“In ten miles, turn left at Exit 104,” said the kindly GPS voice.
After school, Katie has band practice, then Holly has dance, and Robbie has to get to guitar lessons, Mary thought. Do I have a lasagna in the fridge for dinner?
Mary’s daily commute gave her ninety whole minutes to herself each day to plan, organize and generally breathe. With a busy full-time career, house, husband, and three active grade-school children; life is a little hectic.
Oh, and don’t forget to run that report when I get to work and ask Jean for an update on the Statler project, she reminded herself.
Walking from her office parking lot, Mary quickly dictated a few notes and reminders into her phone.
“Mary, when do you think I can get that report today,” said Rich, her coworker.
“Right away, I just need to print it out,” she assured, as she picked up a cup of coffee, while taking off her coat.
“Mary, we have a problem on the orange site,” another coworker informed, following behind her brisk pace.
“I’ll get on the phone right now,” Mary said.
At her desk, Mary printed the report, drank her coffee and was on the phone to the construction site within minutes. Several hours later, she was dropping off reports, on her cell phone with another site supervisor and putting on her coat headed for the door.
Driving home, she was making a mental list of the evening’s schedule and her to do list when a truck pulled into her lane right in front of her and cut her off. She quickly changed lanes, just in time to avoid the collision. A little shaking and panting, she exited the highway and pulled into the school parking lot.
Breathe, she whispered to herself. Just breathe.
“Hi kids,” she smiled, quickly composing herself. “How was your day today?”
After her “mom taxi” run and dinner and homework were over, she put the kids to bed. She had extra work to do that evening to make up for her work absence tomorrow afternoon when “room mom” duties had her helping with the school amusement park field trip.
On the school bus, she was making mental notes in her head, while nodding, but not hearing, the other mom’s gossiping about the new principal.
Did I call Matt and tell him to pick up the kids, she thought? Do I have anything for dinner? Oh, and don’t forget to call on that permit tomorrow.
Going through line after line, she mentally planned, oblivious to the kids’ enthusiast chatter. She toggled in and out of awareness from their high-pitched cackling back to her invisible lists, worrying about this and that.
“Mom, isn’t this fun?” Katie laughed with a gleeful grin.
Mary looked around. She was on a plaster white steed with a golden pole bobbing up and down on the merry-go-round. As she circled around and around, she looked at the blur of the crowd in the distance. She didn’t even remember how she got on the ride.
It’s like life is passing me by. I am stuck on my own personal mary-go-round. I never get anywhere, I just keep going and going and going in circles, she reflected as she watched Katie and her friends laughing and throwing their heads back as they go up and down, around and around.
When do I get to be like them and enjoy the ride, Mary thought? When can I get off this endless loop?
That night after their dinner and bed routine, Mary opened her lap top and typed “how to retire early”.
(c) Copyright, 2019 Suzanne Rudd Hamilton, All Rights Reserved.