Thursday, September 15, 2011

Live Interrupted


I press my arms into the plank position, sweat dripping into the mat below me. I didn’t quite finish my workout before my 1-year-old daughter woke up. I’d stopped between the lunges and the push-ups to get her out of her crib, change her diaper, pull out some toys for her and return to the exercise.


She walks toward me now, arms wide, and I roll out of my plank, welcoming the interruption
—and not just because my abs are burning. She hugs me for a full two minutes, when I should have been done with the plank and the superman, getting ready for the squats. I breathe in her sweetness while my sweat soaks her shirt. I wonder how she can stand the stench of the clothes permeated with hundreds of mornings of tropical heat workouts.

I hold tight to her unconditional love until she finally pulls away to play with big brother’s toy plane, and I move onto the jumping jacks.

I hop sideways, following Renea, knowing she can empty out a purse or break an alarm clock or pull down a vase of flowers in between a jump and a jack. My workout—no, my life—is interrupted these days. And not just by my little girl’s amazing new ability to walk into trouble or to hold onto love.

Yesterday, while I was finishing making lunch for my family—a veggie wrap for Brad, PB&J for the kids, nothing yet for the cats howling at my feet—a man called out from my front yard. I didn’t know him and I wanted to ignore the voice so I could finish getting everything ready. But I know after six years of living in Indonesia that interruptions make for good opportunities at best, and interesting stories at least. The last time I answered a person calling for me, it was my neighbor offering to catch the four-foot-long monitor lizard crawling in my yard.

This time, though, the man I didn’t know, said he was hungry. He works in this neighborhood as a night security guard, he said, and I doubted, unsure, if he was telling the truth.

But he rubbed his belly and he did look skinny and his wife stared blankly from her own scrawny body. Rice, then, for them, and I filled a black plastic bag, before turning back to feed my not-too-skinny kids. I was glad for the disruption that met needs—both theirs for food and mine for doing things that matter.

Later, on this tail end of nap time, that cherished time where I type and feel and learn and share, I hear the daughter who loves to hug, crying, awake. And the son whose naptime is now “quiet reading time” makes up a game involving my flip flops and the curtains.

I am interrupted again, thoughts not quite made into words that fit perfectly, searching for the eternal out of the moment. But I stop the writing for now, choosing to live interrupted.

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