is in love and allows her to do as she pleases. Can you believe that she has him get her a new car every three years?".
The other man then asks, "but what of your daughter?".
To which the father replies , "My daughter?! Now she struck gold! She married a surgeon who makes a ton of money, doesn't allow for her to work and is constantly spoiling her with gifts and jewels. The guy is head over heels for her. This month he bought her a new Mercedes, it's the third one she's had since they married. My girl is a smart girl.".
The jokes that are best to laugh at are the ones that resonate truth. Often times, the same exact scenario is interpreted in two ways and it doesn't even mean that one is the truth. Why? Because both sides of the story are still presented with prejudice no matter how hard one tries to stay neutral. It's not in our nature or in the way our language and culture was built. There are irrevocable tendencies to one side or another in delivery and reception. These interpretations form the relationships we have with others. Should you chose to have a particular fondness for the person then you are likely to interpret their communications, actions and intentions positively.
The problem lies in those relationships that are strained from the get go and require quite a bit of self reflection to progress. When we fail to recognize the truth of others and their efforts for what they are in reality rather than what we perceive because of our own predispositions, we cast unwarranted judgement and negativity to something that can very well be the same thing we find positive in another. Our current post-election situation is a perfect example. People revere their candidates for reasons they feel to be sound but fail to recognize that those on "the other side" are doing the same. Rather than acknowledge differences of opinions, instill love and understanding and fortify communication, we point the finger at each other with an over zealous need for blame.
This is the part where I am supposed to draw a conclusion based on self reflection and which offers an insightful solution. The only thing I can say is this, don't be a prick because, truth is, what's good for the goose should be good for the gander.
As we prepare for the first serious Hurricane to threaten South Florida in well over a decade, I can't help but realize the correlation between serious storms and co-parenting. See, as a Miamian, we have been raised to expect the worst and hope for the best in almost every situation from walking to your car at night after a fun time on the town, to being hurricane ready. Co-parenting is quite similar. In fact, it is exactly like tracking hurricanes during season.
Starting on June 1st and running all the way through November 30th, Floridians are on pins and needles when the weather channel flashes an advisory. We know the only thing that can pop up on that Doppler during those months is something that affects us. When back to school season comes upon us we half forget the threat and half remember that August-Oct are typically our most threatening times. As seasoned hurricane and tropical storm "survivors", most of us have become a bit cynical about the advisories. Shoot, last season felt like it was sponsored by Home Depot and Walmart with 3 threats and, thankfully, no hits. So when the week kicks off with hurricane talk some tune it out while others become obsessed. I'm one of the "tune it out till school is cancelled" kind. Basically, until I see there is imminent danger, I continue my days as usual. But when it's go time, I go! Fortunately, I am a planner, so storm threat or not, I always have what I need in case of an emergency on hand (this planning is what helped us during our house fire, used a fire extinguisher to try to stop it, had documents and some albums on hand as well as an exit plan that was perfectly executed). When word hits that we are in danger of something big, I don't fret because we are always as ready as anyone can be for catastrophes, sorta like the Griswolds, we roll with the punches and amuse ourselves in the interim.
How does this relate to co-parenting, you must be wondering. Well, I am just as prepared for threats, destruction, change of projected paths, financials, storms that come without warning and even the ones that are perfectly forecasted with my "co-parents". Only those that are faced with a co-parenting situation will understand this so if you do not share children with another family this will be most difficult to comprehend. Much like people who have never experienced an actual hurricane will never understand why the entire county can go into a frenzy in less than half a day. Praying doesn't save you from destruction, preparing only helps you ease the stress a bit but really, nothing can throw a storm off it's course. All there is to do, most of the time, is clean up the shit-feast that is left behind and hope that it doesn't sweep back around and hit you again before you've had enough time to rebuild. It ain't pretty, you can't do much to divert it and people who have never experienced it can't do much with their advice to help avoid it, stop it or get over it. When a category 4 is off the shore line, you just gotta hunker down, arm yourself with provisions and pray that your roof doesn't blow off.
It seems that some weeks, or even months, bring about more sadness than others. This week in Miami has been a particularly rough one. With the tragic loss of Jose Fernandez and his two companions, Eduardo Rivero and Emilio Macias, Miami was left in shock. It is never easy to fathom the death of those gone too soon. Within a day of the tragic news, the community of Hialeah was faced with the loss of a long time political figure and well known Miami business maven, Herman Echevarria. Both incidents confusing and heartbreaking.
It is not enough to say that we should live every moment fully or that we should hold on tight to those we love. It is unfair to simple state there is a lesson to be learned in the face of tragic events or that there are some hidden blessings to be found. Some things are just irrevocably awful with no silver lining. Those four mothers faced with the loss of their boys have every right to delve into the anguish and pain that no one wants to even begin to imagine. Let us honor them by allowing them their pains. Positive words and encouragement as well as memories of a beautiful past are wonderful and help enlighten but too many of us quickly resolve to that and often dismiss the honest truth behind love and loss, it is painful, ugly, dark and it needs to be because there is no reprieve when faced with such tragedies.
