Taking on two too many responsibilities. Rushing around my college campus with my head down, hardly looking up to say hello to even a fellow sorority sister, close friends, because I overloaded on classes and worked multiple jobs. Crossing things off my to-do list. (I once lost my student planner on campus, and interrupted my favorite professor's class -- and the man did not. allow. interruptions. -- to retrieve it. It was, as I said very dramatically, I'm sure, "my life!")
In many ways, I thrived in these circumstances. Managing my time was a challenge. One that I actually enjoyed. The best days were the ones I was in my room and closed my computer before midnight, thinking to myself, "Yes. For today I'm done." The tasks on my to-do list neatly crossed through.
It wasn't easy, though, and I don't think I can honestly say that it was good for me. I accomplished a lot, but I'm sure I also missed out on a lot.
What really brings this home for me is Maile. Her birth brought me down a level. At this age (of nearly 21 months), she takes everything in. Positive, negative, ugly, beautiful, she is a sponge. A fighter jet overhead isn't just doing yet another irritating touch-and-go exercise; it's an "eh-pane!" going "vrooooooo." (There are wiggles involved with this noise. Adorable wiggles.) Walking around the pretty town center nearby, she stops to dance and twirl to the music enveloping us. Every detail captures her attention. A small alcove where she can hear her own echo. Sparrows snatching bits of bagel from brunchers. The steps leading up to her favorite place, "Books? ::gasp:: Booooooks!" (That would be Barnes and Noble.)
Maile reminds me to stand back. To stand still even, and appreciate every single thing this life has to offer. Maybe there's a pile of mail a foot high sitting on the counter at home. Maybe I was supposed to go three more places this afternoon. Maybe the sheets need washing because there's part of a chocolate doughnut smushed into the sheets where Maile sleeps, because she refused to let go of it for her nap.
But I'm going to try not to rush, not to stress. I'll take one thing at a time. I'll say, "That can wait." and dance and spin and twirl like no one's watching, hop up the bookstore steps with Maile, and be excited about life. How blessed Tim and I are to have our girl in our lives to remind us to live.