Regardless, I've left myself utterly without motivation to flesh out any of the post ideas I've had floating around in my brain all day and will instead resort, yet again, to plagiarizing myself. This piece was originally written in 1992, when I was at home with my three boys, the oldest of whom had just turned four. It was originally published in 1998 by At-Home Mothering magazine.
Shades of a Mother
Sometimes she felt like this: She felt she had fallen into her life from a great height. She had landed on her feet, but shakily, and the trip down had left her dazed and without the energy to sort out the details of this life she had fallen into.
She thought it might be a play, though it was not a well-written one. The plot was murky, there were too many characters with too much dialogue, and there were far too many props. It was not the work of a master playwright but the product of a party game--each player adding a line in turn, one act tumbling messily into the next with no central vision, no order.
She was endlessly surprised by the facts of her life. At two in the morning, she would make the precarious trip to the children's room, tripping over toys she thought she'd put away. And she would wonder when things had gotten so chaotic, so out of control. At lunch time, spattered with baby food and more ambitious chunks of things thrown by the older ones, she would meticulously retrace her path. She searched for the one decision that had led her here.
But it seemed her life was shaped by indecision. It was built not of the things she'd done but of the things she'd left undone.
Sometimes she felt like this: She felt she had stumbled upon the Meaning of Life. That she had come upon it by accident, amid the havoc of her life made it all the more precious.
She could not be fooled into thinking she lived a remarkable life. But sandwiched between the unremarkable facts of her life--the clutter and the noise, the chores and the bills--there were miracles.
There were sleepy, trusting smiles in the middle of the night. There were full throttle giggles. There were stains that came out in the wash. There were toys that came assembled. There were days when all the socks had mates. There were moments when she wouldn't change a thing.
Sometimes she found an extraordinary appreciation for the ordinary. These energetic people, living their hectic, untidy lives all around her were miracles. Her life was like a crayon drawing in a priceless gilded frame. Sometime simple, a little messy, the lines blurred and fuzzy, transformed into art.