It seems like January mornings are as discombobulated as September ones are, at least in my house. Two weeks off of school for the holidays, plus another few days of flu and fever makes mothers and children alike forget everything they have learned (and committed to rote memory) over the previous months.
“What’s next, Mama?”
I don’t even remember myself. “Well, is your lunch packed? Are your shoes on?”
I glance at the clock. We have about 16 minutes. She stares at the door to the garage. “Where are my shoes again?”
The school aged girls are frustrated. Their mother is frustrated. “I’m not sure. Where did you leave them?”
More blank, early-morning, early winter stares.
At some point we managed to gather everything and get it into the car. Full stomachs? Check. Full backpacks? Check.
I put the car into reverse and began to pull out of the driveway. “My rubber bands!” My twelve-year-old exclaimed.
The removal of her braces is dependent on the wearing of her rubber bands each and every day and night. I put the car back into park and with a fully frustrated soul, ran back into the house myself.
As I maneuvered the minefield of the garage, I suddenly thought. “I don’t HAVE to do this, I GET to do this.” I really do. It hit me right there (and met me, if you will) in the middle of my irritation.
I get to retrieve her rubber bands and serve my daughter in this way. I get to make them breakfast and fill their tummies with good food. I get to do all of this.
The poet, Mary Oliver, asks, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
It only happens once, doesn’t it? The braces? The sixth grade angst. The eight-year-old birthday.
My one wild and precious life? Right now, it’s retrieving rubber bands from the bathroom for my almost-teen. It’s packing lunches. It’s trying to find the time to write that book (which will get written). It’s folding unending mountains of laundry. It’s getting up at 5 to return emails and, because I know myself, I also know that it won’t get done later in the day. My Wild and Precious life, the only one I have, is filled with school papers and projects and a very numbered, short amount of years left with these two smallish people.
THIS is what my One Wild and Precious life looks like right now. Almost tripping on shoelaces in the garage and going for the 4th or 11th time back into the house and while I’m doing it, trying to manage my frustration. And then in its place, I find gratitude for a family that I get to do this for.
Maybe someday it will look different, with less shoelaces in the garage and less trips inside the house, but for now, I’ll take it.
What about you? What are you doing with your one wild and precious life?