Little boxes in the sky to
Little boxes in the ground
Your hair left lifeless in the brush
Like a relic I would hold it up
Examine all these pieces of you
I never saw before
A few things. Reflecting this week on how lucky it is to have family still in my life, and nearby. The luck of being born into this time and place-to travel without greasing hands, or worry about clean health care facilities. To have quality food and water ready and available when needed. For health. For the joys of all the seasons, even the impassable conditions of winter. So much to be thankful for.
Life has felt a bit like Groundhog’s Day this past year. Days are very similar around here-babies nursing, diapers, electronic devices, organic baby food, family, music, ABCs, and books. The same routines happen everyday. It can be quite nice, actually. The only variables are the occasional visitor, sickness, death, or hubs needing to work later than usual. It’s winter, so my self-imposed seclusion is, in my mind, completely practical, but renders entire weeks uneventful. Of course Bill Murray and the movie Groundhog’s Day had me thinking about this today. In the movie, Murray experiences the five stages of grief as he is forced to relive each day in the sleepy town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and then acceptance.
For me, there is a similar process that happens after having children and deciding to stay home, although I think the stages may happen in a different order, or sometimes simultaneously.
First, there was happiness, excitement, and love. There was some denial about being a parent. Am I really a parent? Am I even a grownup? There was anger-in the form of frustration as I learned how to do this new job. I was tired, sometimes delirious, and therefore, impatient. On a daily basis, there is bargaining with babies-trying to get them to stop crying, or eat a new food. There has been some depression about the loneliness of being the stay at home parent, and the uncertainty of the whole situation. My confidence, talents, and self-worth have been questioned.
This year has been my personal Groundhog’s Day. Those that know me, know that I am in love with my children. I’ve deliberately avoided visits, certain outings, and social invitations to tend to a list of needs and wants for my family. My choices have been aimed at the best health and interests of my children. This was exactly what I wanted, and I’ve cherished this time with my daughters. But, even getting what you want means making sacrifices. I guess I’ve mourned my social life a bit, and that sense of freedom of driving solo in the car to a friend’s house, or taking a shower at an unplanned time of day. I’ve missed the excitement of things out-of-the-ordinary, and surprises.
So I’m thinking, to liven things up around here, Bill Murray should visit me. Given Bill Murray’s kind, and spontaneous nature lately, I’m thinking this is not as crazy an idea as one might think. He’s been spotted at bachelor parties and engagement photo shoots, so why not add feeding some avocado to twins in high chairs to the list? It would certainly brighten my day. We don’t have to talk about anything special, we can just hang out. Just one thing though, Bill, (if you’re reading this,) I just ask that if you accept my invitation, please be in good health. I’m a bit of a germaphobe, and we just narrowly avoided the flu, so I can’t handle any sick visitors right now. Personally, it would make a great story to catch the flu from you, but I can’t take that chance with the babes. Friends of Bill, agents, colleagues-please pass this along. 🙂
Another thought about Groundhog’s Day the movie: Murray’s character gets to work this day out until he’s nearly perfected it. There is something so Zen about that. I’ve looked at my time home in a similar way. Every day I’m trying to master parenthood, but I’m also finding comfort in accepting the repetition. There has been beauty in the simplicity of our days, and real quality time spent with my girls. At first, the day was just a series of daily tasks played out while snuggling and carrying my toddlers. But now, I’m drawing again, and reading, and starting to see friends more often. Hopefully these positive karmic seeds will help to grow healthy, loved, creative, and balanced individuals, myself included.
So I’m adding another stage to my stay at home parenting. Something more than acceptance, between joy and appreciation, next to love. I don’t have a name for it yet. It will help me welcome these next few weeks of winter though, all snowed in with my girls. That’s where I’ll be tomorrow when my little alarm clocks start chirping to start the day. Happy Groundhog’s Day! And Happy Winter! Bill, we’ll be waiting for you. 🙂
Below are some photos I took while visiting the town of Punxsutawney, PA. It’s a beautiful, small town of Victorian homes and painted statues dedicated to the city’s most well-known icon-the weather predicting groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil. Hubs and I passed through on one of our road trips on the way back from Canada and Chicago.