I’m participating in a writing workshop right now put on by the wonderful writers at Coffee + Crumbs. One of our writing prompts was to write a “Red dot” essay – write about where you are on your map of life, much like the red dots show on mall and zoo maps that “you are here.” I think it’s fun and important to consistently take inventory of where you are so that you can savor it now and store it away for later. Here’s my submission; thanks for reading!
I raise my hand and signal my presence.
Isn’t that life, though? Caught up in the herd, stampeding towards tomorrow, raising our hands, screaming, “Here I am! Look at me! Notice me! See me where I am!” Roll call has become role call as we plough through our existence seeking out justification for and approval of our lives.
Does anyone else ever feel like the black sheep of the group? Even then, our diversity is almost glanced over with a blind eye, and we are cast aside for the very reasons we wished to stand out. Others don’t want to see how we are different, and instead of uplifting us our disparities divide.
Long gone are the days of resting sleepily at our desks, waiting for our names to be called in alphabetical order as the windows sit still in darkness, begging us to wait for the day to begin before embarking. One by one, the rows yawn, as the sleepy sickness spreads. Here. Here. Here……. Present. Well that was new. Eyes open a little wider, the yawning pauses as someone throws a hitch in the parade. Present? Eyes roll. Weirdo.
Aren’t we all, though? Maybe that’s just me…
If the world is a classroom then I’m here. I’m present. I’m the one with coffee rings on my jeans from driving and guzzling the caffeine-rich nectar of the gods on-the-go because when I’m at home I get no reprieve. I’m here with a wet spot on my shoulder from the snotty baby who’s not sick, but is apparently in a perpetual state of acquiring teeth. I’m here with a toddler who doesn’t need me anymore until something bad creeps into her perfect little world of animal crackers, coloring books and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. I’m present amidst the hair (oh my gosh, the hair) that my orange tabby cat and german shepherd emit just to irk me, because they think I must have more than two hands. I’m a mother of two children, thirteen months apart. The first coming sooner than expected, the second even sooner. I’m here, telling you I’ve figured out where babies come from.
I’m here with my husband – we’re each holding a child, leaning in for kisses and juggling glasses of wine and whiskey. His beard is coarse and tickles my cheek, a good reminder of my day, full of rough patches and smooth. He is my rock, my champion, and my bestower of grace and tickles and all things sweet. I’m here, knowing without a doubt I couldn’t do this life easily without him.
I’m here at home. I gave up my career as a Speech-Language Pathologist to be with my little babies that apparently just keep coming (I promise I figured this out…I think). I love wiping noses and cleaning soft bottoms, but I miss my job. I’m here, driven by a vision and purpose of motherhood that keeps me going when things are hard.
I’m here and things are often hard. My days are long and my nights are chopped up and served to me short-order – unsatisfying and predictable, leaving me craving more. My joys are sweet, though, but I’m still looking forward to a “gourmet” night of sleep. Dessert doesn’t exonerate a bad meal for me.
I’m here and I’m asking you to hold the dessert and serve me up another slice of pizza. There are two types of people and I’m not the craving sweets kind. Fill me up with fried chicken, hamburgers, pizza and mac-n-cheese. Does this make me the greasy kind? Ew.
My children would probably replace “here” with “available.” Always. I am rarely alone. Even when I escape to the bathroom, both children confined in exersaucers or jumpers, the door swings open and a four-legged friend saunters in to “keep me company.” Like I need company.
So here is my here, my present, my available. Accept it or not, it’s my spot on the roll and I’m thriving in it. My role is often under-valued, sometimes over-glorified, and usually messy. Let me just raise both hands and yell because I’m happy to be “HERE!”
Sleepy eyes glance my way and the yawns resume in order as one name after the other are called. Response gleaned, name crossed off…