Not writing

     “Most women are good at multi-tasking” I heard someone say recently.
     I instantly felt less than. Less than I used to be. Less than Most Women. Less than capable. Less than the ideal.
     I've never quite felt that I lived up to the expectations of the Sisterhood. I didn't have a career and raise a family at the same time. I seem to be more of a sequential person. At least in the big scheme of life.
     But in the day-to-day, I was ok multi-tasking the household and child-raising needs. At least, so I thought with baby Meg, after a couple of years of practice.
     Then baby Anna was born. I had to let go of my smug sense of my own abilities, because things weren't always going as planned. And just when I got into a rhythm, one of them would enter a new stage, destabilizing us all.
     But when baby Andrew was born, that was it. Three children under the age of five, and I was toast. “Oh well” – with a sheepish smile – was my honest response whenever I dropped the ball: we were out of coffee, I left the diaper bag at my mother-in-laws', or I fell asleep on the couch instead of getting Meg to music class (I'm not revealing anything else). I found that when I laughed at myself, people went along with me and were quite forgiving. And this has been one of my best life lessons: learning that in fact I'm not in control, and there is a grace – and an ease – that comes with that.
     Which brings me to now. I can't write unless I can focus. And over the last three weeks I have been the shore as wave after wave of endings and beginnings have rolled in and dropped their treasures here: yearbooks, diplomas, sweaty lacrosse clothes, newspaper clippings about championship games, house presents from visitors, orthodontist and haircut appointment cards, a program from a funeral, packing lists, more laundry, a driver's permit and record of hours driven, plane tickets, medical forms requiring doctors' signatures, more laundry...
     I've been dreaming about writing. Literally. The words and stories are in me. The season is changing, and I want to smell it and hear it sing and savor it all again through the pencil in my hand. Soon the house will quiet as Meg and Anna and Andrew will all be at Wabun for the summer (see post on 4/25/13 Chocolate bannock:our parenting secret weapon). But until then I am in the joyful and crazy tumult of transitions. I want to focus long enough to write a blog post, but I also want to be with my kids before they leave. Torn between two desires, I find myself just now on the couch for a few stolen minutes. But wait, I just remembered, I forgot to get the laundry off the line before the dew soaks it all over again...
Oh well.



     So here we are. In a convergence of the stories I've been telling. In a moment – a season – of beauty.
     Meg is graduating from high school today. Spring has settled into early summer, and the solstice is two weeks away. The only strand of story that does not meet here is the story of our changing climate. The day the atmosphere measured 400 ppm came and went, pretty quietly.
     The irony of writing about the coming season is that really it's about living in and observing the moments along the journey. Graduation is not an endpoint; the seasons will continue to cycle; the earth will warm... until we make a choice to change. So even though today is a marker, there is the comfort of accepting it for simply what it is – a day of beauty – and not looking ahead to what is coming.
     And still, I am a bundle of conflicting emotions. Behind the busy-ness of today's schedule, there is sadness, pride, a need to pinch myself in reminder that this is real and I want to be awake for it, joy at the miracle of my daughter, maternal brood-gathering as I hold my other children close, wonder at the truth that Bob and I have raised a child to this moment of her own fullness, and a little exhaustion.
     Spring is a fecund time, and the energy of the burgeoning earth is mirrored in the fullness of our calendar hanging on the kitchen wall. Summer will bring its rest. The nest building and pollinating and school year will be done. The fruits will begin to swell, the birds will quiet as they raise their young and begin to feed up for fall migration, our children will go to the wilderness and reconnect with their deep selves. Bob and I will be alone here.
     And that sounds just about right. For now. For today.