There are a number of things that my husband and I are not good at, and one of them is regular household maintenance. He is genuinely relaxed about it, whereas I suffer a low-grade chronic anxiety over all the neglect. Doesn’t matter: we don’t do a thing.
But sometimes I get to realizing that my life would be happier without the chronic anxiety. And that maybe some of the things I’m anxious about are, in fact, fixable. So every once in a while, we get all over it (see Day 7: Gettin’ it done).
What I don’t usually anticipate are the lovely results. For the past two days, for example, I’ve been opening all the blinds on all the windows and gazing out the windows admiringly. When teased about this behavior, I responded truthfully: “But I’m loving looking OUT the window instead of AT the window.” Because that was what I had done for the last, oh, five years. I’d look at the clouded, spotted, smudged surface that was supposed to be glossy clean, and I’d feel like a failure. It was a very quiet voice and a very quick sort of seeing, but it was there. Today, I just see the emeralds and golds and blues of this early fall day.
As ever, there’s a lesson here for me. Letting go of, or doing away with, the obstacles to joy is a whole lot easier than I think. It may take time, organization, and elbow grease, but it’s something, often, that I can plan for, engage others in, and DO. What it takes most of all, though, is a willingness to see clearly what the obstacle is — and how to fix it — and, most importantly, how to honor its removal and revel in the joy of a new openness in my life.
Today was an “Ezra-Mama-Chi day,” as Ezra has coined them (in case you couldn’t tell from the order of names), from Len’s departure at 7:45 until his return at 6:45. And it was the best such day we’ve ever had. Why? I think it had to do with all that clear sunlight streaming into the house and all the crystalline simplicity it brought with it. Playground? Why sure. Duck pond? Absolutely. Hungry for muffins? Let’s make some. We’ve got this here zucchini and our favorite new recipe (Martha Stewart’s recipes really are, often, impeccable). Naptime was later than usual because of all the story requests, but hey — there are worse things than extra reading. There was one small meltdown, which I met with love (“I KNOW how hard it is to listen sometimes, but I REALLY want to read you stories before bed, and Mama can’t read to a boy who doesn’t listen…so what do you think? Can you work harder on listening? Let’s practice!”). I did, of course, flash forward a few times to all the Things I Have To Do Tomorrow, but for once I could see clearly: tomorrow is tomorrow. Let’s write those puppies down and look at the list…tomorrow.
In short, I felt powerful, loving, loved, contained, expansive, generous, whole. My work felt new, my life fulfilling, my family part of my art. This, I imagine, is perhaps the whole point.