I Want to do it All

Euphorbia

Robby texted me from the mountain this afternoon to say that the snow levels were dangerously low. As much as I was sorry that he was not having a great day of skiing, I was relieved that I wasn’t missing one. So goes my never-ending desire to be in two places at the same time. No question that I wanted to be at Gillian’s first volleyball game of the season, but when Larry Schick issued a “Powder Alert” for Saturday a couple of days ago, I mentally groaned. The “Grand Pubah of Powder”, as he calls himself, has been unusually quiet this year, and we are getting close enough to the end of ski season that I’m feeling a little antsy and deprived. There are so many things that I want to be doing and that I have committed to do, its hard to tear myself away for a long day and simply head to the mountains when the conditions are marginal. “Maybe this week the snow will finally kick in”, is what I keep thinking… or maybe it will be the month of March. Its happened before in El Nino years. Maybe its just wishful thinking.

In the mean time, I got to see the volleyball game and took advantage of the day to catch up on my writing for a Tuesday morning workshop as well as do the assignment for my online photography¬†class. The photo above is another one of my experiments in macro photography. I love the green with the simple black tattoos. It was the last picture I made before heading back inside as the clouds started spitting on me again. This macro thing is incredibly frustrating. You get the tripod set just where you think it will work out, set the camera on the tripod, and its not close enough to get that “macro” feel. Then you scoot it in closer and you’re too close. The only thing in focus is the base of the stamen of the flower, or nothing at all as in one of my Euphorbia shots. The next thing to happen once you finally get it all set up, is that the tiniest of breezes blows through and moves the blossom or leaf. Looking through the lens, you think it must be blowing 60mph, but it only appears that way. The movement, when you give up for a moment and take your eye away from the viewfinder, is so small its almost imperceptible. Needless to say, the number of successful images is small. For backup, I shot a few of the bricks in the walkway. The breeze was having no effect on them!

Maybe if I stopped signing up for various classes and workshops, I’d quit feeling like I wanted to be in two places at the same time. What a concept… but which one do I nix?

I have wondered if its because I was born under the sign of Gemini. On some level, maybe I actually think I’m two people and can manage to live two lives at the same time. Or, maybe thats merely the way my own version of the squirminess that answers the title question of this blog manifests. On the other hand, there are unquestionably not enough hours in the day to do everything I want to do, and maybe I would be happier if I just accepted that, was grateful for the fact that I have so many choices and was patient with the rest.

The core of the question remains. I won’t go back and reiterate the the circuitous thinking strands of some of my early postings about how, as a culture, we attribute value to the various roles people play. But I will note again that much of the squirminess I, and others experience has a lot to do with how be perceive the value of what we do as mothers.

I started reading a book today by an author whose novels and memoir writing I have loved equally. Sue Monk Kidd wrote “Traveling with Pomegranates” along with her daughter Ann Kidd Taylor. They trade off in the writing about their travels together after Ann graduated from college and the rewriting of their relationship. Early in the book, I found a passage that lassoed me and reeled me in. Sue, the mother, talks about her own dilemma in terms of the mythology they are immersed in in Greece:

I haven’t much pictured myself as a “mother goddess” type. My children have always existed at the deepest center of me, right there in the heart/hearth, but I struggled with the powerful demands of motherhood, chafing sometimes at the way they pulled me away from my separate life, not knowing how to balance them with my unwieldy need for solitude and creative expression. Is it possible I also valued motherhood less?

I think I breathed an audible sigh of relief when I read those words, because I have wondered the same thing, both about myself and about my peers. Do I value less the pure role of being a stay-at-home mom? Ouch. I could feel guilty about that not being enough… but I think I’m past that now. Most of the way. And I do maintain that its an individual thing. I remember when my kids were young, wondering if there was something wrong with me because I couldn’t wait to get away and go work out at the end of the day, or go for a run without a baby jogger. The feeling of freedom was never sweeter than skiing like a bat out of hell by myself, or riding my bike so fast downhill that it made my eyes water. I knew that my most of my friends didn’t share these feelings. Now, I understand. That manner, or “way of being” was mine. And it didn’t mean that I loved my children less. I simply needed my world to be bigger than motherhood alone could offer. I craved the outlets of athletic and creative expression that I were no longer the organizing point around which I structured my daily life. About ten years ago I finally made time to start adding them back. It was as if I’d starved myself and couldn’t get enough. 19 years since Charlotte was born, I’m still working out the details, but after writing about that journey for less than two months in this daily format, I do believe that I’m closer than I’ve ever been.

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