Sunday, September 6, 2009
Free to be Me and You
My youngest child just started Kindergarten.
Its like the ankle bracelet is off and I can now leave the compound without violating the conditions of my parole. Simultaneously, the clouds parted, the sun came out and the sky shone, aqua marine with puffy white clouds. There was music playing somewhere and a birdie alighted upon my outstretched finger, my middle finger, which I had extended in triumph over housewifery.
There is a lot to love about early childhood, and I've loved the shit out of what I could. But holy mother of need, its like I've been pecked by chickens for the past seven years. Amusing at times, look how they flock to my outstretched hand to take the grains of love from my palm, painful after a bit, get these fucking filthy chickens off of me! Nourishing. Ah, chicken soup. Terrifying. All these chickens are mine? I can't possibly eat that many eggs! And beautiful, of course, so beautiful.
But the day they both got on that bus, with their stuffed book bags and packed lunches, after I had stopped sobbing and had glass of champagne at 8:30 in the morning, after all that, the most amazing thing happened. I had a complete, uninterrupted thought. I can't tell you what that thought was, because I'm new at this, and my shot memory has yet to be rehabilitated, but I can tell you that it was a whole thought, beginning, middle and end. I think I made a plan. It probably went something like this: First, I'm going to finish my coffee, then I'm going to take a poop without my kids charging in to ask me if the sky reaches all the way to the ground, or chasing each other through as a shortcut to the hallway, and then I'm going to look up the definition of succor, because I've read it a couple of times and never really known what it meant, then I'm going to stretch, and I mean really, really stretch, and when I do, Lou isn't going to try to leap onto my belly and ride me like a gasping bronco. I'm not saying it was an elaborate thought process, or anything that will better the world for humanity, but man, it was mine, all mine.
You never think the day will come when you will have a few hours in a row to be you, not an extension of your children, or an amendment to your husband, or a the mistress of the grocery list, but the day does come, very very slowly and from a great distance.
As this day approached I began doing involuntary soft shoe in my kitchen, while also ruing the very real possibility that I was going to have to re-enter the job market. My job skills are as crusty as a case of pink eye, with as much appeal. Writing, shit, with every major newspaper now the size of an STD pamphlet at your gynecologist's office, that's no money-maker, except for a very lucky few.
An office job? If there was one that'd have me...Dear GOD Vildy, DO NOT MAKE ME GO BACK THERE! I cling to his pant leg, begging and pleading. "Don't worry babe, you'll never have to go back there. Something will happen." What then? Starbucks, Target? Sweet sister of self-esteem, NO!
Then, one day, Vildy heads out on his bike for a little post psychosis stress relieving bike ride and finds himself standing in The Chair Shop, where Larry Nelson has been caning chairs and repairing furniture for 30 years. Turns out, Larry shared the space with an upholsterer for 18 years, and has spent the past year looking for someone who might want to upholster from that space. Not two months later, I've just spent my first week at my new shop, which I've cleverly named, brace yourself, The Upholstery Shop. The day my kids went to school, that was opening day of my new business. There was a job waiting for me when I got there.
I'm not in my basement. My kids aren't stepping on the fabric as I cut it into the various shapes of a wing back chair. I'm not listening to the endless centrifuge of the washing machine, or kneeling on Lego as I hammer tacks into a seat back.
Now I have this little place where I go, where the sun shines in, and the music plays, where I work at a table built by my best friend, where this nice man works in his shop, next to mine, and I just do this thing I love to do. Its artistic, its occupationally therapuetic, its ever changing and I'm more a part of the world then I have been in years.
What's more, I don't have to go to work for McWal-Fuck.
I love Kindergarten.