Today we took the boys to City Hall so we could vote. We did our best to explain the importance and process of voting, translating it all to fit a four-year-old’s mindset. I never saw my parents vote, and they didn’t talk much about it; I didn’t really have any political awareness at all until a few years ago. Even now, I’m not sure how to help things change or progress-- all I know to do is vote and write letters. It doesn’t seem enough. I feel helpless sometimes, politically. Is there anything We the People can do?
It feels like I am drowning in all of the STUFF lying around my house. Between the kids' toys, the papers that need sorted, and the various shoes, jackets, blankets, etcetera, there's barely room left to breathe. Periodically, I go on a cleaning rampage and throw things away. I'm somewhat discriminatory-- I won't throw away favorite playthings or books, for example, but there's a lot that gets tossed out at the risk of being missed someday. At that point, it doesn't matter: once in culling mode, sentimentality matters less than sanity. It’s time to carve out some more breathing room.
Tonight is sad and lonely for no good reason at all. Tiredness colors things differently, though; maybe that's why. I'm surrounded by my family, by the people who make me feel so loved, safe, happy... there's no reason to feel anything but good. Perhaps knowing that it will be short-lived makes me hesitant to invest too much emotion; or maybe it's just knowing that I can't really be a part of their everyday lives. Yes, that makes me sad. Tears are close, so that must be it. They are so significant to me... and the miles between us belie that.
There used to be something inside of me that needed other people. I didn't crave alone time, nor seek out solitary things. Motherhood changed that, and now, from time to time, I find myself nearly desperate for an hour to myself. It's hard to be needed all the time, though perhaps not as difficult as not being needed at all. I have to remind myself that those days wait ahead-- I will miss being tugged at, climbed on, and hearing the ever-present cry of, "Mommy!" The moments that I struggle with now will eventually become the memories I hold tightest.
I miss him terribly, and hate how weak I feel for putting that out there. I know I can handle him being gone, that the kids and I will be all right and that for the most part, it's just business as usual. The differences are in the little things-- a hug here, a kiss there, holding hands while brushing our teeth. The world just feels better when he's near; I feel more grounded, more sane, somehow. His presence is both reassuring and smile-inducing... I find myself waiting impatiently for the weekend to arrive. I just want him nearby.
Bathing my boys can be the most exasperating task imaginable. As soon as they hit the water, they’re splashing each other and fighting. Then it’s time to soap them up and scrub them down-- cue the wiggling, giggling, and squirming. It’s nearly impossible, and by that time I’ve had an elbow to the lip and soap in my eyes. Shampooing is next, and that’s when the earth opens up and the demons of bathtime come out to party. Oh, the fits that ensue! You’d think I were washing with hot lava. I’ve perfected high-speed hair-washing out of necessity.
When one lives in a small town, everyone knows where your house is. This can be both a curse and a blessing. Curse: I couldn’t throw parties when my parents were out of town. Blessing: the activity bus came to my house to pick me up for the regional track meet once when I overslept. I won the state high jump that year, but wouldn’t have qualified if I’d missed that meet. Curse: when I did something wrong, people knew where to find my parents. Blessing: when we had family tragedies, those same people brought cards, food, and good thoughts.
Morning and I have never gotten along well. Today, though, was different: the tides might be changing.
Last night I failed to set my alarm clock upon crawling into bed. I actually slept well, which is not par for the course these days. For some reason, I woke up around 6am and in glancing at the clock, realized that the ‘set alarm’ button wasn’t illuminated. A quick flip of the switch, and I was in dreamland again. The alarm went off at 7am, and except for the actual waking-up nastiness, all was right with the world. Miraculous.
I wonder sometimes why I even bother. Why am I spending time on this? Is this doing anything to help me? Do these words find my voice? I don't know, really. I spend precious little time on myself, and maybe this is something small that's just for me. Now there's a novel idea. I don't do many things just for me-- most of my time is spent taking care of everybody else's needs and wants. Such is the life of a mom, I suppose. Maybe writing will help me hold on to something of myself while giving the rest away.
Thumbing our noses at good judgment, we took the boys to the mall today. Yes, the mall. On a Sunday. I had forgotten just how bad malls can be-- but rest assured, I've had my fill for another year or two. If it's that packed in October, I have to wonder how much worse the mall traffic must be in December. It's probably not wise to set foot there after mid-November, especially with children in tow. Surely there are better ways to die than to be trampled to death by rabid shoppers. Although, that does trump death by shopping cart.