Of Goals and GIFs

In the wee hours of the morning, I dreamed a recurring scene:  I was supposed to write a magazine article about parents setting goals in front of their children so they can show them how to do it in their own lives.  I planned to use the (somewhat silly) example of growing out my hair–as my daughter watched me doggedly struggle through bad hair days and awkward seasons–until I got my hair the way I wanted it.

FullSizeRenderMy sisters and me (left), playing around with our mother’s monstrous stash of wigs.

So far, so good. (?)

But in my dream, every time I wrote a couple of paragraphs, the computer screen ate them and I was left with nothing.  Then I grabbed a notebook and rewrote them, but I couldn’t read my own handwriting.  Back to the computer.

The clock kept ticking, and I was aware that I had fifteen minutes until my article was due.  This scenario replayed itself in my dream like a wretched little GIF until I woke up, cranky and stressed.

After the kids and I ate breakfast and fed the dogs, I headed to my bedroom to write.  I told them that I needed some time to work because I’ve given myself a deadline to finish a first draft of my second novel before I leave the country next week (it doesn’t look like I’ll meet this goal, but I’ll probably come close).

I still felt the cloud of that anxious dream hanging over me and I wondered if my kids will think I’m crazy someday.  But then I consoled myself with this thought:  They’re seeing me work towards little and big goals every day, and, crazy or not, I’m showing them how to keep going.

I tell myself that’s got to count for something.

Moral of the story:  Don’t use over-the-counter sleep aids unless you’re prepared to dream in GIFs .

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Eyes Wide Open

We have family staying with us for several days.  There are sisters and kids everywhere,  lots of goodness and extra pairs of shoes by the back door.  Since I’ve been out of sync with my routines for weeks now, I’m tempted to get antsy when I think of the days ahead, though I love each person under my roof.

Shoes_and_Fruit_(p365_20)

I’m tempted, I say, but I’m determined not to give in to the feeling.  Because I’m understanding, more and more, that life is just a handful of breaths–and that God and people are the only real things when it all comes down.

Routines should serve us and not the other way around.  So the thing I’m going to do this week, if I don’t do anything else, is to look my people in the eye.  I’m going to be here, listening and remembering, not writing my novel in my mind, or grumping about the watercolor days.

I will stay awake.