Lately we've had a some difficult times. You have just been through the stomach flu. You've been in trouble for using inappropriate language. You've run out of clean underwear and socks in the drawer and I haven't gotten around to folding the clean laundry mountain. This house is messy, I know, and it frustrates you when toast crumbs stick to your bare feet when you walk through the kitchen. I don't know why they didn't put in enough shelves. Yes, our last house, the good one, had lots of places to put things. You also had our own room.
This past week, when you woke up every two hours, aching belly, to cry over the toilet, I stopped being sympathetic about 4 a.m. and snapped at you to get over it already, damnit. I was really really tired. Sorry. I am only human. I suppose when I became a mama I had my membership to humanity revoked, the influence of my own chemistry and deficits no longer an excuse in the face of my Great Responsibility.
Still, old habits die hard.
And now that I know that when you originally heard the word 'stupid,' it was from me yelling at another driver. It's just one of the many colourful and exciting words you've learned at my side. I see how much I influence you and maybe I came down a little too hard on you when you called your brother that word. Maybe. I do feel bad for the shit storm that was unleashed when your father heard you say it. Then again, I'm a little perplexed at your selective learning, how you can learn so well to say something, but fail to learn to stop saying it.
I think maybe that you might be human too.
And, yesyesyes, I am a terrible homemaker and doer of the domestic arts. My mom isn't too hot at it either. Actually, I'm pretty good at cleaning and cooking and sewing and laundry and decorating, but not at the same time. As in the same year. I am disorganized and a bit of a slacker too. When you and your brother are, in those rare moments, engaged in independent play, I tend to sit down and read a book rather than tackle that pile of dirty dishes. Because books make me feel alive and doing dishes makes me cry.
Sorry about that.
While we are on the topic of housekeeping, I do want to point out that it's not one your strong points either. Be honest now, when I ask you to pick up your toys, do you industriously get to task? Or do you melt into a pile of tears because, 'it's too hard!' And where do you think toast crumbs come from?
There is absolutely no denying that we have a crisis of storage space. My ideal room has two large windows, with plenty of sunshine, a long table in the middle and nothing but shelves on all available wall space. If there is any extra floor, more free standing shelves.
It looks exactly like a public library.
Most houses built in the 1950s, when this house was built, did not envision having a family live, work, and learn all within the house. It was a time when home was a sanctuary away from the outside world, not like now when we try to bring the whole world inside with us. They didn't even see the washer and dryer coming. They certainly didn't see how much stuff a person has when they are trying to throw as many interesting things to explore in front of their children as possible. Or the two hundred pounds of craft and art supplies. Or the hundreds books piled in drifts around the furniture that is, in this era, much bigger than any of the doorways, creating a puzzle when we ponder how they actually got the couch in the room in the first place (suspicion falls on the badly sealed front window).
Times change, and we have to deal with what was, what is now, and what will happen all at once. Which means the now isn't always ideal. Okay, the now is never Ideal. But still, there is the next house. Only four months still moving day. We'll get one with more shelves, yes? I can't promise you anything about your own room.
Okay, you aren't thrilled with moving anymore. Sorry. Yes, I tore you away from your beautiful blue home, sold it to a family that painted it pale green (oh, the horror!). It's the home you keep reminding me you and your brother were born in (well, sorta) and nothing has been good since we left. I remind you that since then of the ocean you played in daily, the funky markets with the over sized sculptures, the owl that captured your heart, the wild bears fishing for salmon, the museums, the lakes, the unforgettable roads. The chocolate shop on the harbour with the park where we visited so often they put a picture of your chocolate smeared face on the wall. Of the prairies and fields you've walked, the harvest you've gathered, of the friends that could not of been if we had not moved.
Okay, at least there was plenty of chocolate, yes?
It is true that I have made mistakes. We could of played it safe, and solidered along where we were, assured that we would have the comforts of the familiar and the safety of assuring that our yesterday melts into the now and then tomorrow seamlessly. Putting up more shelves as needed. Striving for Ideal.
But, is that what would of happened, if we strove for stasis? None of us know what we will truly need tomorrow. When our habits and knowledge no longer meet the current situation, what can we do?
Imperfection does not mean that everything is bad. Adapting to meet challenges makes you stronger. Like how you have to work a muscle to exhaustion before it builds up more strength.
Yes, I actually said challenges make you stronger. I know, shocking. Rise up, girl, and meet them. You are so capable. You can grow into a new paradigm.
During these times when the Discouraging seems to outweigh the Awesome I see you struggling with circumstances created by my faults. My potty mouth, my disorganization, my bad housekeeping, my predilection for moving house and home. My inability to hang a shelf. I mess up plans, I fall down, I fail to hold up my end of the bargain. I get distracted.
Mama ain't perfect.
You can thank me anytime.