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Simmer Down

September 4, 2013

When you stay at home, there is one day that stands out above all the other days. It’s The Day. The day you dreamed about all summer. They day you pictured in your mind. They day you put off all the stuff you need to get done because it can get done after That Day. The first day of school is like Christmas come early!

Of course, as usual, I packed way more plans into my glorious day than could ever be accomplished in a week, let alone the length of a PreK school day. But I’m always up for a challenge, so after taking the necessary first day pics, playing Emergency Dr. Mom to a water bottle and dropping BG at school, I was off. I was early for my dentist appointment and right on time for my lunch meeting. As Jana and I stood in line at La Madeline, we soon realized that we weren’t moving as quickly as the line usually progresses. In fact, we weren’t moving at all. Jana had another meeting after ours, and I’m married to David Johnston, so paying for extra minutes at school because I didn’t get there on time is a NO GO. We made a glance across the parking lot to see if another restaurant might be an option, but decided against it. I then did a scan of the La Madeline staff and just as I was about to comment on the inefficiency, a man walked down the line to apologize, explaining that their computer system was down. We chatted a bit more and finally made it to the end of the line where we saw the two people behind the register manually figuring the cost of each item. They did the same when a customer paid cash and wrote down a credit card number for others. My point: it was a SLOOOOOW process. As they calculated the amount and change due to the man in front of me, he commented that he knows all-to-well what the staff was feeling. He manages servers for a major back and when there is a glitch in their system, it means people don’t have access to their money. He didn’t even need to explain the stress that induces. I could only imagine. As they handed him change and asked for my payment, he said “At the end of the day, we waited what? 5 or 10 extra minutes? and you’d think it was days. We are so used to hurrying we have to be forced to slow down.”

My composure changed completely. He was right. I spend all day racing around, chasing a tiny person with more energy than she knows what to do with. I wish (sometimes beg) for time to sit still or at least slow down. I have looked forward to the peace of This Day. But the moment I had just that, I was tapping my foot with the rest of them. How many things do we get worked up about that need some perspective? So we waited an extra 10 minutes. The worst that happened is I had a pleasant conversation with a man who I otherwise would never have noticed because we were all moving so fast. So her hair is a mess – we ran late because she practiced tying her shoes. So she broke the soap dish; it’s replaceable. So the laundry didn’t get done but she will know that I took the time to play dominoes with her.

Sometimes we just need to be reminded to simmer down. Take a breath. Get some perspective.

In the end, it was a great day. I finished my meeting with just enough time to walk in to school at exactly 1:55 (5 minutes early, thank you very much!). So I didn’t finish all 87 things, but I did get a break and even had an adult conversation. And I got to hear about singing the fireman song and running in the gym and where you put your paintings when you finish. And those are minutes I wouldn’t trade for all the efficiency in the world.

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