April 14, 2010

Monotony


It's that sort of day. You know the kind that make you wonder how you're going to pull it off? Haven woke at 3 AM throwing up and combative as he tends to get when he's sick. So, no sleep. Joe woke me sweetly to say, "I left some coffee in the pot. You're going to need it. Have a good day." I smiled and fell back asleep. When the boy sleeping on the sick bed below mine finally woke me, the coffee was too cold and old to drink.

We did school. We did meals. We did some laundry, some e-mailing, and some fund raiser planning. And as I flipped through my picture files to find a certain image for decorating the fund box on Saturday, I saw this. That big empty metal drum out by the barn. It has no bottom or top. And in my sleepy pessimism I thought Well isn't that just like life? You can keep putting in the same stuff and you never fill it up. Like the laundry that I just keep doing. Or the spelling tests that I just keep giving. Life at home is so full of things that are never done. I wonder if Joe feels like this at work, or if having a "real" job means having things that once crossed off the list, remain crossed off.

I used to make checklists each morning. I enjoyed the satisfaction of crossing things of and feeling productive. I haven't done that for a while because somehow having an identical checklist each day makes it feel like I never really got it done yesterday. That notion stole the joy.

But, as I consider the monotony of it all, I think of the value in being able to be content with the ordinary. I recall a conversation that Joe and I once had when we were talking about our grandmothers. We talked about how they were the real heroes. They found contentment in caring for their family in the most boring and thankless of ways. They never complained (out loud) and they were little little engines of efficiency. I possess few of those qualities on days like today when the sick child who kept me up worrying all night has long since gone to pet the mules over the fence and I am still holed up in bed waiting for bed time. I wonder, what would Nana be doing? She'd be out with her sleeves rolled up building a plane for the war after having finished 3 loads of farm fresh laundry. That's what she'd be doing.

So if I keep my heroic Nana in mind, I can muster up the energy to go clean out the chicken brooder and put a dinner on the table. I might even brush my hair before Joe gets home. If Joe keeps his Grandma Lela in mind, he will no doubt wonder why the space behind the washing machine didn't get polished clean and why the dishwasher only gets emptied when the sink can't hold another dish. But that's okay. I can handle that as long as he keeps those questions to himself and still hugs me when he walks in the door.

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