I’ve been needing a break lately, some time alone, and have been looking for a half day here or a half day there on my calendar that might work. Of course, I can’t seem to find one, and so the frustration has been running a little high. That is, until this morning.
My newborn is still waking every few hours at night, probably more for comfort nursing than food, but the habit is difficult to break and the lack of sleep is catching up with me. Business has been hectic and crazy and I love that, and it is not something that I want to slow down. My toddler is busy with activities and playgroups and gymnastic, and I love having her involved in these. Our house is crazy with the demands of taking care of a family of four; between cooking, cleaning, and laundry it is difficult to keep it all together.
This morning, when my daughter woke me up at 5 after having woke me at 1 and 3 as well, I decided that instead of laying in bed trying to get her back to sleep, complaining about the fact that I haven’t had any good sleep in almost half a year, that I would get up and go for a run. It’s been a while since I’ve gone early in the morning. Back before children I would wake at 5 and run before work a few times a week, enjoying the silence and solitude and darkness of those early days.
So just before six I lugged the jogging stroller into the car and gathered the baby and her blankets, leaving my toddler and husband to sleep. I got to the beach just as the gate opened. The morning was misty; the air smelled like salt. Fires still burned in the pits along the beach. I ran up to the Huntington Beach Pier and beyond, passing other runners, bikers, a few young stragglers who looked as though they hadn’t yet been to sleep (little do they know what adulthood has in store for them!), and tents set up for a surfing competition, for which Huntington Beach is so popular.
After the run, my daughter was still sleeping, so I sat down on a concrete wall and watched the ocean and listened to the gulls. It was then that it hit me: It’s not the big chunks of time that matter the most in life; it’s the little ones. I’ve known this before, of course. It’s been lurking in the back of my mind. It just takes a few simple quiet moments to remember.
Our lives are made of small chunks of time that are important: a baby taking a first step, a toddler using the potty, a husband proposing. They pass quickly through our hands, and unless we reach out and grab them, hold them in, we’ll miss them altogether.
As you start your week, keep this in mind: You can wait forever for those big stretches of quiet time, or you can stop several times each day and enjoy the small moments. Just close your eyes, take a deep breath, and enjoy the silence that life offers.