It is almost December. Lately, it seems like it is always “almost” something. Almost fall, almost Halloween, almost winter, almost Christmas. Are we always so focused on the almost that we forget about today? Sometimes I wonder.
When we picked up June from Sunday school this week, she ran out of the room with Kermit in a headlock under her right arm. I could tell by the look of terror on her face that she hadn’t enjoyed herself as much as the week before. Climbing the stairs, I asked her, “how was Sunday school?”
Quietly, she answered, putting her hand on her cheek, “I cried, mama.”
“Oh no. Why?”
“I just want you,” she said, shifting Kermit to her other arm so there were no longer any barriers between us.
Sometimes parenting can leave your heart like a shattered dinner plate across the floor. Many years from now, when she leaves home, I will remember this day. It isn’t always easy to force your child into autonomous situations, but in the end, these challenges build strength. And so we keep at it, one week at a time, always hoping for a happier outcome than the last. But until next week, I will live in the now, holding her close to me and not-so-secretly relishing the fact that at two years old, she just wants me.
I read on someones feed the other day this idea that we don’t have to do All the Things, just the Next Thing. It has stayed with me ever since. I even used it when giving advice to a friend yesterday, like it was an idea I had penned it long ago. Doing All the Things, it’s just too much. You cannot carry a thousand shells across the sand without dropping at least one.
I fixate on this idea: the Next Thing.
In the mornings, I ask myself, what is the next thing I will do? Sometimes I can’t answer. I have hit a creative low with ambition drained from my body like swirling water down the bathroom sink. So, I break it down for myself like a math problem, slowly narrowing my options. The next chore. The next activity with June. The next project I will sew. The next Christmas present I should buy. The next meal I must prepare. The next workout. I don’t need to do all the chores or buy all the gifts, 30 meals don’t need to be made, and only one quilt can be sewed at a time. All I can do is the Next Thing.
There is always going to be an almost December
and a thousand seashells spread across the path,
but our energy can only be spent one moment at a time.
What is the next thing we will do today?