Photo: Another one from our favorite farm and this beautiful Massachusetts Autumn. Long time readers know that I am downright smitten with this place when the Fall color really gets going.
Title: I’m so corny! Sorry! I couldn’t help myself!
A soft rain is falling in MetroWest as I write this, Dear Reader. I hear it falling on the trees right outside of the office window. An intermittent breeze brings the chilly autumn air through the farmhouse and tempts me to get up to close the windows. I refuse, though. I too much enjoy the last of the birdsong, the whisper of needed rain and the rustling of leaves only newly starting to blush or blaze. It’s a time to relish the sights and sounds of this short season. I shrug on my favorite house cardigan, pull on my thick house socks and smile in gratitude.
Despite the frustrations of the week, I’m sitting at this desk with wine in hand and a feeling of accomplishment in my heart. I feel the work that I did this week: my back hurts from all the work of child-rearing and housekeeping, my feet hurt from all the errand-running and appointment keeping, and my right hand cramps from all the writing that I managed to do despite all of the stuff that attempted to devour my time this week. I feel frustrated because I know it wasn’t always graceful and I know that I didn’t do everything that I wanted to, but dammit, Dear Reader, I managed to accomplish a lot.
So I sip this wine with a smile. I’m here. I made it.
Unfortunately, all of my thoughts, especially my Quiet Thoughts, were swept up in it all. It feels like it took all of me to get everything done and that meant very little time to stop, look around and learn a lesson. If anything, the lessons I learned this week came from my frustrations. Lesson One: I haven’t lost my ability to stay focused, organized and use my time wisely. Unfortunately, that leads right into Lesson Two: I’m never going to have the blocks of time to pursue my passions that I think I’m going to have. Matter of fact, the times that I’ve claimed are either shrinking or disappearing all together. This results in Lesson Three: Nobody is going to care about my projects and passions as much as I do, so it’s on me to make them happen, and it’s on me to fight for the time to bring them to life.
I recognize Lesson Three as a dangerous one. If I let it be the prevailing wisdom, I have the high potential to really run myself ragged, burn myself out, or find a way to hate blogging and writing fiction. Lesson Two is the frustrating lesson: I thought that I’d earned 9 hours a week of “Me” time when school started, and I thought it would be easy to defend those 9 hours from all other influences. What I’m quickly finding, despite my very best efforts, is that those 9 hours are absolutely not mine. They will be filled by other people who lay claim to them: by giving me a task that requires an errand that can only be done without babies, by meetings, by meet-ups, by school obligations. Popular wisdom seems to be that by simply not having the boys in tow, I’m somehow automatically alleviated from all my burdens and therefore can perform even better on the necessary tasks of motherhood. While it’s certainly true that not having the boys with me makes me more mobile, faster on my turnaround and better at my tasks, it doesn’t necessarily mean I’m doing anything for myself or finding any satisfaction in my time.
“My time,” it would seem, is a fairy tale I made up all summer long. I hope I can get better at claiming it and keeping it as we get further into the school year. I fear, however, that winter is coming and these school days are going to slip away again, just like they did last year.
Work faster. Work smarter. Get better. No excuses.
Can I live up to my own high expectations? Mission impossible.
Here is what I know today, Dear Reader:
I know that a good, fruity red wine blend is a lovely thing to sip during an autumn afternoon. I know that roasting chicken marinated in Caribbean spices is going to warm up this house and lift up my spirits (served alongside some roti, beans and wilted greens, I stand to be quite full and happy tonight). I know that there is good sleep to be had on chilly Autumn nights and fun days to be had with little boys while raking leaves. I know that for all the things I didn’t do this week, there were many more things that I did do, and I was able to do them well. I know that I’m proud of what I accomplished, I’ve earned a bit of rest, and I’m going to be ready to do it all again on Monday.
I know that for you, Dear Reader, I have wishes of soup, dark and savory, featuring mushrooms, herbs and seasonal veggies. Bonus if it is served with good crusty bread. I wish you warm shoes for a long walk, leaves falling in a colorful dance around you. I wish you time to sit under a tree, smelling the sweetness of the changing season, letting the chill wake you up and inspire you. I wish you time with a good book and a lovely hot chocolate with marshmallows for fun. Maybe a cookie, too. You deserve it, you know! Bonus if someone bakes it for you fresh and lovely, and hands it to you straight off the sheet and still steaming from the oven. I wish you a few good stories. Make sure one of them is one that you tell, wide armed and fully performed, garnering laughter and good will. I wish you the opportunity to tell someone you love them, and for them to tell you the same in turn. I hope you know it to be true, deep down in your heart, Dear Reader. You are loved, for more reasons than you’ll ever know.
Until Monday, Dear Reader, take care.