Between Eleanor and Emma there is soccer, violin, piano, dance, ballet, and Girls on the Run. In October we'll add Girl Scouts and chorus to that list. Along with their activities there is also homework (whoa 4th grade!) and practice time for the instruments. We also have a three year old, need I say more? Kevin and I keep pretty busy schedules ourselves and so our calendar is a dizzying maze of words, numbers and arrows.
With varying practices, classes, games, and appointments, each day has its own wild rhythm. Several times each week I have to be in two places at once so I rely on my awesome friends and neighbors to fill in. They are in the same boat so we help each other. Since there are times that I MUST rely on others I try hard not to ask when I don't absolutely have to. Which is how on Wednesday night Lucy and I ended up in the van for an hour and and forty five minutes . Ok, we did get out for about 15 minutes but still, it was pretty funny. You see, Emma has ballet from 6:30-7:25 and Eleanor has soccer from 6:45-7:45. We took Emma to ballet, waited long enough to see her walk through the front door of the studio, and then peeled out of the parking lot heading to the soccer fields, we got there just in the nick of time, told the coach we would be back to get El at 7:45 but not a minute earlier, drove back to dance, got out for a potty break and to catch a few new moves from Emma, ran back out to the van, drove back to the soccer field, in time to see El do a few cartwheels (yes, at soccer) before driving all of our tired, hot bodies home. Of course before any of that rigmarole even began we ate dinner and everyone practiced instruments and finished homework. Tired yet?
If 5 years ago you'd have told me that would be my Wednesday night I'd have laughed, oh not us! When the girls were younger I thought we'd just sign up for one activity at a time, none of this over scheduled nonsense. Sounds like a stellar plan, doesn't it? But somewhere along the way we figured out that that wasn't such a stellar plan for us. Not the imaginary us of the future but the real us. For us, right now, having a whole lot of balls in the air is working really, really well. In fact in all of this busyness I find myself feeling overwhelming joy, to the point of my heart literally feeling like it's expanding in my chest. I feel blessed beyond measure to get to spend a Wednesday night singing Christmas carols with Lucy while driving Janey back and forth across Clayton all the while getting to catch glimpses of my girls doing things they love.
Life is busy and full and happy, and I'm so thankful.
On a much less busy day. Our day at Shaw Nature Reserve. Did I tell you about that? I think I forgot, it was wonderful!
Below is a post from the amazing author Anne Lamott from FB today. I'd been wanting to write the above post for the last week but....well I've been busy. I read Lamott's piece and it made me smile to be able to reflect that I'm living exactly the life I want to live, no changes necessary. Oh sure, opportunities for personal improvements abound but the nitty gritty of my life is just the way I want it to be.
Someone asked me the other day how my life would change if I only had two weeks to live. I said I would definitely eat a lot more creme brûlée, and not floss at all. But I don't think it's the right question.
The better question is, What would you change about your life if you had a year or so to live? Of course you would have to floss, or you would become repellant with your oyster-y breath; and you'd probably have to limit yourself to one creme brûlée (or two) a day. But would you write? Would you exercise? Would you return phone calls from people you only medium care about, who talk to long and say repetitive annoying things.
I would not write for publication, that's for sure. Stitches, the handbook on meaning, hope, repair, will be my 15th book. It's a little unseemly to keep cranking them out. It's unnecessary for me to keep publishing. Besides, I always say the same things: you are loved and chosen , a unique, lovely, wild and slightly screwed up creation. Try to get a little writing done every day--it will help you know and forgive yourself, which is why we are here. Earth is forgiveness school. What you are looking for is already inside you. There is no way to achieve, date, buy or lease anything that will fill up the Swiss cheese holes within. "Figure it out" is not a good slogan. Etc etc etc..... HOWEVER!
I'd keep writing on Facebook and Twitter. That's all I want to write when I grow up. I don't want to have to think up any more gimmicks for a novel, and I sure as hell don't want to have to keep going through the two months per-publication. It is a nightmare. Not everyone will like your book and you are going to want to die; and for them to die: some of the people you love most will accidentally hurt your feelings, and is will make you crazy and self-righteous, will is what hell is like. You are going to channel all the adults who barked at you that you needed to get thicker akin, but you couldn't do it then, when you were still malleable, and now you are stuck in your ways, with your thin skin and open heart--which is actually a BEAUTIFUL WAY TO BE. Plus, your vision is going, your feet often hurt, and your hair is falling out, so the odds of somehow getting nice new thick skin are zero. Besides, it was never for sale at the Dime Store anyway.
So yes, I'd keep writing, in the most populist way popular, which is here, and over at Twitter, with the world's most fabulous trolls still talking about Benghazi and Personhood; and at the same time, this fantastic ongoing conversation, and fabulous information. (Someone just tweeted my new favorite bumper sticker: "GUNS DON'T KILL PEOPLE; well, maybe a little.")
And yes, I would still exercise. I'd walk the dogs and take myself on a hike in the hills, in the woods and around town, because that is where I most directly experience the divine, in the glories of nature, in breezes, breath and birdsong. I'm amazed on every single walk. Maybe that makes me a simpleton, but Simpletonian principles would be the way I'd want to live my last year.
And it's as important to return phone calls as it is library books, because it's the right thing to do. Otherwise, you are being an ass-hat, and this will only hurt you, and make you toxic. karma bats last. There is a wooden crucifix at a church in Corte Madera from WW11, with the arms blown off, thats says, "Jesus has no arms but ours, to do his work and to show His love." So if you want to have happy, loving feelings, do loving things. That's the secret of life, whether you are at all Jesusy or not. Be of service. Get people water. Clean up the litter on your block, even though there will be more tomorrow. Call back the infuriating cousin, who always talks too long, because she is God, in God's most distressing guise as a conservative relative, who has possibly not had quite enough therapy. But if you ask my tiny impatient self, it's okay to tell a tiny lie in order to limit the call to fifteen minutes. Say you love her, but you just have to go, now. It's fine. You get a full credit. Someone brilliant told me this once. 15 minutes, okay to lie, love, full credit
So that's how I would live, starting right now, if this were Day One; which it is.