Friday, November 2, 2012

Time makes you bolder (even children get older)

We had friends over Wednesday night in what has become a standing Halloween tradition.

Midweek guests. Two families.

The weekend before we hosted multiple playdates and the one before we had Friday night dinner guests. We're introverted homebodies, the lovely husband and I; we cherish our just-family time and don't entertain all that often. But we had two families over in the middle of the work week and it was notably unremarkable.

("What is she talking about now?" you're whispering. I can hear you.)

It used to be a thing to have people over. I don't know, we used to fuss and fret and panic that the house wasn't clean enough. It used to be a source of stress. It wasn't always-- before kids everything was so much easier. But before kids we also stuck to ourselves far more; or more specifically, I stuck to myself and the husband worked 100 hour weeks. Potatoes, potahtoes.

I have loved the transformation to every recognizable element of life that having children has brought us, but I also haven't felt any control since they arrived. And I far prefer feeling in control. The image that comes to my mind every time I think about the past almost-seven years is that amusement park ride that spins so fast that when its floor drops out, the riders stick to the wall by the force of its movement. Do you know that feeling? I don't, because I've never once ridden that thing. I prefer to be in control.

November is the month wherein everyone talks about giving thanks and when I tally up my fortunes and smile on them I realize that existence has felt a little easier in the past few months. Our last kid is making his way step-by-step (and stomp in every single sloshy puddle) through the terrible twos. We are sleeping more (though still not enough). We are slowly finding a routine for living rather than a reactionary reflexive string of patches for baby-caring.

Maybe we're slow to adjust. Or maybe it's that we ceded some control so far gone we've accepted the smaller portion of what we've gained again as sufficient. Maybe it's a little of everything. We know not everyone has three kids. We know not everyone spaces them so close together. We knew we have no family around who would help. We didn't know the kids themselves, that they'd be louder than average, more boisterous.

We didn't know ourselves, and how much we'd keen in their presence.

So we had friends over on Wednesday. And the white shelf was covered in clutter and the living room couch piled high with unfolded laundry and I couldn't find the craft project I had put aside just for that night and maybe in these almost-seven years I climbed the world's slowest learning curve, but Wednesday was extremely nice. Nothing earth-shattering, just the epitome of pleasant.

You and I and everyone else, we'll talk this month about specific gifts. Maybe for you it's gainful employment or health or storm shutters that did their job. We all have a lot for which to feel thankful. But since mid-summer I've been floating on a cloud of contentment: this life of ours is coming together. Wednesday tied that sensation up in a prominent bow. And as we head into the weekend, I'm going to smile myself into a comfy corner of the couch and ruminate on it all some more.

It's a fine plan, isn't it? (And I have the time-- nobody's coming over.)

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PS: Facebook is being a stingy jerk about showing my links. Did you see the first real post to my new Artists in Residence series at Simple Kids? It explains last week's banana art.

PPS: I'm NaBloPoMoing again, God help me. And in this, my fifth such year, I'm the least prepared I've ever been. ("What's NaBloPoMo, you crazy lady?" you're now asking. It means I've committed to write a post here every day in November. The point is that writing begets writing. Nobody promised, I noticed, that it begets good writing.) So has there ever been a topic on which you've wished I'd said more? A burning question about me? Lemme know.

PPPS: Have you voted yet in the election my older daughter is running? You will, right? Just like that other election, you only have through Tuesday. This is bigger than the future of our country. My girl's faith in the power of the internet is on the line.

PPPPS: It's the weekend! Get off your computer/smart phone and go smile somewhere. Go.

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