The Great Pause

IMG_1228For kids, there is something so alluring about vending machines. Not too long ago, our daughters’ gymnastics center brought in a large, rectangular, magic box that captivated our daughters’ attention even when they were at the gym.

“You know the last square to the left, next to the multi-grain crackers and up from the gum? That’s the snack I’m talking about!”, one daughter shared with another.  “Ok mom, there is the best cracker at the gym. When you walk in, turn to the right and near the dance room….” I mean really?? Cracker??!! These conversations began happening at our house often.  Not just before gymnastics class or even just after, but honestly, frequently enough to make me wonder this…

What if math facts were taught vending-machine style? What if values we hope to espouse to our children could be pumped out, vending-machine style?! What would happen if household chores you wanted your children to be accountable for could simply be imprinted on a vending machine…at home? What if decisions your kids made were as calculated as their choices of which awe-inducing, .85 cent snack they are planning to pick?

Then I started thinking, what would my dream vending machine hold? You know, the parent-head version of the big box.

I would hit the “patience” button as often as I would hope that the “more sleep” button wasn’t sold out. I would save for the good stuff. I mean really save. You know, “hairstyles beyond the top-knot”, “finding balance”, “where to locate a substitute mom when ill”, “how to decompress successfully from sleep-overs” etc.  And I would be so pumped-up if any of my mom BFF’s were in line next to me and were willing to share their two cents, or $1.35 purchase on “keeping alert after 8:00pm”, “feeling caught-up” even if just once a month, or “preserving-self” in the menagerie of parenting many children.

But what I would run towards, even in a leotard, laced with metallic fringe and a high-pony, would be the button all the way down, on the right, next to the “caffeine NOW!” red glory button, that read “PAUSE”. That would be my choice, after beam, bars, floor-routine and vault which is really no different from any normal day of parenting.

Because choosing  “PAUSE” would mean that I am choosing to spend my time with these extraordinary humans and all the little humans that accompany them, day-in and day-out and truly enjoy taking it all in. To choose “PAUSE” would mean I am choosing to be right where we are. To choose “PAUSE” would mean that the pace throughout the day was manageable, fulfilling and full of grace. To chose “PAUSE” would mean I was right where I was supposed to be.

And I am. And I feel blessed. And so I chose to take the “PAUSE” with or without coins in my pocket or a larger-than-life glowing box staring down at me.  I will allow any and all fruitful snacks to tumble out as often as possible.  And when the storage receptacle for “PAUSE” needs a refill; I might just go for those crackers our girls keep talking about.

About this image… 📷

Shot in Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone, this image does no justice to the flowing amount of energy these hot springs present daily.    Geothermal vents below the ground allow for layers of calcium carbonate to spill over, forming travertine which is incredibly strong, yet porous; a unique combination.  As a result, Mammoth Hot Springs gives a visual effect that is mind-blowing.  It looks like spilt milk, atop the best ice cream sundae you could ever imagine.  Now, if only vending machines sold sundaes 😂


One thought on “The Great Pause

  1. Beautifully written Anna, a straight arrow to my heart. Max is leaving for college in five days and yes I am counting. Torn between feelings of love, pride, excitement and grief. I’m hitting the pause button every hour and wish I could have done more of that for the past 18 years. So grateful for this amazing journey I am in with him. Yesterday I looked at him and said “lets do it again!”. He gave me a big hug and respectfully declined my offer.


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