Friday, February 28, 2003

Governing hormones! I am frighteningly unmotivated. People are depending on me. There are essential and even routine expectations of me. Stuff is accumulating, looming. Files, faxes and food, cleaning, cooking and calisthenics (not likely, but I like the alliteration.) I don't feel like doing anything, except sit here and make the keys on the Apple go 'click, click, click.' Is it unreasonable to lay the blame at the altar of feminine hormones? My private dread is that I am actually extremely lazy, but let's not go there...

The fact is, right now we are in the middle of a big, future and life-altering choice making period in our lives. I literally can't go into the details, but the enormity of what we are coping with has me transfixed like a slow moose in the face of an overloaded semi on an 8%downhill grade country road. Somehow whenever I feel emotionally overloaded my other systems shut down or at least slooow dowwwn. Maybe we have big plans and uncertainties, but the least I could do is get a haircut, fix dinner, clean a room or a table or anything. I wish I could set aside my anxieties, and manage the daily chores, get on with it.

As long as I am admitting my lack of motivation, I may as well add that I would love to be in bed wearing flannel, watching a romantic movie and eating a crisp green salad, tamales, beans and chocolate cake. "Do Not Disturb, Already There" hanging on my door. My friends are soccer moms, room mothers, career women with children, volunteers, fit and beautiful beacons of light to the world. They succeed in their homes and churches. They strive at work and play. They deliver a seemingly inexhaustible quantity of generous, thoughtful and responsible adult deeds. I wanna go sit on a rock and listen to my chickens scratch for grubs. I should not completely demean my worth. Am I the only one who'd rather not make dinner tonight? Am I the only one with a messy house, pies to bake, a present to find and wrap, skating lessons to drive to, with a Hefty bag of vomit laundry in the back of her car, whose four year old is yelling "don't look and don't listen Mom!" and birthday guests expected?

Sometimes I think I talk too much. It is unseemly to be so outloud with my passing thoughts and lingering doubts. Perhaps my worth is in my willingness to write about the good stuff as well as the moldy stuff in the bottom drawer of the refigerator in the garage. Maybe someone out there feels a little overwhelmed, feels uncertain; maybe they can read about someone very unMartha like me and feel better about their day.

We Go Way Back...

Tomorrow William will be 12 years old. Though he is articulate and tall, artistic and opinionated, I still think of him in terms of his relation to me. I think of how he began, and our life together. More and more he is independent; an individual being. Last Fall Geoff and I tried to give him a tour of the city where he was born, where he lived his first year. We sat in our vehicle and pointed out to him the window of his first room, in his first home. We walked around the same lake we used to visit when he sat in his stroller. And understandably, none of it held much significance to him. He didn't remember the nature center or the bakery, the community church, or the dozen little things we thought mattered. By the end of the day, and our rambling tour of the city, Geoff and I laughed at ourselves for anticipating this all to be a profound revelation to our first born son. In the end, the nostalgic tour was revealing and interesting for us, his parents. But William experienced his own day, made his own memories.

It is challenging to accept that more and more he is separate from us. Likely, I never had as much knowledge of his thoughts, or influence, as I thought, but now he can verbalize his individuality. He can reveal to me the power and uniqueness of his self. The responsibility of pregnancy and birth, of nurturing and protecting, of exposing a child to the world, is so profound and consuming that I find myself still encapsulated in a world of memories; nursing, sheltering, cooing and comforting. Sometimes I try to take him back in time and emotion with me, and remind him we were a pair, he was my baby, I knew his cries and I revolved my life around his needs and our values as a family.

12 is a lot. He has responsibilities and we have expectations. And 12 is still a part of the beginning. It does matter that we walked him around the lake, that I nursed him, that he traveled, and saw Sesame Street Live. He doesn't have to remember all of it for it to be part of him, and he doesn't even have to like some of the choices we made. Tomorrow William will be 12 years old, and he is a wonderful boy. He shows profound caring, and has strong convictions, he gives warm hugs, and cooks delicious quesadillas. He can sing well, but says he doesn't like to. He does like to play tennis and swim, read, draw and write. He wants to direct films or build his inventions, or do set design or write scripts. He worries about his cats, and the state of the world. And because he is older he can make some choices on his own, and because he is taller he can reach further than before, and because he is my son I will remember how we started, I will still make rules, offer guidelines, love him, and I will marvel at the process I am privileged to witness; watching William become.

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

Do you use your showerhead as a Waterpik? Just stand under the descending jets of water and grin broadly. Bare your teeth for a cheap cleansing. Of course I can't speak for the effectiveness; what I spent on dental procedures last year could sustain a Ugandan village for ten months.

Ultimately my fear of flying is not about the highly remote possibility of a blazing fall and the searing pain of a fiery, choking death. What most distresses me is the thought of the poor person who would be left to go through all my crap. I really need to get organized.

I have never understood the rationale or (possibly?) the appeal of one ply toilet paper. Is it an ecological, or economical maneuver? Anyone acting on either of these assumptions should know that I will use twice as much one ply. I even have a little poem on the subject, but I hear Geoff begging me not to share too much.

Are some of you wondering: "Weren't they sending off their computer for repairs? Why is she still talking?" It's true, I did write about being without a computer and not being able to Blog. But Geoff left in the pouring rain and didn't take the machine with him, so I am getting a few more things out there.

When I was ten and living in Guatemala, an English teacher gave a language lesson on the seasons. "In English the four seasons are called 'Winter, Spring, Fall and Autumn,'" and she wrote these on the chalkboard. In this school insolent children were treated to a yardstick slap across their hands, and so with some trepidation I raised my hand and politely said, "Autumn and Fall are the same, and what about Summer?" She replied confidently, "Summer is an American holiday."

I never respected any of my doctors that said "tinkle."

Something to consider if Homeland Security is ever strapped for cash: In Sonora, Mexico there are painted plywood cutouts of traffic cops standing in the middle of the street. They are smiling with warmth and authority at busy intersections, and it isn't until you speed passed them that you see they are flat and propped.

I met a dog that eats oranges. He sniffs each fruit on the tree, then chooses the best. He picks the fruit with his mouth, peels it with his paws and then munches contentedly on each juicy segment. When selecting avocados he climbs the lower branches of the tree first.

Our cat Chango prefers to drink his water as it slowly drips from the tap. Nena likes the bathroom sink to be filled with fresh water. Diego takes his drinks privately, from the sink, toilet, whatever. Geoff likes his water in huge cups with lots of ice. All three boys like their water delivered at bedtime, preferably after I have turned out their light and gone to bed.

Monday, February 24, 2003

Our computer is ailing. It crashes a lot. It freezes, without warning. Unfortunately even our resident expert has exhausted his resources and cannot determine the cause or solution. And so our machine, our dear connection to the wide world must be sent away for diagnosis and treatment. No more email. No more Blogging. No more browsing online catalogs. No more amusement. No more teacher's aide.

And what will I do in the meantime? Where will I find the information I need, the laughs, the companionship? What will I do in the early morning hours, when the sun is slipping in to the dew dappled valley? How will I communicate with family, friends and the anonymous SPAM mongers? How will I be able to express the depths of my emotions and the heights of my unbridled joy?

Be aware. I am without a computer and I have a car. You never know when I may suddenly appear on your welcome mat. It's just computer withdrawal. You won't have to feed me or even respond to me. I will just sit and ramble on about our tractor and chickens, things the children have said or done, the splendor of the early blooming daffodils, the mystery of being the only qualified person to replace toilet paper rolls...and so on. When it gets to be too much simply nudge me and hold up a sign:

"Time Up,
Go Home."

I'll understand.