We are all in the bed. Five people and one dog. One of us is trying to read a book, another is playing beep beep beep on his iPod, another is rubbing any belly he can reach, mostly gently, I am typing, and another is gazing at the ceiling. The dog is sighing. The dog is very happy. There is no other place in the world he’d rather be.
Me? I need another cup of coffee. I’m looking forward to a shower. The dishwasher full of clean dishes is sending me psychopathic messages, and the dirty dishes on the counter are even louder. Soon, I know, I’m going to remind L to practice guitar before his lesson, and he will moan, and I will feel annoyed. Soon I’m going to lug dirty laundry down to the basement and start the laundry process, a process that will last all day. Soon I will be hungry. And I need to finish ordering a replacement hex bug, and write my grandmother a card, and finish the Monopoly game the boys and I started too late last night. The day is clamoring for attention only I can give.
But it’s all my own construct. Would it be a disaster if I didn’t do laundry today? No. Will L fall irrevocably behind in life if he never practices guitar again? No. Can we survive a day with dirty dishes on the counter? Of course. But there’s still that next cup of coffee that’s going to be splendid. And I want to take a walk today. This week between Christmas and New Year has been a stagnant one with lots of sitting and nibbling, and I will feel better if I go outside and take stock. Lounging around and letting the thin facade of domestic reality crumble at the edges always sounds nice, but the thought of actually doing it, of actually maintaining my spot in the bed for hours and hours, makes me shudder.
Some people are really good at being on this kind of vacation. I’m better at the other kind, when we go somewhere and there are logistics to be handled. On my own, I think, I could enjoy long sandy stretches of Time at Home, but when there are all these people requesting interaction, I get… itchy. Like my skin is too small. I find myself researching local zumba classes and texting babysitters to see if they’re home from college. I find myself in escape mode.
I love these people. They’re my favorites. On Monday I get to go back to a job I love. I will sit at my desk and read all day long and no one will interrupt me to whine about how someone else knocked over their block tower. The only dirty dishes I’ll wash are those I made. And then I’ll come home and I’ll be thrilled to see my boys again. I will pile them upon me like a layer of blankets and we’ll giggle and decide on food and probably kick each other once or twice and maybe someone will shriek in anger. But soon we’ll giggle again. Because once again the world will be in balance. Just in time for the New Year.