I love how children are so in touch with their feelings and can articulate how they feel without self-censorship. Good or bad, our children have a penchant for expressing themselves. I hope they never lose that ability. Too often, the increased responsibilities associated with adulthood tend to dampen our spirits and limit our spontaneity. Those responsibilities create a filter designed to make sure we don’t say the wrong thing, for fear it will be misinterpreted. And that same filter, designed with the best of intentions, silences us from sharing even the most precious sentiments, for fear they may not be shared or acknowledged by the objects of our affection. Stress can be such an inhibiting condition.
I know I'm stressed out when I find myself sighing more, when my eyebrows are furrowed over my eyes, and my shoulders are creeping further up toward my ears. Skye does a remarkable imitation of my "IBM" face, and it's not pretty. It’s also disconcerting that my work face is not very attractive. One would think since I spend so much time here, I would make a point of enjoying it. It’s a shame that I may be sending mixed signals to my children. Who knows? They may very well shy away from working entirely if my face is any indication of what responsibility means.
Just today, I heard myself counseling an employee on the importance of work/life integration and the critical time management skill that affords that integration to happen successfully. I realized mid-sentence that I was as guilty as she was about setting aside time for family. Instead of sighing, which is symptomatic of spreading myself too thin; I took a cleansing breath to clear my head. And I remembered Skye and her complete joy at spending time with us at the pool the other day.
During that visit to the pool, Hunter was enjoying his new-found confidence in jumping into the deep end, trying to touch the bottom of the pool. Even our dog was with us, on sentry duty, making sure the pool didn’t swallow us up. The joy all around me was juxtaposed against my feeling so fragmented. I wasn’t present.
Instead, I was worried about on boarding a new employee, making sure I spent enough time with my team on interim performance reviews, and calculating how much money we need to set aside for our vacation in August. I was in dozens of different places all at once, rather than simply unplugging and enjoying a much deserved break.
Skye’s simple appreciation and acknowledgement of what a treat it was to be together, enjoying a break from the heat, drove home my awareness of how much I’ve tried to take on and the limitations I have. Not weaknesses, just limitations. If I had my way, I’d work with our brilliant scientists at IBM to learn how to clone myself. That solution aside, I realize I have to practice what I preach.
I have to actively work on making sure I’m not over-scheduling myself, so I can truly enjoy the little time I do have with my family. I have to focus on my blessings, and see them as such, rather than allowing myself to cross into that negative space where blessings can feel like burdens.
So, I have to thank Skye for reminding me to enjoy those treats. She’s probably not even aware the impact her words had on me. But, I will live more purposely now and stay in the moment, rather than getting lost and missing out on these treats God sends our way.