Routines can get monotonous and time can feel like it’s carrying on without me. That’s when my heels start to drag. Option one: desertion – flee the monotony with trips to the water cooler, snacking, fidgeting and mental staycations. Option two: tracking down the cool little moments that make up my day, moving with vigor from one to another.
Once I’ve hunted down the elusive little buggers and taken inventory I find I’m in better shape than I thought. The first bit of relief from routine usually comes early as Mommy, Daddy and son are in the car on the way to school. My 4-year-old son, Owen, is full of questions and his questions always veer into the unexpected.
“Is God in that church?” he asks.
“Yes,” I say.
“Is he in THAT church?”
“That church too?”
“Does God take care of all churches? Does God have a car? Ian had an accident yesterday,” he said referring to a classmate who is also learning to control his bladder.
“Yeah, but his car was in his pocket, so the teacher put it in a bag with his pants and he couldn’t get it.”
After dropping my son and wife off, I pull into my space at work. When it comes to offices, I am pretty lucky.
My coworkers actually like each other and there is usually a radio playing. I love coming in and boring them with tales of my son or talking shop. Jokes on current events fly around the newsroom and they make me feel connected to the rest of the big, old world.
The effort I put into my work shows in the newspaper section that I edit. With each week, there is a new edition. That means new topics and new designs. it’s a fresh start every time.
After work, my commute is filled with podcasts, news updates and audiobooks. This is one of the places I find inspiration for my column.
My wife is very good at smiling. Her smile is the first thing I see when I pick her up. When I pull into the parking lot at my son’s school, I try to spot him on the playground before he spots me. I like to catch his reaction when he sees the car in the parking lot. His head pops out, his eyes widen and his smile beams as brightly as his mom’s from under his baseball cap.
If I have running around to do – tasks like grocery shopping – it happens after I get everyone home. I usually do the grocery shopping, and I don’t mind. It’s a chance to exercise.
Some readers might remember that I walk with a cane. Going from one end of the store to the other and back, loading and unloading groceries — doing the shopping is a bit too much for me.
But by the time I’m breathing hard I’m happy because I’ve stretched myself, gotten exercise and made myself useful in the process.
My son just turned 4. Like his friend Ian, who inadvertently peed on his Matchbox, Owen has a lot to master. Sometimes, I reward him with a surprise from the “surprise chair” (a papasan chair filled with trinkets). Watching him pick a prize is another high point in my day.
When I plot my way through my days with these kinds of moments, it has a very different feel. It’s a way of escaping without going anywhere. It’s also a way of not missing a thing.