A ridge set in a road surface, typically at intervals, to control the speed of vehicles.
Life is full of speed bumps. You can choose to race over them in a mad dash to the finish line, or you can slow down, ease your way over the bump, and enjoy the reprieve it offers.
Yesterday, I said “yes” to having coffee with friends. A chance encounter led to an invitation for conversation, so I mentally skimmed through my “to do” list, folded it up, and tucked it away for a few hours. I headed home afterward with my list still untouched, but it did not matter as my heart was full. It was a treat to slow down, embrace the moment, and simply be amongst friends.
Speed bumps come in many different shapes. Yesterday, it was coffee and a long overdue conversation with friends, but my speed bumps have taken many different forms over the years. For example, nothing brings a productive day to a standstill like staying home with a sick child. When my boys were little, they just wanted me to hold them when they didn’t feel well. My day was spent carrying a cranky toddler trying every trick in the book to ease his discomfort. Come nap time, I would fall exhausted into my glider and rock the little boy glued to my body into what I hoped would be a restful sleep. True to my nature, these rocking sessions usually began with my feeling anxious about the breakfast dishes still on the table, the laundry that needed to be changed, and trying to figure out what I would make for dinner as there was no way I was getting to the grocery store that day. Eventually, I would feel my son’s heartbeat thumping against my chest, and his breath warming my neck with every exhale from his sweaty, little body. The meditative rise and fall of his chest would match the cadence of mine and shift my focus back to the precious gift finally sleeping peacefully in my arms. Those days spent at home with my sick children were speed bumps that kept me grounded in moments that would soon pass too quickly. The laundry would eventually get done and my house restored to working order and my sons would get better, and they would grow up. But a toddler’s all-consuming need to be held and comforted by his mother would only last for a few more years. For this and many other reasons, I am thankful for those speed bumps.
Snow days are another type of speed bump. If you lived within earshot of my house on a morning when school was canceled, you most likely heard this Colorado girl shouting at the top of her lungs, “are you fricking kidding me!” The next hour would be spent belittling Kansans and their insane notion that 2 inches of snow should shut down a city, but I would eventually get caught up in the enthusiasm spewing from the younger occupants in my home and jump onboard with the plans for the day. Getting two boys, and often their friends, in and out of snow attire fifteen times a day is no small feat! I simply had no choice but to close shop for the day and solely focus on drying up puddles of melting snow and fixing hot chocolate topped with marshmallows. Some of my favorite pictures are ones I took on those snow days, back when my company was welcomed, or at the very least, needed to drive my boys to a hill to sled with friends. We would build snow ramps and have a contest to see who could get the most air when going down the hill or who could go the farthest distance at the bottom. We would build snowmen, and with the help of my neighbor’s son, they would be anatomically correct. After one particular blizzard, my boys and their friends built a snow fort and spent several days playing war and seeking shelter in its protective walls. The memories created during those snow days are ones my sons will think back on fondly as they eventually become adults and experience life’s speed bumps. As for me, I simply need to turn on my computer and browse through iPhoto to relive those moments and the thousands of other precious pauses I managed to capture with my camera throughout the years (transferring digital pictures to photo books is not a skill in my wheelhouse – it will take a doozy of a speed bump to tackle that task!).
I am a slow learner, and it still takes a lot of willpower when a speed bump presents itself to lift my foot off of the accelerator and gently press the brakes. My drive to be productive is strong, and I just want to set the cruise control to 80 MPH and let it ride (even if this means taking out the undercarriage on my car in the process). I am learning, however, to pay heed to the speed bumps when they appear and see how they play out. Only by slowing down may I fully embrace the unplanned break in my day, for I have grown to understand that the gift that pause brings is entirely worth it!