I didn’t want to feel so depleted.
The best part of quarantine for me – all the family togetherness. The worst part – all the family togetherness. It can be both – For me, most things are an AND not an OR.
My kids range in age from three to thirteen. I have one that likes to be alone in his room the majority of the day and another who refuses to be alone under any circumstances. Half like to hike and be outside, half would prefer to be inside creating. The weight of managing the spiritual, physical, educational, and social needs of four such different humans has started to take its toll.
Last week, I had spent the morning going from child to child overseeing school – while entertaining a toddler. The drill of putting out fires, but not actually filling anyone’s cup. Of helping but not connecting. Only to have everyone finish, and look at me with expectant eyes – what’s next mom?
So, I did what any loving mother would do – I locked myself in my room and wrote: “A Prayer For Boredom”
May you stare at the wall and count the bumps.
May you turn off the screens and look out the window, finding something to hear, to see, to smell, that you haven’t before.
May you follow an ant back to its home – and then stay long enough to watch the anthill grow.
May you find a book that takes you to another world.
I hope you grab a sibling and a ball.
That you make up a game that the world hasn’t seen before, full of your own rules. Rules that change each day, morphing into something new.
May you look at the craft closet full of half dried paints and bits of paper and see a way to create a bridge, a maze, a city….
May you turn to your toy closet, full of forgotten Mr. Potato Heads, nerf gun bullets, and legos and enter a story.
May this time open your mind to everything that was already here.
The process helped me focus my thoughts, my goals, and made me feel less guilty for needing a moment to myself.
I have written prayers for years, but I was introduced to it as a mindfulness practice during a completely non religious writing class – Mine to Tell – (I highly recommend it if you feel a pull to write down your own story and don’t know where to start).
For me it works like meditation. A way to focus my mind. It can help me to notice the beauty in the present, or it can help me write through and acknowledge what worries me.
Sometimes titling the prayer is enough to bring a smile to my face:
“A prayer for the thirteen year old with the overly enthusiastic mother who wants to be with him all the time”
“A prayer for the “hatchlings” – whatever those are – that belong to my three-year old, and are apparently living in the yellow blanket in our entryway and no one can touch the blanket for any reason without invoking screams of despair.”
These types prayers help me freeze the little moments unique to now.
Other times, this process, helps me write through my worries and frustrations:
“A prayer for the mothers balancing all the spiritual, educational, social, and physical needs of their children while trying not to disappear.”
“A prayer for my brother-in-law, a doctor in California, who asked my little brother if he would take care of his four children if both he and his wife got sick.”
And sometimes they are random:
“A prayer for the neighbor who dances to music while playing darts in the garage”
“A prayer that I will live in the moment so that if I do something for the last time – I will be able to remember the details.”
If this time is giving you a sense of vague unease, of endless unpredictability I encourage you to try it.
And I leave a prayer for all of you. For the mothers:
May you have wisdom
To know what your family needs day by day.
May you have courage
To act on that knowledge whether or not it meets the expectations of others.
May you be fully present
To witness what is.
Nicole loves reading, writing, and traveling anywhere. She is happy going across the world or taking a ten minute walk if there is something new to explore. She has lived most of her life in warm sunny places: Saudi Arabia, Arizona, California, and now Southern Utah, and hopes that never changes. She lives with her business owner/surfer husband Justin, four kids, and no pets, hopefully ever… not even a fish. Nicole helps refugees tell their stories for Their Story is Our Story @tsosrefugees. You can also find her on instagram @nicolesuetaylor and on her sporadically updated blog realliferealjoy.com.
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