But I've taken the day off of work, and there is a little time before I have to go pick up the little beastie (the Monday system: Pete picks Cassie up at school around 4 and takes her to dance; I get to wait until 5:45 to pick up Emerson). And I told myself I would write a post. It's been months, after all.
Temperamentally, I'm toward the spacey-dreamy-stare-at-an-ant-for-90-minutes end of the spectrum, but now there's also this cross-current. The combination of being a mother of young children* and a nurse has forced me toward an emphasis on the brisk, the efficient--get the blood pressure, chart the breath sounds, wipe down the pulse oximeter, where's your backpack, do you want to wear your shoes or your boots, oh no is your diaper stinky?--that is fundamentally uncomfortable but patently necessary. And I think that being so naturally bad at efficiency, I've developed mental habits that are my attempt to compensate, to push myself with gritted teeth into a range of minimal adequacy in the quotidian tasks of my life.
And one of those mental habits is a continual assessment of the utility of a thing. Any thing. Any thing that takes time or space, at least. And as time has gone on, even the definition of utility has become a shrunken and wizened stub of its former self. "Does it contribute to my work or childrearing?" is about all that remains. In my push just to be Enough, all kinds of other goals and aims and conceptions of The Good have dried up in my mind. Friendship, kinship, art, thought, decent shoes. No room, no room. NOT USEFUL.
And really, how f**ked up is that? And yet how true. It's how I live. How can that be? I mean, hell, my stove top isn't even clean. The dining room table is full of junk. Again. I forget Emerson's mittens at school as often as not. How can I be so hapless that even given such restricted horizon, I still fall short?
I seem to remember reading that whatsisname, the poet, the daffodils guy--Wordsworth! (Yeah, I had to Google it.) had two female relatives running every detail of his household. He never lifted a finger in any way. His meals, his clothes, his everything. Just there. And off he could go, wand'ring lonely as a cloud that floats on high o'er vales and hills. And I wonder--if I really had that option--if I could choose right now to be a coddled poet waited on hand and foot-- lying on my couch in vacant or in pensive mood--would I want that? Would that suit me better?
And no, no I don't think it would. I think I'd be restive and miserable and aching to be useful. (And of course dying to be a mom.)
Ah, I don't know. It seems the Big Questions are going to have to keep milling around in there a while longer. I just don't know.
And, well, on that note, I have to get ready to go pick up the toddler.
*(I initially wrote "small children," but if you know Cassie and Emerson, you know that's not quite right.)