"If we could see the fullness of our tomorrows, how many of us would take desperate action to change the future? What if our far seeing showed us the loss of our homes, our families, our very lives, and to save it all we would need only to barter away our most precious souls. Who among us would give up what we cannot see for what we can holding our hands? I believe many of us would peel ourselves away from our immortal selves as easily as the skin from a boiled plum if it meant we could remain on the earth for a while, our bellies full and our beds warm and safe at night." -Kathleen Kent The Heretic's Daughter
Let us live fully, yes but let us also allow room for the pain and suffering of others.
There's something to the idea that one should keep moving. What is that old proverb, "Idle hands are the Devil's workshop."? Like most proverbs, it isn't intended to be taken literally.
On August 31st, 2016 we lost our home to a fire. It was devastating destruction but the toughest part wasn't even the moment where we were just standing there watching it burn, it was the "aftermath" which felt much more like a storm. For weeks on end I couldn't stand still, if I ate at all it was standing, barely slept so I'd pace or tousle in bed, all I knew was that if I stood still for too long I might go mad.
My son only missed one day of school, we reopened our family business within 48hrs of the fire, and I was on full GO mode sleeping perhaps 3-4hrs/day. We pushed through (hard) as I was determined to celebrate Christmas in a home of our own (even if it was rented). Within 3 months, we had filmed the conclusion of a reality TV show (which was scheduled to film two days after the fire and, of course, had to be postponed), excavated the house, processed all the insurance claims without an adjustor or attorney, moved in to my in-law's, found a nice townhome that didn't feel like a rental, moved out of my in-law's, furnished 4 bedrooms/2 bathrooms, living room and a kitchen on a super tight budget, sorted and re-appropriated all the donations, applied to 12 universities and 24 scholarships, performed in a school production while prepping for States, joined Boy Scouts, started soccer season, helped Santa with his shopping, celebrated an 18th birthday with all the bells and whistles, didn't miss a bday party, baby shower, wedding or any chance to catch up with friends, took a little trip to Naples and another to Disney, planned a road trip to NOLA, had fun with Halloween happenings, senior year activities and homecoming. 90 days of what some might consider absolute madness and I all could do was keep moving.
I remember whispering to my husband one night, just a few days after the incident, "I'm scared of what might happen when I don't have anything left to do" because I knew then what I have always known of myself, I gotta keep moving or else my mind has enough time to realize what trouble we're in.
See, even when I'm not idling, my mind runs at an exorbitant pace. When I am still, there is no telling where my mind will go. But this lesson I have learned, life goes on. There are good days, there are very bad days and some mediocre ones that linger in the middles. Days were not even Jesus himself could save you from your own mind and days when you feel like you could be the next Dalai Lama. Life consists of ups and downs. Rainbows and thunderstorms. We just gotta keep moving. Feel the pains of love and loss but don't dwell too long for life keeps going with or without you. Just keep moving. Sunsets and sunrises, the clock ticking on, just keep moving. Move on and on but do so mindfully or else you'll reach your destination without recognizing the course of the journey.
Family photos courtesy of Jenise Subervi of www.photosbyJenise.com who also happens to have a fantastic family blog at http://www.atoddlerandatopknot.com. She is a lovely person providing some great tips accompanied by the most adorable photos of her little.
"Filter: something that has the effect of a filter, as by holding back elements or modifying the appearance of something".-http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/filter
As my family and I drove back home from one of our last road trips, the usual silence took over the car. Typically, we drive for quite a while in silence. No radio, no phones, just the view of the cars passing by in either direction and the road ahead. But sometimes that silence leads to sleepiness and to ensure my driver keeps driving I ask a few probing questions. With his new show lining up this fall on BidChat, I decided to keep my dear husband awake by daring to get out of his head and tell me about his ideas and plans for segments requested of him. He was stuck. See, in the spur of the moment, during his online audition I named his show for him. He had thrown some ideas around but wasn't set on anything so when the casting director asked him for a show name I nudged him and told him to just say it, "it" being the last thing I told him before he went online, Filter Free Fantasy. We both racked our brains when I came up with this name for this blog and he had loved everything about it so I told him he should use it too. The director LOVED IT! The issue now was that Ernie didn't know how to approach it.
My husband, in one quick and frustrated sentence, stated the knee jerk explanation towards anything non-pc. "Gina, Filter Free means I have to be blatantly honest, straight forward, MEAN, otherwise people won't understand the point of the name." I took offense to this because this was exactly the way I feel most people view my approach/communication style, honest but somehow negative.
Unfortunately, nowadays, anything that goes against the grain is mean, in fact, I feel that any sort of honesty at all is considered distasteful. Why is that we can no longer voice our opinions without being chastised? As an American, I pride myself in the first amendment, always taking heed to state things not directed at a single person but more so in regards to culture, ethics, politics, medicine, speaking freely as to exchange ideas and engage in conversation not gossip. But, it seems that this is a tougher bridge to cross than simply passing judgement on another.
