My sister's impending visit is a lesson in the making

I have a daunting dilemma. My sister, Anne, is coming to stay with me for a week. I am a very busy person. I have too many irons in the fire and never enough hours in a day. Anne always has time to spare. She has no irons in the fire. In fact, she has not lit the fire yet. How am I going to survive the week?

Since I am the hostess, and since I truly love my sister, I feel it is up to me to find a solution. Here are the facts:

Anne doesn't open her eyes until after 9 a.m. and doesn't get up for at least an hour after that. By 10:30 she comes down for breakfast. Then she relaxes for another hour while she gets ready for whatever the day holds.

I get up at 5 a.m. to read and study for two hours before fixing breakfast for my husband, Don, and me. Then I continue to study until 9 a.m., which is when my computer time starts. Three hours later I am ready for lunch break before going out to work in our extensive gardens or be Don's helper on his current project - roofing, painting, building a fence, or pouring a foundation. After that I have two knitting projects I am working on, dinner to prepare, etc.

So what do I do about Anne?

As I said, I love my sister. I keep telling myself, "Slow down!" It sounds so simple, but if you have been going full speed for as long as I have, it is not easy to decelerate. I have forgotten where my slow-down button is.

So while I sit with her as she eats her breakfast, my mind does wheelies.

How can anyone chew so slowly? Her jaws do not go up and down in a rhythmic motion. They go up; then a few seconds later, they go down. Up slowly, down slowly. It takes an hour to eat a bowl of cereal and a slice of toast, one deliberate bite at a time.

I can watch Anne eat for only so long. Then I've got to do something. Dust the light fixture. Peel garlic. Mend socks. Anything sounds exciting compared with the alternative.

So while Anne is here, I plan to shell a sack of walnuts I have been hoarding. I'll dust all those knickknacks on the shelves and turn skeins of yarn into handy balls.

I also might, just possibly, learn a sisterly lesson.

Anne is actually taking the time to come and visit me. She has the time because, unlike me, she does not have too many irons in the fire. While she is here, other friends will drop in. They will relax together.

I may join them. Given a whole week, I could even learn to enjoy spending some time with my sister. And I might - just might - even enjoy slowing down.

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