There is a chalkboard hanging in the kitchen. I bought a framed one, so that it might not look completely dumb hanging there, but everyone needs a place to write down the things they need, especially in the kitchen, especially during these times of no going out. I’ve never cooked so much in my life or had my thoughts more consumed about what we were going to eat and when I needed to start preparing it. Running a household that’s full of people 24/7 is no joke, y’all.
Two things we try not to run out of: Popsicles and Bread. Popsicles, because John Henry eats several per day and they make him really happy as far as I can tell (don’t worry they’re sugar free, unless they are the ones I make myself, which always hold some yummy supplements I try to disguise — he eats those too, mostly begrudgingly) and bread, because, well, you always need bread, especially when you have men in the house. They always need a sandwich or something. John Henry has taken to eating cheese toast in the mornings, preferably with some bacon or prosciutto underneath the cheese, instead of his usual blueberry waffles. A summer development, I think.
Anyway. As I stood and looked at the chalkboard with those two items written on it this morning while I tried to get my brain to think about what else we needed from the grocery store, I thought about the purpose of a list. I make a lot of them and always have. Lists keep me, my thoughts, and my actions somewhat organized. These days, the routine is pretty much the same Monday through Friday, but I make that daily list anyway. For me, it includes trying to write a book in thirty-minute increments and somehow, slowly but surely, getting closer to the finish line. It includes making sure all of my son’s details are sorted — 90 minutes of speech therapy three times per week, four hours of ABA every week day, what time is my helper coming through the door — then, what emails do I need to answer, what things do I need to procure, what projects need my attention today, who do I need to call back, or what show do I have to prepare for? But it hit me this morning as I stared at those two words — WHAT ELSE DO WE NEED?
What do I need?
There has been something about this period of time, during which we’ve all had our lives at least somewhat changed, that has been so distracting. It’s not exactly this, but it almost feels like grief — there’s a hung over, foggy feeling that makes the brain less able to focus. For me, that feeling comes mid-day. And I don’t know whether it’s because that’s the point at which I start to shift gears to the late afternoon and evening routine — supper, bathtime, etc. — or if I just wear out after ten or eleven hours of doing.
So I decided to shake things up a bit.
I’ve always been a furniture rearranger and someone who constantly reworks or at least fluffs her environment, but early yesterday morning, while H. was out for a run, I moved two chairs, a bookshelf, and a loveseat, and had set up my meditation/prayer altar, which used to be in our bedroom, in the library by the time he got back. I wasn’t getting to the altar often enough. I suspected that my lack of attention to my spiritual needs might be the cause of my mid-day lag. Maybe what’s on the list of things I need is an increase of quiet, prayer, meditation, and ritual.
I had started to think that everything that happens during a normal day (what is normal now, mind you) was ritual enough. I was wrong.
Checking in with and centering myself is my popsicles and bread. It’s how I stay in my own body, mind, and heart, and keep all of these balls in the air, or, how I let them fall to the ground when they need to. So, along with the furniture, I rearranged my daily list. There is nothing quite so essential now as taking care of ourselves.
Peace, love, and happy Wednesday,
PS — yes, H. did get quite a giggle out of the rearranging that took place in his absence. He knows me, though, and would be the first to tell you if you’re waiting on me, you’re backing up.