Gretchen had 12, but after some thinking and rethinking, I decided to limit mine to 10. It felt like an elegant number and the whole “Ten Commandments” thing. I mean, if it’s good enough for God to limit us to 10 rules, shouldn’t I be able to manage my own person with 10? Who am I kidding? I’m short on brain cells so I wasn’t sure I could remember more than 10. Heck, I’m struggling with the 10 I have.
So, my dilemma? I want to add another one: Plan for Spontaneity. Yes, I know how it sounds. Plan and spontaneity don’t exactly go together.
But here me out–this is how it started. Last Friday, my girlfriend called, “I’m at the shore for the weekend. Come down. Bring the kids.”
“No, no,” I quickly replied, failing to follow #1 ‘Come from a place of yes.‘ “My husband just finished VBS. It’s two o’clock, Thing Three (at three, The Baby can no longer be called ‘The Baby’) hasn’t taken a nap and we’re meeting my family in Phoenixville for happy hour.
“Talk to your husband. If you change your mind, come in the morning.”
Hanging up, knowing my husband would agree that it was too fast and he was too tired (I mean, have YOU ever done VBS?) I told him, “K says if we change our mind, we can drive down in the morning.”
“Let’s go,” he said, totally throwing off 17 years of knowing everything my husband thinks, “If not now, when? Let’s drive tonight, after dinner. We’ll have all day Saturday at the shore.”
I had so many reasons to say no. I had surgery (twice) and was still recovering. I was in between projects and needed to regroup before the next one (and ruminate that there wouldn’t BE a next one, but that’s a whole other issue all together.)
Plan for Spontaneity
Is this an oxymoron? How does one plan to be spontaneous and if she plans for it, can it really be call spontaneity?
I have three children and it is almost impossible to do anything even when I’ve carefully planned for days in advance! I’ve never once left for an event on time nor have I ever arrived on time. Personally, I think there is some space-time continuum in our neighborhood. I walk out the door with plenty of time to arrive at my destination. I buckle in Thing Three and send The Boy and The Girl to their respective corners of the minivan. I adjust my mirror and check my makeup and STILL have time to spare. I’ve even set my clocks in the car ahead several minutes in order to convince myself that it is later than it really is. And yet, every time I actually pull out of my neighborhood–I’m late. Every. Time.
So obviously, it isn’t easy to pull of spontaneous unless I can see into the future and know what spontaneous event will occur so I can actually arrive before it is over.
And that doesn’t even count the whining from the 11-13 year-old set who might potentially be disconnected from either the Wii, PSP3 or Internet.
When I wrote “Come From a Place of Yes” it was geared towards my children and how my first response with them tends to be “no.” But I also realize that it’s often the first response I give to myself.
No, I can’t write; I need to do laundry.
No, I can’t knit; I need to clean the house.
No, I can’t read you the book/play hide-n-seek/watch you sing; I have to…
…plan for spontaneity.
I have to plan for moments where I can say yes to writing, knitting, playing, and going to the shore.
So two hours after the invitation, I’d managed to pack up three kids–well, pack up me and Thing Three. The Boy and Girl and husband are responsible for their own stuff and if they forget underwear…I’ll surrender to not knowing.
We left the house at 8pm and pulled into the shore house at 9:30. The next morning I watched Thing Three as she raced into the waves without ever looking back.