A Reminder to My Overambitious Self

Lessons on learning how to live in the moment

We made it to the lake this weekend with only one meltdown, from my eight-month-old Violet, on the five-hour journey up to Northern Michigan. Blessed with friends who love to share their lovely lakeside abode, I was looking forward to some good conversation, flowing wine, and toasted (burnt, please) marshmallows by the fire.

This long weekend has been everything my family needed and more while reminding me of a few things I have forgotten during life’s hustle and bustle the last few months.

Radiating over the still glassy water, the moon hung brightly just above my bedroom window. I lay there in bed planning out each day’s activities in my head. The first day, kayaking, paddle boating, and sandcastles. The second day, take some photos of Violet exploring Traverse City and its local fair for my pending blog article. The third day, rise early, debut my postpartum body in a swimsuit for the first time in public, and swim eagerly as if I was Willy the Whale (Free Willy, but in this case, Free Brandi). Day Four: Take Chris, my 13-year-old Fortnite obsessed stepson to Pirate’s Cove, a local fun spot, to zip line, go-cart, and to compete in a round of mini-golf. I fell asleep with these possibilities bopping around in my head.

The dreaming didn’t last long.

Violet awoke from her slumber at 2 AM with a cry for milk and snuggles. Tending to her needs, she soon fell back asleep. I lay back down in bed counting down how many hours were left until daybreak. I was excited to jump on the lake and start my to-dos.

Day 1

While I downed my second cup of coffee at 7:30 AM, I looked out at the dark clouds stirring above the serene lake, just below the deck of my dream house. The weather was quickly changing, but maybe we would get lucky and the clouds would shift west. I barely had time to shovel a pop tart in my mouth before we were met with a torrential downpour. The lake activities were shot for the day with showers coming and going. Good-bye kayaking, swimming, and sandcastles.

The clouds looming over Spider Lake in Traverse City, Michigan

Day 2

Aching back, stomach spasms, and night sweats. I woke up feeling like someone cloned 10 Violets and they were all sleeping on me. Rising like a zombie, I made it to the bathroom to pop in my contacts and conduct some business. One year and four months later, it returned. As I shook my head in disbelief, I began to laugh. Of course, the time I finally make it to the lake, Aunt Flo decides to return. WTH. I am still nursing. I thought she doesn’t visit you when mamas are nursing. Meh. I shower, then jump on the road with my friends to head into town to take pictures, and grab Violet and Mama some “diapers.”

Unlike the day before, the weather couldn’t have been more sunny and perfect. We stop at a local art fair. Yay! I can do a photo shoot here with Violet to accompany my article. Violet was barely out of the car seat and into her stroller before she was traveling off to sleepy land. Dang. The one time I don’t want her to rest, she is snoozing it up. But, Mama had an agenda! She wanted to do a photo shoot of Violet downtown. Violet had other ideas. Hasta Luego, cute photos of baby enjoying the arts in the sun and fresh air.

baby sleeping in stroller
Violet asleep at the Crooked Tree Art Fair in Traverse City, Michigan.

Day 3

Every two hours give or take. 12 AM. 2:13 AM. 4:11 AM. 6:36 AM. Milk, milk, snuggles, milk, diaper change, snuggles. It was a rough night. Violet wanted to be permanently attached to me all night. The second her head would touch the multi-colored striped sheets in her playpen, she would emit a shriek. Ermagerd. Mama is so tired, crampy, and trance-like. Just sleep, Violet. Please.

At around 7:00 AM, varying inflections of her voice echoed off the elephant-gray walls. I roll over and look at my husband, with a look of desperation. “Can you please take her downstairs? She’s wide awake.” Wiping the sleep from his eyes, he mouths okay. He gathers her up and heads toward the stairs. My husband is such a trooper.  

I throw the pillow over my head to block the sunlight and blissfully return to sleep. Three hours later, I wake up. Oh, snap. The house is alive and awake. I feel like a disrespectful house guest and scurry to pop my contacts in and find my sweater aka makeshift bathrobe to cover my engorged tatas. Sayonara, early morning swim.

I made a mistake. The same mistake many of us do.

I created an agenda, set expectations for myself during a time that was supposed to be about rest, relaxation, and shenanigans with family and friends. I set out to conquer this and that, checkmark items off my to-do list, and became consumed by the notion of “busyness.” Instead of taking each day as it came, I set forth requirements that needed to be met so I could feel more productive and more accomplished. I have this disease called “never-doing-enough-itis.”

Luckily, I still have another day or so here. A chance to throw away my to-do lists, my agenda, and requirements that I expected to defeat. A beautiful view overlooking the glistening lake, bounded with family and friends is beckoning.

But, before I walk out on that patio, the mental to-do lists are being thrown by the wayside. A perfect weekend indeed.

Are you consumed by “busyness” too? What do you to help yourself live in the moment?

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