I make this promise to myself to write and then don't at all for a week. I become caught up in the day to day, in staying up far later than I should to gain the only quiet I can. For I am venturing out alone far less than I am used to. It does not bother me to stay home or always to travel with the children, which is unexpected for me. It becomes necessity that I take time alone at night, which has left me exhausted some days, as not enough sleep comes in the hours between laying my head down and the children waking me, whether by cold feet or demands for breakfast.
I feel like I have been doing better about doing things with them, oddly, though it seems to be far less in the way of crafting and experiment to look at the photos from last year. We've been getting out though - to the library, to Lego Club with its warm fire, warm friends and warm tea all to help cold hands, and in the yard now and then - mostly to shovel the walk.
It has been snowing for well on a week now. Longer, come to think of it. Giant icicles hang from all the houses, though not many from ours, which greatly disappoints Aleks. Papa knocked down the few that dripped from the overhang at the back door and Aleks grabbed many of them to store in the freezer. I'm not certain as to how long that can continue.
We've been having lots of visitors as well. A friend came over Saturday to play while I chatted endlessly with his mother and made fresh cinnamon rolls. I saved half the dough, intending to make more for our homeschooling Art Day/Playgroup on Tuesday. It took forever to thaw and rise again, so it became an apple cinnamon braid bread-thing which we ate for dessert, then again for breakfast.
In all this time, in all this doing, there was no writing and hardly any photographs - mainly due to Aleks hogging the camera for videos of a pop video he recently fell in love with from an R.L. Stine DVD. So tons of videos of videos crowd the memory stick and the January '09 folder on the desktop, most including Aleks' tiny voice in the background singing breathlessly as he leaps about the living room doing his Kung Fu dancing, or as Aunt Natty likes to call it, his capoeira.
There were a few in there though, hidden between the Emily Osmonds. Specifically, Aleks got out the K'Nex he got for Christmas to build the ferris wheel on the front. He did all this by himself.
As he began work on the wheel itself, he discovered he was missing certain pieces. We're to make a list of those we need and borrow them from friends to try to complete it.
Aleks also said he'd like me to take him on a ferris wheel at a theme park (he really used the term "Theme Park"). He's also never been sledding, I discovered in the last few weeks, which shocks me that I've been such a lousy parent that my child has been deprived of such essential childhood activities for so long. After all, he is 6, which is practically all growed up. We'll have to make good on my promises soon.
I, in the meantime, have abandoned the quest for my Queen Crunchy Mama crown (nearly an oxymoron, that) favoring an intellectual quest for a definitive philosophy. I've been spending hours rambling on the phone, in person, and on message boards, attempting to delve into the spaces between ideology and pragmatism and discover what Living an Ethic and an Authentic Life might actually look like.
I'm guessing that it would probably resemble my life with its ups and downs and ever-changing array of challenges and questions and the rare glimpse, like a photograph, of the whole where contentment lies in but a sense the story of our life: its vibrancy and joy, nestled recklessly amongst strife and struggle, embodied in the shining faces of my children, my scrubbing and washing, Jon's reading and cooking, and all the snuggles, laughter, and shouting intermixed. I see it frozen in time: looking down at our hands as they type, wash, play, paint, write, scratch, and stroke. There is poetry in it, but only at certain quiet moments, after I've turned the brain off to work, does it appear with the soft glow of memory.
Our life is a lulling, pulsing thing. We react based on stimuli the way in which our neural pathways, trodden down by experience, dictate. We struggle to choose better and different in a million subtle ways everyday. At times we succeed, at times we fail, but slowly, slowly, with great effort, we are wearing new ridges in brains full of the ideal: the question instead of the demand, the breathing in and out instead of the shout, the hug instead of the gritting of teeth. And sometimes it is both. Or neither.
I don't know what the results of the experiment will be. So far, it is difficult to do anything in a way that I know is right. There is so much talk of consistency and routine out there and that is not my life. My life is new every morning and every few minutes I seem to have the opportunity to screw up parenting or make someone feel okay. I don't know if I could find consistency, with so many individual moments in which to make a choice, good or bad. I'm not certain that it's possible to have the same answer again and again as everything is always changing. We are here. We are us. We do not emulate anyone else. Our days are loose, but our lives are rich. I don't think that there are answers for the minutiae. The key is to harm not. The rest must surely come, just as we make all meals and unmake each mess afterward. The steady, rolling pattern of it all is likely enough.