"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.