Sunday, June 04, 2017

There are no small parts

Serenity was in the air.

Birds were singing. The sun was shining. Emerging from a week-long viral torpor, my husband had slunk downstairs and was making coffee Neither child was trading barbs with the other over which spoon was "theirs" in the favorite-occupier sense.The dog and cats were getting along. And even though I hadn't gotten out of bed to see which part of my body ached the most, I could tell all was right with the world. At least for the moment, and within my seven-acre slice of it.

I have listed my goals on my cortex in the indelible ink of magical thinking:

Today I will mow the lawn.

And then I will rake the hay the mower leaves behind.

I will weed the garden and dig up the grassy bits around the trees.

I will find a place to dump the organic remains.

Maybe I will mulch if the mood strikes. Who knows?

This will take the entire day, I think to myself without concern. The imaginary ink dries glittery.

I take a deep breath and a sip of hot coffee. There is still time to be slothful.

There's nothing else to do. I can take breaks. Drink coffee. Go on walks. I will stop to watch the kids go back and forth to the park now that they are older and not tethered to such a tight leash.

I will move at a glacial pace ... Which, let's be honest, is considerably faster than it once seemed.

But I won't worry about that now. I've silenced my phone, tuned out Twitter and Facebook, and all the other things that pull my attention in opposite directions.

The little folks will still bring their problems my way. But I will just smile and nod, and leave my contributions to commiseration. I won't offer any plans they could execute.

If nothing else, I have learned there is little to be gained from telling folks all the things clanging around in my mind.

"You would have been perfect for the starring role," I tell my disappointed thespian, it's probably true and it's what she want's to hear. "There are no small parts."

"Yes. You can cover your sister's bedroom doorframe in cellophane as a prank. But before you do, could you just turn on the spigot to the garden hose? Thanks."

The day ebbs and flows this way for hours, and when the work parts end, it feels like an immeasurable accomplishment. Literally. The yard isn't transformed, but my work there is done. I've handily ticked off the boxes on my to-do.

I am content if not happy.

By way of payment, I treat myself to an indulgence.

I accept an invitation and go to see the new laundry room a friend has just completed in her house.

I take the kids with me. They will chat with my friend's children as we ignore them, and she will show me the tiny space that has transfixed her life at this moment.

"Don't get too excited," she tells me with a laugh.

But I will marvel at tidy space with its sleek new appliances, and I will gush over the handy shelving and fresh paint. I won't wonder aloud how she will reach the top shelf. I will just be happy for her.

But I will be excited.

And I will laugh when my daughter puts it all in bittersweet perspective:

“So what I've gathered from this is that when I grow up, I can expect to be excited about a new laundry room?”

And all I can think is … “If you are lucky … you will be happy about everything.

“There are no small parts.”

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