|Blurry photo courtesy of my iPhone. Local mural in Culver City, CA.|
And then there are the times when it feels like this modern life has swept me away, and I swirl around, grabbing at this piece of flotsam to anchor myself and get my work done, floating on this piece of jetsam to pay attention to my family, who is also bobbing about precariously. It has been a busy time.
We have had various large car-related bills in the last few weeks, some anticipated (both of our car registrations due in the same month) and some completely unexpected (two flat tires, so two new tires; both car batteries died within a week of each other, so two new batteries; and my car still needs two new tires as the treads are very worn but now I’m broke). I’m trying to work out what this means, if anything. Is this some sort of cosmic message that we need to slow down?
Over the same time period, we’ve seen the end of the school year, and with it, the end of preschool. Ceeya will enter kindergarten and will turn five this year. My oldest, who was only born five minutes ago, is ten years old. I will turn 45 this summer. Time is rocketing by. Each day I try to be fully present for my children, and sometimes I fail. As the primary breadwinner in our household I feel I must be extra responsible to my job, and that takes a lot of energy – and sometimes, a lot of tongue-biting, which is extra tiring. (Lord, don’t let me get started on that.) I want to do a good job but I don’t want to invest all of myself in it. I need the best part of myself for my family.
Viva asked me last night if I could go on a field trip with summer camp today, and I had to say no. Her dad would usually go, but his computer was down all week and is finally working as of last night, so he is behind on his photo and film editing. I hate to tell her no.
What I am getting at here is that I am feeling a bit melancholy these days, and wishing things would slow down a bit. But I am realizing that in whatever way possible, I have to do what I can to dial things back. I am trying to figure out how to simplify a bit so we are all happier.
I know, I am not responsible for anyone’s happiness. So maybe what I should aim for is that our home life is a little less hectic, a little calmer, and that I approach it with more joy than I currently do. I say to my kids sometimes, “Life is not a carnival! We can’t be doing something spectacular every minute!” This is usually when they have had a wonderful day and then still find something to whine about, as kids do when they are tired from having a wonderful day. And so, for myself, too: I know I cannot expect life to be a carnival every minute. But it sure ain’t all cotton candy and gleeful shrieking right now.
I could use a little more carnival and a lot less of the swirling muddy water. Putting on my party hat and trying to remain open to whatever comes next, to know that there is a reason for this season of clouds instead of sun.