"She refused to be bored, chiefly because she wasn't boring." Zelda Fitzgerald

Friday, February 16, 2018

Of Broccoli and Book Clubs

All the little trashcans in our house have fluffy teetering piles of tissues in them. We are fighting off a cough, cold, grab-you-by-the-throat, fevered dreams, headache that pounds when you move kind of a bug. I can just feel it trying to grab me in the back of my throat although I successfully evaded it thus far. I slept over 8 hours the last two nights and I still feel draggy. I have a sudden urge to clean the whole house, stock up on blankets, order the groceries delivered and start a pot of chicken soup. We have had a whole week of hunkering down and clearing the schedule. We cancel activities by the day as it is clear we are still fighting ear infections, coughs and fevers. As long as there is the blessed sunshine in the yard (which there is) and we can eat our lunch outdoors at the picnic table, I do not feel cooped up. It actually feels kind of good to be able to hermit legitimately and just be home together. We can take all day to do read-alouds and write letters to the cousins and fold and fold and fold the laundry. 
I have been making some little brave gestures towards connection and establishing a circle to surround myself. Its time to make sure I am putting down roots here, digging in the support and connection I need, not just making do with whatever falls into my lap. The first thing I did was plan and execute a freezer meal making party which was very successful and not nearly as much hard work as I expected. I have been chewing on plans and ideas for one more in the future. There was an expansive and effervescent response when I timidly broached the topic with women I knew. Its so encouraging to know that the things you think up sound not only tolerable to other people but also exciting. I also have started a little bookclub with a friend and we are co-leading. Little stabs into real discussions and built in rhythms which might be all it takes to get the ball rolling again.

I say these are little brave gestures because they are both small, maybe no big deal to lots of people but were both scary and hard for me. I love people once they are in through my walls and there sipping tea with me kindly in my kitchen but in the meantime I am rather cowed by all the rules I know I don't keep without even meaning to, all the marks I miss as a woman, as an upper middle class person, as a Christian and as a mom, and all the ways other people appear impressively pulled together. I don't hate them for it or wish they were a little muddier for my own comfort, I actually find it inspiring to be around but, I do worry that they'll find me distasteful, embarrassing and indecent. A little of that is fine. I do want to be relate-able...one new acquaintance of mine, that I rather like, is absurdly fawning to the point where I can't seem to get through to real connection as two mamas on equal footing. I struggle with the teeter totter between vulnerability and its accompanying humility and poise and the appropriate level of attainment. Sometimes I think I might look a little over-impressive at first blush, in public but be a little bit astonishingly rough in my private reality. I think this is partly because of my love of inspiration. I do want to strive for ideals. I want to speak optimistically and I want to speak in the direction I am hoping to move. I have no problem being humble but I think some people hear my starry eyed inspiration ideas and then my humble confessions and either decide I'm an over fervent freak who needs to just get her life in line or else that I am my aspirations and my confessions are faux transgressions dramatized for the sake of personal color. Who can tell. I can only really say that real connection is the cry of my heart and something I so dearly love and yet its scary too.

The broccoli plants that I put in the ground last spring are still putting out little fairy heads of broccoli and I can't bring myself to tear them out and put in something more substantial. They have big meaty stalks that are hardened and woody like trunks and their output is both speedy and pathetically small. They seem to sprout little branches and bloom out in seedy finality in the space of one or two days. I cannot ever seem to gather together enough for a meal for the family, there is never that much at one time but, I am enjoying the secret pleasure of a few tiny stalks sauteed in butter or quick steamed to lay alongside my belated morning breakfast egg or draped across my plate of leftovers at lunch. There is no end to my enchanted love of the green things growing in the dead of winter here. I plan to never let it grow old. 

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