Friday, May 27, 2011

Ants cause deep thoughts.

Sometimes, I login, click new post and begin to type. Because I want to. Even when, if I were a really responsible housewife, I would clean the kitchen.

Sometimes I can't help but laugh at how giant our ants are. When I wake up to their bloated black bodies, drunken and passed out on the watermelon smorgasbord left overnight on the floor under Max's highchair. Because the supperwork didn't get done. Insert generic busy reason here. Mommy and Thane rushed off post supper to a gallery opening. Daddy was on bedtime duty alone with the three littlest. Regardless, we have the most well fed ants in town.

Sometimes, I try to let go of what my mother would think.

I wrestle, straining, fighting, to pull my thoughts away from that place of guilt where my mothers disapproving eyebrows reside in my brain, telling me without a word that if I was a good person and mother, my counters would be clean.

That if I were a good person, there would be no ant feast.

Because the true-to-me contingent in my brain tells me that is ridiculous. That my housewifery does not define my good-person-ness. That I can still be a good mom with a dirty kitchen.

How is it that your little girl self can still live inside your almost thirty year old body? The little girl who needs reminded that it's okay for her values to differ from her mother's.

Sometimes, I pour a second cup of coffee.

Even though I won't have time later to clean the kitchen. Even though later our day will be so jam packed with appointments that I won't have two seconds. Maybe precisely because.

Sometimes, I sit with these deep thoughts and allow them time to percolate. I sip coffee as I watch a herculean ant crawl into the compost bowl. I wonder why there is a sandal sitting beside the compost bowl. I wonder where the other sandal is.

I wonder and sip and type, even though I can't justify the time spent, even though the to-do list isn't crossed off enough to feel I have earned the break.

Actually, sometimes I can justify the time spent. I guess that's what I do. Each time I sit down for time for me, I have weighed the outcomes of that and deemed it okay.

Claire is busy and content alone. She wanders around outside my window, on the wet grass in sandals, discovering the dew on her toes, attempting to understand why Mommy suggested rainboots even though it's not raining. Max has gone down for a nap.

I judge and analyze this moment. I could weigh in and surrender to the housework should's.

Or I could allow myself to give more weight to the should of creative expression.

I would argue that case in someone else's defense. I have. For my child's classroom I would say that art is valuable in it's own right, not just when applied in conjunction with the outcomes of math or literacy.

Creative expression is worthy on the to-do list.

I need to remember that in relation to me.

Creative expression, writing, creating, painting, is worthy and important. It's a discussion worldwide, it's a meeting of the minds, it's growth and reflection, commentary, a mirror held up to society, to history. It sustains culture.

It sustains me.

I know this. Why do I exempt myself from that? Why do I go, 'Oh, but I need to get these things done before I can allow myself to do that.' That's why I don't draw anymore. I'm responsible. My kids need things. My time. My effort.

If I wait for the to-do's to be done I will never sew again.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Last night, we biked.

Hi there blog.

It's me, your writer.

I apologize for the extended technological vacation.

But, you see, it's May.

*          *          *          *          *

It was 8:30, but no one could sleep.

Claire had had a nap, Max had a late nap, and both were fighting the good fight against the sandman. Keeping each other and the tired big boys up in the process.

Sighing and looking out the window I wanted to be anywhere but returning a screaming banshee toddler back to her bed for the hundreth time. The sun hadn't set yet on a beautiful day, the first after a long stretch of rain. I grabbed Max and settled on the couch to sulk with chocolates, hoping Claire would settle so I could let him try again in a minute. I watched Troy struggle to focus on spite of the racket, in spite of the screaming and crying and footsteps, in spite of my storming, as he worked away on a built in shelf unit for our tv 'stuff'. I tried to drum up lines from the helpful book I've been reading, Buddhism for Mothers. Impermanence. Nothing is permanent, bad moments pass, so do good, don't dwell on the good, be present in the bad too. My mind wandered to the window again. Sigh. I wanted to be out there.

My eyes settled on my new wheels, the two-wheeled kind, I had gotten a new bicycle for my birthday. The kids stroller we got last year made sense now, since it wasn't just a stroller, it hooked onto my bike as a trailer. I had tried it out for the first time the other day on a long ride with my sister, it was awesome, so freeing, I felt like I had a little piece of me back. My sister and I chatted as we biked, catching up on things we never had time to chat about. There was no guilt of leaving the kids behind to do something for myself, no complications of someone else watching them or watching the time. The babies rode happily in back, taking in the scenery, my kids in their stroller, my niece on the child's seat on my sister's bike.

Wait a minute.

The bike!

A bike ride was just what Claire needed, what the whole house needed. Peace and quiet for the boys to sleep, calm for Troy to work, a bit of outdoor freedom for Mama.

So we went, Claire and Max settled sleepily into their chariot with jammies and blankies.

Oh, the air! The air was that perfect spring almost summer evening air, cool and warm. On my face, on my arms, on the kids tired eyes.

Pedal pedal pedal.

I quickly approached and passed my favorite spot, where the river reaches up onto a flat marsh and the waterfowl gather, the point in our strolls where I turn around before the kids get restless. I could hear the frogs peeping, the birds chirping, a woodpecker somewhere in there.

Past the sound of water trickling, past the house with the pretty stone, past the old rusty tractor.

Pedal pedal pedal. A quick peek. Not sleeping yet.

Thighs burning, I forgot I had decided last time that I need to raise the seat. I must do that before another ride. Gah. Those muscles haven't been used in awhile. I really should have given at least a little attention over the last few years to my fitness level.

I could smell water. "Smell it?", my brain asked itself. Yes, definitely smell it. It brought me back to laying in bed as a little girl, trying desperately to fall asleep while the sun still shone, my window open to the noises of the pond nearby. The peepers, the ducks, and that smell.

Breathing harder, getting hotter, shift down for a bit, shed the sweater.

Pedal pedal pedal.

Past men mowing in tandem, the smell of grass thick. Dandelions. Blossoms fragrant.

A neighbour I don't know nods hello with a smile at the kids, halts his mower as we pass so we don't get pelted.

A beautiful sprawling lawn, how do they get their mowing lines so straight? My I have more of my father in me than I realize sometimes.

Dead squirrel. Brains mashed onto the road. Nice. Ugh. Are squirrels really that big? Gah. Are the squirrels living in our roof that big? It's the size of a small cat. I must get Troy to do something to get rid of them. That's huge. What in the hell do you do about squirrels anyway? I recall with a shudder the squirrel race in my bedroom ceiling the other night. There's still crown moulding missing above my bed. Yes, there's a large crack above my head and there's squirrels running around. I moved to sleep with Seth that night. Yes, must begin squirrel eradication.

Pedal pedal pedal.

A pretty orange cat stalks in tall grass. A girl chats on her cell phone on the back of a truck. I wonder if she's seeking a quiet space too, if her parents drove her crazy and if she would rather be anywhere but there. I remember there.

Pedal pedal pedal.

Sun setting pink behind the mountain. The river shines and oscillates, sparkling pink.

Another peek, she's asleep. Should I go back now?

Well, I'll just pedal a little more.
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