Some days I feel like I'm hanging on by the skin of my teeth. I do the basics, and no more. The kids are dressed and fed and make it safely through the day and into bed at night. The kitchen is reasonably clean and three square meals plus snacks are served up by yours truly. The toilets are clean-ish. Phone calls, e-mails and Facebook messages are returned in a somewhat timely manner. I'm on top of it, but not doing any more than that.
I had a small revelation yesterday as I drove to get William from preschool: just managing is actually succeeding. It's not failing. It may not be above and beyond, and I may not be doing all of the writing that I have in my head and that fact might be insanely frustrating to me, like an endless itch that I am unable to scratch, but I'm managing the best I can for right now.
When William is in preschool two mornings a week, I'm supposed to be writing. That's the plan that I laid out for myself in the summer. And it works, once in awhile. Then there are the rest of the Tuesdays and Thursdays where I have other pressing things to accomplish, or meetings that crop up for me to attend, or a million other busywork items that command my attention instead.
It hit me yesterday, after a particularly productive morning of work which didn't include the personal writing I wanted to accomplish but still knocked about ten things from my to-do list, that next year when William is in kindergarten, every morning will feel like Tuesday and Thursday to me this year. I will have blocks of time, in my rapidly approaching future, which are going to be mine to spend how I would like.
Right now I am sharing this time with William, and I don't get it back. It's now or never to enjoy his daily company, and to view coffee dates with friends as a necessity and not an impediment. I have to rein in my own unbridled ambition, and offer up this sacrifice so that my preschooler gets the best of me in his last full year at home before he begins his school career. I am making him a priority, and not simply skipping out on my commitment to write.
My heart soared a little bit as I drove in the sunshine to pick him up, thinking that everything I manage adds up to be a big contribution to my family, my kids, my friends and my community. Just because I'm not doing everything I want to be doing, doesn't mean I'm not doing anything. It's all in how you look at it. Striking a reasonable balance of leisure and activity is a delicate thing, and when I'm making it work, recognizing that accomplishment is good for my self confidence.
I don't want to become so focused on the now that I forget what is coming in the future, and the reverse is also true. I only have these days with William at home for eight more months, and then he will be five and we will both be in a brand new stage of life. The preschool years will be gone forever. It's all important, and precious, and goes by in the blink of an eye. The last thing I want to do is miss it. For right now, just managing is enough for me.