As I write this, Cian is sitting on the puppy, the puppy is drooling on the carpet, and the carpet has grooves clawed into it by the puppy’s last crazywackyhyper sprint around the house. (Wait. Did I tell you we got a dog? How did I leave that out?). I am in my pajamas, and it’s almost lunchtime. (Pray for the UPS driver who might come to the door and see THIS unholy mess when I answer it). I am resenting the crap out of my unsuspecting husband because he got to get a haircut this morning during work hours because he knew–could assume, even–that childcare was taken care of because, duh, I’m here. Because being here is my job. Which is really awesome all days but makes me want to poke out my brains on some.
(Yikes. If I didn’t like it so much–the staying-home part, not the brain-poking part–what I just wrote would sound really depressing. I’m not depressed. But I would like to take a shower)
I spent all morning yesterday doing laundry and tidying up paperwork that needed to be faced (hello, surprise bill for my second-born’s last doctor’s appointment! You were a sneaky little bugger). I have a manuscript I wanted to be writing, emails I had to be writing, and yet there I was at the kitchen table, writing out yearbook order forms and trying to figure out why I spent so much on children’s pajamas. I remember this from back when the kiddos were babies, all those (not that many) years ago: that feeling that in order to stay on top of everything, I have to be constantly in motion. It never ends. And it’s so easy to fall behind. And I am someone, who, if one thing slides, honey, it allllll slides. It slides until it becomes a gnarled, dog-hair-filled avalanche of anxiety, and I’m just not someone who can breathe very well under an avalanche.
I started this post because I wanted to tell you something cute, not whine about how whiney I felt (though I’d showered by this point yesterday. You’d think I’d see the victories where they lie). A few weeks ago, I got to see the touring production of Once when it came through a nearby town. If you’ve seen the movie, you’d know what to expect from the show: a quiet sort of beauty. Characters you root for while pitying them a little bit, too. Music that makes you want to go inside of it, if that doesn’t sound dirty.
(Speaking of dirty, the puppy just gave my laptop a tongue bath. How I wish I were making that up.)
But Once the musical, as with Once the movie, is funny as hell, too. At one point one of the minor characters–a Czech immigrant, like the female lead–is so excited to play the drums for a song that he rips off his pants. As we watched, laughing, all the other cast members on stage stared at him, too, and there was a brief moment of silence. Then he said: “More soul. Less pants,” and gleefully climbed behind his drum kit to play.
I came back from that writers’ retreat last week relaxed and refocused and ready to meld my writing life with my regular life. HAHAHAHAHA. I’m so funny, aren’t I? But it’s okay. I got the paperwork out of the way. I got the laundry put away in drawers (KonMari method for the win! But more on that another time). David came out of his work cave and started folding sheets (he prides himself on his fitted-sheet-folding skills. I do not argue with him, because that means he gets to fold all the fitted sheets) as we talked about the day. I’m not alone in this. None of us are alone in this, you know. It’s hard to forget that when we sometimes sit by ourselves on the couch, alone. But we’re not. We never are.
(And me, especially not, at least not right now: I’ve got a two-year-old–also in his pajamas, because I rule!–draped over my stomach and a puppy slobbering over my computer. It’s very, er, wet, over here).
I got myself all worked up yesterday–there was much dramatic allusion-making to me drowning in a sea of to-do lists going on in my head–thinking that once again, I’d slid behind too far to catch up. And I had. And I will continue to. But you know what? I gotta keep my eye on that novel-shaped ball, just like you need to keep an eye on that half-marathon, or that painting, or that blanket you’re knitting (which you’re going to give to me, then, right?), or that degree you’re studying for. I don’t think any of us want to end our lives thinking that boy, I did a lot of laundry and not much else.
More soul. Less pants. It’s a good way to live.
And not just because that means less laundry to do in the end. Really.