Everywhere I look in my house there’s a reason to get busy. Dishes, laundry, sweeping, the aftermath of a weekend with paper and scissors.
There are projects I’ve started that are collecting dust and excuses, bills I have to pay, and my coffee is cold but I’m still drinking it. We had a good weekend, full of places to go and people to see. My kids are almost 11 and 7 1/2 now, we’re no longer under the dictatorship of napping schedules so their social calendars are full of fun things to do. Sports clinics and teams, friends to play with, even dates with grandparents. These kids are exciting.
But they’re constantly leaving a wake of chaos. I was talking to a friend this weekend about how surprised I was by this feeling of “complete” I’ve had since the projects on our house have finished. I wasn’t expecting to want to stay. The last project (our kitchen and mudroom remodel) didn’t go well. The contractor we had been working with really dropped the ball and ruined the relationship. I was feeling upset about the process, not even sure if I would enjoy the finished product because of all the turmoil that went with the progression. But having the ability to settle in the wake of that – and wanting to come to a place that feels like home, it’s created a shift in how I feel about this little house with big ideas.
The result of that is wanting to live in this space. I want to be here. I like it here. And, maybe for the first time ever, I feel a sense of pride in my home. Not because I think it’s beautiful or the best. Because it’s ours. Together, this family, my family, we sailed the salty waters of change together and here we are. Landed, ground amok in the messy harbor of life outside of those boxes.
And it’s a beautiful picture for me every Monday when the playroom is torn apart and beds aren’t made and breakfast dishes leave a wake of crumbs on the island with milk rings from their cups. I’m reminded at the beginning of each week that I get to do this. I get to care, I get to choose to want this. I’m no longer chasing the emptiness in my soul because where I was looking for so long for the spout to fill me up; there was only more loneliness in that spring. And this is thankless work, the work of caring for others. The unrecognized pattern of following the chaos to the other side of the room so that when you get there to catch them, they fall into your arms instead.
I find it difficult to not be recognized for this kind of work. To not be put on a pedestal in a public manner for doing the hard things, without being asked. I can get upset about the trajectory of the next 10 years, how many more hours I’ll log doing dishes, making beds, folding laundry. For how many internal conversations I’ll have about what really matters, and the result of that is always putting them before myself because they’re not here for that long. And when you have a burning desire to chase your dreams inside that is constantly met with the reality of your everyday, mundane tasks of sweeping instead: you can suffer in silence. You can cut off the oxygen to that fire that wants more for you.
You can be one of many and still be chosen.
You can still write that book, build that table, paint those canvases, write those scripts. You can still run that marathon, and become that chef. You can still own that restaurant, be a photographer, write those poems, own that clothing store. You can be one of many dreams, you can even have more than one: and you can still go get it.