(The last time we were all clean at one time)A few weeks back, before the spring growing season got underway, a friend (best) of mine commented on how she envied my stay-at-home mom lifestyle. I think I'd been waxing poetic about one recent Salvation Army find or another, perhaps mention of a trip to Whole Foods snuck its way into the conversation, and before you know it, to the average working woman, those kinds of mid-week activities can sound suspiciously like Saturday. The fact that I get to pencil these kinds of week-day errands into my invisible calendar whilst my children learn the pledge, etc. under the supervision of capable others does seem rather luxurious and first-worldly, I suppose. What I told her, though was this: Well then you shoulda seen me last year.
When we lived in the city, apart from domestic upkeep and meals, if I wasn't freelancing, I was basically wandering the various neighborhoods betwixt the hours of 9:00 and 2:00, mostly for my own pleasure. I did my fair share of volunteering at the childrens' school, but for the most part, I was alone. And it was grand. The world, for many years, was most certainly my oyster, if by oyster you mean a Goodwill store stacked with the discarded spoils of the 9th wealthiest neighborhood in the U.S. I'm talking tags-still-on stuff from Neiman's. Take one daily stop at the GW, add in a grocery run and a couple loads of laundry, tack on carpool at either end, and you've got yourself a day. It was blissful, but I managed, still, to become inexplicably angst-ridden, even in the midst of all that delicious alone-time.
My life is vastly different now. First of all, the thrift stores around here are just...bad. Thrift stores that were raised by wolves. This has been a grave disappointment to me, it must be said, and one can only assume that the wealthy mid-westerners are also compulsive hoarders with really big closets. GIVE IT UP ALREADY, I implore you. Those too-small Jimmy Choos are not getting any bigger just sitting in your closet. And also-my children's frocks are looking more and more tattered by the day: please, I ask you--think of them. Over-order from Mini-Boden, and instead of returning the rejects, just put them in a garbage bag and drop them off at your local donation center. You won't even have to leave your car, and in exchange you'll get a lovely receipt your accountant can use in preparing your 2011 tax return.
I suppose, though, I should let it go: after all, it will be months before I see the inside of any retail establishment besides my own. Tonight, Joshua and I were lamenting our financial state--in an "it's always darkest before the dawn" sort of way. I spoke of my sister, who has so kindly offered to take me for a haircut, and how nice a gesture that was, and he said he hoped that people (our families) didn't think we'd squandered our money foolishly. As in, on ourselves.
I was quiet--kind of amused at the obvious, because I knew it was coming when he exclaimed, emphatically, "I mean, look at us!"
We're bedraggled. Shades of gray, hooded sweatshirts, brown stripes underneath our fingernails.
It could have something to do with our days spent, literally, in the dirt. Planting, working in the sun. Which, when I think about it, affords its own luxury, right? As I walked out of the house this morning, I thought to myself-I can't wait to get out there today, in the warmth. There are days I emerge covered in potting soil, with an almost-literal bird's nest atop my head--and the most beautiful thing about me...is that I have just spent an entire day blissfully unaware. This treasure, for a song.