In the still quiet hours of morning when the house is dark and cool, I rise. Set a path for the day. Decide what should be done.
Not everything that crosses your path is yours to do. So how do you decide where to focus? I look down at a sticky floor beneath my feet.
In this season there is so much to do right where I am. I have turned down things that lead me away from my path, divert me for too long from what is happening right in front of me. Things that might make me feel more valuable. Valued.
There was a time when I could handle seemingly more, projects larger, further from home, more time consuming. My path was relatively clear then. I could leave it and return to it much the same. Not so now, for me. The path is full and the pace, slow.
But thoughts prone to wander. Eyes prone to look at the paper of someone beside me and cringe. They seem to be further along on the assignment, coming up with answers more easily, or now reached the part I still look forward to.
I see her name in swirling elegant letters neatly at the top of her page and compare it to my scrawled and nearly forgotten name. Her assignment wholly better managed than mine, at least from this angle.
Her assignment must be easier. Or, equally likely, she must be smarter or more talented, better made for this line of work.
The children step over a forgotten wrapper, wayward toy, cast away sweatshirt, slipped off shoes, left dishes. I point it out. Teach them to see what's right in their path to do. Teach them to stop in the care of it, rather than barging ahead. They lament being slowed while headed to where they want to go. Always on to the next thing before fully concluding the first. Ends being to fray. Periods forgotten.
I realize that I am the same. Trying to trudge ahead. Pick up the pace, skipping, skimping. Dragging along or stepping over what is right at my feet. I glance around and see signs of ware, the unraveling. Things left undone for too long. My feet feel the stick of a neglected floor.
"Stop, take care of this fully before you move on." I hear my own words to the children echo back to me. The nudge to take proper care of what is right in front of me, add final stitches, conclude my sentence, care more slowly. Mop.
Chairs and furniture are moved and pushed out of place so the ground can be swept well followed by mopping. The task takes so long in the constant need of my little ones under foot. Snacks, diapers, hurts, squabbles, the never ending list. Yet I press on to see that at long last the floor has been cleaned, the furniture righted, and the cleaning supplies returned.
His cough was rough, inducing a gag. Vomit. And then inexplicably he runs to another section of flooring and repeats.
The floor is actually more filthy now than when I awoke this morning and thought to mop it.
Deep breath. Secure dog. Clean baby. Hold baby. Redress baby. Hold baby. Retrieve cleaning supplies. Wipe and mop. Start laundry.
Stop, take care of this fully before you move on. It's a whisper. And I do. I try to take care of all of this fully. Walking my path slowly and caring for what is right in front of me.
The floor was twice cleaned and baby cared for. Meanwhile a chicken soup simmered on the stove in stages until lunch.
The kids came home early from school and tummies were filled with something hot and homemade with them in mind. They devour lunch. They helped push the furniture back into place for the second time.
So slow but not so futile.
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