Just last week I had a meeting with a good friend who is creating a progressive learning environment for children and honored me by requesting I come on board, during this meeting she stated something that resonated with me so strongly I was stricken. She said, "We are creating a revolution and like with all revolutions it's going to get ugly and messy and there will be resistance but sometimes that is the only way to make a real change." I couldn't agree with her more. We each practice in different medians and have platforms that range vastly but our energies and intentions are the same, to bring more light into this world. We each have the power to be revolutionary. Let your light shine!
Ok, back to the point, I realized, as he stated what he felt Filter Free to mean, that I had to stick to my original intent whole-heartedly, to present my stories from a place of positivity and love but foremost from a place of truth regardless of the backlash. Sometimes the truth is messy and many times ugly but in this day and age the truth is revolutionary and I will continue to champion it.
Now, out of my typical writing style and against everything that I know to be true about good writing, I feel the need to leave you all with a question in hopes of igniting dialogue. I know each of you care enough about the truth to read this far into this post so we are kindred spirits which means you must be doing something revolutionary or have hopes and dreams of starting something to make an impact on this world of ours. Don't take this to mean some Nobel Prize worthy stuff, I believe true change and ignition starts at home within our sanctuaries and with those we love most for whom we wish the change to be first and foremost. Please share in the comments below. I would love to start an inspirational board to help generate love, thought and progress.
What are you doing to let your light shine?
I, more often that not, am late. I was two weeks passed my due date when I was coming into this world forcing my mother into 42 weeks of pregnancy (by the way, there is absolutely nothing wrong with going beyond 40 weeks so please relax ladies, induced labor is far worse than if you let things take their own course, my second daughter was born at 41.5 weeks and it was all ok). I was late both times that I found out I was having the girls, that was probably the worst kind of late. I am late to birthday parties, dinners, meetings, appointments although, I never miss a flight but have ran through more than one airport. I go to sleep late, I wake up late, I will hopefully be late to my own funeral (even though I've made specific arrangements to bypass the whole funeral thing, toss me in the trunk of an old car and push it into the canal like my grandfather wishes for himself when I'm dead).
Many people, including my own family, get annoyed by my tardiness. They call incessantly to remind me that I'm late. When plans are made they emphasize the time and raise a brow in my direction. My friends joke that they tell me a different time than others because they know I run on a my own clock.
It's a gift as much as it is a curse. No matter how early I set my alarm, re-appropriate my day, plan and organize to facilitate timeliness it just doesn't work out for me. Oddly enough, when I have to schedule or plan something like, say a wedding or social event professionally, I am able to nail it down to the second and run a tight ship while doing so (lighting schedules included) but, that is something entirely different. You see, that sort of situation is systematic work. When you do something extremely well, plan everything precisely and are ever so focused on the task at hand time runs like a machine, it obeys the needs of the user and cedes its urgency to accommodate all that must take place. Think of the chef competitions on TV, do you ever wonder, how are they able to comply with the time constraints? It's something they have perfected, that which can be done in one's sleep, second nature, if you will. Every movement already calculated to work alongside the tick of the clock, it's beautiful. Synchronized time is a thing of the gods.
And that's just it, I'm not nearly perfect.
My imperfection lies in my love of people and my time with them. I take every opportunity to listen, to be in the moment, to learn. If you know me, think if ever I've cut you off because I was in a hurry to go else where. Perhaps, I've run by you in a whirlwind looking frantic and disheveled as I rush to get one of my kids from one of their activities, trying to ensure they aren't faced with being the last one (btw, that doesn't kill them either, I've learned)to be picked up. But if I engage with you, stop and actually look you in the eyes, you have me hooked. I am at your disposal till your story is done (on some days it's a story of my own). Never once looking at the time or persisting that "I have to go". My focus at that moment is the person with whom I am sharing the time.
The drawback, of course, is that I'm so present in the moment that I become tardy for my next "moment" and people don't like that (the people waiting, that is). I mean, don't get me wrong, I'm honored that most of my family and friends wait on pins in needles to see just exactly when I will be arriving, it's as if they just can't get things going till I get there and I mention this fact when they bring up my tardiness for events which could easily go on without my presence (it's not like I'm the chef at the restaurant or the kid whose birthday is being celebrated). I am fully aware of my downfall but it isn't something I lose sleep over or stress about changing. Some people are never late, phones in hand, timers set, ready to be on time. The thing is when I show up I am fully there, present, in every sense of the word.
Over the years I've learned that in packing in so much stuff some things fall to the wayside and that has to be okay. I love squeezing in as much as I can in a day. The more there is to do the better I function. Sure, when you minimize how much you take on it's easier to keep track of time. Some might suggest that I need to learn to say no more but I don't really care to, this life is meant to be full to the brim, taking in all those opportunities, pushing time to its limits, stringing together a vast amount of moments to make up a legacy that will one day be referred to as "my life". I used to stress about perfect parties & everyone in attendance, mapping trips just so to ensure THE most amazing time all the time, being the absolute best school/team mom so teachers would vote me in the next year for the board, but then I wasn't having an amazing time. I was stressed. Worried about what was supposed to happen next. More concerned was I about the near future than the present.Today, I am committed to being fully present in the now, which means, I'm going to be late.
Multi-tasking over-thinker that is, as you can imagine, often running late.