Tuesday, May 3, 2011

My One Thing

The day opened up like a good book with a coffee stain on its face. Little feet pointed and waved at me while tiny noses sighed in unison - an effort to greet the sun but not quite yet. Even Sadie somehow managed to make a tight U-turn around Abby's head which was oddly but perfectly so, at the foot of my bed. Grayson stole my spot which relegated me back to my usual 2 foot by 2 foot square inch of mattress space below a pillow I never use that much.

We all woke up together, flipped through some channels and silently all came to the same conclusion we were more hungry than we were entertained by Little Bill and his serenely patient grandmother.

We three climbed down the stairs together, put breakfast food in bowls and on plates together, and dipped tea cookies in my one cup of warm orange spice water together.

Then I asked the kids the million dollar question. "What should we do today?"

"I think we should..." Grayson started out, "...finish breakfast, get dressed, take Sadie for a walk
and play in the backyard before you have to take me to the doctor's."

That was a sound enough plan of action for Abby and me so we set out to unjammy ourselves, brush our teeth and our hair, and then bumble down the stairs in one tangle of ankles and socks. I had started the night with these children, slept through the night with these children, began a new day with these children, forecasted a new plan for and dove into another day with yes, with these very same lovely children who were literally having an argument about a pig flashlight while underneath my legs at one point in the trajectory.

I was running out of air.

"Hey. Why don't you guys give me one second. I forgot something."

I ran upstairs alone.
Sat down on my bed and closed my eyes.
"No, Sadie, go downstairs. Please go?" I can't think when the space between me and other breathing dependents is begging for direction to make their lives meaningful. It's all a bit crowded in my brain. My thoughts feel sticky and overlappy like crayons shoved in front of each other in the crayon box.
N-e-e-d A-i-r ! ! !
Sadie lowered her gaze and turned to go out the door.
I sat there, finally completely alone.
I closed my eyes again.
I pictured the day going well.
I envisioned me having the patience of Little Bill's grandmother.
I saw the grass getting mowed, the children playing nicely in their sandbox or sketching lines with sidewalk chalk, and all of us making it to two o'clock in the afternoon without anybodyusing the "F" word (Abigail).

"Okay," I say to the kids as I resurface to the downstairs again. "All set! We can go now!" I announced with a shred of renewal that fooled only the under five crowd.

The rest of the day went as Grayson planned and I executed. There was a "down moment" when the children detached their persons from my person and went about living non-symbiotically for a few minutes. Abby padded around snacking in new cozy places all over the kitchen (her new thing is denning, I'm convinced she's part husky) while Grayson masterminded some elaborate trap to catch Max and Ruby with two red buckets, one Nerf sword, one turkey baster filled with pepper, and five unpeeled carrots.

I grabbed my iPod touch and fell into an adult swim of Facebook updates, American Red Cross emails, and a few quick e-notes from my wayward husband.

As I dogpaddled away from directing the Kid Show, I dove into an article that one Facebook friend posted. It was this interesting link about following your passion. This article professed it could help you find your passion in three easy steps. I had just enough time for three easy steps before someone needed me to find, fix, or prepare something. So I speed read the words and bounced them around the part of my brain not filled with apple juice.

After quasi-digesting the info., I was more confused than ever. What is a passion? (I had this same type of symantic crises years ago about the word "talent") Is a passion more than like but less than obsess? Well this is a tough call because I like a lot of things and obsess wildly over some of them at any given time but there is no continuity between them. Examples: I like to sing but that's only sometimes and very rarely outside of the shower anymore. I like to blog but can't commit to more time and better editing. I l-u-v to take pictures but again with the inability to commit to the time it takes to learn the craft and edit well enough to improve my skill set. So there I am, at the end of this easy breezy 3 step article to help pin point my passion and it's becoming clear to me that I don't have one.

The article didn't leave me hanging though. It was prepared for a problematic customer like myself. It had a backup plan and asked me to consider what I find to be the "world's greatest need." In however I answer that, I should come to see what my own passion is. Whoa. That's bigtime. A thinker. Education and tolerance? Yes. There's definitely that. But is it our world's greatest need? I'll have to get back to this one, Abby's cramming yogurt covered raisins by the dozens in her maw and is losing the war on swallowing.

