You know that I Love Lucy episode where Lucy and Ethel get jobs at the chocolate factory and the conveyer belt is moving faster than they can work?
(The punch line is that the chocolates end up all over the place—under their hats, in their dresses, stuffed into their cheeks, etc.)
That’s how my life feels right now. The projects are piling up.
Every year before the holidays it’s as if someone yells “speed it up” into the control room.
Those of us who value handmade seem to put rather a lot of pressure on ourselves to make. Everything. All the time.
For me, it’s partially about living up to holidays past where everyone got a personal handmade gift. Some of it is due to my general distain for the holiday commercialism in our culture and not wanting to literally buy into it. Add to the mix that we celebrate Chanukah around here, which falls in early December this year, and the heat is on.
No matter what the reason—when it gets this way I lose some of the pleasure in the process of making.
So this year: I’m only going to do what I can do.
And I’m going to be okay with that. I have kids that need my attention—now. And web sites that need designing. And a husband who needs attention—now. And a body that needs sleep. And a house that needs attention.
Have you ever had a moment where everything was just exactly as it was supposed to be?
When it happens to me I try to remember what it feels like so that in the tougher times I have a feeling to focus on. Sometimes I even ask Niall to remind me of how It was when I feel like it’s all falling apart.
This afternoon for just a few perfect minutes I had such a moment.
Jake came through the door at exactly thirteen minutes past three, like he does everyday. He was bouncing and smiling and holding Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets which he has been plodding through since sometime during the summer. (If you have one of those children for whom reading is a joy then you may not be able to understand the huge accomplishment and happiness in what he said to me next.)
“I’m about to read the last line Mom.”
He stood there in the doorway, all middle-school hair and baggy jeans and read it aloud to Quinn and I. Quinn ran to him—as he does everyday—calling his name and wrapped his chubby toddler arms around Jake’s legs. They continued tangled like that into the kitchen where we all shared snack.
And when I say snack, I really mean it. We weren’t digging through the Halloween candy today! We had amazing (almost-healthy) cookies (which had just come out of the oven). We sat around the table like that for a while. Talking. Laughing. Eating. No one was complaining or wanting or whining. They were talking to each other and to me and just for those short moments I was the perfect mother.
Before it ended (and believe me, it did) I managed to get dinner in the oven and all the dishes washed. And then life came knocking and homework came due and moods went sour. But it didn’t matter today because I remember how it felt.