When I was a child, chores made sense to me only in that things needed to be done so I had to do them just as much as anyone else. The extrinsic reward was an allowance. The intrinsic reward was my inherent love for order and beauty...and things returning to their rightful place. The guarantee of a warm smile and equally warm fuzzies from my mom was the icing on the cake. Since we bought our farmhouse my love for this ‘busywork’ (as my daughters call it) has grown as well as the sheer volume of it. I fondly renamed weeding “dirt therapy’. As I dug my hands in the dirt this evening to pull out the relentless weeds, I contemplated the generations of moms before me who spent countless hours faithfully doing the same task. It dawned on me that they ‘got’ the metaphorical value of these activities. In this moment I understood that weeding and other routine chores is a cleansing ritual or spiritual practice of sorts for the common householder. Cleaning windows cleanses our perspective and holds the potential for a whole new outlook on life. Scrubbing floors and baseboards purifies and solidifies our foundation. Digging in the dirt reminds us to dig deeply within ourselves to extricate the growth of things that do not serve our essential purpose. Little did I know back then how wise my mama was and what she was really up to when she religiously returned to her windows and weeds and trained us to do the same. It feels like a rite of passage and an emergence of wisdom to have unearthed the deeper significance of these common earthly practices. Thank you.
"If you know how it feels then why don’t you do it differently?" Ouch. The truth hurts...especially when spoken by your own child. She wanted time with me. She doesn’t want to have to share. I get it. Boy do I get it! Her younger sister screams louder and persists longer in demanding my attention...so she wins. It’s not fair to her and I know that as well as any. Being the oldest of five I totally understand what having to share feels like. Does anyone ever emerge from childhood feeling like they got enough love? I knew my parents loved me...but knowing you are loved and feeling like you are filled up to overflowing are different things altogether. I want to make it a priority to give both of my girls a balanced and rich experience of time with me. I humbly ask for help with this.
Where do these moments go? As I peruse through old photos, I see image after image of child in arms. Those eternal moments have gone by in a blink. No matter the effort to slow life down, it persists in rushing by at the speed of light. Our oldest is 10 and the second trailing closely behind. I find myself questioning whether I have tried to slow life down too much. Have I kept her...them...from being the best versions of themselves they can possibly be? We all vie for attention and time to make our own matters matter most. The stage of life we are in now is making a house a home and establishing patterns and rituals of living together. I look around and see parents running their kiddos here and there and everywhere. They are pre-pubescent experts at one thing or another...karate, jujitsu, soccer, piano, baseball, gymnastics, math. I wonder if I have done enough...am doing enough for them. Have I missed the boat? I want to motivate and inspire them to action and give them opportunities to excel and succeed at something. Even more, I want them to know the lost art of slowing down and relaxing, a lost art which I have much to learn about myself. This home and space we are creating is first and foremost for that. Work certainly happens here but the pace seems to be more in rhythm with times gone by. If I could surrender one thing right now it would be shame and guilt over not doing enough, being enough, giving my kids enough. I would accept that I am giving what I can and that is enough. Who I am is enough. I surrender this to you now and I thank you for receiving it.
Cows chewing, sun setting, mosquitoes buzzing, grass growing, green blanketing the recently brown earth, kids sleeping, evening quiet hushes the sounds of day, sweet chorus of crickets and frogs emerge, moon rises, time passes imperceptibly slow, gratitude swells, my heart sings.
Outside my window in the dark of night is the sweetest lullaby, the most magical of orchestras bellowing out in perfect harmony. Singing frogs intermittently spliced with the rhythmic chant of crickets. Just weeks ago perfect silence descended upon this landscape that was blanketed by a depth of snow rarely seen here in April. Now growth, life, vitality, emergence is fully underway. In the night’s stillness I am almost certain I can hear the grass growing and the flowers announcing their expectant blossom. A short while ago I was keenly aware of my mind’s desire to race with a swirl of seemingly important thoughts, the kind that leave me in the same hopeless place I’ve traveled to a thousand plus times before. Tonight the chorus outside my window beckoned me to slow my mind and listen. Heeding it’s call I found myself again as it summoned me beyond mental stirrings into the quiet of my heart, like the quiet of night that produces such sweet melody. I am distinctly aware that I can return to the thoughts tempting my attention. I am likewise aware that to return to those thoughts is a choice. No thank you. Feeling grateful for her melodious call.
I'm Kelly Isabelle.
Full-time workin' mama & spouse aspiring to live a slowly paced, sustainably minded, creatively expressed, clutter-free life shared with kindred folk.