Back in April, just about the time I was trying to untie my creativity from a paralysis of over-analysis and get the last few pages of The Truth about Trolls laid out, Thing2 was exploring his and putting my resolve not to limit it to the test.
His spring time creative effort led to a rock pile in the middle of his room, the fruits of a “quarry” he and a couple friends had started near the kids’ Lord of the Flies training ground in the woods behind our house.
That was three weeks ago. The rock pile is still there.
He’s cleaned his room. I have cleaned his room-a bit. Laundry has been done. Baths have been had. But that rock pile is still there.
At first thing to wanted to hang onto it. Then he was afraid he wouldn’t clean it up the right way.
It was a story writing itself (Élly has been very understanding, as long as her pages keep developing).
Thing2, aware that the rock pile and the absurdities of our undeclared battle are serving as inspiration, is more determined than ever that it should stay. To his credit, however, he has moved it out of the center of the room so the rest of us can get from point a to point B without breaking or next.
I’ve decided to exercise my mom authority and remove the “inspiration” as soon as he goes to camp or I finish his story, whichever comes first.
I don’t have a career. I have a job. It’s not a bad job at all, but it’s not the kind of work that changes people’s lives (for good or for ill) or – like a doctor’s or lawyer’s or reporter’s – is filled with action or big issues. It is the kind of work that lets me work from home and put food on the round pedestal table in our open-floorplan kitchen.
It’s 5:00 AM and an hour and a half from now, there will be scrambling and a mad rush out the door to meet the school bus at the end of our dirt road. Then there will be a brief calm before the workday begins. Except for the days I go to the country store, I won’t see another human being until the Big Guy rolls in with our two boys after the school bus brings them home. It’s literally a very small life.
But somewhere among the eat-your-peanut-butter-sandwich and passing-the-potatoes, at some point during the how-was-your-day’s and even on nights when the Big Guy or I might be licking a wound from a careless comment or Thirteen-year-old Thing1 is barely speaking to us because of a lost privilege, we each know our small life is pretty good.
There aren’t any late model cars in the driveway. I can’t remember the last time we sat down to dinner with 4 matching plates. There’s always dust spontaneously generating around furniture, and the next big bill is always just waiting around the corner.
But there’s also always safety. There’s always food on the table. There’s always a fire in the wood stove warming us when we need it and when we don’t, we’re still at the kitchen table making our own magic.
So, this morning, even though it’s not cold outside and even though I have a room designated as an office down the hall, at 5am, I’m already settled at the kitchen table near the wood stove. It’s not just the heat that draws me here. For me, the kitchen table is where the action – valuable and small – happens.