two free writes...Just under the wire... it's still Sunday on the west coast! Here are two of my free writes. I ended up doing 15 mins for Home and 5 for Two O'clock.
Home is where the mess is. Though a fair bit of it manages to travel with me outside, too. Mango bits on my shoulder, tomato seeds on my jeans, unwashed hair and glasses lenses so smudged it’s like a revelation from the heavens when I mange to clean them and see clearly. The world is so bright and clear, and clean! Just as I suspected, the rest of the world is cleaner than mine.
But isn’t that the catch? Isn’t that the trap we all fall into? Some 1950s good housekeeping crap rears its tiny but insistent head and I find myself a “housewife" in the 21st century.
But I’m such a lousy one! There is almost a perverse pride in it. But mainly, I honestly find it nearly impossible to raise this kid AND have a clean house. I don’t think it’s just an excuse but I honestly know that seeing a messy house means I paid attention to my child today. Yes, I would love to bake bread to bring to my brother and sister just after the birth of their baby, but how much fun is it with my own baby hanging on my leg, in my arms? I manage to distract him with some flour on the floor but still, the bread making is an uphill battle. And afterward, I have battle fatigue! Ah, I sigh, there’s the bread. There it is. I made it! It’s done. Now get it out of here!
Seriously, there is not that same satisfaction from the previously meditative (tedious) process of baking. The science of it, the order, the precision. This is more like a harried attempt to hopefully reach the right consistency, stir stir stir pick up baby stir put baby down stir cry up stir down up pour down scrape up, lean over in a crazy angle so I don’t burn the baby (NEVER mention to my mother that I even went near the oven with the baby) and put the bread in. Phew.
So I have two loaves of banana bread and a flour-covered baby at the end of the day, both of which have received half my attention. Both of which, when all is said and done, I hope turn out okay. Oh, and I also have a nice pile of flour on the floor, the measuring cups strewn about, bits of lunch stuck to the floor (and my hair), about 25 different balls in various places, which makes walking hazardous, our mail spread in a fan on the floor in front of the couch… need I say more? Home is where my mess – my art, my daily bread (sustenance), my triumphs and defeats – in short, it is where my heart – lives.
Two o'clock in the morning...
For us, it was always 4 o’clock in the morning – that nether-hour that rests truly between the night and morn. The hour, in fact, of our son’s arrival into the world.
Oh, those four am fights: the blur and confusion and heaviness. Emerging into the cry of our baby and into the rawness of our own needs, weighted down by clumsy communication and desperation for relief…
Why can’t you help me?
I am helping you.
But you’re not.
But I am.
The inanity of the situation as suddenly our baby materialized between us, raw with his own needs and we would look at each other, the parents of this small one and with a mixture of humility, grace, and fortitude, we bent our own egos down and opened our hearts to each other, to make room for this new one, this person among us, helping us become our own people, and husband and wife, and mother and father.
At four am, I chose to become stronger rather than weaker. I chose to give, and give again. And again.