Zany Flexibility

By: Sandra L. Churchill

My mom squinted at the clock in our car as we scrambled to finish errands and manage afternoon school pick-up lines. “Is that right?” she asked of the 12:07 p.m. time indicated on my dashboard.

Dashboard“Oh no,” I laughed, “it’s 1:00 but we’ll be there in time.”

Mom looked confused.

“You see we couldn’t remember how to change the time for daylight savings—to spring ahead…” I explained feebly.

“But it’s still off by several minutes,” protested my mom, always punctually-accurate.

“Oh, that’s to help me be on time,” I joked, adding that five minutes was not enough.

Silence.

Okay—the rest of us in our busy family learned to add an hour and subtract seven minutes to get the “real time.” Just more of the crazy antics that we take for granted at our house.

One of my daughter’s friends commented recently that the ample pictures in the hallway were all tilted, until we realized that mad dash to dust the frames resulted in the topsy-turvy look of a carnival fun-house!

We took this one in stride, too.

The last straw was a recent search through our car CDs to find a beloved Christian music artist my middle daughter loved. Happy to oblige, I snagged the disc and fed it into our player as we chatted along the way. Soon we realized it was a pop CD mislabeled when I tried create an inspirational mix of newly-purchased songs.

“The label was to keep you guessing,” I joked with my teenage daughter, who frequently finds our crazy life charming.

It’s true, we don’t seem to fit into “normal” anything. We are often haphazardly late, juggling multiple bags as we race to karate, scouts, rehearsals, church, job assignments, and social engagements. We seem to cram a lot into a day and things like setting car clocks, adjusting household knickknacks, and double-checking music disk labels sometimes go by the wayside.

At times, I am immensely frustrated at our lack of calm, punctuality, organization and order. The feeling is, thankfully, short-lived thanks to my ADD Gemini personality. Truth be told, we often abandon the one-activity-at-a-time sane approach for a last-minute race to the park or beach. A crazy scramble to go to the drive-in or have a sunset beach picnic trumps the more sensible plan to eat dinner at home, clean up afterward, and head to bed at a reasonable time. Who can resist gathering seaglass beneath a glorious flaming sky?

But the silver lining in our zany schedules is that our three children are flexible and easy-going. They are used to their days being varied and creative, so they “roll with the punches” when there’s a last-minute car-breakdown, a no-notice meeting I have to cover as a reporter, or a change in social plans. They weren’t frequent “meltdown” kids when they were small and they tend to be happy to embrace fun in the moment—even when it’s not the fun that was originally planned. I hope that they remember us as parents who tried to live with a “carpe diem” (seize the day) philosophy and embrace all the fun and blessings therein.

The tide is going out—picnic anyone?


2 thoughts on “Zany Flexibility

  1. We also have some zany flexibility in our home — although I am working hard to slow everything down since that is how my children seem to thrive the most: going here and there, often in a dash, but having time to really stop and savor once we are somewhere. (I think your family might actually do this, too.) It’s wonderful to be able to stop and see the sunset, play for hours at a pond or beachside, etc. isn’t it?!

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