Every day is thanksgiving.
I mean, I forget this a lot–but I remember it at least half as much as I forget it, and that’s something. Small steps are still steps, right?
Anyway, I don’t feel as though I’m having very many earth shattering thoughts, lately. I feel proud when I manage to teach two classes, take one, walk Luna twice, take Charlee to music class, do laundry, clean the kitchen, write half a song, make dinner, and bathe Charlee–I feel especially proud of the dinner part, because that’s what you would call challenging these days–but I don’t feel so deep when I manage to do all these things. I feel tired. But full-hearted, too. And like there are so many things that need doing–and look! I’m doing a lot of them!–but the things that used to nurture my soul so well are harder to get to right now.
(It would seem eleven month olds don’t care for the plight of the introverted artist, like, at all.)
Recently, I had a question for someone and the thought of typing the whole, long question into a text just seemed insurmountable. So I picked up my phone and called her. It was crazy, guys. She’s a mama, too. And also an artist.
“I’m painting at the moment,” she tells me, and I can hear her two toddlers in the room.
“How in the world are you painting while watching your babies?” I ask, unable to imagine a scenario like this with Charlee, who gets mad at me for so much as using the restroom without her literally on my lap (eleven month olds don’t care for boundaries, either. But toilet paper! They do love toilet paper! Preferably completely unrolled and in their mouth).
“I have just about every snack from our kitchen littered on the floor around us–as well as every toy that could possibly entertain them in the mix, too. Plus, the canvas is up higher than they can reach, so there’s that (Man, God sure knew what he was doing when he made toddlers short). The place is a mess, but I’m getting stuff done.”
The place is a mess, but I’m getting stuff done.
Maybe I’m learning balance and letting go and holding on all at once. Holding on to the things I need to do to nurture my soul–and letting go of that long list of “shoulds” that may or may not actually matter, comparatively.
Yes, having a neat space matters and is so feng shui–but maybe you realize that in five years you won’t remember the random Tuesday when your living room actually was devoid of dog hair and the pillows were all perched on the couch in a duck-worthy row. What you will remember are the times you followed the projects of passion that occupy your heart like a crush. The times you made things and read things and wrote things and prayed things and did things that made you forget to eat meals because nothing else matters but this.
So maybe you organize and clean on Wednesday, but Tuesday, you do things that help you to remember your soul. And then even, like, take care of it.
And maybe you do them in the midst of snacks and toys and sounds of little people living life so hard and wanting you so hard because look–this is the greatest passion project you’ve ever seen: motherhood. And you’re in it. YOU’RE IT. And you’re giving more than you knew you ever could. But all that giving has to come from somewhere. The most wonderful apple trees soak up water and dirt like it’s their job. The apples love the tree, but they also love the water and the dirt, because it’s part of them. You can’t have one without the other.
All this to say, the things I make and love and need to do–since they’re a part of me, they’re a part of the magic that made Charlee. Which is why I keep doing them. Not as often as I’d like, sure, but I get to spend a whole lot of time with a certain baby who I never used to spend time with, so I’ll take it. All of it. The messes on the floor and the paintings above.
And through it all, this holds true:
Every day is thanksgiving.