Yes has become somewhat of a holy word to me.
Maybe it’s because I find myself guarding my yeses and noes more than ever before. Maybe it’s because people have said no to me, even when I didn’t want to hear it. Maybe it’s because I’m finding out and discovering and uncovering who I am a little more everyday – and I want and desire to hone in on who I am instead of who I’m not.
Whatever the cause, when I do say yes, it’s a little bit magical.
A couple of weeks ago, we trekked over the pass to Lake Chelan, “where full throttle meets small town.” The HBH (Hot Black Husband) got to take a much-needed week away from the stress of his new job, and I got to take a break from All Things Social Media. I oftentimes forget how much time I spend on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and email every single day; I read and I retweet. I post and I like. I network and I push out material, because, that’s what you do as a writer in 2017.
But most of all, we got to say yes to our boys. We got to say yes to invitations to play and swim and soccer; we said yes to putt putt golf and a pedal boat and macaroni and cheese for dinner two whole nights while we were there.
We also, for the record, practiced saying no as well: no, you may not run across the highway. No, you may not have macaroni and cheese three nights in a row. No, you may not destroy the rental house that is not actually our house.
We like a healthy balance, you see.
But all the yeses I said made me realize one thing: I don’t say yes, often enough, at least not to them. Too often, I feel like I’m on the rebound, in defensive mode as a parent. I want to stay two steps (let alone thirty yards) ahead of them, but most of the time, I’m jogging behind them. I’m hoping to grab a piece of their Usain Bolt-like Thomas the Train t-shirts. Even more than that, though, I’m too overwhelmed, preoccupied and busy with the Very Important List of Things I have to Do that I don’t take the time to enter into the present with them.
Being present is, of course, one of my favorite topics. What does it mean to be present in the midst of our everyday, ordinary lives? What does it mean to live purposefully and put the phone away, so we can show our loved ones how much more they mean to us than a little inanimate object named after a fruit? What does it mean to live in wonder, even in the messiness of life?
See, I talk a good talk, but I don’t always walk a good walk – at least not until vacation enters the scene. And once again, upon arrival home, I am found in want: I want what I just had. I want that Lake Life. I want that time and those feelings of being truly, really, actually present.
I really don’t have five easy steps to give you, although that could be a rather popular article to pin on Pinterest. Instead, maybe just like you, I’m just making it up as I go.
The boys are out of school for the summer, but they’re still in need of structure – and I’m still in need of a break and an outlet for my processing mind and need-to-get-my-type-on fingers. So, we hire sitters for a few mornings a week; in that time, I get work done and then feel like I can concentrate on them (instead of on my to-do list). We still hold one day a week sacred for play, for berry-picking and ferris-wheeling and whatever else we’ve written down on our (very short) summer bucket list. We go to the gym, almost daily, and we plan trips to see family and friends, but on the same hand, we try to do nothing. We enter into boredom, because I hear it’s healthy for little and big kids too.
With it all, we try to find the balance between not overdoing it and not under-doing it. And, as their mama, by working when I need to work and playing when I need to play, I make room for more yeses.
And isn’t that who we want to be, when it’s within the boundaries of who we most get to love?
Whether you’re a parent or a friend or a spouse or a partner; a neighbor, a co-worker or a fellow sojourner on Planet Earth, you have the opportunity to say yes to the ones that matter to you. I have the opportunity to say yes to the good things, which most often is constituted by the three human beings that matter most to me: my husband and our two sons.
So, could it be the same for you?
Platonic x’s and o’s,
Ah shucks: sometimes I miss writing the ol’ blog post. I trust you’ve enjoyed my rambling thoughts as well, especially if you’ve made it this far! So, what is it for you? Is saying yes ever holy for you, too? How do you create boundaries so you can say yes to the ones you love?0