We watched a lot of the Winter Olympics at our house.
One of my favorites was the Nordic Combined Ski Jump. You know, the giant terrifying mountain of snow that skiers hurtle down at breathtaking speeds? They go faster and faster and faster until all of a sudden they are at the bottom of the jump and then WHOOSH! Out they go. Launched into outer space with nothing under them but air, skis and hard-packed snow.
I noticed that their skis are locked into ruts until they get to the bottom of the hill.
Hmmm. I suddenly realized that I have something in common with Olympians! No, it’s not the spandex bodysuits. And it’s definitely not the “fantastic athlete” part.
It’s the rut part. Sometimes it seems like I’ve fallen into the world’s biggest rut.
I am constantly doing the same things over and over (and over) again. Wash the laundry. Dry the laundry. Fold the laundry. Change the sheets. Give the baths. Make the breakfast. Wash the breakfast dishes. Make the lunch. Wash the lunch dishes. Make the dinner. Wash the dinner dishes. Sweep the kitchen floor. Mop the kitchen floor. Let the dog out. Let the dog in. Change the diapers. You know how it is.
Life is going by faster and faster and there is absolutely nothing that I can do to stop it or control it. The gate has been lifted and I am GOING.
(Also, sometimes I feel like a guy in a cartoon that flies smack into a tree.)
I don’t know about you, but I live for the moments when I hit the end of those ruts and am propelled forward out into weightlessness. Those moments – when I twirl my children around in the air as we dance to “Circle of Life” or “Tiny Dancer,” cranked way up high. The spontaneous fits of laughter when someone says something funny, like “Do I need to go get my chop-chop?” Or making up our own song parodies – “If I die young, bury me in breakfast, lay me down on a bed of pancakes…”
Or a perfect moment full of nothing more than the sight and sound of a belly-laughing, front-toothless 5-year-old.
Or running through the cold February afternoon, chasing snowflakes with our mouths open and our tongues sticking out. Or when a little body hurtles through the air only to throw tiny warm arms around my neck and giggle slobbery kisses onto my cheek.
Those moments happen when I’m not rushing, when I’m not speeding around like a crazy person, trying to get everything done that needs to be done (and a lot of things that really don’t) – in other words, when I’m not in a rut.
I’m not an Olympian. Far from it.
But sometimes, like when we’re twirling around, it almost feels like I can fly.