Thursday, March 8, 2012

A Bucket Full of Holes

Forest Encounter
As the white noise of the warm wind, blowing in strong gusts through the treetops, wafts through my open window, it is sprinkled with silvery dimes of sound from my bedragled backyard wind chimes.  A lone spring peeper chirps to itself, although I may be able to hear a faint chorus behind it when the wind dies down... yes, I think so.  They must be down the block, further in the common forested area of our townhouse development.  Yes, there they are.  They are a bit early this year it seems, but as you may know if you're from around here, we've had an unusually warm winter and March came in like a lamb wrapped in cotton.  It was in the mid 70s (F) here today.  We have daffodils already.  It's ridiculous.

That aside, I do have a serious purpose here:  confession.

Forgive me, husband, for I have sinned.  It has been 24hrs since my last blog post.  I confess before the entire world that you asked me today very nicely if I might find time to throw some wash in for you and I did not.  Now you are downstairs doing it yourself and I am up here, cross-legged in bed.  This bothers me enough to check on you via our phone intercom, but not enough to trot down there with my laptop.  I am enjoying the wind too much.  I offered to babysit it for you before getting comfy here, but you said no, that wasn't necessary.  You are probably watching TV.  I have no good excuse for not having thrown it in today.  I had plenty of time to do it.  I guess I just was not enthused enough about clearing a wash basket, emptying our overflowing hamper into it, and then lugging the whole thing downstairs to the basement, which is just laziness and neurosis.  It was so much easier to want to do just this one thing first, and then another, again and again.  I also didn't vacuum the upstairs like I have needed to do for God knows how long, and now I've found a few carpet beetles to convict me.

What did I do today?  I played with our son as we lazed on our (made!) bed this morning, letting him watch How It's Made and play Angry Birds on my iPad.  Actually, I played Angry Birds and he cheered me on quite enthusiastically.  Then I tickled him a lot and wrestled with him and let him maul me until we went downstairs.  I got him some Cherios for breakfast, which he specifically asked for and I double-checked that he wanted, set them in front of him, and was greeted by a protest that no, he wanted Kix!  He eventually ate them.  I laid down on the couch (MISTAKE) and listened to the end of The Diane Rehm Show on NPR and snoozed a tiny bit through The Kojo Nnamde Show.  I tried to get the boy to rest a while too since I know he does in daycare, but he would only snuggle with me for a few seconds at a time.  Eventually, I read a Dr. Seuss book to him and got him dressed.  I snuggled him some, then I finally got dressed.  We went to school to pick up sister, where our car was invaded by flying ants for some reason.  It was so nice to have the windows open... until then.  I swiped them all out, mostly, and drove with all the windows down to (where else?) Chic-fil-A and grabbed a snack for the kindergartener and lunch for the boy and myself.  Then we went back to the park near school where they played and I talked with our ex-neighbor and other moms.

As you know, since I called to tell you, the new Crofton (MD) Target is open!  I am both thrilled and dismayed at having a brand-spanking-new Target now open within 10 minutes of our front door.  It has nice new, clean carts, and, more importantly, a Starbucks (yes!).  So the kids played at the park (I brought our son's scooter and helmet which he enjoyed for approximately 2 minutes) and then we checked out Target, where the kids had a slushee each, cherry, and a bag of popcorn.  I blew about $50 on stuff we don't need, which I am telling myself I can return.

The rest you know.  I grabbed a couple of hotdogs for the kids, stopped at home to let the dog out, and hi-tailed it to Crofton Children's Center for the parenting workshop we attended (2 hours of free childcare!).  Oh yes, and you finally made it there too after going to the wrong school which I had confirmed for you multiple times but not realized I was telling you the wrong place because I am just that with it.

Afterwards, when you took the kids home in your car because they wanted to go with you, I stopped back at Chic-fil-A and got some more fries with Chic-fil-A sauce and another (small!) Dr. Pepper because I am an addict.

So ends my confession for today.  I really will babysit your laundry if you want.  Then I would have an excuse to stay up and pin stuff on Pinterest instead of do the illustration I am supposed to be doing for my children's book project with my brother-in-law's brother.  See how productive I am?  It's been like this pretty much every day this week.  I have been a total slacker.

Some of the trees outside are squeaking against each other in the wind.  It sounds like the call of some strange bird.  I keep imagining I see flying ants everywhere.
So about this parenting workshop... I know that I should be excited to have some new tools and things to think about and things to try this week (it is one in a series of evening sessions) but toward the end of it I mainly felt like I'd let down our kids by not having been doing this stuff from the start.  And remember that image about the bucket, how everyone has an emotional bucket that is filled up with love and affirmation and confidence from being built up in our childhood and from then on?  How we simultaneously refill our bucket each time we dip from our bucket to fill the other's bucket, but if we dip from their bucket to fill our own we simultaneously are emptying our bucket?  Whatever.  I just kept sitting there wondering why my bucket seems to be full of holes.  It's not like I had a horrible childhood, I was loved and hugged and kissed and supported, my bucket should be full!  But I feel like it is almost empty and that I dip from that to give to the kids but not to you.  I don't build you up at all.  I dip from you all the time and you fill my bucket all the time, but I am too selfish or lazy to dip from my bucket to yours.  What is that about?  Why do I passively let you assume as much responsibility as you possibly can while I enjoy as much ease as I possibly can?  Our ex-neighbor's husband would shame her if she were even a fraction as inadequate a homemaker as I.  I should be ashamed, since you are out working all day, but I don't seem to be as much as I feel I should be, usually.  Sometimes I am appropriately appalled at myself, but more often I don't want to look at it.

And yet, and this is telling, I writhe and squirm and cry when I think that my mother's judgement of me was that I was lazy (qualifier: about housework, not about other stuff--she was careful to point this out).  I know she thought this and now I see she was right, but it kills me that she thought this and has ever since that day I tried to dissuade her of the idea in our old kitchen.  Especially since at the time she said it, she had no reason to think it!  I was working and taking care of the house, with you, and anyway when we were kids, my room was always more tidy than my sister's... but she did grow up to be more of a helper with dinner and dishes and whatever and i would passively wait until asked, not volunteering.  And there's the fact that she dropped her life completely to care for Mom for two years or so while we were in Iowa.  Anyway, so what am I waiting for here in our house?  To be asked to do my own job?  For you to do it for me?  And when I am cleaning the house I get angry about it and resent it being dirty or messy, like once cleaned it should stay that way.  I think this is because that was the way it was in our house when I was growing up.  My mom magically staved off the family entropy so that if you did straighten up something it stayed that way.  Also I'm probably remembering from when we kids were older I suppose.

Anyway, those are my thoughts for tonight.  I'm not sure what you might require for absolution.  I'm happy to fold all the clothes.  I like to fold.  But I need help, obviously, from the baskets in our upstairs hall and the laundry neatly stacked on our downstairs sectional sofa, in putting stuff away.  We need to get the kids to put their stuff away and deal with their own entropy so they don't end up like me.  So they don't grow up to be passive and lazy at housework like their mother.

Boy that squeaking of the trees against each other is a little creepy.  Lovin' the peepers though.  Enough self-examination.  Ahh, dear Pinterest, here I come.


  1. You did sew a new button on my shirt without me even asking you, so, you know, you got that going for you.

    1. Ah, well then that makes everything all right! I take it all back. Ha ha