Some days, I have it all together. This is rather astonishing, since a few short months ago, I had exactly nothing together, ever, not even for five minutes. But I am better now, thanks to taking all my medication as prescribed and the benevolence of some charitable god who has decided that I and my loved ones have endured enough chaos for seven lifetimes and could probably use a break.
Lately, I wake up and make all the beds. Dishes get done, dinners get planned. I am Running again, so I shower early, often choosing to wear one of the long flowing dresses I tend to favor in the summer heat. I tidy as I go through the day, so the world’s messiest child doesn’t cause our habitat to look like a condemnable home out of an episode of Hoarders by nightfall.
I am reading more, and writing more, answering emails, attending to the business of running the House, which has always been my area of expertise but was one of the many things I fell behind in during the winter and spring of my discontent. Sometimes I sit outside in the backyard while children run happily through the sprinkler, eating freezies and marvelling at the small miracles of life, like the sounds of young laughter, and how they can seep into my soul and heal the broken places, one beautiful moment at a time.
Today is not one of those days. After trouble in paradise last night, I awoke late, and grumpy and discouraged. Beds aren’t necessarily made, and I am wearing a short pair of jean shorts that the 1990’s would like to have back. My legs are also in serious need of shaving. You’re welcome. An open Pizza box sits on the counter after a late lunch, which I thoroughly enjoyed but will pay dearly for later, intolerant as I am of anything and everything related to dairy. The house looks like it threw up all over itself. I am drinking a glass of white wine in the middle of the afternoon and double-fisting popsicles.
In the middle of it all sits our kitchen table, covered with a 2L bottle of diet Pepsi, my phone, a soccer schedule, a plate with pizza crust on it, a calla lily, and three different sets of markers. I am doing the only thing that makes any sense at all to me today: sitting at the table, coloring with my child.
We are chatting all about what’s new in her world, which friends she misses most from school, and squabbling good naturedly about who is hogging the best colored markers. Instead of making lemonade out of lemons, we are making rainbows in the grey, her little hands and mine, creating life and fullness on white pages that were blank just a short time ago.
I realize as I sit with her that while it’s lovely to start and finish your day perfectly polished, it’s equally lovely and a lot more realistic to find a way to muddle through, when nothing is as you expected. Life, as John Lennon said, is what happens while we’re busy making other plans, and sometimes I think the best of life is what happens when our plans get thrown completely off course. Then, we don’t stick to our routine, but find ourselves being more real, reaching out for each other. And occasionally, in the midst of all our bumbling, we are given startling little gifts, that make the day not so bumbling after all. Like making memories in a sunny, messy kitchen on a summer day, coloring birthday cakes.