September always feels to me like an ambitious month. The kids are far enough into school that we're beginning to get a sense of what this school year (or at least this semester) is going to be like. My husband, freed of the summertime job of boychild-wrangling, is exploring his creative passions with more gusto. Being the weirdo who actually misses school, I am inspired to join as many classes, courses and challenges as I can find.
I'm good at telling my stories but I'm also pretty proficient at playing my cards close to my chest. Should I elaborate? Alrighty. I'm good at telling the pretty stories - the happy endings, the inspiring snippets, the silly happenings around my home involving my two precocious young men. The stuff I tend to hold back? All that other stuff. The shame stuff, the guilt stuff, the shoulda-woulda-coulda, want-it-so-badly-but-I-don't-think-I-really-"deserve"-it stuff.
For the past several days, I have allowed Overwhelm to creep in and make itself at home. Being one to offer hospitality freely, I figured it might only need a day or two before it was ready to slink off to its next destination. If I was kind enough, I reckoned, it might even be lighter on the next person’s resources, a sort of pay-it-forward karma, if you will. Overwhelm took advantage of the opening and wedged itself in there so firmly that I can’t even distinguish the space it has taken over as my own right this moment. I’m now faced with taking back some of that ground more forcefully than I’d like.
When I first started making my own soup from scratch, I would test it, batch after pitiful batch, on my beautiful (and apparently iron-stomached) friends who gathered at my home on Wednesday evenings so we could allow our kids to run roughshod over the house and nobody cared (too much) how much noise they made as long as no one was bleeding. Kids get tired of being hushed and parents, if they’re honest with themselves, get tired of hushing, so it’s a win-win to establish safe spaces for chaos.
The appearance of the Death card from the traditional Tarot has never bothered me because it was introduced to me as being synonymous with change rather than any specific loss of physical life. In fact, today it feels more like an invitation.
If I hear the word “poop” once a day, I guarantee you that I hear it a hundred or more times. My boys seem to grow more fascinated with the word the more anathema I deem it. At ten and five, I wonder when they will outgrow their preoccupation, when it will cease to be so seemingly endlessly obsession-worthy. I wonder, too, whether my calling attention to it, demanding the constant references end posthaste, serves to prolong the behavior.
Lately, I’ve been trying to walk more. Moving my body has been on my to-do list for the past several months as the effects of a sedentary desk job have been catching up with me and thrown in particularly stark relief as something I need to be particularly aware of now that I’m 40 years old. Honestly, I have to laugh when I say that number out loud – there’s no way I’m forty. It’s just ridiculous to believe I’ve been wandering around the planet that long. Inconceivable. And absolutely true.
Hairdryers are not my favorite things. I might relent and use the noisy things two or maybe three times per year. On the whole, though, I prefer letting my hair air dry naturally. The look that results doesn’t necessarily fit society’s idea of what a 40-year-old woman’s hair should look like, but then I tend to eschew any kind of make-up or dressy clothing norms anyway, so there are plenty of things that the fashion magnates and their minions could choose to pick on me about.