My kitchen is the soul of my home.
Filled with bodies, dirty dishes, and junk mail,
It is both nourishing and stressful.
The floor sticky, the fridge filled with castoffs from other meals,
The wrinkling grapes past their moment of opportunity,
The milk on the cusp and the oj almost empty.
The eggs organic, the jam all natural sugar.
It is a foundation built on the right and the real.
Today is the last Monday of the month of August. For ten years, the last Monday of the month of August meant only one thing: back to work. In the districts I worked, teachers report that day to prepare for another school year with students. Eight years ago, on August 30th, I woke up before my alarm. I opened my eyes and smiled, thinking about seeing my teaching friends again and visiting my classroom. And then I remembered. I didn’t have a classroom anymore. My teaching friends were thousands of miles away and I would not be joining them.
Around my house, some variation of “A family that plays together stays together” is bandied about frequently. Of course, the verb changes as needed (some favorites are: farts, reads, washes) but the general refrain remains. I hope it’s true, by the way. I think it is, but I suppose I’ll have to get back to you in about forty years or so. But for now, it seems to be a truism, at least for my family.
And we do play well together. Board games, card games, dominoes, video games…we are a family that often plays. And last night Mister Soandso and I played one of our “oldies but goodies” that began way back in our dating days of college.
There are so many things you pine for as a young person, dreaming about the glory days of adulthood stretching before you. There are so many little benchmarks that herald the advent of being a grown-up. Although, in reality, some of them stink.
- Remember the first time you had to empty the sink strainer because you were too old to be grossed out by it?
- Or when it was your grown-up self that had to pull all the nasty hair out of the shower drain?
- Buying your first “real” appliance — a cheap blender that broke during the first batch of margaritas.
- Investigating the creepy noises at night, armed with the only weapon readily available–a rolled up Vogue magazine, because there was no one else in the house to do it for you.
- And changing your own flat tire, in the rain, because that’s what grown-ups do.
So, I don’t know about the state of your kitchen, but my particular “state of the nation” is really all about some of the most prime real estate on the planet. As in the 4 inches of space on the front of the counters and shelves in the refrigerator. Every time I walk into my kitchen to do anything more complicated than pour a cup of coffee, I am reminded that what I want my world to look like is far, far from what it actually looks like. Even more depressing is that I have come to see that the state of my kitchen pretty much mirrors the state of my life in general.
I’m here to say to all those considering parenting, be careful. Be very careful indeed. It’s a thing you definitely want to think about before doing. Which is probably why the human gestation period is 40 weeks – to give you plenty of time to wrap your head around the idea. And buy all those baby things, of course. It truly is one of those things that you can’t fully appreciate. Until you get there, you just have no idea how much your life is going to change. Becoming a parent is a whole lot like having something big and scary hurtle towards you at a great rate of speed. Kind of like if a giant robot were about to overtake you in some badly sub-titled movie. It’s not that the robot is truly bad. In fact, the robot is actually just a whole lot bigger than you and horribly misunderstood. And, of course, you and your sanity will never be the same, even if you do manage to avoid getting trampled.