On the Art of Slow

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We didn’t do something this year that we’ve done for the past six years in a row. I didn’t sign up for VBS.

It’s our first week of Summer and we don’t have anything on the schedule. Nothing tomorrow or the day after. Or the day after that either. Day after Day after Day of nothing.

…..

I think when I imagine slow days there’s usually a book involved. And coffee. Maybe wine.

Maybe in my vision of slowness, there are kids coloring with stockmar colored pencils on a reclaimed wooden table- all while listening to modern folk music.

Not the madness that is our house on a regular basis. Babies in diapers with hoses. Kids screaming about who knows what. Deteriorating quickly into punching matches. This week there was a trail of bread from the kitchen to the couch. I thought about picking it up but the babies got into the piano music and I just didn’t have much caring left. Besides, they were probably saving it for later anyway. Which just makes things easier on the snack front.

Maybe VBS would’ve been a better option.

….

In the past year, I’ve seen quite a few blog posts on things like hygge and saying no, on the fear of missing out and how to give your kids a 1970’s summer. On being unbusy.

I’ve written a few too- On Trade-offs, On Self Care.

But today as I was scrolling my feed I came across at least 5 printables with checklists. Reading Logs. Activity Logs. Outside Logs. All the Logs. There was a multicultural online book club and a free calendar with 3-4 “fun” activities a day and another on the perfect chore system. One on why we should do the dishes and not feel guilty (I don’t get that one), another on why we should play with our kids and let the housework slide. More on how to involve your kids in said housework in this ideal of a perfect blend of harmony and super mom awesomeness.

So. Much. Noise.

Nothing ever is quite enough.

I will admit most of the noise could be turned off with just a press of a button.

And this week my heart certainly could’ve used that.

….

My dryer broke a few weeks ago and I made the judgment call to wait to fix it. I entered my decision-making process into the questionable category with a little bit of crazy lady and a lot of 1800’s romanticism.

But here’s the thing- it’s slow to not have a dryer. There is no way to rush it. You have to touch every single shirt, every single towel, every little random sock and hang it on the line. Then you touch it again to put it down and again to put it away. Every single item. There is something about the slowness of the whole thing that calls so desperately for gratitude.

Shirt after Shirt.

Maybe part of it is the helpers- we’re outside a lot more and clothespins are fascinating. I’m not in the dark dungeon of doom by myself. That makes me happy. The not by myself part. The saying hi to the neighbors part. The backyard races and joy filled squeals.

Things you notice when you aren’t running so fast.

…..

What slow is, I think, is a lot more of an art than anything else. It’s a rhythm for your family that feels sustainable. A balance of intentional busy and intentional rest. Times to run hard and times to sit at your table not sure what to do next. I may find hanging my laundry to be restful but if it’s not-  don’t do it. There’s nothing that says what slow means. For my daughter, slow is riding her scooter around the block for 3 hours. For my son, slow is reading on the hammock. For my toddler, slow is a 3-hour nap that he didn’t have to wake up from early. And for the baby? Slow is peek-a-boo at the table while everyone is joining him. Slow for me is time to write. Time to read. Time to be. It’s a chance for orderliness- this idea of ordering our thoughts and space.

An Art.

What could it look like and how would you get there? 

We aren’t there yet but we are getting there. We’ll have time to go on a walk today, the house orderly and our bodies rested. I finished my second book in as many weeks. We’ll have busy written all over this weekend but there’s balance and I think- that- is maybe the point.

 

The art of slow.

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