First, you should probably put on The Passenger by Iggy Pop.
Let me know when you’re there.
There’s always too much to do. There are things your hands need to do, ideas your brain needs to do understand, politicians whose time is up. There are stories to write, friends to check on, a present that you bought last month that’s still sitting on the counter.
There are children to come to know again because of course, of course they woke up today as the reincarnations of the people they were yesterday, mostly the same but in some big ways, completely new.
There’s an empty carton of milk. There are pumpkin seeds in the couch. There is a soaking wet bath towel in the sink. There are six Beanie Babies in your slippers. There’s a tiny, perfectly round puddle in the middle of the kitchen floor. Don’t ask why. It doesn’t even matter. What’s done is done.
There are checks to write and balances to check, things you promised to your kids that you may have to walk back if the car keeps making that noise.
There is fresh fruit to buy. There are old brown bananas to peel and freeze. There is a book you wrote. There is a story to tell and questions to ask yourself about the book: is it really finished? What’s missing? What did I need to say that I forgot to say? There are mysteries to surrender to, like why so many of the most important things are also the most easily forgotten.
There is a dishwasher. There are forms to sign and return. There are deadlines today. There are deadlines Wednesday. There’s rent to pay. There are balances to check. There are birthday presents you’ll save for later, for next month, for after the 15th.
Fuck me, the dentist.
There are news reports to read quietly, new faces to look at quietly, new names to say, new prayers for the dead. There’s new terror layered over old terror when you drop your kids at school, new fury slicked over old fury, because fury feels safer than terror. There are new imagined phone calls you have to tell yourself to stop, stop right there.
There are weeds. There was the garden you were going to plant so the kids could watch green things grow. Is it too late to seed the earth? There are deadlines. There are tiny black specks that will turn into tomatoes if you can get your shit together and summer goes through September.
There’s a primary underway, not sure if you’ve heard. There are platforms to learn, conversations to have with yourself. There are no perfect candidates. There’s a fucking douche on Twitter who shoulda asked somebody. There are little bitches to block.
At least the taxes are done.
There’s a bruise on your cheek where you stood like a rookie with your face directly over the 4-year-old’s cinder block head while he squatted on the floor, building a marble run. He stood up.
There’s a splinter in your finger, smaller than you can see but the whole finger’s red. There’s a whole week of weeding, still. There’s the sun, the sky your son called “cloudless” this morning before Daddy left for a week-long trip and your sad little boy asked if you could paint his nails. There’s the memory of the day his brother came home from preschool with his hands in fists because the other kids told him only girls wear nail polish. There’s a flash of grief. There’s work to do, preparing the little boy to say, “Lots of people wear nail polish” and “If you don’t like it, you don’t have to wear it. I like it and I’m great.”
There’s the shopping list. There’s the unmade bed which you should really just start calling “the bed” because “unmade” is in the bed’s DNA now. I don’t call myself the wrinkly elbow-skin Katie.
There’s a water glass you filled and had to abandon. Don’t worry; it’s still there. It’ll wait for you.
There’s a song you love. There’s a friend, calling to check on you. There’s the child, still young enough to want a manicure at the kitchen counter while you decide which glass bottled colors look like dragons and which look like mermaids. There’s the perfect gif that cracked you up. There are Game of Thrones recaps to read.
There’s a seed busted open, its new white roots plunging into black dirt, pressed against the clear plastic cup with your child’s name written on the side. There’s a cloud in the cloudless sky. There’s the sky, big as ever. There’s the book you wrote. There’s the world you built. There’s the list you made. There’s your mess, evidence you were here and full of motion, busted open too because it was time to grow.
You’re not in charge of that part. No matter how many times you feel like you fucked up or how badly you want to hide, when it’s time to grow, you will, you can’t help it.
I am not always grateful. But through no grace of my own, I discover that I always return to gratitude. I’m not in charge of that part either.
Have a good week, everybody.