Today was my day to go to the grocery store - always a stressful endeavor these days. I went right when they opened to get it over with and most everyone in the house was still sleeping.
I came home feeling like a walking germ, trying to navigate a kitchen full of new groceries needing to be sanitized without touching anything with my potentially infected hands. It didn’t take long (like thirty seconds) before being accosted by the bobbing heads of teenagers wanting me to referee their argument over the laptop. A twelve year old, sitting at the table, faced with erasing his entire map because he had misread the directions, rounded out the scene. The exchange student was upstairs, wisely keeping out of the way.
Can I just wash my hands, please? Before I dive into the fray?
So, I washed my hands. And then I asked my fifteen year old to stop tossing yet-to-be-wiped-down boxes of tea in the air. Apparently, he and his sister had come to some agreement while I was washing and singing happy birthday on who would be using the laptop when - at least for the morning. Great. Except now he felt like he had nothing to do. Well, figure it out. (that’s all I had to offer)
Moving on to the twelve year old who was languidly erasing in his main lesson book… Do you want a suggestion? Not really. Back to wiping down groceries before putting them away...
This is our new normal. And I notice myself constantly evaluating how we are doing. Are we succeeding at this? Finding the silver linings? Using our time to connect with each other and embrace an at-home lifestyle?
The problem is it is not a yes or no. It’s not an exam to be passed or failed. There’s not an arrival point named “success.” It’s more like a dance or a story unfolding. There are going to be high points and low points, difficult moments and touching moments. Just like there always have been.
When I can let go of my evaluator’s clipboard, I notice the pinch in my shoulders start to go away, the breath I am holding let out fully. Some ease floats in, and I can breathe more deeply. Breathing helps me access compassion, and I realize it’s all okay in this moment.
And that’s all we have - this moment. So, I’m going to enjoy it. I’m going to listen to my daughter playing piano downstairs and let the music wash over me. It’s easy to access “it’s all okay” when I hear her play.
When “it’s all okay” - I can rest in being with what is. I don’t have to fake it or fix it; I don’t have to keep score or keep smiling. I can acknowledge, “yes, this is hard.”
I can search out my twelve year old who is so generous with his hugs and give him one, just because. Just because every day is a good day, even when it is hard.
In what ways might you be holding that evaluator's clipboard? What is the impact of that? What do you want to invite more of in this moment?
Jessica Curtis is a professional life coach who helps people cultivate intention and live from a place of meaning and authenticity. If you think you could benefit from working with Jessica or want to invite her to work with your group, reach out to start a conversation.