Because my husband and I cook--almost always from scratch--three square meals a day for the kids, I either directly or indirectly (if I'm eating off my kids' plates) eat well. Check. Keeping family relationships afloat falls on all of us and sometimes we're sailing the high seas and sometimes we're treading water, but by golly we're not drowning. Check. Every night after the kids are tucked-in and well on their way to dreaming about fighting fires and rescuing baby jaguars and riding friesian horses on the beach, I slip upstairs to my project room where I either write, process photos, sew or knit. Creative pursuits, check.
But. Sleep...when? Exercise...huh? If I sleep I have to give up the creative pursuits and that's not an option. My nearest relatives are at least one state away, so no one to take my kids out to lunch while I kick up my feet and knit for an hour. Nighttime is my only time.
And exercise, oh, that slippery fish. Exercise was not a problem back in those delirious, golden days of having a single child. Daily walks. Remember those? Remember how easy that was? Or mom-and-baby exercise classes where the moms sweat and the babies crawl around whacking each other with toys. Those were the days, I'm telling you. They shine like stars in the murky depths of my memory.
So instead of patting myself on the back, because hey, at least I'm taking care of my children--I am in the dumps. Clearly I cannot take care of myself which means I'm not taking care of my children which means I'm failing on all accounts. Shit.
All those thoughts had been floating around in my head for days when, on my man's last full day with us for a while, we decided to throw in the towel on Hazel's nap (taking the risk that she may not sleep while Juniper jabbers on and repeatedly bumps her boots)--and go skiing.
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds--and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of--wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hovering there
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long delirious, burning blue,
I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew--
And, while with silent lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.
~Pilot Officer Gillespie Magee, killed December 11, 1941
:: We skied all afternoon until the sun dipped behind the low, western mountains. Both kids napped. We felt more rejuvenated than we had in months. The trail is a half-mile from our house. It was groomed last week, I think. We'd never been on it. Loops of trails wander for miles over the mud flats and frozen lake. I am pumped. I'm thinking of picking up some skate-skis. My body feels good. My back hurts a little less.
I stopped at the warming hut, just to take a peek for future reference. As far as I know, the trails and hut exist all thanks to local volunteers and grant money. It's awesome.
It has a little gas stove, some gorgeous hand-hewn pine chairs and benches, and a table with a random assortment of business cards and local information. In the frame was the poem I quoted above. Obviously it's about flying, but on that day, I was.