Press Play. 

I have been going through this phase lately where I’ve been looking forward to crossing another day off on the calendar. This season of life is pretty challenging. Having a toddler and an infant is emotionally, mentally, and physically draining. Somedays it feels really good just to cross off day having survived it. And somedays my Facebook scrolling goes on a little too long and I find myself yearning for a different time of life.

On the eve of Mother’s Day, I got a speeding ticket. While waiting at a stoplight, my two year old started whining for his pacifier (yes, he still has one, and I don’t care) that he couldn’t reach, and the infant was crying because he was sleepy and needed more motion to drift off to sleep. The light turned green, I started cruising off speedily to our destination (Lowe’s to get plants like every other family that weekend). Well, it was a 25 mph zone. I was not looking at my speed, but my crying baby and whining toddler in my rear view mirror. Praying that we would have some peace in the car shortly. Needless to say, I was pulled over, I got a ticket, and I cried. I cursed God, and said “Gee thanks for the Mother’s Day gift.” Meanwhile, my husband was 2 minutes behind me (driving separate to meet us at Lowe’s to haul some wood home in his car) and saw us pulled over by the police officer. This prompted him to call my cell phone. Which woke up the baby and he started crying again. Great, crying baby again and now I would also have to explain myself to my husband. When we finally made it to the store, my husband didn’t lecture me. He asked what happened, saw my tears, and let it go. He knew that I had already beat myself up for it, and didn’t add to the emotional torture.

Yesterday I got another speeding ticket, from the same officer. In a different 25 mph zone while I had my kids in the car. Seriously, who the hell actually drives 25 mph anymore.  Of course, my reaction was to cry. Of course, I was speeding and did it to myself. Of course, I felt horrible for not being a more responsible driver with my children in the car. Here’s the thing, I haven’t had a ticket in 10 years, and I got 2 within two weeks. I don’t believe in coincidence. I’ve been speeding for the last 10 years, just never “got caught.”  So why was life catching up to me? What’s the message? I’ve noticed that when things happen in 3’s, life is really trying to get my attention! So I usually tune in when I hit the second time. And, I definitely don’t want a third ticket.

I’ve always lived on fast forward. I’ve been trying to get to the next step, next stage, or next day my whole life. I take after my father in this way. His motto is “Go like Hell!” Impatient is an understatement when it comes to the both of us. I’ve always wanted to be older then whatever age I am. I’ve always looked ahead to what I would do next instead of enjoy what I’m doing now. Living for tomorrow and the goals ahead, always.

When it came to getting the speeding tickets, I had to ask what was I in a hurry to get to? I wasn’t late for anything and we had no reason to rush. Being a stay at home mom nothing truly is that pressing in our daily life. Sure, we have appointments to get to occasionally, but is it really a big deal if we happen to be a little late? Why is it so hard to just slow down? Heck, why is it challenging just to live on play instead of fast forward?

Then I started thinking about the kids. Why am I trying to speed up their childhood? What am I trying to get to? Am I trying to get to the stage where they are talking? When I’m done nursing? When they can fix their own snack? What about when I go back to work or they are in school? Am I wanting to get the the stage where they are adults and moved out and I have full ‘free time’ again? How about when I become a grand-parent? What am I rushing through the day for? What is so much better about tomorrow?

All of these stages of life are coming. We keep aging as we move through time. I will get there. Does rushing through the days make the 24 hours happen faster? Nope. Does it make it less enjoyable? Yep. I have found that when I look back at my completed stages of life, I do miss them. I loved living on Grand Ave in St. Paul with my best friend Andrea getting into all sorts of 21 year old trouble. I liked seeing my friends everyday and challenging myself in high school. I enjoyed taking hair classes and learning new skills as I grew as a hairstylist. I am sure I will miss these days of baby snuggles and toddler shenanigans. So, I’ve decided to enjoy the sleepless nights and making second lunches for an overly opinionated palate. I will enjoy holding small sticky hands as we cross the street. I will enjoy every diaper change and booger wipe. I shall savor watching my two year old snuggle his blanket and my two month old coo and smile at me. This includes all the crazy awful things about raising kids too. It’s time to just play, instead of rush forward, and let this movie unfold one scene at a time.

These two children are the people I love most in the entire world, and I’m rushing through my days with them. Ultimately we are headed to stages where we are less together as a family. Stages where our interactions change as we become less involved with each other. Right now, I have all of my children. I have their snuggles, laughs, tears, and poops. Yeah I get it all, all day long. It’s time to be here enjoying it, while the time is still mine. Time to get my mind off the future, my eyes on my children, and my hands off my phone.  I’m going to get to the future regardless. So I may as well slow down and enjoy.

Happy Trails! – Chelsea

 

Trail Mix.

Years ago on the start of my inward spiritual journey, I was told by an energy worker that one of the causes of my distress (anxiety and depression) is my need to label (judge) everything as good or bad. I live very ‘black and white.’ She mentioned that it was quite funny and perhaps serendipitous that I was marrying a man with the last name of Gray. She mentioned that it could be the start of new chapter of how I view life.

Nearly 5 years after that conversation I have come to see how I need to embrace a life of living in the gray. One marriage and two kids later, I can no longer afford to judge life events as cut and dry, black and white, or good and bad. I’m learning that life is a big cluster of mixed everything. It’s a really good trail mix. Perhaps in the end it will balance out and be a great combination of sweet, fulfilling, nutty, sustainable, bitter, and enjoyable moments. And like a good trail mix, you need all the flavors to get just the right taste. Maybe that is all life is, a giant human taste test.

This journey has made me. It’s made me grow into my faith. Sometimes by force, sometimes by choice. The earth is always moving under our feet, forward will happen. Just as we can’t stop aging (as much as we try), it feels like we can’t stop evolving. It seems that all humans desire changes. Of course, we all try to avoid changes we don’t want, but actively pursue ones that we do. Why do we desire change? Personally, I get bored and honestly like a challenge. It feels like most of my desires for change (new) come from within me, almost unconscious. Perhaps the drive to evolve is unconscious. It’s some soul level stuff.

So here I stand, on the edge of choice. I have had the desire to share my perspective of life through writing for a while now, and it’s time to try it. I have plans for what I will write about, but as plans do, they often change. Join me as I embrace looking at life from a greater gray perspective. That nothing is truly good or bad, maybe it’s all perfect in the end.

Happy Trails! – Chelsea Gray