Life in our house has changed overnight. And it’s not the transition from Vancouver, Canada to Brooklyn, New York. (Though there’s that.) An even more seismic change in our household has been the shift from an afternoon preschool to an all day kindergarten. Any of you with school age kids know what I mean: Expectations! Homework! Schedules! The morning rush! The evening rush!
During the youngest years—baby, toddler, preschool—the challenge was how to fill up the day, to manage monotony, to savor sweetness and nowhere-to-be-ness. Now, I find myself struggling to slow life down. Lucien’s only five. I don’t want him swallowed up by schedules, by the relentless pace of life.
It’s something we adults struggle with, too. How to remain calm, centered, focused—yogic and sattvic—during a hectic, busy day?
One thing we can do is simplify our schedule, where we can. Lucien, all eager enthusiasm, asked to sign up for two after-school clubs, from 3-5 in the afternoon, twice a week. Creative, mind expanding arts filled clubs, who could refuse? I counted the new work hours I’d have each week greedily. An entire uninterrupted day, twice a week! Maybe next year he’ll sign up for three clubs! Or four!
The phone rang a few minutes into his first club meeting.
Lucien has a stomachache. Lucien is exhausted. Lucien needs to come home.
Lucien needs me.
A part of me thought he should stick it out, try again. Make it work. (Those hours, I thought to myself.)
Then I realized this was Lucien’s way of keeping his life slow; of opting out of the idea of endless busyness; of leaving time in the day to play and be and exist with empty spaces.
In this, Lucien is my teacher.
And so we cancelled the clubs. (Maybe next year.) For now, I pick Lucien up each day at 2:50. I try to get to his school early enough to sit in the lobby with a book, or with myself and my breath, before heading up to his classroom. Lucien and I go to the playground, or to the library or to a play date, or simply go home and start dinner.