Sunday, July 19, 2009

After a family breakfast of whole wheat muffins, eggs, and vanilla yogurt with blueberries, Kate and I went outside for a little artwork session with the sidewalk chalk. We drew a "happy sun" as Kate calls them, flowers, hearts, stars, and a rainbow. Although the sweltering temperature made a long session impossible, we definitely had a fun break playing together before further chores: kitchen and bathroom cleaning, laundry, etc.

Kate embellishes our "happy sun" with purple dots.

Our rainbow: "Someday I'll wish upon a star/And wake up where the clouds are far/Behind me..."

My pretty little chalk artist!
We also spent a good portion of the day reading and reconnecting with favorite books. We allowed a little too much film the past couple of weeks, and we could see a dramatic decrease in her interest in books. When asked, she would choose a movie over a book. I have no problem with films as an art form, and I very much want to share my favorites with her. She loves The Little Mermaid and The Wizard of Oz and Piglet's Big Movie. The upshot of the movies was an increase in her imaginative play, but this was outweighed by her desire to have them put on in a loop/on repeat...and by her loss of interest in a wider variety of subjects and some distressed behaviors like fitful sleeping and a fraught emotional state. Also, at no point is it desirable in our home to prefer films to books...Anyway, we took it as a big lesson, and we've been having Kate undergo a "culture detox" the past few days: no TV and no film and music limited again just to classical. Her sleeping has improved, and she has recovered her love for reading time and she has not been asking for her movies. It was a huge eye-opener. We thought we were controlling her exposure to things enough by having a "no TV" policy. We're now starting to reintroduce some other music genres, but we're putting the kibosh on contemporary pop right now.
At first it was difficult for me to "give up" TV as a daytime option (I do still watch a few programs after she has gone to sleep), because I was accustomed to the background noise. But now I find that I am more at peace, more productive, and the big one---more creative---without it on. In fact, even when she naps occasionally during the day, I won't turn it on...because most TV, especially commercials, drives me nuts now. It is as if stepping away from it has broken the spell. It doesn't make me feel good to hear it. I have come to crave and thrive in the silence. I remember feeling this way in college, too (I didn't have a TV and never went into the lounge to watch it). I feel like I have rediscovered part of my mind...and that there is so much I think of to do.
I was talking with Bill the other night about how the concept of "bored" is never something to which I have been able to relate. I go through phases where I feel more uncreative/uninspired, but I am never "bored." I always feel sad for people when they express boredom. Even if I am not feeling creative and artful (like I want to make something, or write poetry, or plan events), there is still all the housework or organizing things or going for a walk out into nature or meditating in my mind. I kind of wonder what "bored" would feel like, and I really hope I never feel it. I guess some people would consider housework boring, but I don't find it so. Sometimes I don't want to get started on it when I feel tired, but I always get into it once I begin. I love how meditative it is and how I can pride in doing it well. I love the feel of sweeping, for example, and seeing results. I love that I can "be in the moment" when I am cleaning. I usually get in a rhythm and start singing.
Anyway, there is always more to do in a day than can ever be done... More to love, more to appreciate...
I have been appreciating my life so much lately, all the more so because as I approach 30, I am so aware of all the different paths my life could have taken. Realizing that there are some paths to which I never now will return, I have been feeling some nostalgia for what never was, or what I could have done or been---and didn't do or won't be. I think you can fully love the life you have and the moment you are in and still wonder about all the variations. One thing I know for sure, though, is that even one seemingly minor change might have resulted in never having Bill or Kate---and that is incomprehensible. I would never trade them for any alternative. At the same time, I am feeling the most inspired and creative that I have ever felt in my whole life---and I am wondering where it might lead me next.
Late grows the hour now, so I should wind this up... Good night, all.