As the weather has turned a bit cooler, I am finding myself inside much of my time. I am sitting at the dining room table trying in vain to prepare for a class or two. I am working almost all of the time, punctuated by moments when I suddenly just stop and travel through the house looking for something, anything else to do besides what I am doing. I have also been reading a lot of books. I can actually read a book while I am doing other things. Just the other night, I was reading the book I couldn’t put down at the same time I was reading my text book and typing my lecture.
Should I be proud of this or embarrassed by it? I keep reading books about families and books written by mothers. I am seeking guidance lately – a path to follow, advice to heed. I am wandering aimlessly through mothering these past few months with angry words at the tip of my tongue and a quick temper. I have lost my patience and I am looking to be brought back by someone wiser. I find that what I am most seeking is the key, the ticket, the path to an ordinary life. I want it not to be so hard to go through the routines of the weekday, the demands of the schedules and requirements. Everyone – all over the place- is doing the very same things, yet right now they seem so hard and I am doing them so badly. I am living the life I created long ago in a quest to do more, be more.
However, now I just want the regular stuff to be within my grasp, something I can feel and touch. I am wishing everything were different and I don’t do that very often. By different, I guess I mean, just not quite so special. Of course my routines are by no means special and neither are most of my choices. The special part comes when I have to carry my 7 year old son to the kitchen and out the door. It is special that I have to find 10 extra minutes to put on his braces and 15 extra minutes to give him a good stretch or massage his legs so they don’t hurt.
Today, as Max got off the school bus and came into the front yard, he noticed the football we left outside this morning and he wanted to have a toss. We tossed the football back and forth and then a few times to Sophie in the beautiful crisp autumn air. This is ordinary. People do this all the time. We never do this. We don’t do anything that other people do. In fact, lately, I feel like we don’t do anything at all because there is nothing left for us to do.
For all of 5 minutes we were ordinary and Max got some well deserved moments of laughter and joy. And then, without warning, it was over in a rush to the bathroom that wasn’t fast enough. And as quickly as blink of an eye, I returned to my brusk words and my angry tone of voice with my spirit crushed. Not because I am mad at him, but because the spell of ordinary had been broken. He was crushed too and were done – unable to return to the moments that were so fleeting.
I suppose many people are searching for a way out of ordinary – to a more special place. Isn’t that what most mid-life crises are about? But here I am, nearing the middle of my life – willing to give anything, give up anything, to live a more ordinary life.