BREATHE


Every hour there is a tiny buzz on my wrist and I look down at my bright yellow watch to see the word “BREATHE” pop up on my watch. Or is it every 30 minutes? Funny, I’m not even sure because I’m typically too distracted to notice the tiny reminder from our dear friends at Apple. Every now and again, I think to myself, I need to turn that function off. How do I turn that stickin’ BREATHE reminder off? Oddly, enough, my mind is usually distracted enough that I forget about it within a fraction of a second until an hour later when that glowing, turquoise BREATE reminder pops up again.

Or is it 30 minutes?

BREATHE. BREATHE.

My eyes pop open in the morning. No alarm ever sounds. My body knows. Before the sun even considers showing her face, my mind is racing. Lace up running shoes. Run. Shower. Prepare for day.

Emails to return?
Pictures to edit?
Breakfast to make?

Run. Run. Run. I tell myself. The treadmill never stops.

I tell myself, once I get here, I will rest.
Once I finish that, there will be time to rest.
I will breathe once I get there.
Or over there.
Or after that.
Or. . .

Last night I returned home from taking Chanelle to an appointment and found Charlie lounging on the couch watching a documentary and spinning a fidget spinner through his fingers.

What are you watching? I asked him.
A documentary about aliens, he answered.
I sat next to him for awhile listening to the spin, spin, spin of the fidget spinner.
The room was quiet except for the deep throated, serious voice of the man talking about the Real Men in Black and the constant sound of the fidget spinner.

Spin, spin, spin.

BREATHE. BREATHE. BREATHE.

Something beckoned me from the room and I left as Charlie’s voice trailed after me, come on! Stay. Sit.
I have to get dinner ready, I responded.
No one even wants to eat right now. Just sit with me, he begged.

BREATHE. BREATHE. BREATHE.

I will once I get there.
I will when I finish that.
I will over there.
I will after that.
I tell myself all these things, while awarding myself The Worst Parent of the Year Award.

I fell into bed the other night, as I do most nights, thanking God that bedtime has arrived. That for a few hours, I will leave it all behind. As I laid my head on my pillow, barely able to keep my eyes open I mused to Chad, I feel like I’m constantly running toward some imaginary finish line. I tell myself that once I get there, over there, after that, THEN rest will come.

But the finish line keeps moving, I tell him.
He nods in the quiet because he knows that this is not the time to lecture me.
I need to figure out how to rest in the middle of the chaos.
Again, a nod. (He’s a smart guy.)

BREATHE. BREATHE. BREATHE.

I don’t have answers yet. My Type A brain constantly competes with my Type B heart. But I know that life is too short and too precious to let it fly by in a blur of activities and deadlines and moments missed while chasing after an ever moving finish line. How does that quote go? Big changes happen with small steps?

Yes, Small steps.

It’s not enough to take a breath. It’s not enough to feel my wrist buzz and dismiss the ridiculous prompt to breathe. It strikes me that it takes as much discipline to slow down as it does to run. As much focus to breathe deep on moments as it does to get to the finish line.

The finish line will always be there. This day. This life. These moments? They won’t.

BREATHE. BREATHE. BREATHE.

So I start slow. I step outside in the morning light. I take a deep breathe. I notice the way the morning dew settles on the grass. I watch as the light seems to twinkle on the flowers edge and I see the very beginnings of the leaves surrendering to fall.


I watch as a mourning dove scampers through our backyard. Exercising muscles that are often unused? I take a moment and I close my eyes and suddenly the sound of the birds is deafening. I hear them all. Different tones, different tunes, different octaves. Where were those birds five minutes ago?

They were there. I missed them.

BREATHE. BREATHE. BREATHE.

Chad reminds me often that there are no rules. I get to make the rules. The rules that I’m so accustomed to: Work, then play. The rule book I wrote myself: Achieve, strive, accomplish.

It’s time for a rewrite. I’m not going to rush it, though. That would defeat the purpose. For now, I’m going to hear the birds. I’m going to feel the slight shift in the air, indicating that fall is just around the corner. I’m going to step out into the darkness at night and look up at the twinkling stars.

I’m going to breathe again. Breathe. But not because my watch tells me to, but because I choose to.

BREATHE. BREATHE. BREATHE.

School begins soon. My little people will be learning.

So will I.

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