Friday, May 4, 2012

Wilson vs. Wilson

I wake up in the morning with the very best of intentions.  A new day has a myriad of possibilities and most days I look forward to carpe-ing the diem for the satisfaction of ending the day feeling established.

The first thoughts of the day are often of the things that need done.  A scroll of  "to do" unfurls in my mind -  I'm sure it's familiar to often looks a little something like this:

- laundry, dishes, mop floor
- pull weeds
- need toilet paper, need coffee (go to store)
- haven't blogged since last week - (do that, maybe?)
- exercise and eat right (?)
- help Aud with homework
- oversee the practice of piano, find music note flash cards
- look online for good deals on new shoes
- finish book, (only 20 pages left)
- check e-mail, return e-mails
- check bank account (have a moment of silence for fallen money)
- Why did you get that high water bill last month?  (call about that)
- The lock on the car is broken - would that be under warranty?  (call about that)
- return friend's phone call
- pick out and get paint samples for play room
- patch holes, fix button, and sew up torn seam on pants (time to throw away favorite pants?)
- take back movie rental
- finish any 12 of unfinished projects...(a second list unfurls)
- take out chicken for thawing (try that new recipe today?)

That's plenty to work with - let's stop there.

As my feet hit the floor, the list hangs over my head in a figurative thought bubble - I expect it will travel with me for most of the day. 

My four year old can sense my arousal like a bird senses the wind.  Bounding out of her bed and into my arms, I can see her own thought bubble bouncing around, in front, and behind her in a chaotic, mismatched font.  She reveals to me her own agenda.  

It is her imaginary puppy's birthday today, and she is having tea in his honor.  I am invited. After that, she has booked us a performance that we can't be late to, or our rock band will never get the respect it deserves.  From there, we will be superhero ninjas and save villages from alien invaders.  We will round up the day by feeding the birds, making pink cupcakes, and engaging in another activity I don't quite catch (but it's something about fire). 

Thus it begins.

The age old dance of Mom vs. Offspring...Being Productive vs. Being Mom...Filling a Day vs. Fulfilling a Life...

The decision lies before me: "To Do" list vs. Pup Pup's birthday tea

I tell her, 'I have a lot to do, and maybe I can play later'.  Although I have said this, I wonder if I have made the right decision.  The guilt of turning away time with my daughter weighs against my need to feel like an accomplished member of society. 

As she walks away in dismay, I notice the nightie that once hung below her knees now suspends mid thigh.  I am reminded  this will probably be one of the last times I can respectably clink teacups with an imaginary husky.

Suddenly play time feels more significant.  Point for Pup Pup's birthday tea.

But coffee tables need polishing and kitchen floors need scrubbing.  Warranties on cars run out and weeds grow taller.  Redbox late fees cease for no man.  These things are all important, too, right?

Right.  Point for "To Do" list.  (Licks finger and tags imaginary point in the air.)

I call the warranty company.  Somehow my relationship with the man on the other end of the line is unfulfilling.  His tone reminds me he doesn't need anyone to pour his chocolate milk. He is only concerned with dates and formalities and doesn't once mention tea.  Moreover, I get the sense he doesn't have any imaginary pets at all

Boring.  Point for Pup Pup's birthday tea.

As I hang up, I hear the school around the corner chime the starting bell, reminding me my youngest will be starting school in a few short months.

Yet another reminder that my time with her is short, and yet another point for playtime.

As I pass by the play room door, on my way to assess paint samples, I see all the gang gathered as equals at a round table:  "Brother", the stuffed crocodile, "Kangaroo", the stuffed rabbit, "Connie" the Grand Canyon condor, and no-named-creepy-drawn-on-baby.  I notice what may to the untrained eye be an empty chair...but I can just barely see the outline of Pup Pup's icy blue eyes.   It is here that I wonder whether wafers have been provided with tea.  

Point for playtime.

I realize my more practical "to do" list is losing the battle (4:1), but I tighten my grip on the figurative rope of this tug-of-war.  I am not ready to be defeated just yet.  I turn away, focus, and pull out my fan of paint samples.  I sit at the table and sensibly begin to ponder the colors for the play room door.

Point for Me?

Minutes later, Scarlett pulls my attention away.  She disappointingly informs me I have missed Pup Pup's tea party, but promises me that if I play rock band with her, my stage name can be "Sherlock" (she knows of my fondness for the fabled character).

It is with this thoughtful gesture that my paint sample fan transforms into a microphone as I trade in the shackles of the "to do" list for an air guitar.  I victoriously rise and hurriedly run to the stage with my partner just before the red velvet curtain rises.  The amp wails and pierces my ear, making me wonder if I have made the right decision - but the roadie runs on stage to fix the settings and for the next hour we "stick it to the man" by saluting those about to rock. 

The performance ends with me pumping my rebellious fist into the air.  With ludicrously bejeweled fingers, my victorious punch obliterates the thought bubble above my head - dispersing the sensible list into a million pieces of gold glitter that coat the whole house.

...I'll clean that tomorrow.


  1. OH I love you.

    Love love love love love you!

    This just makes me smile and puts warmth in my heart Amy! Not only are you such a great writer but I think you set an example for women *even if just for myself* Because I'm not a mommy yet but I already know that I'll be the one to get the list done before I play, hopefully when I'm put into that position I'll think back to your example and pick playtime.

  2. I concur. Beautiful post, beautiful writing. I can certainly understand the pull and entrapment of the ever-present to-do list. Throw in a society that absolutely champions the Supermom-Who-Does-It-All, and the spiffy feeling we get from impressing our peers, and it only serves to strengthen the pull.

    But this post makes me proud. It reminds me of the story of Mary and've chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from you.

  3. Oh, I'm so pleased you all enjoyed it. All your kind words and support are a blessing to me. :)


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