Seriously. They can put a monkey in space but they can’t manufacture a multi-vitamin that is smaller than an infant’s fist? (I know they put that monkey in space a really long time ago, but I’m not as updated on scientific breakthroughs as I probably should be, even though my husband has a subscription to Wired.)
She’s five. But do you see what I’m talking about?
I can’t swallow pills.
Not entirely accurate—I can swallow them eventually. Here’s how I do it: Put pill in mouth. Take sip of water. Decide it is too much water. Spit some into sink. Decide it’s not enough water—take a micro-sip. Breathe as I try to psyche myself up to swallow pill. Cringe as it begins to dissolve in my mouth. Try like hell to swallow it, repeatedly holding up index finger—just hold on—at anyone who attempts to speak to me. (Quite often the phone rings right about now.) Finally manage to swallow the chalky, bitter, vitamin-y sludge. Swig down giant gulp of water. Breathe heavily as though I’ve just run a 5k. I do all this in the kitchen. (I’m never kidding when I talk about all the time I spend in here.)
This is more than you wanted to know about me, yes?
I’m getting to a point—I mean it.
So, I have been back-sliding lately. I do really well for short periods of time keeping everything in perspective, but then I always seem to slide back into worrying about all of it. All of the stuff I am trying to keep going. (Please assure me that I’m not alone in this.) I need to write more. I need to get that freelance career really rolling rather than limping along. I need to figure out once-a-month cooking. I need to read all those parenting books. I need to make sure I am doing enough with the kids. We are “unschoolers” which means we homeschool without a curriculum. The concept being that the kids are allowed the freedom to pursue their interests and play and create as much as they want, having faith that they are learning. The end result is days that are filled with activity that does not necessarily look anything like “learning.” And as the parent, I’m supposed to be totally cool with that, because I have faith that kids learn on their own time-table and this will all be for their benefit in the end. I don’t know how many of you can relate to this precisely, but I think you can probably find something comparable.
But life has a tenacious way of interjecting itself into my plans. (I’ll bet you can say the same...) I generally plan activities for the kids 3 months at a time (this is the print-out I use): projects and science experiments, cooking together, outings. Because even though we don’t use a curriculum, I want to provide an enriched environment conducive to learning. But it seems like half the time my stinkin’ plans fall apart. The house needs to be cleaned or someone gets sick or unexpected stuff comes up or breakfast and getting dressed seem to take all morning or they just aren’t all that interested in what I am attempting to do. And then—only to make life that much more interesting—the pot boils over on the just-cleaned stovetop. Right? It’s challenging to meet the deadlines and keep up on reading the books that will make it all easier, make it all make sense, make it all work once and for all.
That’s just about the exact moment I feel like I am failing. Again.
But in spite of it all, things are getting accomplished. Why do I always focus on what’s not getting done?
I have this vision of the perfect life I could be leading wherein all elements are just so—if I could only plan and execute it. But the truth is that even if my life had only one aspect—instead of many—I guarantee that one thing would not be perfect.
So I ask: are the kids happy? Are they laughing (a lot)? Are they well-fed? Is the house basically sanitized? Do we have peace? Am I slowly but surely moving my career forward? Do I have clean underwear most days?
It’s like swallowing that enormous pill. It might take a few false starts and a lot of effort, but in the end it will always get (imperfectly) done. And on the good days, I know that this is enough.