It’s a fuzzy pressure behind my eyes when Cal, Jo and I pad downstairs in the morning. It’s a weight pulling my shoulders forward and down after I sing “Happy Birthday pancake” (long story) and close Cal’s door for naptime.
I go there every Monday, Wednesday and Friday when I’m home with the boys.
Ah, the housewife doldrums. Where many have dangled their feet in the warm, slow waters and pondered the pots and brooms and dustpans that await them.
The air is thick and sleepy here. It suspends the forward march that keeps clothes folded in their drawers and pots bubbling tappity-tap-tap.
Perhaps you’ve been here too, this sort of relaxing and depressing place, where you start to become Her. The Woman you didn’t want to be.
She lives here, in the sway between doing and un-doing that is my weeks work. Washing clothes and dishes so they can get dirty, buying and growing food so it can get eaten, holding safe boundaries until strong, capable legs trample them down as they’re meant to.
In this hypnotic back and forth and back again, I forget the shape of my desires. I become The Woman who does the work that’s needed. She stares off into the distance, waiting until a small, urgent voice calls for her again.
I hate her.
She was inside that humorless, late-afternoon look my mother used to get, her slender fingers deftly dicing yet another onion for yet another meal.
Back then, I vowed never to be her. But I didn’t give her enough credit. She’s a skillful shape shifter. Why should she keep clearing space for herself when it gets filled with everyone else’s needs and wants? Conserving energy feels safer than trying.
I need to sit her down. Pour her some iced tea and rub her feet for a while. Perhaps then she might remember how to stop waiting. How to move forward with her whole self. Dustpan, desires and all.