If I were more invested in things, I’d have written up a summing-up-2011 post/hopes-for-2012 post. But it’s too much work, you know? Doing something like that requires bullet points and lists and nicely placed pictures. Most of my pictures from 2011 are skulking about in random folders on my external hard drive. I write down my thoughts on random pieces of paper and they scatter and I hope to someday rediscover them. I do have thoughts about 2011 and hopes for 2012; but how much do I want to say about them?
What I can say about this stage of my life is that there are Cheezits in our bed, which is actually a futon cushion on the floor at the foot of our real bed, which has been taken over by Simon. He’s only 13 months old but the kid knows what he wants. I spend each and every night playing musical beds, starting off trying to sleep with Roy on the futon and moving up to the bed when Simon needs to nurse, there and back again, all night long. This is exhausting, but in the best way. I love to feel the softness of Simon’s hair and hear the sound of his sleepy breathing through the night, and I miss my husband and his warmth. There are some mornings I am so tired I know I will not make it through the day without a steady Dr. Pepper IV drip but somehow I always do. It’s the scrappiness in me.
(I did drink three Dr. Peppers today.)
My world does not look at all like I thought it would. When I was a kid I somehow expected that as an adult I would have a house that looked like something out of Better Homes and Gardens, I would be wearing mom jeans, I would be neat and tidy and tidy and neat. When I was pregnant the first time I expected that I would not let Charlie watch TV, we would sit around in the organic silence of our little house doing crafts and playing with all-natural wooden toys, and never would any preservatives or chemicals enter his precious little body.
Something went awry somewhere. It’s called life. It happened.
The thing is, I am not patient enough to do crafts. The closest we get to crafts around here is when I take out the markers and crayons and Charlie asks me repeatedly to smell the markers while Simon samples each color of crayon. I do this in a desperate attempt to distract them for 10 minutes so I can empty the dishwasher. I also let them watch TV; today was a sick day and there were unabashed mass quantities. And since we are desperately broke, most of the food we buy is cheap and therefore laden with chemicals. I know better, but right now, I can’t do better.
I am not the mother I thought I’d be. This is not the life I thought I’d have.
And yet it has somehow exceeded expectation. I am richer in love than I ever thought I’d be.
And yet and yet and yet I usually find myself in a strange pit of despair at least once a day. I think about how ugly and bloated I feel, how badly I want to go out to some restaurant and get something disgustingly rich to eat, how I want to take a vacation from all of this, the bills, the budget, the sleep deprivation, my sick father, the clutter, the absolute loneliness I feel at the center of my soul.
I want to be frivolous, with money coming out of my ears. I want to be a cool mom, the one who looks effortlessly gorgeous while wrangling her children. I want to be crafty and serve the healthiest foods and have enough energy to not have to rely on TV sometimes. I feel that I have failed in some major way but I also know that’s the mom guilt talking.
I know that I am doing my absolute best with what I’ve got. We are a scrappy little family* and there are things that are perhaps priorities for others that aren’t priorities for us. My priorities have to do with getting basic needs met, and love, and creativity. Words. I decided to make words a big priority this year. I will show up and do the work. I will write every day. I will neglect the mess on the carpet in favor of word vomit. I will not think too much about it. I will not strive for perfection.
This is me, neglecting the mess. This is me, not striving for perfection. This is me and my words and the revolutions that will follow and the revelations that will lead. And love, baby. Love amidst the heap of life, always flawed, always whole. Lovescraps.
*Credit for the term “scrappy little family” goes to Amanda. But I stole it and will continue to do so.