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Monday, October 6, 2008

Power Outage.

The lights flickered just once before the whole house went dark.

"J?" I yelled upstairs, wondering if he'd blown a fuse.

"The entire neighborhood is dark." He answered.

J started lighting tealight candles at the kitchen table, along with some larger candles. T and M were of course delighted that this blackout just 40 minutes before bedtime was sure to delay the usual routine. H, wasn't quite sure what this meant.

I was annoyed. Bedtime was going to be off, everyone was going to get to bed later and then I'm not going to get the things done that I wanted to do.

My husband, always prepared for an emergency, came back upstairs and handed each of the kids a flashlight and I decided I'd attempt putting H to bed. Knowing full well that he wasn't just going to go to bed on his own, I'd have to stay with him.

So, H and I climbed into his bed and read books and he shined the flashlight around his room. I laid there with him listening to J and the other two practicing math facts and chatting.

I stared at the top bunk above us silenting willing H to go to sleep. His little arm grabbed my face and turned me towards him. And we lay there facing each other.

What is my hurry? Why am I in a rush?

I can't clean up the kitchen or start a load of laundry.

I can't flip on the tv or even surf the internet.

And it clicked just like that:

There was no where to be, but there. And nothing more to do, but that.

So I laid there for the first hour of the power outage. Me and him. Every once in awhile he'd have something to say and then he'd lay quiet and we'd listen to T and M in the living room. He was asleep but yet I stayed and listen to his breaths and the quiet, muffled giggles coming down the hall. Fulfilling my need to linger, to savor, to stay just awhile more.

When I finally left the room, I found T and M each camped out on a couch in the living room reading with flashlights. J sitting on the floor. They'd read a few moments, then one would have something seemingly meaningful to share and then it'd be silent again.

The neighborhood at this point was pitch black. No car lights or street lamps shone. Occasionally a flicker of light would be seen. Candles and flashlights.

And we just sat. Chatting a little. Laughing a little. Silent a little.

Have you ever done that?

Time, in this moment, seemed not to matter. So the kids were getting to bed later than usual, and we wouldn't be able to set our alarm clocks for morning. So the dinner dishes didn't get cleaned up and the backpacks didn't get packed.

We were just being.

Slightly after the two hour mark, the house lit up and the hums of the house started in again.

As J and I lay in bed, I started laughing. Because yes, the night was thrown off and chaotic and made the morning just a tad bit interesting. But most of all I laughed because I had realized that it took a power outage to say, slow down, don't rush, what's your hurry?

There is no where to be, but here. And nothing to do, but this.


Blogger Melissa said...

Reminds me of the song "Turn up the Music". Love that you cherished this time and shared your heart with us. Although I will say, if I had a power outage in my home right now I would have a stroke and you know the ten reasons why. :)

October 6, 2008 at 2:38 PM  
Anonymous darcie said...

What a great post! It IS nice to just stop and "be" isn't it? Too bad it takes a power outage for most of us to be reminded of that though - myself included. Anytime I lay down with one of our kids I have to try VERY hard to shut my mind off and stop thinking about all the things I could/should be doing because the only thing that REALLY matters is being with my child. Right here. Right now.

October 6, 2008 at 2:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I Love it when the power goes out. It's so peaceful to me. I just use the lantern for reading or just relaxing.
How nice you had that time with H. just to reflect.
Love You all
Auntie Laurie

October 7, 2008 at 12:03 PM  
Blogger The Bishop's said...

It is nice to just BE sometimes. Just to listen to the sounds that probably don't get heard quite as often as when the house is busy! We enjoyed the time too - and you're right - it was a gentle reminder to slooowwwww dooowwwwnnn.

October 7, 2008 at 6:16 PM  
Anonymous dadio said...

Exactly where else would you want to be..Breath in these times.
Love to all

October 8, 2008 at 6:17 AM  

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