Yesterday afternoon I sat in my kitchen, brooding in a comfortable sort of way. The window was open and the day was cool and drowsy. If I’d spent it cuddled by a fire with a good book and no cares, it would have been lovely. As it was, the day felt like a lovely kind of somber. I was preoccupied with my vaguely depressed mood, my feeling of being in a state of “meh.”
I was perched on a pillow because of a ridiculous hip joint that’s been bothering me for a few days. (And by “bothering” I mean making me hobble around like the overweight old lady I feel like I am. And making me wonder whether I’m too old and out-of-shape to be popping out an adventurous man-baby every couple of years.)
But my five-month-old was napping in his swing while his two big brothers took their daily movie-watching-on-the-sofa “resting time.” (I choose my battles and I choose not to engage in that awful, horrible, no-good battle called “naptime.”) All three were quiet and still, so SCORE. Hip be damned.
I had dishes in the sink, but not too many. I had a pile of papers sitting behind me, but not too tall. My kitchen floor was relatively free of clutter, but the dining room was covered with it. I had (ahem, have) loads of lovely emails and blog comments to answer (I love you people even when I take forever to get back to you!) and I’d meant to take care of them then, but instead I decided to finally, finally put school and choir dates in my planner.
I was feeling perpetually overdue, disorganized, and distracted. I was feeling like I don’t spend enough time doing fun things or educational things or creative things with my children. I was wondering whether I’ll ever get my act together. (Please don’t tell me I won’t.)
But I was also recognizing that I have healthy, polite, happy little boys. That they give and receive an abundance of cuddles. That I make dinner most every night and my boys eat reasonably well-rounded meals. That they have clothes that fit and we always seem to have clean laundry to wear, even if it has to be pulled, crumpled, from a pile at the foot of my bed.
In short, I may not feel all that successful at managing my home or my family (or my blog), but I’m keeping it together. Everything is at least functioning, if not flourishing. Meh.
A short while later, wouldn’t you know, my boys reached down into my slump and started to pull me out of it – with some delightfully poor behavior. While I was trying to prepare their dinner, the four-year-old lay screaming at my feet, in full meltdown mode because I’d turned off his movie. I stepped over his flailing limbs, determined to ignore his temper tantrum.
Then I saw it: a wicked robot was advancing, in the form of my slowly-stomping two-year-old. He wore a menacing look on his face and he stretched out his wiry little arms and fingers into claws. He knew that his prey was vulnerable. And… he pounced.
Honestly, I thought it was a brilliant way to deal with a brother who had lost it. And I kind of enjoyed the ensuing ruckus: two boys rolling around on the floor, one sobbing and hollering and the other striking with his robot claws. (We don’t call that kid “fierce” for nothing.)
Soon the baby started screaming too, so I picked him up and sat in the rocker with him while we watched his brothers.
Today my slump has returned, and sunk a bit deeper. Today’s brooding doesn’t feel as lovely as yesterday’s. I’m feeling more discouraged about my hip and a little more grumpy, all around. Those “carefree” summer days seem long over; we’ve now re-entered the season of schedules and commitments and comparisons and knowing that time passes too quickly. I’m feeling sort of unequal to it.
But it’s just a little slump.
I have these wonderful little trouble-makers, you see, who are liable to make me jump out of it at any moment. I’m sort of looking forward to whatever-it-is they come up with next.