I did not stage this.
That’s a wastebasket, and that’s a coin bank.
My biggest boy is LateforDinner.
(at least he does laundry)
“These are the days to remember…”
So at the risk of being corny, I am reflecting on that Natalie Merchant song. I heard it today (I get to listen to my music when it’s just me and Squishy–the baby–in the Storm Trooper, actually the “Bloated Storm Trooper”, aka my FUGLY, old, white minivan which I hate in all ways except for its practicality).
So that song was released in 1992. I really don’t care to remember that year, but man those were some kind of days. Dark days, for me… But, remembering them is important, because they show me how to stay out of that dark. You know that quote, something like “we can’t know the light without the dark”. So I guess I’ll remember the days (though foggy), especially when I don’t want to, which is usually.
“These days you might feel a shaft of light across your face.” And I did then, in my dark-before-the-dawn time, in a very profound spiritual way, and I have followed that light ever since (a whole other story).
I heard the song today, and now these are the days. Natalie was brilliant, writing that song, because it is completely timeless. We have these days here, and those days over there..always the days.
How are these the days to remember? I can barely remember yesterday. These days are ONE continuous day, with very little sleep, occasional moments of clarity, lots of treading water, doing my varying best. I have a hard time remembering what day of the week it is sometimes. Maybe some moments will survive, but really it’s the ONE CONTINUOUS DAY quality of these days that I’ll remember. These days are ONE DAY full of playgrounds, tiny shoes, bruises, toddler fears, food allergies, sleepless nights, rallying self-confidence and forcing smiles on those tiiiirrrred dragging, bag-eyed days. I hope I remember these days that LateforDinner lets me sleep in, the days family and friends come over and the kids go crazy and we enjoy some real time together, the laughter, the days my boys get along and the flash forward moments I see in their growing relationship as brothers. I also hope I remember how hard it is, so I can appreciate those distant future years with a quiet house.
All of this ONE CONTINUOUS DAY is actually ONE CONTINUOUS SHAFT OF LIGHT across our faces. The light is not always warm. Sometimes in the darkest days that light is only a cold glimmer, but it is always there through the fog. Some days that light is so hot and bright it brings undeniable joy. And so, I remember all of the days as ONE to remember, because these are always the days.
“You know it’s true that you are blessed and lucky,” Because Boys.
Each holiday arrives fresh and clean, without the stains of materialism to warp its meaning. With each impending arrival of (insert overblown holiday here) I breathe, and recite my mantra: “I will not overdo it this year. I will teach my kids the true meaning of this holiday, and give them a few small meaningful tokens to commemorate the ritual of (insert appropriate ritual here). This is not about plastic toys or sugar.”
Today, the holiday into which I breathed this wholesome mantra was Easter. I think I was a little confused about my own intentions here, though, because as I walked through the toy aisles of TARGET (making sure everyone got even amounts of THINGS), I was determined to fill the baskets with toys instead of candy. So, um, I think I strayed a leeetle beet from the whole purpose of a minimalist holiday…yeah…
Anywho…this year the boys will be getting TOYS from the bunny, chocolate marshmallow things, fucking jelly beans, Ninja turtle and R2D2 shaped candy holder thingys, and
True story: I loaded up the belt with all of this crap and handed the Peeps back to the cashier,
“I’m not getting these.”
“Yeaaah, I need to dial it back a little.”
If we have talked at all in the last eight years, you have probably heard me complain about the mess in my house. The dirty, messy, out of control, disorganized mess that is my house. I really struggle with this. Like, eye twitching hair pulling struggle. I’m like Master Shifu in Kung Fu Panda, meditating, saying “inner peace…in-in-innnner peeace…” when really there is turmoil inside. That poor little panda guy was so uptight! Until, big fat sloppy messy unrefined Po came along and shook him up, shook his world, freaked him out, and ultimately brought him that inner peace. Irony.
(99% positive I can reference kids movies here, right? If you haven’t seen Kung Fu Panda, go check it out, it’s awesome.)
