Driving home from work at the end of the day yesterday, August and I came up with something kind of cool. I was exhausted (John had been out of town for work since Sat, and single parenting a one year old and two high-energy dogs is just a bit taxing) and work has been particularly stressful.
I picked up A from daycare and my mind was buzzing with work stuff, to-do's, etc, etc. We pulled on to the 100 year old Hawthorne Bridge to cross the river, from downtown to the eastside, where we live. And as we crossed the silver-gray ribbon that is the Willamette, I said to August (chewing on a piece of granola bar in his car seat):
Look, buddy, we're crossing the river! Do you see the water? See any fish? Salmon? Ok, listen: by the time we get to the other side, all of the worries and work stress and crap (I think I actually did say crap, but he can't talk yet) will be behind us. We're going to leave that on the other side. When we cross the river, there's a fun evening ahead of us - we'll get home, have some milk, see the pups, meet Julie at Foster Burger for dinner, and cuddle and play.
I was talking to him, but mainly talking myself into switching gears, making the transition, slowing down. And it worked - I still thought about work when we got to the other side, I still did some work email that night once A was asleep - but for the most part I was present and grounded and content (and seeing Julie, visiting from Seattle, was definitely good medicine).
My time with him is simply too precious to be polluted by outside worries and distractions. So I like crossing the river at the end of the day. It's symbolic. Downtown and work and daycare will all be there tomorrow.
Crossing the river gets us home.