Friday, December 22, 2017

Unfinished Beginnings

Two weeks ago, I was the queen of unfinished beginnings. I wanted to feel successful, yet everywhere I looked I found evidence of the contrary. When have I turned into a slob, a thought appeared as I entered the living room. Piles of laundered clothes blanketed the couch. Today, I said to myself and walked into the kitchen, prickly crumbs sticking to my bare feet.

The kids sat at the table, cutting something out of paper, teeny puddles of milk sprinkled nearby. When will they learn to be neat? I wrung out a dish cloth and asked Marina to wipe it up, only to see it drop on the floor with a violent “No!” In the moment, I knew to summon my best recollection of Dyer and Sadghuru, but an equally oppressive “Now!” came out first.

The day had just begun, but what I wanted was for everyone to get back to bed. Or magically disappear. Either sounded equally delicious. Silence is all I needed. To wake up, brew some coffee and gather some thoughts. A vision of an old log house, a wood fireplace and a desk appeared in my mind’s eye. Rising squawking of my three angels in the background, I pictured sitting at that desk, weathered books and paper stacked neatly in the top left corner, looking out at the clear lake just steps away. I took a deep breath, allowing the quiet of the charmed location still my mind.

“Aaahhh!” a wild screech yanked me out of my reverie. “Marcus drAWED in my colouring booT!” I was back to square one. Back in the real world, I re-arranged my hair into the same boring braid, cooked eggs for breakfast and prepared for a gratitude exercise Jon and I introduced mere weeks ago. Not feeling overly grateful, I put on my winning face and urged everyone to think of something, but it was no use. The kids protested, and Jon and I took so long they left the table before we were able to utter a word. Having exchanged our typical c’est la vie smiles, we agreed to try again at dinner.

As the morning went on and the evidence of failure in all aspects of life mounted, I knew I had to accomplish something. If wiping the print-stained coffee table was all I managed to accomplish that day, I was going to be fine with that. I looked around, and long and behold the opportunity presented itself. Seated on top of the dryer was a pile of laundered socks that must have been there for months. In fact, they had been there for so long that the kids learned to forego looking in their drawers and run straight for the laundry room. It was time to eliminate that eyesore once and for all.

Having picked up the first sock, I began talking myself out of the endeavour. What is the point, the little voice questioned. Traitor. It had to be done. If not for the kids in desperate need of socks, then for me to feel a little more accomplished. The voice did not let up, bringing up all the past and present beginnings that never saw their end. A failed novelist. A so-so photographer. A half-arsed blogger. Argh! The name of a friend in neuroscience came up, and I wondered if he was able to isolate a gene that controlled the wretched doubter. If I could just turn you off...

Meanwhile, the pair count kept climbing: 28, 29… Feeling more determined, I proceeded to remove all the fluff from the foam bricks at the local play centre. Suddenly, I was done: 39 pairs of socks, 17 singles, a pair of mittens, a ball cap and a welder’s beanie. The humble beginning became a riveting success. I yelled yahoo and danced a jig. Figuratively. The queen of unfinished beginnings no more. And, rejuvenated, I pranced towards the kitchen to make lunch for my darlings…

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