So is there a lesson here? I don’t know, because really I was so very peaceful when I had a Feng Shui home with everything pretty and organized and I had time to meditate and do my yoga. This was so long ago, and I’m still trying to get with this new chaos! Because of this, I think this whole thing goes a lot deeper than the things around me. I stress so much about the dishes that don’t ever get done because that fucking maid never shows up, the laundry-that-is-the-floor, the PEE…the PEE everywhere! Seriously, Because Boys… I have seen them stand there and yell over their shoulder while peeing, and you know, the head turns, the body turns, the PEE turns….I get it, there’s a hose attached to their body, WEEE! So I stress, because I just can’t keep up. I mean, I could, but then when would I do anything else? So this is me sitting in forced meditation, trying to will inner peace, fighting the truth. The eye twitches thinking about all of the work…
Here’s the truth, I never have liked cleaning. I was able to maintain when I was alone, and even when it was just me and *Late for Dinner. But when it’s me vs. four males, I am more than outnumbered. Period. I would have to become psycho-crazy-clean-rules-enforcer to keep things nice, and I just can’t be happy that way. How can I enforce those rules if I never follow them anyway? I don’t even like rules. I never have liked rules, so I keep the house rules pretty durn basic. Like, you have to at least have on underwear to sit on the couch; and if you drop food on the floor, pick it up and eat it. Because we don’t waste food. This is unless you are a toddler, in which case you may throw all of your food on the floor as long as you return to pick it up and finish it two hours later. I am sure he plans this. He knows I won’t sweep it up before then.
Having very basic rules decreases eye twitches, because this is really just about getting up from that meditation cushion, and throwing Po some cookies. I have tasted big gulps of that inner peace while letting my boys play outside barefoot, sometimes in underwear, filthy, and *gasp* without sunscreen for a whole hour! I’ve seen flashes of that inner peace when making the decision to keep a trampoline in my dining room through the recent WINTER FROM HELL, because even though we could barely move around the room, my boys could jump their crazies out during the darkest coldest days. Mismatched socks, untucked sheets, no more bathroom counter… I watch the baby throw his food on the floor, and take a breath. I will not try to force peace, peace just happens at the center of the storm. One of Osho’s Zen Tarot cards says “Stand in the center of the cyclone and relax, and know that this too will pass.” Or if you’re Shifu, get up and train your Po.
And here comes one of those little cyclones to pick up his floor food, two hours after breakfast. And that my friend, is some kind of inner peace.
* Husband and I were talking about what I should call him here, and he said “Just don’t call me late for dinner. “
I don’t like the term “blog”. It sounds like a combination of “bleh” and “gag”, which is what I did before tonight when I thought about writing a blog. I just thought it was silly, because we talk on the phone to the people who know our story, and watch our kids play together. Plus, who is so full of themselves that they think anyone would want to read their public diary? I guess I am now…and my friends who actually help and inspire with their writing yadda yadda…
Anyway, I am doing this because my friend said I should. She’s not just any friend, this one helps people every single day. She is pretty amazing, and if I can make her laugh, or even just smile, I am willing to write a little bit. If she goes and sees the sadness and despair, and brings light and hope to women and children in desperate need, and THEN goes and teaches college classes, AND does the mommy thing, I can type some stuff for her.
(Um, just a note, I am usually really careful about my writing, like I’ll realize I am writing a run-on sentence with too many or not enough commas, and fix it. I don’t think I’ll be doing that here, and that’s a big deal for me. I am sort of a grammar nerd, so yeah, big deal.)
So this picture is what prompted this public journal. Amazing Friend said it made her laugh, and that I should start a blegh. I am not sure who will read my nonsense, but it’s just silly nonsense anyway, so I’m good with two followers (one is my mom).
The photo: I have three boys. They are currently 8, 3, and 15 months. I also use a dinner bell, because they don’t come when I call. (Bells, whistles…I AM talking about human boys, not dogs.)
So I dedicate this blegh to my friend who demanded it, and also to those who can find the everyday humor in this life-on-earth thing we have to do. If it is not in your programming to tell your son he can eat the chocolate chips you spilled on the kitchen floor if he picks them up, perhaps this is not the blegh for you.
Or maybe it is, because floor food is important sometimes.
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