Meet Katie…Snooze Buttons and Zombies: Navigating the Practice of Presence

Meet Katie…Wife, Mom, Teacher, Leader of Women, Friend. My most favorite thing about Katie is that she is funny! This girl can make me bust a gut on my worst day. I hope you enjoy her as much as I do!

Katie

5 am. Snooze. Hit it again. Snooze for ten more. Ring at 5:10. Snooze. Ring at 5:20. Grr. I guess I’ll get up. This is how my morning goes, fighting the fight to get to the tub, trying not to trip over my zombie-like walk. I don’t really wake up for the next twenty minutes fully, not until I get the kids.

Contrast that to my two year-old son, Gowan – on a good day at least. Because when it’s a weekday, there’s hell to pay for getting that child up before 6 am. But on those rare weekend days in which he can sleep in and wake up when he wants to, I walk into his room, and he joyfully jumps on his bed, shouting,” Hi, Mommy! I’m awake!” Which is super cute, of course. But that got me to thinking…there’s a bit, or a huge difference, between his start to the morning and mine.

The problem for me, though, is that I’m not just hitting the snooze button at 5 am (and 5:10, 5:15, and 5:20). Throughout the day, I often feel like I’m still hitting that darn snooze button. On any given day, especially week days, I just run through the mundane like a drill sergeant, running from task to task. Or if I’m not feeling drill sergeant-y (I think I just invented a new word; go me!), I take on the personality of a robot, not even thinking about what I’m doing and just, you know, doing it. Just doing to do, because it has to, because it needs to.

And I’m assuming I know my audience here, so I probably don’t even need to expound upon the “it” I’m incessantly doing. But just to be assured that you’re in good company, here’s the “it:” get the kids fed, noses wiped, teeth brushed, coats on (is it summer yet?) diapers changed, lunches packed, diaper bag packed, eat breakfast, make sure I have work stuff in the car, drive to work, teach high school kids literature “stuff” all day, drive home from work, get dinner going, kids fed, sneak in some dinner myself, baths done, diapers changed, goodnight routines done.

Sound familiar? And after that’s done, then I can enjoy binge watching something on Netflix or Amazon, which is something I feel guilty about, but whatevs. That’s another post for another time. Because at the end of the day, I am EMPTY. I feel like I have NOTHING to give. And, you know, that’s OKAY. But I digress. Again, that’s yet another post for another time.

Back on subject here, I admit that I sometimes even rush the nighttime routines so that I can get to adult chill time sooner. But when I think about whether or not I was truly awake and alive for most of my day, especially the miniscule time I’m actually with my kids, I don’t think I was. I was asleep; I just kept hitting snooze. All day, I was the drill sergeant and the robot who just did everything, not stopping for a minute to say, “I’m awake!” Pause here: I’m not saying that it’s not ok to have days that are like this. Sometimes these days are necessary and just happen. But I am saying that I should make an intentional effort to make sure I’m truly awake for the moments in my day that I can enjoy the people with whom God graced me to spend my life.

These are the moments when my husband and I can laugh at something together, or when we can have a meaningful conversation, or when my son demonstrates his newest animal sound he can make, or when my daughter is taking her first steps (which has started recently! Prepare the mommy crazy meter). I don’t want to be so swamped in to-do lists and the demands of life that I miss these precious moments. And although I may not always miss these moments because of the crazy have-to’s of life, I don’t often stop to delight in them, to joy in them, and to realize how important, how fleeting, these are. I do often laugh at a joke with my husband, have a meaningful conversation, enjoy listening to Gowan “hee haw” like a donkey, and see Cora take those cautiously cute first steps. I am present for these, I see them, I’m there, but do I wonder in them? Am I truly awake? Am I truly alive, for that matter?

When I looked up the definition for the word “alive,” on Webster, I found this: “alert, active, animated.” Similarly, the definition for “awake,” is watchful and alert. So although I am, at least on the literal level, “awake,” I often am not alert, active, animated, and watchful, especially with the people who matter the most. And hear me, tired mamas, I’m not saying that every day, all the time, that we need to delight, to wonder, to revel in every single flipping moment of our day with husbands and children. No. Just. No. We’re not perfect; we don’t have super powers. What I am saying, though, is that we ARE children and daughters to a God who calls us to watchfulness and alertness to delight, to wonder, and to revel in certain moments of our lives that remind us of His ever-present watchfulness and alertness to his own children – you and me. Because God calls his followers to be children of light, being people who are visible to the world and people who are metaphorically awake. This is why Paul references Isaiah when he says, “Awake sleeper! Arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you” (Ephesians 5:14).

When we “arise from the dead,” or refuse to hit the snooze button, and are awake, God promises us that Christ will shine on us. And I don’t know about you, but on every day of the week, I need a lot of Christ shining on me; I need a lot more of Him and a whole lot less of me so that I can be a vessel for his perfect purposes.

So, for me, my small way toward this declaration of “I’m awake,” is to hold off on the metaphorical snooze button for at least two moments a day that I can delight in my husband and my kiddos. And I’m hoping that the longer I intentionally engage in this practice of presentness, it will happily bleed over into more of my day – time at work, time with friends, time in the car – so that I can truly be “awake” for most of my day.

It’s small, but folks, us tired mamas know the trite saying: “it has to start somewhere.” We tired mamas also need to have grace on ourselves that if two moments are the most we can revel in, then two it is.

So next time I’ve become Katie the drill sergeant or Katie the Biggest Loser coach who keeps yelling at myself to keep doing the next thing, or Katie the robot who wipes human interaction and thought from my mind, I’ll chuck the proverbial snooze button out the window, and joyously declare, like my loveable toddler, that I, world, am truly awake!

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