Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Mid-life Drama

This year's birthday was a hard one. I won't tell you why, because that would require me to tell you how old I actually am. Let's just say I'm not checking the 25-34 box on surveys anymore. It does make me stop and think though. And compare the haves with the have-nots.

You know, there are times that there is nothing more I crave than the normalcies of daily life. The routine is somehow safe and comforting. The chores of motherhood give me purpose and definition. I've now seen my daughter in four performances of The Nutcracker. Every year it's the same. It's a children's ballet, there aren't any spectacular leaps or spins, no gravity-defying moves. Yet every year my heart leaps and spins when my precious child appears on that stage. I have to hold my breath lest a tear escape and succumb to gravity. These are the moments I live for. I know this to be my Truth.

And yet, there are days like today, when I want to get in a car alone and drive and drive and drive. When I want to scream at my precious child because she's not listening. She can't do her homework without being reminded six times. When I want to cover my ears and walk away because she's going on incessantly about some story that isn't funny because 'you had to be there'. And you also 10 and find stupid things like that funny to you. When the last thing I want to do is make a dinner that nobody will care to eat. When there's not enough money in my account to pay all the bills. Days like today I want to take a bohemian sabbatical from my life. A vacation from the school schedule, the ballet rehearsals, the dinner-making, toilet-cleaning, grocery-buying, bill-paying monotony that is my Life.

Is this a mid-life crisis?

I think about travelling the world and pretending to be someone else. Someone far more interesting and complex, with actual dimensions. Someone who doesn't know what a Wal-Mart is or who has to decide which is the better price for chicken. Who has all day to explore museums and stroll through gardens pontificating on the beauty of one perfect rose without a second thought to the lunches that need to be made or the laundry that is waiting to be folded. Someone more glamorous and less hurried and on edge.

Then again, there are times when I want nothing more but more of this. As I said, I'm getting older. I always knew I wanted another child. Unfortunately opportunity hasn't been knocking at my door and already I'm beginning to feel the first twinges of regret. When my daughter was a baby I would sit literally for hours holding her, trying to memorize exactly how the weight of her small body felt on my chest. What her soft breath smelled like and how the tiny wrinkles of her hand creased on my arm. I had never been in love like that before nor have I since. Of course I love her endlessly now, but now it is complicated by the seperateness of her being, the fact that she has (God forbid!) her own personality. Back then she was mine, I was hers and in those miraculous moments there was noone else in the world. I want to experience that again. One more time.

I'm not naive enough to think that it would be the same now as it was then. My pace was slower then. I could afford hours to sit and take it all in. Now there is an older child, a job, more people in my house, more bills that need paying. I know that I'm not as patient as I was then because time is now a luxury. I know it would be different the second time around. I know that because I'm different.

In the end I know that I won't drive and drive endlessly to glorious museums and sunsets, tempting as it may be. Because my truth still lives in those first steps, first tastes, the moment that glorious child steps out onto the stage of life and I am there waiting, holding my breath, my heart leaping and spinning.


Live on the Fly Studio said...

I breathe a big ol' fat sigh, because I know exactly-without-a-doubt how you feel. I believe in the great balance of life, but somedays, dammit, I just want it tipped a little bit more in my favor. I feel another sigh coming on... :)

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