Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My Little Valentine Cherub Is A Little Sh#*

I had a lovely cup of coffee at my desk working on my morning blog. I followed that up with a great workout while watching my girls at the table (Barbara, Elizabeth, Whoopie and Joy). Returning, showered to my desk (don't often get that shower in until late in the day but please don't tell anyone as I always hope that the nicer workout jacket gives the impression of calm, cool, collected and clean), I took care of the bills and returned school emails among a few other housekeeping-at-the-desk sorts of things. As it's Valentines Day, I ordered myself a pair of end-of-the-season boots off Zappos before heading off on 2 hospice visits. Following my visits, didn't really need to return home to prepare the kitchen for anything so I took myself out for a Valentine's Day lunch at Brueggers where I did my follow up notes for hospice and then texted my friend Sonia and enjoyed a brief but fun conversation with my friend Faith. It was another really great balanced day. Most importantly, I breathed like a normal person all day and even stopped to use the bathroom whenever I wanted instead of rushing around like a chicken with my head cut off. And then I headed to pick up the cherubs...

Oh my little middle cherub... You, my dear, just bought yourself another couple of Pillsbury crescent rolls!
As we're unloading from the car, I can feel my workout and I mumble, "Uhh, I'm so sore..."
"Hard day of blogging Mom?" A little smirk spreads across his face as he exchanges a look with his school friend (it was that little "Owned her!" thing they do nowadays).
"I'll have you know that I had a hard workout this morning. And, my little cherub you just bought yourself another strike day. I do more in a day than you can even begin to know, even when I'm on strike. My hospice clients and families recognize that..."

So this comment, among others, leads me to the reflections of the day. This little exercise of striking has raised so many doubts in my mind about the choices I have made. Self doubt is brutal and admittedly a bit terrifying as I clearly have some things to figure out. Coming up on almost 20 years as officially a stay at home Wife and Mother, I've watched as my friends have built incredible careers and balanced it all and appear to have it all. And make no mistake, I am as should you be, very aware that my friends work extremely hard and deserve a great deal of credit. But I've watched and listened as their children squeal with delight over home baked cookies, a family dinner, and when their mom takes time away from the office to volunteer at school- they are heroes. Not the case with my cherubs. There's whining when they don't like the dinner I've prepared or if I've- heaven forbid, bought the wrong kind of bread you cannot imagine the revolt. When I pass my kids in the hallways at school as I leave a committee meeting or en route to volunteering in the Media Center they look over and say, "Hey. You're here? Did you bring snack?" My dear, dear husband, bless his heart, has worked long, long hours but even he has evening engagements and the occasional trip or seminar that thrills him and entertains him and facilitates conversations about the world over cocktails and dinner. For the most part he can really come and go as he pleases because firstly, I'm always here. And, it's all, other than the occasional sporting event with work friends, about the career that supports our family. I've spent a heck of a lot of nights talking about Wallace & Grommit and cars and trucks and snakes over mac & cheese while standing at the counter measuring out a dropper of pink penicillin. I've spent more hours that I can count begging my kids to get homework done and clean up after themselves when all I really want to do is watch the boob tube or go to bed or take a bath without having to explain why, when or where or talk naked through the door as my bath water gets cold because, "just one quick question Mom..." I've cleaned and cleared so many things over the years that I think perhaps that is why my back quit me?! Countless hours standing over the stove and at the sink. I have run my home with so much love, so much care, so well for my family. Don't misinterpret my message here. I chose this life and for the most part I have been so fulfilled in the blessings that being present has provided me. But I think that perhaps the time has come for a change as clearly it has really only meant so much to me. And well, I'm finding that not being chained to the kitchen and the demands of everyone else's every little need is quite- well, it's pretty awesome! And rewarding!

I'm a realist in that the strike is new and the novelty could wear off and I may long for doing, doing, doing for the family. And maybe I'll tire of the mess and last minute thrown together meals from the freezer but I gotta tell you, I don't think so. There's a part of me that has had a look at the other side of the mountain and when you're over there, the fact that the counter top is sticky with last night's dinner or that the recycling didn't make it out doesn't matter after all. The joy and freedom of doing less for everyone else around here and more for those who actually appreciate me- it's so rewarding. So fulfilling and rewarding. Today, I discovered or perhaps finally just internalized that there are many people out there that are actually, genuinely interested in what I have to say and my opinions. And heads up, they don't interrupt me when I'm speaking. That in itself is refreshing and oohhh so nice. I'll have you know that my client today (92 years old), actually teared up when I offered to make her a recipe that her mother used to make. She told me that I was pretty AND she thinks I'm funny. (So did the guy in the elevator but he was admiring my Valentine's Day necklace if you catch my drift...) Now she's someone worthy of a few hours of baking in the kitchen. As for the kids, let 'em eat cake. Or in this modern day, Pillsbury crescents!

Sorry to plagiarize but It's Time For Change in 2012. And the change maker is going to have to be... ME. I need to take a step back and evaluate what's not working for me because clearly it's been working pretty darn well for everyone else. I need to own that as I created it and so I'm going to create something else- the paradigm shift. The change that's coming has to work for me and of course for them. But first me, right?

Bottom line, my little cherub, I'm not a Blogger or maid or a cook or grounds keeper or a farmer or a hospice worker or school volunteer or a dishwasher. I'm not at the family punching bag when each member of this family has a bad day or a nurse. I'm not a dog walker or Dr's appointment maker. I'm not a chauffeur or a shrink. Not a doggy do-do picker upper or a forgot-my-permission slip school runner. I'm not a nutritionist or naturalist (read the blog about the number of reptiles and pets this house has hosted). G-d knows and if you ever meet me you'll certainly know, I'm certainly not a trophy wife- but then again I haven't exactly let myself go and sat on my arse eating everything that I bake with love for my family. (Jeez, I have to run and lift weights for the sole purpose of keeping up with my life!) I'm not a hired shopper or PA (personal assistant for those of you who live in my world). I'm not a teacher, tutor or tax accountant. I'm not each of these. I'm all of these and so much more. And, it would have been enough... I would have continued on indefinitely if there had been a little more respect, appreciation and more contributing from my guys to the work around here. I own it, and that in itself is a gift to me today. Happy Valentine's Day to me today! Today I learned that in fact, my heart is big enough for my family and for me and for all that I am to the world beyond these kitchen walls.
The strike must go on...

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