Monday, April 20, 2009


A favorite author of mine once described her morning coffee ritual as the only way she could level the playing field between herself and her mind, going on to say that while she’d been asleep for eight hours or so, her mind had been pounding Americanos and, apparently, was ready to talk.
I don’t know what it is about this move that’s got me so scattered. Maybe it’s the act itself-the packing, labeling, purging-I’ve done it before, though--many times. I even boasted on the telephone to my mother that I could pack my entire house in one day if required, like if I had to go into hiding or something. Suddenly, everything seems harder--this time it’s more than a change of venue, we’re not just scooting to another neighborhood that more or less orbits around the same grocery store-we’re undergoing a total transformation-new state, new school, off-the-map-crazy career switch. Our lives are being altered forevermore and oh, the devilish details…Exciting, yes. Can I handle it? Maybe. I really believe these last few weeks here will be the most difficult, not just because of all the checklist stuff, all the choices and uncertainty and mayhem, but because I’m not firmly planted. Anywhere. The only thing I can compare it to is someone floating between the here and hereafter-not quite gone, but not really here. Maybe a less macabre way of describing it would be to quote the ever-illuminating Britney Spears: “I’m Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman.” I’m in limbo, and for someone who considers herself somewhat of a Free Spirit, I’m no great shakes at limbo.
Mr. M came home from work early today, along with our boy-and the wonderful chaos that follows that kid like Pigpen’s dirt cloud on his heels. Upended book bag, shoes akimbo, AN ENTIRE SHEET OF SPIDERMAN TATTOOS FROM MY TUTOR--and of course, reports of wiggling teeth, urgent hunger, and another installment of what seems to be the way to spend recess in Kindergarten: playing Judge Judy. Consumed by the fervor of my six-year-old, I simultaneously fielded questions from the Mister about what I’d accomplished from The List, which wasn’t much. Meanwhile, our youngest emptied a bottle of Elmer’s on the table, because how can we be sure we had craft-time if there’s no mess to clean up afterward?
I heard my mind clear its throat.
We have a saying around here-when all that is undone starts pressing in, when the noise and pace become too much, one of us will look at the other and say-“time to take back the power”. Time to show ‘em who’s boss-make one bed, put some lip gloss on, pay your smallest bill, write the first thank-you note-neverminding it’s a year or four late. Just do something. Shake up the snow globe, resettle the dust or glitter or whatever it is that has gone stale and got you stuck. On occasion, a dance-off is required; sometimes, a few minutes on the trampoline are enough to get things going. I slipped off my shoes and walked outside.
Alone and jumping, I felt better. I could see. Winnie’s missing clogs, abandoned during last Sunday’s quest for the golden egg. A hawk, for just a few seconds, pausing on the farthest fencepost in our yard, then taking off in that show-offy hawk way. It really was lovely. Things got sorted out, mentally, cosmically-somehow. I jumped a while, making sure to check out my chain-smoking neighbor’s back yard, with the little dog, perfect grass, and manicured everything. That was never going to be me. Our landscape is wild-with the clematis tangled around itself, azaleas in various stages of undress, and a larger-than-life gardenia beneath our bedroom window about to unleash its fragrance on the whole neighborhood. A beautiful disaster- resplendent, reckless. Our neighbor looked pinched and unhappy; not to mention athsmatic, working that cell phone like a Vegas microphone. I went inside to find my sweet family--freshly tattooed, worn out from waiting for me. I can do this.

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