July 16, 2014 by Julia
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the meaning of life. And how to be a good parent. And boredom. And finding a sense of purpose. You know, the little things.
We’ve had some trouble around here. Nothing major – just the usual troubles of life that seem to pile up at times. Refrigerator was broken last week. Car went kaput today. I pulled out a muscle in my back. Jack’s got a fever and all of our carefully laid plans for the week have been swept to the side so that he, Fiona and I can watch hours of TV and try to entertain ourselves at home, just the three of us, all day.
Sound fun? It is, for maybe one day, if it’s different from your usual scenario. But we’re used to being home every day, and we obviously adore each other, but still. Self-imposed quarantine gets old quickly. And Dennis has had to work late. Extreme weather (flooding, tornadoes?!) struck during the exact hour of the kids’ gymnastics class, and then cleared up as soon as their class would have ended. I spend so much time planning out our days and weeks so that we have something to do. But tornadoes and fevers and cheap modern appliances scoff at those best-laid plans.
Ah well. I am trying to make the best of it. I feel like when Dennis and I were younger, or at least when we became homeowners, we were utterly shocked and stressed by every out-of-the-blue problem. We are not handy, and we do not enjoy fixing up the house. We would rather be artsy. When messes intrude upon our personal artsy time, we get very, very cranky, to the point of desperation.
But, with a little more age on us, we might be learning to roll with the punches better.
There is a little more experience with how this too shall pass. We are learning that we are capable of persevering, and doing good even when we feel depleted. I can embrace my children even when I am actually craving personal space, because I am it for them right now, as we while away the hours at home. I can reach out to friends who are struggling even when I am struggling, myself – really, is there any better time? I can allow myself to feel the pain of family members going through health scares and serious illnesses, and remember to reach out, because even when you don’t know what to say, just trying is what’s most needed. I can try. Me, the exhausted introvert. As long as I get my daily cry in (okay, maybe not daily, but close – it’s just for release, like yoga of the emotions), I can go on. Um, does that sound melodramatic? Well, it’s the truth.
Other truths: I feel isolated when I am stuck at home with the kids. I do my best to remain upbeat for them, but I panic in the morning when I realize we still have ten more hours to get through until bedtime. I want so badly to do right by them, to spend quality time with them – and I do. But I also lose my patience and get distracted and fail them, too.
And technology…I feel it on my back, all the time, clawing at me. All the emails and texts I need to respond to. The play dates to plan, always. It feels rude these days to not be available during every waking hour. Lack of response to a text or a Facebook tag or whatever can be interpreted as indifference or even anger. It’s so hard to tell what a person means when they aren’t in front of you! I wish there were more people in front of me. The bad news is that if I want to see people in front of me, I have to deal with the technology to reach out to them. So I spend hours doing that, and then half the time it doesn’t work out because that’s the way it goes with kids. And global warming. And badly made refrigerators from Best Buy.
Whatever happened to the Harvest Gold refrigerators that lasted thirty years?
I ask you that! While shaking my fists at the dark clouds in the sky that might, if we’re lucky, relieve us of this awful humidity.