It’s 11:30 am (11/25) and we are on the train from Boston to Newark. It feels wonderful to have a few hours to just sit – no dishes to wash, no laundry to do, no babies to soothe. Taking care of no one’s needs but my own and the boys. The world is rushing by outside but there is relative calm within (this is actually the mindset I am hoping to cultivate on this trip). It’s easy to get caught up in the craziness of life. We fly out of Newark, NJ tomorrow morning and then from Miami to St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands.
My parents came up Saturday night and took the kids swimming on Sunday at their hotel. My sister and I realized, just last night, that we didn’t take a single photo in these past three weeks together. It was so busy all the time that we just never thought of it. Before I leave, my sister is sitting at the kitchen table with one of the babies. She’s just sitting – not checking her laptop or phone or trying to sort through papers while holding an infant. “That’s a good look on you.” I say. She looks at me questioningly and says, “What do you mean?” “That,” I say. “Just being, not doing.” She laughs. It is an ongoing joke between us. Too often, just when I thought everything was done, I would walk into the kitchen and see she had all of her canning equipment (or breadmaking or paperwork, etc.) out. This is the first time I have seen her just stop since I’ve been here. In reality, we are similar this way. We both suffer from the need to be doing, rather than just being.
When dating Matt, I would show up at his apartment on my way home from work/grad school. He’d be sitting on the sofa. “What are you doing?” I’d ask. “I’m sitting here,” he’d reply. “I can see that,” I’d say. “But what are you doing? Are you reading a book or were you on the phone or what?” “I’m not doing anything,” he’d finally say in exasperation. “I’m just sitting here.” This concept had never occurred to me. I went home to the apartment I shared with my sister and told her of this novel idea. She found it equally strange. We agreed he was an odd bird. I’d ask the same question when I called him or when he called me. It was what my family always did. We never ask ‘How are you?’ It was (is) always ‘What are you doing?’ (the assumption, of course, is that you must be doing something). Matt finally said he refused to answer that question anymore. Maybe after this year of doing-ness I will be more ready for being-ness.
My sister and I hug goodbye. She starts crying. I do too.