So I had a dream the other night.
I was out in the ocean, catchin’ some waves…on a boogie board. Sam was with me. The waves were really REALLY huge. Like, Hollywood-cataclysmic-natural-disaster-movie huge. Sam was trying to teach me how to “do it right”—where to catch the wave to ride the greatest distance. I wasn’t doing well. Then this huge scary tidal wave rose up underneath me and I knew it was going to be bad. I was going up too high. I could see the cities in the distance. The beach was way way below me. But I was not afraid. Just mildly apprehensive.
This summer has been great. Nobody broke their back. Nobody was dry heaving into the toilet every morning. There were planned activities and whatnot. There was moderately good parenting. It’s been an absolute delight not rocketing out the front door at 7am in a flurry of backpacks, lunch boxes, mewling infants, and armfuls of stuffed animals that MUST NOT BE LEFT BEHIND. I’ve had no extra curricular responsibilities. I’ve had assistance. But all that is about to change. School is starting.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing. I think we’ve all had our fill of quality time together. But it means Real Life is happening again.
Yes, Yes, I’ve had real life for the past 3 1/2 months. But in my mind, (which is apparently still 12 years old) Summer kind of doesn’t count. If I feel stress, it somehow doesn’t register at full strength. It doesn’t make sense. Much like my believing every time that growing my eyebrows out WILL INDEED make me look younger–just like the magazines say. In my mind I see this:
In the mirror I see this:
But somehow the months June, July, and August still trigger a big fat forcefield around my brain, rejecting all logical argument that I am accountable to long term consequences.
As I felt the wave cresting and I started to come down I thought, “huh, this one will surely take me all the way in! Good job, me!” but then immediately in front of me another tidal wave began to rise up—over me—and started cresting toward me. I had a Han Solo very bad feeling about this. Yet wasn’t terrified. Just disappointed that my epic ride to the shore was about to be ruined. The second wave was tipping on top of me. I knew I was going to be pounded. Was going to have to go underwater. Which I can’t do comfortably without holding my nose. There would be no time to hold my nose. And I’d need both arms to get back to the surface. There was nervousness, but no real fear.
School– with all the taxiing, homework, and afterschool schedules. School, where my son will be expected to have made significant progress in reading and math because I was supposed to have him tutored and work extra hard at home to get him ready for the next level.
Bible Study will be starting again as well, with all the phone calling angst and pleasant yet time-consuming preparation and emotional energy expenditure.
So, clearly, now is the time to start an online business venture! Yes! One that requires much monitoring and tallying and keeping track of different groups and people and orders. And math. Definitely. Let’s do THAT.
And let’s join a book club! Cuz, ya know, IDLE TIME.
What’s that noise? Oh it’s the BABY crying. Good thing he doesn’t require much attention…
I am not even remotely as busy as my friends. But this small list is debilitating to me when I stop and think about it. And because I feel incapacitated at the thought of any additional responsibility, I assume that it’s probably necessary to do it–all of it– in order to be a Grown Up.
I want to be a grown up. But I also really REALLY want to sit on the couch for hours and hours at a time looking out the window, listening to the chimes, daydreaming, and eating cake. With no expectations of me to do anything else. Do grown ups do that?
My parents visited for a gloriously long yet not long enough time this summer. I got a taste of the good life again. That life where my mama does my laundry, gives kids a bath, puts them to bed, brings me snacks, etc. And tv. Oh, the TV! I got to watch my Korean Dramas again. And they are just as brilliant as I remember. I blame Misaeng (Incomplete Life) for my sudden interest in being employed. It’s a show about an office full of business people. That’s really all it’s about. Except it’s also about LIFE and the SOUL. Anyway– my parents are not here now. I have to be the parent again.
Just as I felt myself simultaneously rising up and being covered under the shadow of this enormous second wave, I closed my eyes. Then for some reason I was moved smoothly from the first rising wave right onto the top of the second one. I had a Leonardo DiCaprio Top of the World moment. I could see everything. I was rapidly approaching the shore. And then I was on the beach. With my boogie board.
The reality of the situation is: I love my life. I love it so much and am so grateful for every syrup covered, crumb coated, vaguely diaper smelling aspect of it. Forcing myself to do grown up things is hard. And by “grown up things” I mean, interacting with adults who have mature expectations of me and upon whom I cannot unload a laundry basket filled with excuses as to why I’m late, in a bad mood, and un-showered. But it’s like exercise. It gets easier the more you do it and the more you do it, the stronger you are.
I have not exercised since May 21st.
I looked back at the surging water and could see Sam still out there. I knew he was fine but was worried about me. With telescopic vision I could see him or feel him asking with his shoulders or arms if I was ok. I tucked my boogieboard under my arm and gave him a thumbs up.