Tuesday, September 21, 2010


The passing of my days
is ticked in irregular increments
upon the door frame
separating the kitchen from
the rest of the house.
Each rising mark a triumph
for you
and a sweet sadness for me
as you shed your childhood
like autumn leaves
falling slowly
until I am buried
beneath the pile of memories.

Running to Stand Still

I've been looking forward for weeks to the quiet of an empty house. Two kids in school ideally means seven hours a day to myself. I grew up with a great deal of solitude, and feel keenly the difference between lonely and alone. And I crave time alone. Time to think an idea all the way through without resorting to scribbling fractured notes I must later interpret and try to re-create a line of thought. Time to finish a task - even if it's just cleaning a bathroom - without circling through the house picking up things and making meals and separating storming children between each step.

I imagined blissful hours to accomplish everything on my years-old task list; and finding hollow spaces I had to fill with projects or visits to old friends; and being a better parent because I cherished the time with my kids instead of working around their presence to get stuff done.

It didn't happen.

I cried when I left Violet at kindergarten, and spent a few hours reaching for her little hand as I ran errands in my first solo afternoon. But since then, I've had no time to miss her. This year I accepted a position on the school PTA, and it's filling my days (and evenings, and even sleepless nights) with responsibilities and obligations. I'm having trouble finishing anything, because each part of my life is overlapping the others, and I can't concentrate on anything. And I spend my rare quiet moments wondering how any woman ever survives working and parenting and maintaining a marriage. Today is the first day I've had the house to myself since August (Will finally found some work) and I've gotten more done this morning than in many days past, but the passage of time makes me anxious to the point of skipping bathroom breaks and putting off meals.

I did take up my knitting again in the brief time Will and I spend together, exhausted into complacency in front of the TV. And strangely, the year-or-more hiatus has made me a better knitter. I even finished a hat and have started on number two. It's nice to actually have something to show for a hours work.

So. I breathe, and now I'm off to do more laundry before starting in on emails. Bless all of you who do this and hold down a job. I'm in awe.