January 26, 2014

Going slow

I have a six-year-old son who is known for being slow. Not developmentally...and certainly not emotionally. But, let's just say the boy moves at his own pace. I like to call it dilly-dallying. His teacher affectionately calls him her "slowpoke" (always bringing up the rear of the line because he's the last to stop doing anything).

And he has a tendency to get slower (if that is possible) whenever we are really in a hurry. Honestly, I think he is the universe's cruel joke on a mom who is almost always late.

See, this is how it usually goes down: after hitting snooze at least 4 times, I finally roll out of bed. Neither my son nor I are stunning examples of humanity in the wee hours of the day, so we spend our fair share of time just snuggling on the couch, talking, reading, anything to avoid getting up and getting going. By the time we finally do get up, it's at the last possible minute and the morning becomes a mad dash to get out the door less than 15 minutes late.

Now, for me, this is usually possible. But for him...the faster I move, the more curt my directives, the more spun-up I seem, the slower he goes. And the frustrating part is - he doesn't seem to care one snippet. He quite happily can spend 35 minutes taking off his shirt, digging through his drawers, getting sidetracked, singing songs, and playing with the cat and still be in his pajama bottoms while I'm standing at the front door, coffee in hand, yelling, "You have got to be kidding me! Have you even eaten your breakfast?!" He'll look at me with a sheepish downcast face that says, No...I was busy having a lovely morning and then you came along and started scolding me and ruined it all...but I'll look really pathetic and sad so you think I'm sorry, since that is apparently what you need at this moment.  Our children are so intuitive. They can read us like a book, which they take a lot less seriously than we do, by nature, of course.

My son is a daily, often upsetting, reminder that I have a tendency to move too fast, and that our society expects it of us. We adults spin ourselves into the vortex of "hurry up and get it done so you can hurry up and get on to the next thing." But our children are blissfully unaware of time. Their internal clock doesn't even seem to exist until after it no longer affects their parents. And then they become us.

Or they don't. Some rebel against time. In fact, I think quite often my son does just that. The more agitated I become, the more he realizes he has the upper hand.

I've been working lately on breathing my way through these moments. And the more I think about it, maybe he has a point. Not that I plan to just start showing up at work or appointments whenever I chose, but I can see a case for taking my time...packing less into a day...and allowing myself to stop living a life everyday that forces me to glance at the clock every few minutes. It's nice to periodically lose myself in an activity. It's nice to be in control of my own time and what I do in it. Even if it can't happen all the time.

For what it's worth, I think my son gets it, even if just subconsciously. I think he sees just how crazy living by the clock makes me...and he refuses to let it do the same to him. Maybe there is something admirable in that. Something I can learn from.

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