Saturday, October 1, 2016

The Thief of Joy

It's Saturday morning at 8am. 

I'm on day two of my period.

My five-year old is jumping on and off of the couch screaming that she wants cereal.

I'm half-heartedly yelling back, "go get it yourself."

There are random piles of laundry that by this point in the game are most likely an interesting composition of clean, dirty, sort of worn--could be worn again--but likely smell because they associated themselves with the stinky offenders.

Something happened downstairs with the tub and now, we have water to contend with.

My husband has already made me promise that I'll hold down the fort while he listens to the game and tackles a couple of outdoor projects that are not going to take care of themselves.

The garden is a fucking mess.  I'm serious.  Why in the Sam Hell did we think that planting watermelons, tomatoes, cucumbers and strawberries was a good idea? It seemed like a cute concept in the spring.

There is this one sticky spot on the kitchen floor that I'm afraid to touch and no one else seems to be bothered by it.

I'm running a 78-mile relay race a week from today and am questioning whether I'm a lunatic....maybe they'll have other geriatric runners like me that can team together and mall-walk their portion?

In January, I'm joining Creighton University as adjunct faculty in the field of conflict resolution.  I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to lead a class, but am also anxious that my sticky spots on the kitchen floor will grow and that sooner, rather than later, the city will put a "Condemned Property" sign on my front door.

Just when I think that I'm making progress, I realize that it's only a mirage.  I'm actually four steps behind...everyone else has a better body, home, bank account, five-year plan, kitchen floor, tampon jar and kindergartner who makes her own eggs and bacon while dutifully brewing an Americano for her sleeping mother.

And then, I remember this Mark Twain quote...

And I know that women across the world are lamenting who they are, what they bring and who could do it better.  And all the while, we're bit by bit stealing the bursts of joy and happiness that we singularly, individually get to experience, simply by deciding that other people do it better.

And it's a fucking crock. 

The whole lot of it.

Everyone bears sticky spots throughout their life.

Sticky spots are the rent we pay for being human and as I know best, for being crazy, busy, imperfect, loving, 'off-the-charts trying our hearts out' mamas.

And it's's more than okay.

So, please visit me, but don't expect much in the way of tidiness.  In fact, the only thing I can promise you is a smile and a really good cup of coffee. 

Friends (who don't live with me) tell me that a day will come where there will be time to clean and have space to host fancy dinner gatherings.  That time is not now.  That time is down the road when you'll be longing for this time back.

I can't imagine longing for this chaos back, but I'll trust them and try to cling to my bits of joy, even if they are sticky and relentlessly jumping on the couch.


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