The Dude went back to school today. Last night he expressed his disappointment that his vacation was over. I did the understanding mother thing (yes, sweetie, it’s been so wonderful to have you around every day), and as soon as he left the room broke into my happy dance, complete with fireworks. He’s been home for two weeks. So has his father. Now we return to normal and I get my life back.
On the surface, it shouldn’t be so difficult to work with them here. They are both fairly self-sufficient. It’s amazing how much of my time their self-sufficiency can eat up.
Humans generate detritus. That’s just the way it is, whether it’s dirty dishes, glassware (would it kill you to use the same water glass twice?), Kleenex, shoes, socks, or those paper subscription cards that fall out of magazines when you read them, I can find any family member by tracking the trail of crap they leave in their wake. I’m sure Grimm got the idea to have Hansel and Gretel leave bread crumbs as their trail through the woods by watching his teenage son eat tortilla chips on the way from the kitchen to the basement.
Every household task takes twice as long to accomplish, because something else has to be cleared before the task can commence. To cook dinner, I have to clean the kitchen, to clean the kitchen, I have to do the dishes. To do the dishes, I have to unload the dishwasher. It’s the mom version of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. And really, how many times can one woman explain that the plan for lunch is for them to go to the refrigerator, find something, and eat it?
I’m convinced that humans create thought detritus as well. Too many people thinking and talking in one space crowd out my ability to talk and think and write, like their words back up the system so mine can’t flow. Next time my husband wonders why my manuscript isn’t finished, I’m going to his office and pace while talking on the cellphone and see how much he gets done. When I’m finished, I’ll ask about that lunch thing again.
Now that they are gone, I have no one to blame for my lack of productivity but myself. I suppose the same is true whether my family is here or not, but believing it’s someone else’s fault, rather than my lack of creativity or focus to be the root cause is more amenable to my psyche.
So to all of the mothers out there, welcome back to your life. I kept this post short. I know you have things to do.
Words by J. B. Everett
Photograph, “Trail of Bread Crumbs” by Kat Selvocki © 2011 Creative Commons (Flicker)