September 1, 2018

things I think about (when I have time to think)...

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Last month, I turned thirty-four. I keep thinking that I'm a little bit older or a little bit younger or perhaps in a completely different decade altogether. Once I hit thirty, it all kind of didn't matter anymore and I'm in a perpetual state of thirty-something (or trying to do some quick math when people ask me my age). I remember my mom once telling me how she never really feels her age—that she doesn't feel older, and it didn't make sense to me then. Mostly because I felt every additional year so intensely in my teens and early twenties. But now I get exactly what she was saying.

I even had to go to the actual DMV this year to renew my license in person, which meant there had been enough years since getting my last license to have had three different addresses, gained ten pounds, and possibly grown one inch in height. (For some reason, I can never remember if I'm 5'3" or 5'4". For the next decade I decided to go with the latter.) It's freeing to be at a place in life where I really didn't care that much about what my photo looked like, and to just sit there in the noisy DMV in an uncomfortable chair with a book, completely by myself.

For the record, I'm never by myself. "Me Time" right now sometimes looks like actually closing the bathroom door, or sitting on the kitchen floor while eating a handful of chocolate chips and hoping my kids don't hear me chewing, or staying up too late to watch Twilight: New Moon while silently judging myself.

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It's recently become clear to me that I'm close to becoming a grumpy old lady. A curmudgeon, shall we say. Things bother me too much these days. I'm highly offended by things that probably should elicit such an emotional response; things like graffiti, politicization of children's picture books, the price of postage, people who don't use turn signals, the average inseam of teenagers' jean shorts. I'm bothered by so much. So much.

Yesterday, as I was spooning sweet potatoes into my youngest child's mouth, I told her I was considering becoming Amish and wondered what her thoughts were on the matter. She seemed open to the possibility, which I appreciated. But then, maybe it was just the sweet potatoes talking.

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I'm at such an odd place in life. Just because my life is so much what I always wanted it to be, doesn't mean that it isn't hard. Or frustrating. Or lonely. Or simultaneously too much and too little. I think often about how motherhood is undervalued in our current culture, and it sometimes makes me feel invisible. It's that feeling of, Well, anyone can do what you do. It's just regular stuff. Why should we praise your for it? Why should we see it as virtuous? Many women do so much more. And then what always follow are the questions of, More importantly, are you sure you're making time for yourself...for self care, for your needs? Are you still actively taking steps to better yourself and following your own ambitions? (As if motherhood itself can never be an ambition for a woman, because she should aspire for greater things.) And then, at the same time, I think of how much I've grown in the last seven years of motherhood, and how it's actually been a good thing to not be the center of my own universe. How it's nice to get out of my own head and just get on with the day-to-day busyness of raising children and keeping my home and educating my daughters and all the other bits and pieces of my day.

But it is an odd place, nonetheless. There are days when I realize I've been awake for four hours and haven't yet looked in a mirror. (Sometimes this is for the best.) There are days when the only time I sit down from 6:30am to 8:00pm is to drive somewhere or to eat. (And there was a night last week when I ate my entire dinner standing up.) There are days when Jay is home and I dash away to complete an errand by myself, and as I soak up the quiet, I realize how weird it feels to be thinking my own thoughts—if that makes any sense at all.

There are many times I'm out with all three girls and someone passing by will mention how it looks like I really have my hands full. It's even better when it's a mom who tells me how much she misses those days herself. How her kids are now teenagers or in college or parents themselves, and how she truly misses having them be little.

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I think a lot about writing. I wonder what it would be like if I could even find the time to type up a couple paragraphs every day to publish here. To have it be a little bit like it used to be, back when blogs were so simple. I think maybe I could do that, but some days I have so much to accomplish within the span of one day that the very idea of adding anything at all (even something that I truly love) makes me wildly overwhelmed. Still, it's something I think about.

2 comments :

  1. I am a curmudgeon with you... right now more mental, but I can imagine it becoming emotional with kids. Your writing is as beautiful and relate-able as ever, and even in your frustrations it is so clear how amazing of a mother you are, and if all parents were so amazing there would be far less graffiti in the world.

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  2. I love this, Kerri! I relate to this so much, even though my life looks a lot different right now- unexpectedly working while homeschooling and no baby in the house. I hope you keep finding a few minutes here and there to continue blogging :)

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