I wish you could see me right now.
I am sitting out back, hidden from the world in my grown-up fort imagining calm, peace, simplicity.
Well, okay, it is my clothesline strung like bunting with towels, but I consider it the same thing. I hear chirps and cheeps from birds, the rustling and fuss of trees and leaves and of course, the ever-present white noise of cars. Every now and then though, the stoplights on the busy road I live near work in my favor and I have a good thirty seconds of silence.
It is profound … and a gift.
If I could move, meaning, if we had all the money in the world and didn’t have to worry about things like jumbo mortgages and being house poor (because, seven kids, remember?), I would. I wouldn’t go far though. I would want to stay in my school district and near my friends and swim teams and stores where people know I have a bijillion kids and ask me about them every day I go in there. (Just as an aside though, whenever I had to buy a pregnancy test, I had to go to a different store lest I get the raised eyebrows. Ha!) I love my neighbors and friends beyond belief, I am so lucky, but I have always wanted a house that you couldn’t see from the street. A house that could only be seen from Google Earth and only in the winter. A house at the end of meandering driveway that spilled into a green lawn. The house would begin where the lawn ended and the front steps would reach out in invitation, like a comfortable yawn welcoming you to a sleepy and peaceful existence.
*Sigh.* One day.
But for now, I must make my own simplicity. I must create my own calm.
Because the reality is that we don’t live a simple lifestyle. It is near impossible what with the traffic and humanity of the big city that extends in concentric circles all the way out here to the suburbs like ripples in a pond. Even those of us on the outskirts lose our footing from the pulsing waves of Atlanta and all that we are dependent on. Work pressures, social pressures, SAT scores, ITBS scores, CoGat scores, college, extra curricula’s, and money. Always money. The list goes on and on and on. How do we stay connected to the things that matter, or will matter in our children’s lives and in our lives and yet still retain enough simplicity so that we are all happy with our lot and our situation?
Its tough. Not gonna lie. Not a day goes by that I don’t hear my children argue about who was on the computer last and for how long. Constantly am I telling them, “Go outside, its gorgeous.” I compete with Say Yes to the Dress and Long Island Medium. (To be fair, my favorite television shows are Barefoot Contessa and Income Property, but I try to watch those when I’m folding clothes or making dinner.)
The only thing I know to do is try, every single day to create an environment for my family that is simple. Calm. We eat together (for the most part). I spoil my kids with good, healthy, whole and real food because I want them to want to eat right. I want them to dislike packaged stuff. I play piano music because it is soothing. I (try to) keep the house clean because with nine people in the house, clutter needs to be at a minimum. These are the things that I do to simplify our lives as much as possible.
And I hang up my laundry because it makes me happy.
The breeze is picking up right now and the towels are floating back and forth, wafting April Fresh scent my way. This truly is restorative for me. It helps me “find the simple” in my life. The other day I was hanging my sheets out and Mary was with me, she was winding in and out of the fabrics as they floated around her. Every time we do this together, she is delighted with the “secret hideout” atmosphere. Can I tell you how much I love that she loves it and I hope she remembers it when she’s older?
How do you find your simple? What do you do to stop, chill and count your blessings?
Ps. Dinner tonight is special. Emma turns 15 tomorrow and because it will be Wednesday and we are going 15 million different directions, we are celebrating her day tonight. I made spaghetti and meatballs, Greek salad and an apple crumble for dessert. We are going to eat outside and I will remove my beloved clothes line for the evening.