Because a life unexamined is lived without intention.
Monday, December 17, 2012
A Surprising Sparsity
Crossing off the last item on yet another legal pad list, the black scratch across sunny yellow paper inordinately pleasing, I have shuffled another step closer to Christmas. I am indeed a most advanced addict of lists and all things enumerated. Don't forget and remember to and prioritize dammit! *chuckle* I am unsure of what birthed this undeniable need for organization within my soul--was it nature or nurture or just a knee-jerk survival mechanism kicking in after enduring traumatizing years with roommates and a first husband that lost their rent, their keys, and their jobs on a disturbingly regular basis. Whatever the case, I do so cherish my lists and the peace of mind that comes with them.
But once more, there is a yet....
So as is common in our dinnertime routine, I swirled the merlot in my glass, crossed my legs and leaned back in the one of the tall, deeply cushioned chairs that surround the dining room table. Watching the boys finish off piles of roasted green beans with almonds and feta, grilled chicken, and slabs of buttered bread, I asked, "So Brennan, what was the most fun you had all day?" He took a sip of milk, tilted his head while he thought, and then enthusiastically, "Oh, when I got to stay in and play on the computer with Kyle for recess!" I laughed, that boy and his computers! "And you?" I asked his brother. Sawyer finished his bread, considering. "In gym I caught seven balls during scatterball!" I grinned right back at him. My oldest redheaded son may not be the biggest of the three, but he's like a monkey when flying through the air and a cat at landing on his feet. The music played on, a piano holiday mix that I love, and Brennan looked at me, a question in his eyes.
"What's the most fun you had today mom?"
I chuckled, standing to pick up the empty platter and dishes, "Well, honey, I got nearly everything done on my list." He wrinkled his nose at me. "And that's fun?" He was clearly dubious. "Well.....um....." He stood to take his plate to the kitchen, shaking his head. "You should do more fun stuff mom." I gazed after him, unsure how to reply.
The boys had run off, returning to their pre-dinner activities. My husband was working late, so I put a different disc on to play, poured another glass of wine, and finished clearing the table. My kitchen is small--more so than you can imagine, trust me, and there is a lovely porcelain sink but no dishwasher to be seen. I stood, filling the basin with warm soapy water, watching the last of the light flee before the cloak of night beyond the skeletal trees. My reflection in the window glass slowly solidified as the sky darkened outside. And then it was just me and myself in the small room, hands submerged, the clink of dishes and the whisper of running water joining my thoughts for company.
Is fun the same thing as satisfaction? A delicious meal, the laundry done, floors vacuumed and pantry full...satisfaction, definitely. Contentment and gratification and peace of mind--absolutely. But fun? I dare say that I consider it part of my "job" as a home-maker to keep the house well-stocked in every way, but I rather dread shopping of any kind. There is no real "fun" to be had playing bumper carts with sale-crazed women and waiting in lines that seem more appropriate at an amusement park; and then there is the hefting it into the car and lugging it all home alone, a million trips back and forth.....but I do love that my husband doesn't have to run to the market when he's home, and that there is always another box of tissues and enough bread for a sandwich. I take pride in this, but I don't really consider it 'fun.'
I do delight in cooking, although once again it is perhaps more in the shining eyes and "Mmmmmm's" around the table that I find enjoyment. I revel in food and am thrilled that this has been contagious within our family--for his twelfth birthday, my youngest has requested my smoked salmon. Not pizza or burgers, but luscious pink flesh brined overnight and then slowly smoked with mesquite chips in a Japanese bamboo steamer....I do find joy in this. But is it fun?
And then there are the pleasures of the flesh. *slow smile* Warm skin and desire and the flicker of candlelight. The texture of soft hair, the scent of attraction....the taste of passion. While I think I will certainly place this under "fun," should I have "more" of it, I fear I might not accomplish much upon that list....
The dishes dripping quietly, the music faded away. My wine and I curled into the end of the leather couch, marveling at the golden glow of fairy lights and sparkle that is our Christmas tree. The nutcrackers tucked amidst the greenery on the mantle, the candles burning atop the old stereo cabinet that holds the television, its doors now closed. There is such fulfillment here, in the hush and pause after the list is done. But fun?
Do you suppose "fun" is a part of childhood? No, that cannot be true as I have friends that have sporting good fun on a regular basis. In the glimmer of the evening, I am left with just me. I think I will ponder this more. Face the possibility that I have let the responsibility and organization of adulthood consume too much of me....that I have forgotten to include 'fun' on my list.
I believe this Christmas, I shall re-write a list. Or two.