What happened to the young woman who cleaned her house from top to bottom once a week? Who if she saw a repair necessary, fixed it immediately instead of walking by it for weeks or months before getting around to it? Who finished moving into a place within two days, TWO DAYS! including putting all the photos on the wall? Who made dinner every night, or most every night? Who always sent real paper cards for every birthday and every holiday to everyone in her address book and sent thank you cards in under 48 hours? Who even into adulthood had so much to say on this blog, she was typing late into the night or during the day when she was supposed to be working? Who had time to read other blogs and even made pen pals with other bloggers? Where did she go? I know she’s in here. Somewhere.
I would not trade my children for the world. I wouldn’t trade their littleness for anything either. Milla’s early childhood passed so quickly, like a breeze, or a hummingbird flitting by. Here, here, try to catch it, then not, and gone like a sigh. Now I want to hold onto every second of Isabel’s babyhood, but I find I’m losing that battle and not getting anything done in my own life either. The day passes. Have I learned any more Spanish or French? Not enough. Have I practiced my cello? Not enough. Have I written anything that is truly what I need to express. No. Gone, gone. Life is so short. I am grateful I finally realized about ten years ago that I could not waste my life watching television. It’s too ephemeral, time. I don’t want to have spent it on something as useless as t.v. Yet there in the cupboard sits the knitting project I started and didn’t finish, the fur ball guinea pig I was going to make, the sewing I haven’t completed, even without television, again. And the days were not filled with productivity. I did not save the world. I didn’t make a difference in any life except perhaps that of my children, and that doesn’t seem enough. Maybe my standards are too high. Maybe I too much know the limits of our existence. Maybe maybe, but I just don’t think I am doing it well enough.
Here I am again at the end of a long day and the enthusiasm I felt in the morning for all I could accomplish has filtered off, as I sat waiting at that light, as I drove through traffic, as I returned to the pet store yet a fifth time in as many weeks in an attempt to find a water bottle for my guinea pig that would not leak. And the bathroom wall did not get repaired. And the floors are still gritty. And the pictures are still not hung And the dust is that much thicker on the shelves in my living room. But Isabel is asleep beside me, and I did read three books to her before bed, and she is content. And I did run. And I did write these words and the word “and” more times than I probably should have in order to turn out elegant prose. But such is life. Maybe I need to stop trying to ascribe a grade to it. Maybe the young woman who could do all those things before is still here, she just doesn’t feel like bothering to get an A+ anymore when B or even B- seems adequate. As long as it’s not an F, I suppose I can live with that.