I have a confession to make: I am a closet adrenaline junkie.
What I mean is, I’m not the jump-out-of-a-perfectly-good-airplane, bungee jumping, parasailing, Evel Knievel, live-life-on-the-edge kind of person. Those are obvious adrenaline junkies.
My addiction to adrenaline is a little more subtle. It shows up in how fast I can get something done and do it perfectly, without forgetting something like a key ingredient.
One of my favorite games to play (and ironically my kid’s least favorite to play against me) is a cup stacking game.
It has a deck of cards and 5 different colored cups – red, yellow, green, blue, black.
Each card has a different design pattern.
So to play, you turn over a card and everyone stacks their cups in corresponding order to match the card. The first person to do it hits the bell and if the order is correct, wins the round.
I don’t love a lot of games, but oh my goodness, I love this game! The volume and chaos it produces in our house is equivalent to a spoons game. I’ll let you picture that for a minute.
Recently, I’ve realized that this game describes most of my days. Subconsciously, when I wake up, I flip over a card. My goal by the end of the day is to stack all the “cups” or to-do’s of my day to match the picture in my head – as fast as possible. And when I do, I proudly ring the bell, hoping everyone sees my feat and congratulates me with cheers and high fives.
But when I don’t…well it looks like a defeated scene from a game of spoons.
The high of getting everything done and hitting that bell drives me to flip over another card day after day.
But the exhaustion and defeat of not being able to live up to that imaginary card day after day is what causes me to hit rock bottom time after time…and I don’t really like doing that!
So, in case there’s someone else out there looking to kick this closet adrenaline habit like me, here’s something I’ve discovered: My kids care more about me being fully present with them than how fast and accurately I can stack the cups.
My kids never want to play this game with me because I obsess over stacking those stupid cups and completely run over whoever is playing with me! Have you ever played a game with someone like that?! It kinda ruins the fun.
And I can do the same thing in life. I can obsess over zooming through my day and stacking the cups in perfect order so much that I miss the most important thing – the people I play this game of life with!
During the holidays, gifts can stack up like cups as wish lists are turned over like cards. The temptation is great to race and fret, stack and compare, hoping to score big with our loved ones as we hit the buzzer on December 25.
Not that gifts and Christmas spirit are bad. I just think it’s easy to discount what our physical presence means to those around us and put the emphasis on the things we do and contribute.
There will always be more things to do. One. More. Gift. To. Buy. But there won’t always be more time to be with those we love.
So, one by one, I’m throwing the cups and cards away. And instead I want to spend my time on things like one-on-one dinner dates with my daughter. Talking football stats with my teenage son. Watching my younger son build a contraption with Legos. And engaging in conversation with my husband. Most of all I want to show the people in my life that they matter to me and are worth making time for!
So Moms, don’t forget. Your presence means more than you realize. Who’s ready to come out of the closet?