Wednesday, May 11, 2011

As the days go by

A good friend called me this morning.  We have known each other since we were single and untethered  and luckily we embarked on this parenting journey at the same time.  We live a parallel existence, miles apart.   We talk often - we are a life raft for one another in this often overwhelming storm of mothering. 
"Give me some inspiration Stephanie!" she said.    I laughed.  I snorted.  I picked up the 409 and got to cleaning the crumbs and smears of peanut butter on my kitchen counters.  I usually clean while we talk, because I hate the drudgery of cleaning.  I talk on the phone while I clean so I can be distracted by the soul-suck of daily housework .

"Give me inspiration - Wow!"  I said, "Right now, I don't think I have any.  I am knee deep in just regular living.  We have yard work to do.  Laundry to fold.  Kid birthday parties to attend.  Everything is so...regular.  Normal.   I am not inspiring.  Not right now." 

It got me thinking about that great Talking Heads song, Once in a lifetime, that I have found myself often singing since I became a mother.  When the girls were barely two and a newborn, and I was in the endless custodial world of diapers and onsies and healing from birth I would find myself bleary eyed staggering through the house singing , "This is not my beautiful house!  This is not my beautiful wife?!"  The song got me through some low times.  I find myself turning to it again, but a new line keeps playing on repeat in my head, "You may ask yourself, well, how did I get here?"

When did this normal existence happen?  How did I get here?

 As much as I fool myself into thinking that I am still this subversive, city dwelling twenty something, I am most certainly not.   I am a married woman with two children.  My husband and I have been together for 15 years.  We have a mortgage.  I drive a Subaru station wagon.  I belong to the frickin' PTA!  I cannot get more regular and normal than that.

 It is a mind-trick, this normal adult existence.  I carry around with the me the dorky, awkward eighth grader that I was and other times I am the girl in her 20's who rents an apartment and waitresses and I have all the time in the world to figure out who I want to be when I grow up.  Maybe I am starting to experience that time quickening phenomenon.  The cliche is true -  life speeds up.   And since forty is a reality, I know that sooner than I realize, fifty will be here.  And that is a whole other world of adulthood - there is no denying your age at that point.   I still have a threadbare safety net of youth left.  My kids are in elementary school, I can pass for thirty-nine.  But not for much longer. 

My questioning should not be confused with being unappreciative.  I am deeply grateful for our health and home and the butterflies and the financial fact that we can afford to buy organic foods and shoes when we need.  I love that the girls and I ride our bikes in the morning to school.  I love the ritual of afterschool snacks and dinners together.  And even though I could do without the housework, I love our home that Cliff and I and the girls are creating together. I have no desire to pack us all up and live off the grid in Canada.  I am happy with where I am. 

 I am simply dumbstruck with the feeling that this normal life seems to have snuck up on me.

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