Thursday, August 02, 2007

Life or something like it

Life is full of unexpected turns and strange twists and realizations that what you thought you were isn’t what you are at all and that really you ought to be deeper somehow but you aren’t, because you are what you are and you’re not entirely sure you’re really OK with that.

Life is full of children beating on the bedroom door when you’re trying to write down something profound and meaningful. Children who yell, “Mommy, more! More! Mommy? More!” through the door and refuse to acknowledge that their father – who is sitting about three feet from the fridge – is capable of pouring them more milk.

This is life.

I have weighty thoughts which are trying to happen, but then they are interrupted by things like…grocery delivery services bringing milk and beer and…some other junk, vegetables or something, I dunno…friends calling up and saying, “Oh hi, can I come over with my children? I’m, uh, actually in your driveway right now…” and then six hours later you’re bidding them (and most of your newly-delivered snack food) farewell and saying, “Oh @*^&@, I still have to get myself together for my weekend away!”

And then you question whether or not you really want to go, because as much as you need the peace and quiet for reflection and meditation and inner listening and other such New Age babble, the idea of trying to pack while four children are hanging off you screaming about everything from imaginary splinters in their palms to growing pains to “what day is it today and are we going to have any more visitors?!” while your husband is watching UFC and making vaguely encouraging noises any time you erupt into the TV room to announce the latest disaster is about enough to bring you out in a cold sweat. Maybe I could still cancel the reservation…there’s still time, right?

This too is life.

But, firmly reminding myself that I need – no, not want, need – to get away from this madhouse for a while, that it is only 48 hours and that really, trying to pretend that any of us will simply collapse into a boneless mush-pile because I am not here to guide the ship for two crummy days is not only a tad melodramatic but utterly untrue, I go forth to throw some comfortable clothes, my library book, my sock-in-progress, and a whole lot of no agenda into my bag, ready for tomorrow.

I have the strangest feeling. I feel…nervous. Energetic and exhausted at the same time. Frazzled. Expectant. Looking forward to and dreading time alone. Just as I did before my Arizona trip. Just as I probably will every time I do this, which I have promised myself I will every other month.

I gave myself a pretty stern talking to about self-neglect and how I expect to stay sane ‘at this rate’ last time. I don’t want to hear that lecture again. Yeah. Every other month, as promised.

Funny, you’d think I’d be all a-quiver to head out. Especially with the week I’ve been having, which is both long and tedious, with also a generous helping of stupid bull-pucky.

But these both are and ARE NOT relaxing little vacations. See, in the commotion of the Den I have excuses. I have reasons why I don’t, and causes for the failures, and the ability to say, “Welllll, naturally I would have {insert neglected goal or task here} but – well, heh heh, four children. {helpless shrug}”

But that’s all they are: excuses. Which is a nice way of saying lies. They drown out truth and make it beautifully easy for me to pretend that the downward spiral of my mind, the atrophy of talent and salted earth that was my field of dreams is perfectly OK. Because! Heh heh – CHILDREN!

When you leave your excuses behind with their father (who is, in fact, competent and will not kill any of them while I am gone) (competent, competent man) (won’t set the house on fire) (or feed them nothing but Cheetos) (because we are out of them) (he’ll have to feed them nothing but Ramen noodles instead) (no child ever died of malnutrition because of 48 hours on the Ramen Noodle Diet) and spend some time alone with yourself, well. You start having conversations with yourself. You start listening to yourself, and telling yourself what you’re feeling about All This, and yourself tells you a lot of things about yourself that you did not necessarily know – or did know, but conveniently forgot.

No. The conversation is not necessarily pleasant.

Especially when you’ve given up everything that once defined you because, heh heh, children.


{helpless shrug}


MadMad said...

Wow - I wish I had more time to formulate a decent reply (houseguests; I'm sneaking away), but I felt compelled to comment anyway, coherent or not, because a) OMG, everything you said is SOOOO TRUE, and b) everything you said is SOOOO TRUE! and c) you're putting too much pressure on yourself to "get something done" (ie. revitalize, think, etc.) while you're on "break." And sometimes you just need a break. To not think about how much you have no life. (I'm not suggesting YOU have no life. Just that I do these same things. And really we shouldn't.) Must go. Weird craving for Cheetos.

21stCenturyMom said...

You certainly DO need some 'me' time. Time to remember that 4 children is not an excuse - it is a reality. Time to remember that your needs count. Time to just chill.

It makes me very happy that your DH also recognizes that 4 children all day long every day is not an excuse and is not easy and that he sends you off from time to time.

Please enjoy your time. You have more than earned it.

Amy Lane said...

It's acceptable to let children define you. You define much of your children-- you help to make them the fabulous people they are becoming. 'Mom' and 'wife' are part of your identity. There is no escaping them. These things fundamentally change you. Staying home with your children is important, and vital, and, hello, not everyone could do it. They are not an excuse, they are a calling...I know...I neglect my children for my writing frequently...and I am haunted by which calling I am going to regret leaving unheeded.

Yarnhog said...

Can I just "me too" the other comments? I could write an essay on this topic (in fact, I have). Those thoughts usually strike me late and night and keep me awake. Probably because I am too busy during the day to think much about having a life. Which, of course, I do, just like you. It's just different (the way an apple is different from a roller skate) than the life I had before kids.

Anonymous said...

Hooo-boy. Well, I sure hope you left for your 48 hours and had a peaceful time with yourself. Every mom needs it, that's for sure. Wishing moments of quiet for you today!

Caitlan said...

Re the "salted earth that was my field of dreams", perhaps you should send your kids to summer camp, because that was about the only time i was ever completely out of my parent's hair- even a babysitter or family member would call to say I'd destroyed/created/learned something, but at camp unless you die they handle everything on the spot. Although my camp started at age 7, so that might be a someday plan.

Rena said...

I'm so proud of you that you actually take those weekend retreats. Wish I could do that. I'd probably be a much better mommy.

Ah yes... who was I before I bought a minivan and got a mortgage? lol