I was the little girl who would ask her parents to pull over onto the side of the road so she could take a picture of a particularly dramatic sunset. I was the kid who would spend half an hour eating an ice cream sandwich, savouring each sweet sweep of the tongue. I wandered in summer forests and found tiny flowers hiding on the ground beneath last year’s leaves and, in my teenage years when I fancied myself some sort of intellectual, sat beneath giant poplars to read French poetry (in English–me not THAT intellectual).
Now, I’m the stressed-out woman with a baby who is perpetually “going through something.” I am annoyed at nighttime thunderstorms because they threaten to break the tenuous hold my child has on sleep, and I can’t remember the last time I appreciated the conversations that clouds were having high above my head.
Everything I do seems to scream at me “This is not enough!” Not enough patience, not enough cleaning (hello larder beetle infestation), not enough wiping of the stovetop, not enough weeding of the garden, not enough time to myself.
And all the while, I chastise myself for enveloping the great motherhood cliche, for becoming a self-martyring, slightly resentful, hurried husk of a woman.
No more of that nonsense. Because while I’m muttering profanities as I lay another brick onto the wall of my self-made prison, I forget that my life is here, and it is wonderful.
Even though my garden looks like this:
It’s slightly better now. Slightly.
It is producing lovely things for us, like this:
Rhubarb, greens (a chard, kale, lettuce mix), garlic scapes and a few beans.
And isn’t that just the perfect analogy for days like this when I feel like something scraped off the bottom of a shoe and then licked up by a curious dog? There is chaos in my life–a great deal of it. But if I can just eke out a little bit of time to seek out the lovely sustaining bits, I will discover that goodness has been there all along. And when a grumpy baby is on her fourth temper tantrum of the day and it isn’t even noon, we need to slow down, grasp whatever truths we can conjure, and hold on.