Thursday, August 28, 2008

Spontaneity – Part II

I wasn’t born this spontaneous. No, I come from a long line of planners. The Hungarian-Italian side plans meals six months in advance. As for the French-German-English side – well, even a smile is something that must be thought out carefully before allowing it to show.

Remember type A and type B that was all the rage in the 1980’s? Well, I was type AA, driven and organized. I wound up marrying a type BB and we eventually rubbed off on each other until he became an AB and I became a BA.

This is how a typical interview might go if a reporter came to my house to see what the typical daily routine of a self-employed process server is like:

Q: What time do you wake up?
A: Whatever time I’m awake.

Q: What time do you eat breakfast?
A: After I read the morning paper.

Q: What time do you go to work?
A: Whenever I’m ready.

Q: What time do you eat lunch?
A: When I get hungry.

Q: What time do you eat dinner?
A: Right after I get home.

Q: And what time might that be?
A: Whenever my work is done.

Q: And what time do you go to bed?
A: When I get tired.

You can probably see how this might grate the nerves of a woman who needs to be in complete control of her day. It took me years before I finally figured out the best time to make dinner was whenever my babies and I were hungry – which I eventually decided was 5:00 – and thankfully he has no aversion to reheating his dish whenever he might roll in.

Adjusting to being a stay-at-home mom after 10 years of a rigid schedule of working and studying took some time. That seems like another lifetime now. I remember keeping detailed records of my firstborn’s feedings, naps, and diaper changes. I suppose that was my way of making sense of my day.

It was the second child that brought me full circle and changed my life completely. Having two in diapers was a juggling act that gave my personality a new rhythm. No longer did I have to compete with that younger, career-minded self I could still remember. I was a mom through and through, and that was more than enough.

No longer did I mop my floor every day – or keep the screws sorted in my garage – or file my papers as they came in – or keep checklists of my daily accomplishments. The way I see it, the ability to overlook the crumbs on the floor or the dust on the piano is a learned talent and one necessary to enjoying the divine gift of motherhood.

And by the way, when a window broke today as the result of my children’s love of baseball (which they inherited from their father) we both had to stifle our laughter in order to meter out the necessary punishment of several months of menial chores to work off the bill.

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