Never Tear Us Apart


I keep reading articles and blogs on time scarcity. That seems to be what the Universe keeps serving up to me via emails and social media. Maybe it’s because Rocco’s schedule has temporarily changed to an amorphous, unpredictable amoeba-like thing which has, granted, put a dent in my productivity but I’ll have you know I use my ONE FULL HOUR OF ALONE TIME between dropping off one at preschool and picking the other up at the end of elementary school VERY EFFICIENTLY.

Take that, long caption! I shall top you with a hella long run-on sentence!

Which reminds me…I have to move my colonoscopy appointment because that’s what one apparently does in midlife, shuffle medical appointments around. And THAT reminds me that I have so many things on my to-do list that I just can’t seem to get to. And then THAT reminds me about all those time scarcity articles I was just mentioning.

This is what my brain keeps doing – getting stuck in a looping, intestinal tract-like mess of scatalogical proportions. (See what I did there?) That’s why I’ve been trying to let my mind wander a little more, to do all the things I’ve neglected for over a year because every moment without kids needed to go toward the book. For the past month (and for the foreseeable future) I simply don’t have any kid-free time. So I’ve been giving myself permission to do all the things that you can hypothetically stop and start around kid-terruptions instead of writing – refinishing a dresser, building some bookshelves, organizing a garage sale, doodling in sketchbooks, turning the garden…

Honestly? (And surprisingly for me.) It hasn’t sucked.

I wrote one piece and practiced ukulele maybe 20 full minutes since we last saw each other. That’s the extent of “work” I did for the month of April. Do I panic sometimes that I should be working more furiously on marketing, on writing, on the next thing? Almost hourly, yes. But…

Carole Montgomery, Rhonda Hansome, Margaret Dodge, and Emily Flake

I went to see an amazing comedy show, Women of a Certain Age, organized by Carole Montgomery earlier this week. At least seven different people had told me in various settings about the generosity and graciousness that Carole exudes. (See her magic for yourself via her Showtime special airing RIGHT NOW.) After the show, I made a point to grab a moment with her and tell her how much she’d influenced and inspired the friends we had in common. She gave a little shrug and said, “I don’t know any other way to be.”

The conversation wandered to kids and she said, “My kid is 27. When he was younger I would tell him all the time, ‘You know, I used to be Carole Montgomery.’ And he would say, ‘Ma, you’re still Carole Montgomery.’ But after becoming a mom…all that we give up…I didn’t feel like I was Carole Montgomery again until THIS special.”

I know what I’m about to say is totally cliche but her words snatched my breath for a moment. I felt them to the depths of my shallow, shallow soul. And I felt such sadness for what she’d given up, what I’ve given up, what so many women give up. And I felt boundless joy at the love on her face when she spoke of her son, the same joy that overwhelms me when one of mine announces with no warning that he’s having THE BEST DAY EVER because we are playing in mud together. And I felt peace – fleeting, yes – but a brief moment of peace seeing her shine with confidence and satisfaction and pride, her mojo fully intact.

Amusingly I lecture my kids all the time about their scarcity mindsets, scolding them for snatching the last graham cracker and whining about who has a bigger slice of banana bread. “Trust me that there is enough for both of you,” I say. “Trust that if we run out I can make more. Trust that it will all level out in the end and you’ll get everything you need.”

I totes got the same scolding from Carole and the Universe this week. And I needed it. Hard.

Maybe you need it, too? Just in case, here it is. I give you permission to enjoy the thing you are doing right this moment and let go of the shoulds. There WILL be time for them. Well, maybe not ALL the shoulds, because if you’re anything like me you have a ridiculously unattainable list. But there will be time for all the have-tos, the must-dos. Maybe what you and I SHOULD be doing is occasionally screaming THIS IS THE BEST DAY EVER while playing in mud or paint or flowers or mirepox or whatever gets your rocks off.

So now I’m in the pile of people mooning about the graciousness and generosity of the witty Carole Montgomery. She gave me the gift of time – hers and mine.

Obviously, the only way to close out an earnest blog post is with an extra ridiculous, half-assed ukulele video, RIGHT? So here you go.