December 18, 2013 by Heather
Last night I went to our town’s monthly book club meeting at the home of one of my most favorite college professors. I’d been wanting to go for a few months but hadn’t been able to, and I didn’t remember until Monday that this month’s meeting was on Tuesday night. Sooooo I didn’t have time to read the book – “The Book Thief” – which had coincidentally been on my want-to-read list for a little while. As I read the plot summary on Cliff’s Notes yesterday I had two thoughts:
1.) Dang it, this book sounds so good and I’m reading the freaking summary.
2.) Dang it, I feel like I’m still in college reading the freaking summary instead of the actual book. JOKE. I always read every single assigned reading word for word.
Even though I went to the meeting armed with only my general plot knowledge and a scarf (because you have to wear a scarf to a book club meeting, right?), it was so much fun to just sit and listen. I was the youngest one there, and, as I soon found out over appetizer conversations, the least-traveled one as well. I’ve been to a few places (NYC, Washington D.C., Toronto, the beach, etc.), but they were throwing around phrases like, “last Christmas in Denmark,” and “the third time I went to Europe.” There was discussion about the Scandinavian countries and their politics and what Germany is doing with this or that. Needless to say, I left with quite a long List of Things to Google.
Everyone was so kind and gracious and I loved hearing their stories about travel and education. I am already looking forward to the January meeting, where I plan to have actually READ THE BOOK beforehand. However, while listening to them, I couldn’t help but feel like… I don’t know. Like I haven’t really been anywhere or know much about anything. Am I supposed to know about what’s going on in Greece? Where exactly is Finland anyway? Crap, I don’t know anything. Andrew and I need to go to Europe while we are still young and adventurous. How do people afford that? Should I go back to school?
Here’s the honest truth: Sometimes I worry that by staying at home with a toddler all day my brain is slowly turning into a big mushy pile of Where Is Thumbkin? and Old MacDonald Had a Farm, which I like to sing a remix of very loudly in a Madea voice: “Erd MerkDernuld Herd uh Ferm but He Derdn’t Herve un Erm.”
Maybe some of you reader-peeps can relate, but I’m real bad about being in a situation (good or bad) and not really being able to see the big picture. It’s like I’m here, on this day, doing this, and this is all I’ll ever be doing. My husband, Andrew, is kind of the opposite, which is probably a very good thing. He’s more of a visionary who plans and sees and does. I’m not like that, which can (unfortunately) sometimes foster a woe-is-me attitude whenever the here-and-now includes diharrea diapers and milk spit all over the couch.
Basically, I’m home, with this child, and this is all I’ll ever do. I won’t get to travel, I won’t ever follow through with going back to school, I won’t do this or that. It is completely ridiculous, but if I’m not careful that’s how my brain can twist things.
My dear friend Jill is always so good to remind me, usually on bad days, that this time is just a season. These days of Old MacDonald and applesauce seem like they’ll never end, especially when I think about having other children. On the flip side, I ugly cry when I think about them being over. Isn’t life weird? I am so blessed to get to stay home with Parker right now, and I truly do love Old MacDonald and applesauce, but there are days when I can’t untwist my crazy brain and I go to that dark place of man, so this is my life. Which is insane, because this life is the best life ever. Satan, get out of my head.
At the book club meeting there was a very intelligent woman who works in Pediatric Neuroscience. While discussing a recent study or something fancy like that, she made the comment about how the ages of 0-3 years are so incredibly crucial to a child’s development, and how their environment and things they are exposed to and taught during that time basically set the tone for the rest of their life outside of what they already possess genetically.
It was like instant life validation for Heather in that tiny moment.
This is a season. And in this season, I am doing exactly what I need to be doing for our family. I’m raising and teaching this tiny human who is in the middle of some very important years, apparently. I’m keeping up with stuff at home so Andrew can focus on his doctoral school work. This is a season.
There will be travel seasons and clean house seasons and real dining room table seasons and matching towel seasons. And in those seasons of life, I can pretty much guarantee that I will look back on this season – the Old MacDonald Applesauce Season – and wish so badly that I could go back for even just a day.
And maybe there will be a back-to-school-for-my-master’s season, but come on, let’s be real. I just read Cliff’s Notes for a book club meeting.
“We often overestimate what we can do in a day, but underestimate what we can do in a year.”
Looking forward to sharing more of our family pictures by Kathryn Richey in an upcoming post!!