As I might have anticipated, this kid-free weekend was brought to us by the letter P... P for “productive”, “pumpkin pie”, and, well, maybe also a little “panic” thrown in.
Panic might be overstating the case, but I’ll bet you all know what happens when you start to organize the house. You open the storage room downstairs (which should have a big “Beware: Can of Worms!” warning on the door), preparing to finally move the big rug into it and – Holy too much crap, Batman! – you find yourself two hours later still moving boxes from one closet to another, with a huge pile of Goodwill donations by the back door. At the end of the day, you have accomplished a great deal, really, you have - the only trouble is, much of the impact is actually invisible to the naked eye, and you still can’t see the kitchen counter or your desk. Nor have any pictures gone up. You face reality all over again – that the work is really, truly never done, and while you are thrilled with what you have accomplished, you’d feel much better if you had the next two weeks available to keep going.
In the midst of the chaos, I received the phone call I’d been expecting and – to be honest - dreading just a little bit. It was a nice woman from church following up on my offer to make a meal for one of the couples who has recently had a baby. It’s true: I had told her this would be a good weekend (my time is flexible, after all). So, yes, yes, of course I can make a meal for these new parents tomorrow night. Absolutely. (Gulp.) Overwhelmed, I put it out of my mind and enjoyed a fun evening out with Matt.
I was up early today, happy to rise when I was good and ready. (Too bad I was "good and ready" quite so early.) Enjoying a leisurely few minutes at the computer, I discovered that not one but two bloggers I read regularly had posted delicious-sounding fall recipes this morning! How did you all know that I needed inspiration today? I am happy to report that I have made both Jennifer Graf Groneberg's lentil soup and Kristen’s pear bread this afternoon. With a nice salad thrown in, this will make a wonderful dinner for these first-time parents tonight. My kitchen smells absolutely fantastic.
I’m starting to suspect that the personal satisfaction I receive from doing things for others is making the difference in my stress level (that is, keeping it strangely low). Could it be that the sense of well-being that comes from lovingly preparing a hearty fall meal for a sleep-deprived couple I’ve never met – and beginning the planning process for a fabulous non-profit (more on this soon!) - leaves me feeling like it’s all going to be okay?
I don’t have to be in control of everything. I don’t need to freak out about getting to the surface of that kitchen counter or being caught up on every bit of paperwork because I am spending a lot of my time and energy right now on much bigger and more important things. Perhaps this helps to put in perspective the feeling of never being caught up enough in my own life.
Maybe, just maybe, this weekend’s P was actually for “perfect”.