Take Your Time


August. People with jobs are either on vacation or gearing up for September, and people who stay home with kids are, well, home with kids. Which am I? Raise your right index finger in the air and wave it around gently while you say, “A-ha-aaaa” with a knowing Yiddish accent that sounds a little like the NBC jingle. Have no idea what I’m talking about? Exactly.

I am sort of home with kids. I sort of have a job.

One thing I’m realizing is that no matter which category you fall into – job or home or a finger-waving “a-ha” – you are probably trying to suck the marrow out of the summer.

I have to admit, part of me is looking forward to September: the return of routines, the return of clients (!). Aviva is ready for first grade. My mom – her whole career tied to the academic year – always says that September is like being shot out of a cannon.

Here comes another finger wave.

It’s August 6. I’m writing about something that doesn’t exist. I’m curious, this morning, what would happen if I settled into this present moment? This 7:13am on August 6, 2009 moment? Am I afraid it won’t be interesting enought to write about? How could the present moment not be enough? That is the mind. Barely through its first cup of coffee and already judging.

I take a deep breath. I stop typing. Feel the breath enter my nose and flow down the back of my throat as if going down a slide. I push the air out until I am empty, waiting. The mind tells me I might be doing it wrong. I take another breath. Let it out.

Aviva and Pearl are fast asleep in Pearl’s bed, where the three of us ended up early this morning. Greg snuck out to his office already, having been on the road all day yesterday. The air feels cool on my bare arms. I am wearing a skirt I got yesterday at the new used place on lower Main Street. I like the way the slip part feels against my skin.

I come here to land. I look out the windows in front of my computer and see our wild little L-shaped garden, a miniature Japanese maple looking like it just woke up, the row of pink impatiens that were a gift from my mom, a little rustling.

From here, the world looks still. But there is movement. I can hear it – the cars on the highway off in the distance, tiny birds chirping, “It’s still summer! It’s still summer!”

My body looks still, but there is movement. Fingers tapping keys, belly moving in and out, thoughts coursing like blood.

Slowing down now, dreams come. Friends at the front door, a new baby, tears. I dreamt about just having given birth. I had become impatient and gotten an injection of pitocin. Later, I wondered why I hadn’t let my labor go at its own pace, wished I hadn’t rushed it.

My girls are sleeping. In September, sleeping at 7:23am will not be an option most days. My girls are birthing themselves every day, each moment unfolding, or each day a fold, like origami girls, each day folding themselves into a shape they will try on, some staying, others not. Their essential nature will always be just that. I do not want to rush them, or judge them. I do not want to interfere with them finding their shape.

I am home with kids, I have my own business, I am yes-and-neither-nor-beyond-category-breath-catching.

When will I learn, when I will I let things flow as they inevitably will? When will I let go? How about now? Why not start now? And then, I’ll forget again, tense up, ask for the pitocin in a futile attempt to speed up a process that is doing just fine on its own.

I will try to bring some tenderness. Remind myself of the dream, the one where I was filled with regret. No regrets now. And I will mother myself, with the very words I whisper to my girls at night: Everything is just right. Take your time. Take your time. Take your time.

6 thoughts on “Take Your Time

  1. holly says:

    origami woman, your unfolding of your thoughts this morning is a glorious thing to behold. thank you for your insight and your ability to transmit peace directly into my veins. xo.


  2. WRO says:

    It’s funny Jena, this morning I am ill with a cold…and with two girls instead of one today, I am feeling equally overwhelmed (I just wanna rest amongst the din of the evil TV) and at ease with letting the day remain unplanned, unfolding as the need arises (there was crankiness in the play, time to make muffins for a reset). It’s easy to give myself permission take my time when my body gives me no choice, why can’t it always be that way, why can’t I always check in with my body “what do YOU feel like doing today lovely?”, instead it’s dictated by expectation of filling the day with activity and bustle, and oh, a little one asking “what are we doing today mommy?”

    We have a new saying in our home “lets just go and see where the road take us.” Maybe it’s time that the “road” becomes more than pavement and moving wheels, maybe we can adopt the complete blasse fair of the statement instead.

    Thanks for provoking my congested mind this morning!

    xo WRO

    ps. nope, no talking yet, busy, busy… *sigh*


  3. Beth Patterson says:

    Dearest Jena of my world—
    I really like your new site–it’s already pinned up to my desktop…I’m beginning not to trust the aggregators, so I’m doing the old fashioned thingy of having links on my desktop. Isn’t that funny? Old fashioned is such an old fashioned phrase.

    The fact that you can see your breathing in and out, know that pitocin is not right for this circumstance, snuggle in and dose off again–isn’t that success? (I guess I’d be doing the bad Yiddish finger wagging impression–sorry.)

    Yes, sucking the marrow out of summer is a good way to put it. Outside every minute I can be, even sleeping on the porch in a $15 bed from a yard sale…with make shift mosquito netting–holder fashioned from the weeping birch’s ‘hair’ that she gives off in windstorms–loving it all.

    Did your wildflowers ever come up? Mine are doing so beautifully. Gonna post some pictures of them sometime soon. Maybe September!

    Love to you, wise one–


  4. GailNHB says:

    Yet again, another post that seems to be penned or clicked just for me. And for all of us. I am a homeschooling mother for whom September means the continuation of being at home with my children, but with a different routine than the summer. Right now, I am at home alone at the moment, which is rare – and perfectly divine. But still, it is hard to stay in this moment, right here, right now. To suck the marrow out of this moment, this breath, whatever “this” is.

    Thank you yet again, dear Jena, for the reminder to take my time. To take this time. To not even “take this time,” but simply to live this time.



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