It’s Sunday morning and I am on my third cup of coffee trying to shift myself out of neutral and into the day ahead. I awoke this morning with the same thought I was pondering last night, it was something that had stuck with me from a brief encounter I had with wisdom yesterday, an encounter that will forever be known to me as “the sanity package.”
You see, my husband left on Thursday for a five day business trip and while I am accustomed to managing things on my own because of his travel (and honestly enjoy some of the shared moments it offers when my daughters and I have cereal for supper and curl up in our PJ’s at 6 p.m. on a Friday night), this time I have come off of a busy week at work and I am finding myself a little more tired than usual.
I made a pit stop at my local Indigo store (my happy place) with the girls with the promise of the next “Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew” book and a tall dark roast from Starbucks for me. I stood sipping the last of my coffee while coaching my 8 year old through the painstaking process of picking a new “Beannie Baby.” While my youngest stood in her certainty of “Owlie the Owl” my oldest daughter, Jane was firmly anchored in her indecisiveness and the choice between “Cancun the Chihuahua” and “Tabitha the Cat” was the only thing standing in our way of getting into the checkout line and getting the heck out of there. I placed the items I had been hauling around the store on the gift wrapping counter and took my coat off, ready to settle in and try to encourage Jane to trust herself to make the right decision while what I really want to do was say “get the Cat, you don’t have a Cat and it’s cuter” I hold back, but I know I only have about five minutes left in me before I start to unravel a little more.
Just then, a familiar face walks past me with two little kids, an iphone in hand (no doubt with a list on it) and the energy of a mother on a mission. I reach out to Lisa, a woman I have only met once and we have a quick hug while we introduce our kids to one another. Gesturing to the rather large stack of items I am leaning on I explain that my husband has been away for two days and we have three more ahead of us. Lisa scans the stack that includes: Junior Monopoly, Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew, Smelly Markers, and Tara Mohr’s book “Playing Big” and she knowingly refers to it as my “sanity package” and we share a quick laugh as she runs off with her kids.
When Lisa and I bumped into each other the conversation lasted all but three minutes, with four kids circling around us carrying the weight of winter in their heavy winter jackets, mitts and hats. That three minute conversation was alarmingly refreshing, there was a real connection, a shared understanding and appreciation for the eternal strive towards sanity for women who are in a constant state of balancing birthday parties with work demands and (dare I say) the desire for a life that continues to evolve and feels personally fulfilling.
It is funny how easily she hit what I was striving for – not only in that 30 minute shopping trip to a bookstore with my kids – but also in the larger picture of my life. There are days when the sanity package would look very differently than it did yesterday (insert wine and chips here), and yet I think that what it contained for me is reflective of what so many of us want. We want engagement in our kids lives, we want to play, read, laugh, and connect. We want to encourage growth in our families and in ourselves. We want to “Play Big” in the lives of our kids, our partners, and in our own world.
Oh…and if you are sitting on the edge of your seat wondering…Tabitha the Cat was the BEST decision Jane has ever made…and she made it on her own.