Hello. My name is Laura, and it has been 34 days since my last blog entry.
When I started this blogging adventure back on my big 4-0, I was teeming with ideas and inspiration. I was sure I had enough energy and material for endless entries for your – or at a minimum my – entertainment and encouragement. I was certain I’d never run out of antics and anecdotes to write about, mainly because I never run out of antics and anecdotes in my daily life. For those of you who know me, you know it’s HIGHLY unlikely I’ve run out of things to say. If you don’t, you’ll just have to trust me.
Yes, at the beginning, the creative juices flowed as readily as the reminders to my children to clean their rooms. It started with the inspirational (for me anyway) introduction that got my dream ball rolling, and a birthday deadline on which to publish. Just days after my first post, the light bulb sparked again while standing in the ladies’ room at the mall. I feverishly (if not feverishly, all would be lost due to my over-capacity memory) documented my thoughts into the Notes app on my phone while reminding my eight-year-old to wash and dry her hands and touch NOTHING on the way out of the restroom. Yes, folks, my “Cheerleaders” were conceived in a mall bathroom, and we MAY be the family that flushes with our feet.
Then there was the need to clarify my spelling ability for my incredibly supportive friends and readers (Eek! I had readers!). There was Open House, a goddess, and my endless effort to get organized. I’m still not. My piles remain. And I keep trying. There was Hell Week; God help us all. I finally figured out my “About Me” page, which ironically proved to be more difficult than I expected. I guess I have a lot to say, but not as much about me as I thought!
And then there was feedback. Wonderful, affirming, raw and honest feedback, some from the most unexpected sources, that what I was writing resonated with them in such a real way. That. Was. Amazing. I had several people tell me they felt like I was watching through their windows at home and writing about their lives. Once I reassured them I have absolutely NO stalker tendencies, I reveled for a moment at having a sound and solid start at publishing my passion.
And then, without warning, there was static.
I kept moving. I started, but couldn’t seem to finish, 15 different blog entries. As a matter of fact, I first started this one 13 days ago. “Organized in October” turned into “Never Going to Happen in November.” I’d get halfway through a piece, but somehow the static kept getting in the way.
Now, I haven’t completely lost my mind. That’s one of many items yet to be checked off my to-do list, but I believe I’m well on my way. However, I do not literally hear/see/imagine actual static sounds like that poor little blonde in Poltergeist, though at times, it can be just as scary and forewarning. For me, static presents in many disturbing forms.
Some days the static is in the form of one sick kid, which inevitably leads to multiple sick kids. Illness in our house spreads like Gremlins sprayed with water from a fire hose, except no one ever has the same symptoms. It plays out something like this:
One will wake in the middle of the night and throw up in her bed, because it makes more sense to SIT THERE and dump the contents of her stomach on her comforter, pillows, and stuffed animals than to REMOTELY try to make it to a toilet or a trash can. Vomit, for children anyway, erases all reason as to where bodily waste belongs.
Another will actually make it to the toilet with a wicked case of the cha-chas, which he will then painfully (both for him physically and me mentally) describe to me in detail, through the bathroom door, for the whole house to hear, and then invite me to examine the evidence.
“Come look, Mom. It’s really bad!”
“Um, as inviting as that is, bud, I’ll pass. Just flush so I can reteach your sister directions to the toilet.”
Of course, the poop discussion then elicits more vomiting in inopportune places. It’s a good thing laundry and carpet care are right in my wheelhouse.
And while this is all happening, another approaches me and declares, “I can’t feel my face.” In my this-can’t-be-real-life delirium, the only response I can muster for her are the lyrics, “…when I’m with you. But I love it.” I know – I have issues.
On the days when apocalyptic plagues aren’t hitting my house (makes you want to come over, huh?), the static comes in the form of work and school duties. Being a grown up with responsibilities can really cramp one’s writing style. Womp womp. Since I am a master procrastinator and distracted by all things shiny, juggling my many roles usually boils down to one question – which fire do I need to put out first? That ultimately leads me to question the acceptability of putting all of my work in the fireplace and burning one large fire, never to be seen again. I think I’m on to something here…
But more than anything, any day of the year, the static is due to the never-ending, relentless busyness of life that comes with a house full of kids: the practices, the games, the clubs, the choruses, the scouts, the phases, the fights, the meltdowns, the mood swings, the celebrations, the plagues. And that’s just the scheduled stuff. Daily we encounter the unpredictable happenings, all of which are delivered via text, require IMMEDIATE attention, and throw what LOOKS like a normal (I use this term loosely) family calendar into instant and constant upheaval.
“Mom, can you pick me up so I can stay after school to plant trees?” (Who can say “No” to THAT?)
“Mom, my friends and I are having a cheer competition and parade in the front yard and we invited ALL of the neighborhood parents to watch. They’ll be here in five minutes.” (What the what?!)
“Mom, I forgot my hip-waders and I have to stand in a pond after school! Can you please bring them to me?”
Yes, these are things we say, or at least text, in our family.
I guess since either our current busyness status isn’t enough to keep us off-task OR we are complete gluttons for punishment, static has recently come in the form of multiple home improvement projects (definitely a story for another time), and all of the snafus, expletives, and much needed mental health days required to complete such projects.
Ironically, all of the aforementioned are the subjects of my many unfinished works, which can only mean one thing. All of this crazy everyday life is my best source of inspiration.
In the past couple of weeks, I’ve witnessed a different kind of static in the lives of others, one that comes from tragedy, shock, and feeling completely helpless. For me, THAT kind of static puts everything in perspective. All of my struggles seem trivial in light of what others are going through, and all of my busyness is a blessing they’d gladly trade their static for. I once again find myself humbled and grateful for messes, piles, and a jam-packed schedule.
I know November usually sparks the “What are you thankful for?” discussion, but we should all really take a look at the gifts we have EVERY day, month, and year. Today I am thankful for my healthy children. I’m thankful that I’m the one who greets them in the afternoon. I’m thankful that my “static” sometimes gets in the way of being productive, because I’m aware now more than ever just how quickly that all can change. I’m thankful for this insanely unpredictable life that provides daily humor and content, and for the handful of encouragers who follow, share, comment, praise, and most importantly, keep on telling me to dream big and go for it, whatever “it” is!
Today and every day, friends, have some perspective, be thankful, help others, and go for whatever your “it” is.