Last week a good friend and I were talking about a mutual friend, C, who she knows really well. My friend remarked that C. is really close to all of her teenage children. They love to confide in her; she is each of their closest friend. I asked my friend what she thinks her friend C. does to create such an open atmosphere. She thought about it for a minute, and then she said, “You know, she has no agenda. She just hangs out with her kids. if things don’t get done; if she doesn’t fulfill other obligations, she’s ok with that. She just loves to hang out with her kids.”
My friend and I both groaned. We are agenda-full-kinds of moms! If I am just “hanging out” with my kids, there is most likely either a) a given time limit on that, or b) a secret agenda; or c) a result of feeling guilty for not hanging out enough. Eric is great at getting down on the floor and just being with the kids. I am not.
A week ago I threw out my lower back while putting a turkey in the oven. I heard a pop; I felt pain rush through my entire body. It has continued to be debilitating. I spent Sunday in the E.R., where I was not given a prognosis but I was given some happy drugs :). Today I got in to see a spine doctor. He has a theory about what it is, but is waiting to get back the MRI results tomorrow.
In the meantime, I have been mostly sitting. Sitting in a highback chair in our living room. In effect, hanging out with our kids. It’s been fun. I can’t do much else right now. I’ve had some grumpy days when the pain medication didn’t seem to be helping. But it’s been good to just sort of hangggg ooouuuttt.
Also this past weekend, Eric’s brother Mark came and stayed with us for 4 days. It was so fun to have him here with us. And I noticed that he, too, comes without an agenda and just to hang out with us and the kids. We spent one day in Lancaster, PA, which was fun (even though I was hurting a lot!); and he and Eric took the kids to see Madagascar 2. But a lot of the time was just about being, not really doing.
On Saturday night, we had a surprise birthday party for him. The kids had a great time trying to keep it secret; it was fun to do something like this for Mark who blesses us so much in so many ways.
I made him a laptop computer cake (he does software engineering in Los Angeles), and we made him his favorite Hawaiian dishes. And we all just hung out.
I have a lot to learn, and perhaps let go of, when it comes to just hanging out in the way that Mark, Eric, and our friend C does. I always have a million things in my mind to do; agendas for a particular day or time frame. It’s good to recognize this, and to try least SOME of the time, aching back or not, to schedule in some anti-agenda time to just hang out.