And if I can't wrap my brain around the world well enough, the article throws me one last bone. Another quick and dirty way to locate your passion is by listing your three favorite movies. Then, all you have to do is figure out the common theme and thereyouhaveit: your pass-ee-ohn. Brilliant, right? Of course it is! So tell me why I stalled out after number one:
1.) Good Will Hunting. Best picture ever made in the history of Matt Damon (b/c any other history is irrelevant and dead to me.)
2.) ????
2.) Pretty Woman? No. That was a super cute film but most favorite? Nope, wouldn't watch it again if it came on Bravo.
2.) Love Actually? Maybe so but again, probably would flip channels if it came on again. What on earth would capture my soul so much that I couldn't possibly turn away and run to Tom Bergeron on my DVR?
2.) Man, it doesn't get better than Good Will Hunting. What a scene right before he goes looking for "Skylah". There was such beauty in the breakdown that all else around me fades away and I am in that room with Matt and Robin and those dusty thick spined books. I would watch that again and again and again.

And no, I never did come up with a number two favorite film. Even though now that I'm writing this, I can easily list Before Sunrise and The Family Stone as my faves. I would not change the channel on either of those. Well, so much for that exercise. I can make even the simplest task hard and this easy test designed to help me take a shortcut to locate my passion just confirmed to me that I need the long walk. Around the cul-de-sac twice.

Finally, this article threw me a last ditch effort bone. It stated that if you're still having trouble figuring out what resonates with you (Hello One-Sided Momma who can't tell her elbow from her earlobe) then ask other people. Yes, ask your friends what your "one thing" is. Call them, write them, ask them on your Facebook status and offer them chocolate and wine if they respond with something other than, "you're good at lots of things!" because that's not helping narrow down your passion that possibly you don't actually recognize anymore because you've been too preoccupied with the human pretzel that is your life.

So, I'm here asking you who know me and even some of you who don't.

What is my "one thing?"

For the record, I'm not having an existential crisis. That will come when Abby goes to school full time, obviously. This is just me trying to listen for the quiet that isn't going to be happening any time soon. This is me taking a self-serving shortcut with trusted friends who won't think less of me if I'm not over analyzing my feelings about Osama's recent demise. Also, for that record, I'm thrilled he's no longer a threat to anyone but I do not feel joyous in his death. I also do not judge people who are celebrating; I tend to exercise caution in this sea of unknowns because this war against terrorism will not end just because Osama's life did.

And also, if you're feeling fetchy...please write down your top three favorite movies. I want to know. Anonymous Commenters welcome. You do not need to come out from the shadows if you're happy there.

Thanks Guys,


Anonymous said...

1. Legends of the Fall
2. Shawshank Redemption
3. Tie between Love Actually, The Family Stone, Days of Thunder, and Nobody's Fool.

You need to take care of and help people.

Wayward Husband (T-9 days)

Anonymous said...

1. Out of Africa
2. Secondhand Lions
3. As Good As It Gets tied with Something's Gotta Give

You're living your passion. Honest. It will evolve and expand when you have time to think, which you don't now. You love & care, your pictures and writing move us to tears - photojournalist? Author? Nurse? Teacher? Counselor? Nothing will be as important or demand as much of your soul - your passion - as your current occupation!
Wine Gap Nams

Jessica - This is Worthwhile said...

1. Splash
2. About a Boy
3. Bull Durham/Leaving Las Vegas/The English Patient

What the hell does that say about me??

As for you, I agree with both previous posters. Mothering can be channeled into so many professions.

The Palmer Family said...

WRITING! As long as I've know you, you've always been a writer. And no doubt you have boxes of old journals somewhere to prove it. I think deep down you know it to be true. This post is a perfect example of it. It was such a fun read, yet some deep thoughts in there. You weave your words so well, funny one line, serious the next. Always entertaining. I think in every stage of your life you've been a writer.

As for your second passion, flossing and proper dental care (ha-ha!). Every time I floss I think of you (that would be a good song)!

As for movies my favorite is Pride and Prejudice. I couldn't come up with a 2nd & 3rd favorite. Wonder what that means for my passion?


pajama mom said...

ever after.
legally blonde.

you are a writer,
a poet,
and a dang good mama.
too bad the pay is sh*t.

Sara Said So said...

I agree with Anonymous #2. You live life and document it in words, sounds, and pictures. You're good at it and, yes, you stick with it far more than most people.

1: Before Sunrise
2: Waking Life
3: Amelie

OSMA said...

Ok guys, I am loving your thoughtful responses and have spent time remembering the movies you all selected. Will be googling some so that I can properly psychoanalyze the common theme and how or relates to your own passion - even if not having a passion is your passion ;). What fun you've given me with your comments so thank u and let's do this again soon!