Life’s Lost Instructions

Life is a collection of reminders.

“Socks before shoes -wait! Fold seams inside the socks first…”

Every moment is a list of instructions we pull from the linted clump of a cranial pocket. Frowning, we take it out, straighten it, and make sense of the blurry pen marks and dog-eared corners.

“Put the car in Park before turning the engine off…”

How many notes; how many memories end up in those pockets? Once they’re full, is that when we discover -to our confused dismay- a hole in the lining?

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©2021 Chel Owens

“Do not try to save
the whole world
or do anything grandiose.
Instead, create
a clearing
in the dense forest
of your life
and wait there
patiently,
until the song
that is yours alone to sing
falls into your open cupped hands
and you recognize and greet it.
Only then will you know
how to give yourself
to this world so worthy of rescue.”

-“Clearing,” by Martha Postlethwaite

The Conundrum of Motherhood

It’s Mother’s Day in America, a holiday I often avoid. This sounds ridiculous if you know me -or, at least, know of my progeny. I’m currently carrying my sixth child. Most of the time, I raise five others. Even this far into the job, however, I dislike identifying as a mother. I don’t even see myself as one.

Still ridiculous, right?

This conundrum of thought, turmoil of inner peace, and mental confusion of purpose has haunted me since I first agreed to carry a child. I’ve had great support from my husband; that’s not the problem. I’ve had relatives agree with my familial decisions; that’s not the problem, either. I’ve had many women to look to as examples, who balance children and a career; which also doesn’t seem to be the problem.

The only conclusion I’ve been able to make is that I am discontent. Me, who can and does make children, is unhappy doing so. Ungrateful.

…which, I hope, has more to do with life plans contrary to domesticity and not with despising the progeny I’ve made. Although, we did discover, last night, that one of my children carved a hole in his bedroom wall in order to conceal a laptop computer. *sigh*

I just …thought I’d …DO something in life. Something important.

Image

My husband, and many others, say raising children is the most important thing. Logically, I understand that. After all, who will live on the world if not the offspring of those willing to make them? Just …raising children is not, personally, fulfilling to me.

In some ways it is -ways like teaching my sons to read. My heart swells whenever I see them sitting, intently, reading a novel on their own. Or, whenever I see that look in their eyes when they bake their own bread. When they score a goal on the soccer team. When they help each other and are happy.

On days like that, I love being their mother.

On other days, though; days where I’m stuck inside with only their brawlings and their dishes and their laundry and their holes-in-the-walls for company, my mental health takes a beating. I dip into a dark hole of regret, wondering where the light comes from.

So, if you feel similarly, I get you. In fact, maybe we should get holes next to each other and call out supportive aphorisms. Or, throw each other some chocolate.

In the meantime, I’ll stick with my working plan -that of keeping at this mothering thing and sneaking a few, me-time things in here and there. You know, like writing.

On that note, happy Mother’s Day. Right? 🙂

©2021 Chel Owens

“What if you wake up some day, and you’re 65, or 75, and you never got your memoir or novel written, or you didn’t go swimming in those warm pools and oceans all those years because your thighs were jiggly and you had a nice big comfortable tummy; or you were just so strung out on perfectionism and people-pleasing that you forgot to have a big juicy creative life, of imagination and radical silliness and staring off into space like when you were a kid? It’s going to break your heart. Don’t let this happen.”

Anne Lamott

Infinity and beyond…

“We react to what is in front of our eyes, not what the other possibilities may be. Our survival mechanisms are designed that way perhaps, taking in and processing what needs to be dealt with in the waking world of the moment.

“Yet we are also designed in such a way that we can at least conceive of those greater realities. Curiosity, imagination, thoughts, hopes and dreams… through these we touch a different reality every day that has its own inner life for us…”

Just a snippet from the wonderful perspective of Sue Vincent.

The Silent Eye

Yet, if one could ignore space and time and be everywhere and every-when at once it would, theoretically at least, be possible to count them. Even taking all future snowfalls for the projected lifetime of our planet into consideration, it would be a finite number. There was, once upon a time, a very first snowflake to fall. There will be a last. There would come a point where there were no…

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Our Dreams, a poem

When are dreams
just dreams –
Cotton candy clouds above our
wondering eyes,
Entirely magical and beyond human touch?

When are they
substantial –
Sand or clay or peanut butter sandwiches,
Taken in hand
and formed to what we wish?

When do they
get taken –
Envied, criticized by
abusing fingers
Whose dreams left long ago?

When are dreams
– just dreams –
Substantial
Taken

Missed

And when do we

dream

again?

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©2020 Chel Owens