I had a thought similar to this when attacking one of my New Year resolutions; well, actually, I was sharing a pop-tart with my fifteen month old—not a resolution, I’ll get to that part—and observing our surroundings. See, my undergraduate diploma hangs, there, on the wall above a gigantic teddy bear whose head nods whimsically atop his over-stuffed belly so that he appears constantly slumbering in hibernation.
Dreamy, I think.
Moo, says my son.
Ironic, is what I think of the unintentional design in my Office-converted-haphazardly-into-a-play-room. There’s tents and tunnels amongst ten or twelve variations of the Woody doll and also every size, color, and texture of ball on the market. Oh, and giraffes. Who doesn’t like giraffes? The room is seriously a couple of Duplo blocks away from an episode of Hoarders.
Anyway, I recently scribbled on scrap paper:
New Year Resolutions:
Meaning, I had already surrendered the “Office” part. There it was in black and white: Toy. Room. Trying to create anything in this shrinking enclave of ink pens and a virus-ridden lap-top (due to neglect, obviously) is too stressful. Even the office chair, which served as the demarcation line, a clear symbol of this is office, that is playroom, had to be removed. The residents of Playroom were using it as a climbing wall. Now the desk on which the laptop sits serves as Playroom’s official Place-For-Found-Dangerous-Objects-That-No-One-Can-Reach-For-Now.
It might as well be called “don’t” and not desk: “Don’t pull on that drawer,” “Don’t touch those pens,” “Don’t crawl under there and yank out the computer cable (and all the electrical wiring in the wall).”
Over the months, the “don’t” collects old post-its littered with grocery lists, pen caps, and piles of unused or barely used journals. Leather-bound, floral, large, pocket-sized, lined and blank. Christmas gifts, impulse buys. Sometimes I kneel in front of the “don’t,” carefully open my lap-top and listen to it whirr, perhaps intending to do some vague form of work. But that’s as far as I get. The “don’t" is really just a relic like the Diploma written in Latin hanging ironically behind me.
The good old days?
No, I have the best of days ahead me. The work I do at home—supervising pudding painting (and eating), singing an off-key version of the Itsy Bitsy Spider with a few improved dance moves thrown in for giggles—is the most rewarding work I could ask for. Even the conversations I have at home that go: “Quack, Quack,” and then, “Quack, Quack, Quack,” are way more interesting than any water-cooler chit chat I’ve had the pleasure of hearing friends recount.
If work is not what makes us who we are, then I want my son to know I’m not just a stay-at-home-mom, I’m a stay-at-home-Molly. And, also, it’s not a “don’t,” it's a desk. Really. But let’s, me and you, put that part of life off for as long as we possibly can, kiddo. To rephrase my opening thought, when I look at you, son, I’m more successful than I ever thought I’d be. And I hope you are too one day.