As a mother who is the primary adult in charge of a little munchkin, it is my duty to make sure someone is always caring for and protecting my precious Ada.
That's great, fine, and dandy... until you really realize what all that entails.
Walking home from work today, briskly I must add, a thought hit me like an El train. Why am I always in such a hurry? Why am I always running late? Why am I stretched so thin and exhausted? And why are some of the most popular words in my vocabulary "Hurry up.", "Go, Go, Go!", "Quick like a bunny!", "Can you do that any faster?" and "Let's get a move on before we're too late."? Why the rush?
Partially to blame, I think, are my own parents. Impatience, you see, happens to run deep in my family gene pool. Growing up my mom's most popular phrase (okay, second only to "I love you") was "Quick, like a bunny!" but she didn't even pause for that comma that should follow the whole "Quick" part. It all ran together. And she is notoriously late. I can't remember her being early to anything, except maybe my wedding... which I'll come back to.
My dad is even more impatient. My mom knows she is going to late and just accepts it as fact, but tries to be on time. My dad, on the other hand, goes out of his way to get us all rounded up so that we are always early and have an extra half hour (fifteen minutes at the very least) in case we run out of gas or get a flat tire or have to stop to help an elderly person who has fallen and can't get up. His favorite phrase to get us moving was "Chop, chop, chip, chip, choop, choop." and was accompanied by a swirling movement of his hand with his pointer finger drawing imaginary circles in the ground at his feet.
I've never really psycho analysed it, or gave it any thought for that matter, until now.
This will make sense now that you know a bit about my parents...
My wedding (are you sitting down?) started EARLY.
No, really. I kid you not. I was crouching by the limo behind a bush in my wedding dress (hiding from the guests--who were still arriving and walking into the tent to be seated) when Dad's watch said it was time to go and he said, (here comes his third favorite phrase) "Let's get this show on the road." Followed shortly thereafter by "chop, chop, chip, chip, choop, choop". (His second favorite phrase is "Bring back the change." said in a stern, "I mean business" and "you'll never see another dime from me if I don't get back every penny you didn't spend going to the movies and getting ice cream with your friends" kind of way. He didn't care how much we spent, just wanted to make sure he was getting the leftover change.) I laugh about it now with friends who got lost on the way to our wedding and ended up standing up in the back of the tent and missed half of the ceremony parking the car (all twenty minutes of it or however short it really was). I must say, I've never been to a wedding that started on time (but Rick and I did show up to a wedding a week late and were slightly alarmed by the hearse in front of the church. I blame that on Rick reading the fancy wording on the invitation wrong. Whoops!)
Once you think about it, it's really quite clear why I rush from one thing to the next and am always in a hurry to get to tomorrow and check things off my lists and get Ada moving. That's what I'm programmed to do.
Sadly, with all of this rushing around like a crazy person, I'm still constantly late, and getting later, with an occassional early streak -- but I tend to care less these days about being late... especially now that I'm pregnant. But it doesn't surprise me that it takes my pregnant condition to actually force me to slow down a little bit. I don't sprint up the stairs to the El anymore. This morning I think I audibly said a naughty word as I slowly made my way up the stairs with other commuters sprinting to catch the train arriving at the station. Non-pregnant me could have made it with time to spare and get to my preferred train car. Pregnant me got to the platform five seconds after the doors closed, muttered another profanity under my breath as the trail pulled away and I went to sit on the bench to await the next one. Sitting there, I was presently surprised when I actually noticed the individual snow flakes that were sticking to my wool coat. They really are all different. How neat is that? I got to experience my own little moment of zen...which was ruined shortly thereafter by the arrival of the next train and my mistaken seat choice in which I sat next to a smoker who's scent lingered in the stuffy air, tempting me to swap seats (or even train cars) but I didn't want to be rude, and then it was too late, none were available. (I instead pulled up my scarf and suffered.)
The train took me to work, where I was again rushed by a deadline (oops, speaking of which, I'm supposed to be working on that right now. Darn pregnancy forgetfulness! I'll add that to my to do list. Crap. I have to make treats tonight too and it's already 9:09! I'll have to wrap this up. See, rushing again, darn it.) So work. Right. Deadline. Rush rush. At 2:30 I went to get lunch(finally), convincing myself that the longer walk to Subway would be worth the cookie I'd get with my sub versus no cookie from the place just across the street. Little did I know that they would forget to put the cookie in my bag, but charge me for it anyway, causing me to have a small fit at my desk upon realizing the mistake and then wasting the next five minutes writing emails to Rick and a friend to complain about my poor luck having not been able to eat much since having the stomach flu and now not being able to eat my "Fing cookie" as I referred to it, since it was still at the store. Not my best moment of the day.
I then continued to rush, rush, rush through my work to meet my morning deadline, or get closer to meeting it, and then looked at the clock to see that, crap, I was already going to be late to pick Ada up from the sitter's house. I dashed out of the office, gingerly approached the stairs to the El and, of course there was a train pulling into the station. Repeat of the morning El situation above. I waited for the next train, which was packed, and squeezed my way in. No one noticed my big belly so I stood. And I arrived at my stop two minutes before I had to get Ada, but I was still about 10 minutes away. No sense in rushing. I was already late. Tough luck. I'll vow to do better tomorrow.
And then, finally, once I got Ada and we started our walk home, what did I hear myself saying? "Go, go, go!" "Quick like a bunny!"(notice no comma pause) "Mommy's cold so get a move on!"
Moral of the story: Our parents have an enormous effect on our behaviors throughout life. If you really think about it, you might gain some insight into why you are the way you are and become more self aware of things you may, or may not, want to pass along to your children.