We have these shrubs out front, under our windows. (I say under, but really they are creeping up, so that the windows are cozily nestled into the bushes. I like the way it looks, but it is a bit of a battle to convince The Man that the windows should remain nestled…) I swear those shrubs grow 18″ a year. We trim them, and we trim them and they just keep right on growing.
Most of the time, I can’t get to the entire shrub when I’m trimming. At this point, they are five feet wide and four feet tall and full of yellow jackets most days. So I do my best. I clip from the front, and I can usually get about 3/4 of the plant done…just not the back. I generally manage to remove only about 6″ of height at a time. In order to finish the job completely, I have to do the remaining parts from inside the house, hanging out the windows and that is a real pain, to be honest. So the shrubs are almost never fully trimmed. I just skim the surface.
They are a metaphor for my life, those bushes…just skimming the surface these days…
I think about it constantly — how if I had more time I could do more. How nothing ever seems complete, but everything is “good enough for now.” Good enough to get by.
The weekends are good…they are a time to catch up a little…and to do the things we love without feeling like we are casting our obligations aside. Even still, I wake up most mornings feeling an ache in the pit of my stomach. There is something inside me that will not quit, and so at 5:00am Sunday morning I am worried about Algebra, and groceries, and apple picking and basketball tryouts and church and how we fit it all in on this day. And the dialogue in my head begins…
We can’t do it all.
Maybe we should go to church early.
That’s just asking for trouble…they need a sleep-in day. William has tryouts and he needs to sleep.
Well what are we going to *not* do then?
Apples. We won’t go apple picking.
That’s the only fun thing on the list! Poor Ella… We always went apple picking with the other kids when they were little. She always gets the short end of the stick…
And this goes on and on in my head…the guilt…the scheduling…the mind racing…until I realize my stomach is upset and there is no way I’ll get back to sleep so I just get up and make coffee.
In the end that day, we decided to go apple picking. We took a ferry across the river and drove down narrow, hilly roads through farms lined with split rail fences. Red and yellow trees dotted the landscape and the hills in the distance were painted in ribbons of gold and orange and crimson.
We had agreed before we left that ten pounds of apples was going to be sufficient and we needed to control ourselves because we always get too many apples and after 2 weeks of apples apples apples we are sick to death of apples.
So we came home with 21 pounds of apples. I don’t know what happened.
The kids got ice cream and we got a drink and we loaded up our apples and headed home. The four were too loud in the car, but it was a good kind of loud, where you know they had fun even if one or two of them had complained about going in the first place.
When we got home, I put on a football game and William set up the computer so he could keep an eye on his fantasy team and yell at them now and then while I made smothered chicken for supper. And for once, we sat around the table together and ate.
That night Kate and I climbed into bed and we practiced the distributive property. Oh my was that all kinds of fun. (For me. Not too much for Kate I don’t think…)
That day, we did what we could. I didn’t get the groceries, which meant I had to go in the pouring down rain on Monday (which pretty much stunk…), but it ended up being a good day. A pretty day, where the Earth did not fall off it’s axis, and the sun did rise again, imagine that.
Half of the apples we picked are piled in a big footed bowl on the island. It’s a good reminder of that pretty day…and that every now and then having a little fun is way better than getting it all done.