I must confess that I really don’t like this term for Wednesday. I get it, but I don’t like it. YET today is a hump day on a grand scale. It is the day after St Valentine’s Day and the day before my two youngest children’s birthday. Thus today is super-charged with sugar from yesterday and anticipation of tomorrow. In fact, as I was writing that last sentence one of the aforementioned youngest children entered the room and exclaimed, “I can’t believe it is tomorrow!”.
We have some simple traditions surrounding birthdays: the child gets to pick a favourite meal for dinner (no matter whose birthday it is the request is usually for crepes), we put up a happy birthday banner and balloons, I continue a tradition that my mom started and put a happy birthday sign on the underside of the toilet lid, and the birthday child opens presents at breakfast while everyone gathers ’round. It always amazes me how very important these simple tradition are for the kids.
My two youngest are not twins. They were born two years apart on the same day; they had the same due date and each was born three weeks early on February 16th. They refer to it as “our birthday” (which always makes me think of Gollum) and they seem quite happy to share the attention–as long as they don’t have to share presents!
Now back to this hump day thing. The level of anticipatory excitement in my house has reached critical levels. For my daughter this manifests itself in a continuous dialogue of all the things that will happen tomorrow (see paragraph 2), but even with the continuous talking she is able to focus on whatever task is at hand. For my son it is not so easy. He lives most of his life anticipating what is coming next, so when A BIRTHDAY!!! is what is next, he flits around and loses track of what he is supposed to be doing and needs a lot of redirection. My son is my busy boy. His exuberance and positive energy are wonderful and when he learns to channel it he is going to be a force to reckon with. For now, I am trying to teach him to be in the now. It is a hard lesson…come to think of it, it is a hard lesson for me!
“right here, right now” is the mantra we have been working on. I thought I had invented it until my son told me that it was part of a song from High School Musical 2, but that makes him like it even more, so we will go with it. When he is speeding through his spelling words, I saw, “right here right now. What word are you on. Just focus on that one word”. I am seeing small improvements in his ability to be fully present in the moment. I want him to start cultivating this kind of focus now, because I think it will take a lifetime to master. Having the cue words are allowing him to identify when he is not in the moment and he is learning to.just.be. It is a hard thing to learn; especially when it is your birthday tomorrow!!!!
I am challenged to just be in the moment many times in my day. In my tri-training I am hitting the treadmill. I have been slowly starting to run again after dealing with some long-lasting injuries, so I am very cautious and focused on doing things properly. I only run as far as I can run with really good form. When I get tired my form goes to pieces. So in building up my run I am going less distance but doing it faster and stronger. I am not a fast runner; in fact, I am a terribly slow runner, but I think this is because I went for distance too soon as a new runner. I didn’t have the core strength to sustain me and so I shuffled along.
The tri coaching has been fabulous because it focuses on form and core. So how does this fit in with being in the moment? Well, my very modest goal is the be able to run a 10k in 1 hour. So I have worked up to running 5km at a 10 km/hour pace. I can do it, but it is not comfortable. I am always looking at how much farther I have to go and how many minutes it has been. So this week I am joining my son in his mantra. As I run I remind myself to be “right here, right now” and focus on each stride and turnover and the music that is playing right at that moment. I have a lot more empathy for my busy boy as I barely manage 30 seconds on the treadmill without starting to look at the screen to see how far/how long. Ugh! it is so frustrating because in the moments when I can do it all the difficulty of the run seems to melt away and I am in the zone, but when my focus slips I think about wanting to stop and how hard it is to run faster than is comfortable for me. Yesterday I managed to stay in the moment for more of the run than I did the run before, and my son stayed mostly in the moment to write out his spelling words, so I am hoping that step by step and letter by letter, we will be fully present to what is happening right here and right now.
That said, I am off to buy candies for the loot bags for the party tomorrow!