My Saturday mornings have been a ritual for years. I wake up at the same time as a weekday. Feed my kids breakfast (waffles or pancakes, depending on the mood). Then leave and do errands, spending a few glorious hours on my own. Trader Joe’s and Target are my staples and I can wander the aisles unencumbered by requests for food items not on my list or a crying baby. I could likely complete my errands quickly, but I take my time, savoring the time to myself.
Not only do I have the time alone in the store, but also the drive in my minivan. Rather than listening to the current kid music obsession on repeat, I can make my own selections of either music or an audiobook. Yesterday, it was This is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett.
However, my iPhone was dangerously low on battery. Usually not a problem, but the USB charger in my van appeared to be on the fritz and was not actually charging. Since my shopping list is on my phone, I quickly decided to turn it off entirely, in an effort to conserve enough battery to use in the store. I haven’t listened to the radio in years and can’t stand commercials so my only other option was silence.
After acclimating myself for a few moments, I realized what the silence offered.
I turned over ideas in my head, sifting through some writing that I was doing. Ironically, I had just listened to the part in Happy Marriage where Ann Patchett talks about sitting for two hours, every day. She says:
“During that time you don’t have to write, but you must stay at your desk without distraction: no phone, no Internet, no books. Sit still quietly. Do this for a week, for two weeks. Do not nap or check your email. Keep on sitting for as long as you remain interested in writing. And either you’ll write, or you’ll quit. Either way, you have your answer.”
My time in the car was not two hours (though driving around the suburbs of Chicago is not a “quick trip” either) but it was time to do nothing but think. In a busy life of a household with a husband and three kids, a full-time job, and countless other demands on my time, I have to search for ways to squeeze writing into my life.
I think I just found a way to dedicate a few more minutes per week. It’s not much, but it is something.
To read the writing that I do about pregnancy loss and grief, you can head over to my blog, Grieving Out Loud.
Image Credit: my own photo.