wake up, and work

It is 7:30 am and there is already a pirate island situation in the basement, a scenario in which every blanket and every pillow in the house has been dragged down flights of stairs and piled in a particular spot.

I try not to awfulize the future, to imagine three months of summer in which I spend my days refereeing preadolescent boy arguments and my evenings deconstructing pillow forts.

I have been a mother for eleven years, and it proves hard to remember a time when I was not, when I was the one stealing area rugs from the basement to decorate our cousin clubhouse, pining for my own place full of small people to care for. I understand that motherhood may not be everyone's exhausted cup of tea, but for me, most of the mothering job comes easily. Still, nearly all of it feels like work. And honestly, sometimes I crave applause for something other than remembering to pack everyone’s favorite granola bars.
What do you do? The question is fraught, with its assumptions about the centrality of work.
I don’t know, I stay home? Except I feel like I'm hardly ever here.
I worry. And I write.
Once in awhile I get paid to talk, but most of the time it seems like no one is listening.
I wipe rear ends and I scramble eggs and I fold fitted sheets all day long.
I am not complaining about being buried under a mother’s mundane and demanding tasks. I signed up for this.
I have children, and they have me.
It is 7:30 at night and I begin ushering the boys through the stations of winding down. We have been to the pool and the library, to piano lessons and the grocery store. We unloaded the dishwasher, all of us, a brief symphony of cooperation. We folded towels and painted with watercolors, small miracles each. There were moments of crazy banana pants behavior, and there was time to bake a half birthday cake, because tender encouragement and chocolate go a long way.

Eleven years in and I am still surprised at how the hilariously confounding and the overwhelmingly holy coexist.

The boys are asleep now and I have folded all the blankets, knowing they may be chip-clipped to another chair tomorrow, grateful for the work I will wake up to again.


rht said...

Not sure I ever felt grateful enough as I folded blankets.... but I AM. You make parenting look easy and your boys are lucky to have so many opportunities to invent and problem-solve.

Kristy Grachek said...

Yes yes yes and yes. Craving applause for something other than... but mostly grateful to wake up to it again.

This post so resonates with me. Keep writing!

Poppy John said...

Jenni Baby,
You know you could quickly pick up a lot of the toys left on the floor with a small plastic ended snow shovel? No kidding. Try it.