Friday, April 30, 2010

April comes to a close

I made this list of 20 Little Things early in January on a Sunday afternoon. I can't really remember what happened that morning. But somehow by 2 or 3 p.m. that day, I'd managed to find a sliver of time in which my brain was not cluttered, my son was not calling for me, my chores were out-of-sight-out-of-mind, work was a day away. I scribbled down the list quickly, throwing on it all sorts of jumbled dreams and ideas I harbor. Some practical, some purposeful, some intended to teach me something new or bring me an experience I had to that point lacked.  I didn't have to think long or hard. It was all right there. Once it was on paper, I felt instantly excited about what this year was going to be.

I still want all those things for myself. It still excites me to picture a life in which they're all realities.

But I'm going to forgive myself right now.

I'm failing the list.

It's OK. It was a moment in time when I made some absurd decry about my life for 12 uncharted months. What the hell did I know then?

I'm not saying I'm giving up or anything. Hell, I plan to plant that herb garden tomorrow. But I am admitting that perhaps I was too lofty. A list of 20 actual events might have been easier. Single-time things that I could scratch off and be done with. But some of the things on that list are daily things. Some weekly. Some came with arbitrarily assigned quotas. Why do I need to write one letter a month, really? What's at the heart of it is I simply like the idea of writing letters and would like to do it more. That's all. Same with prayer and with calling my brothers... They're on the list for a reason, but I am now questioning whether it was smart to set such rigid guidelines for how they're to happen.

Look. I don't know what it is. The spring air? Some serious inbalance in my life? The reality of being a mom with a toddler and a full-time job? But something has had me teetering lately. Fine one moment, practically certifiable the next. I honestly can not tell you what exactly is wrong. Maybe nothing. Maybe I just need to appreciate everything I have more, because I am blessed beyond belief.

I don't want you think I'm coo-coo-la-la-land crazy over here. I'm not. Like I said, much of the time, all is well. But I assume honesty is appreciated. So here's me being honest.

I'm scared to have another kid. It's going to hurt. It's going to be hard to be a mom of two. It might mean I walk away from my career. I can't promise that the child will be healthy; the last one wasn't. Maybe that one was my fault; maybe I'll make the same mistakes unknowingly again. The clock is ticking.

What else? My job. There is a lot I'd love to say about it, but I won't here. The thing I will say is that the thing that drove me, personally, this silly-little-dream that I could be great at what I do... it's hard to access right now. It's not gone, but perhaps buried. I feel sad and purposeless without it.

What else? Being a mom is the most rewarding, wonderful thing in my life. But tonight my son screamed for 10 minutes because I wouldn't give him my bowl at dinner. I thought he wanted my food, and could not solve the equation, until finally, it dawned on me. The fucking bowl. He wanted the f-ing bowl. He delights me more than anything ever, and I love him to the bottom of my heart and back up a thousand times. But also, he tires me. He doesn't stop. Ever. Hearing him say 'Mama' makes my heart do little dances. But also, he says it about 500 times a day. Sometimes -- many times -- for no reason.

What else? My imperfect little brain with all its issues is still floating around in my head, causing trouble. In a cage match with my heart, it wins every time, and my little heart is sitting in the corner more than it should be, trying to puff itself back up.

All these hairy emotional personal icky little issues. They hit the list in a lot of ways. Make me want to eat cookies and pizza instead of fruits and whole grains, and sleep in instead of workout, and watch TV instead of anything else. They turn me inward, where I can stew and feel badly about everything, instead of outward, to productive things like praying or serving others.

I'm no superwoman. I guess that's all I'm saying.

So. I'm laying down an amendment.

If I don't meet these 20 Little Things by the letter, I will continue to try to meet them by their spirit. That's what I really care about anyway.

I certainly didn't make this little list so I could feel bad that I'm failing at it. So this is just an FYI, that I'm changing the game or the rules or whatever. It's my game anyway.

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