There’s a lot of bashing of busy-ness these days – most recently in a New York Times opinion piece which spoke to "multi-tasking busy" and "over-scheduling busy". Habits that often lead to "you-can’t-think-straight busy."
Yet, for me, busy works. I was raised by the Idle Hands is the Devil's Workshop adage. And I saw my Mom's busy hands always at work: cooking, cleaning, sewing, knitting and crocheting, reading, doing a crossword puzzle.Mom wasn’t in-and-out-of-the-house busy. More a keep-yourself-occupied busy.
Lately, keeping myself occupied has been more necessary than usual. A week ago, my daughter's obstetrician told her that, even though she would not be full term until August 4, she probably would not make it to her next regular appointment – in a week – before giving birth. “It can happen anytime,” he told her and then she told me.
Em lives an hour away. Since her move a few weeks ago, I’m up in her neck of Eastern Massachusetts every few days, which leaves me back in my neck of Northern Connecticut every few days – waiting, at a bit of a distance. Milton ends his sonnet “On Blindness” with the oft-quoted line, “They also serve who only stand and wait.” He seems to have been speaking from the point of view of a person with a disability. There’s a peaceful resignation in his words. Serving as a mother (at a distance) who is waiting for her daughter’s first child to arrive leaves little room for repose.
That said, Sunday, the day after I had been up to eastern MA and fives days after Em's doctor gave her the sooner-rather-than-later signal, I waited. And as I waited I
· Answered morning emails
· Paid bills
· Went to church
· Visited Em’s Grandmother
· Returned home to do a wash. Didn’t want those clothes piling up – just in case I had to hustle east.
· Mowed the lawn. Didn’t really need it, but I could be otherwise engaged in a day or two.
· Measured and set aside the dry ingredients for a blueberry buckle (my mother’s recipe). This way I would just have to add the milk, butter, and eggs tomorrow morning, when the kitchen would feel cooler.
· Measured and set aside the dry ingredients for another blueberry buckle, after I realized I had enough blueberries. This way, I’d only heat up the kitchen once for two buckles.
· Read the local paper
· Texted back and forth to my daughter
· Texted forth and back to my son
· Downloaded the NY Times on my Kindle.
· Ironed. Which I rarely do. Wanted to be sure I could dress without a fuss, just in case . . .
· Watched the Sox lose to Toronto
· Turned on the oven. It was late but what the heck. The ingredients were all measured out anyway. I needed something to do.
· Mixed, stirred, folded and poured.
· Cooled the buckles. Wrapped 'em.
· Resent 9 rounds of Words With Friends
· Went to bed and awoke to 9 newly returned rounds of Words With Friends
· Got a call. “Things are starting to happen.”
Good thing I baked those buckles last night.