Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Standing At The Kitchen Sink, Dreaming

Long ago, in the last century, when I was up to my oxthers in raising children, I used to stand at the kitchen sink and dream. My hands were busy, scrubbing pots and pans, or peeling carrots, but my thoughts were off in the clouds. Blogs were not even a twinkle in the eye of the genius who invented them, but I was writing, in my head. I wrote in notebooks too, of which I still have a motley and highly disorganized collection. Some day, when I'm whiling the hours away, and dozing in my rocking chair, I'll pile them up by my side and try to make sense of them.

The trouble is, that by the time the rug rats were tucked into bed, and I had a few minutes to write, I was only semi conscious. But standing at the kitchen sink? That's where I "wrote" the blockbusters, in my head. As anyone knows who writes, or tries to, ideas are like quicksilver; if you don't grab them and nail them into a notebook with a pencil, they flutter out the window and are gone, never to be recaptured with the clarity and perfection of the original thought.

Today the youngest of my rug rats has a birthday. Yesterday I made Irish Stew [by special request!] for his birthday dinner tonight,and right now I have Lily's Apple Cake, his favourite, in the oven. Which means that, in the last twenty four hours, I've spent a lot of time at the kitchen sink, peeling potatoes, chopping carrots, onions and celery, breaking eggs, slicing apples....and dreaming.

Dreaming of the long ago, when the house was full of energetic children, and barking, dancing dogs, furry chinchillas and scaly lizards; when, as far as the children were concerned, I knew everything; when I was the best reader and weaver of stories the world had ever known, and a champion maker of cookies to boot; when extra sandwiches I'd made [because growing boys have hollow legs and entrepreneurial ways] were auctioned off at the school lunch table to the highest bidder; when there wasn't a problem in their world that I couldn't solve with a hug and a smooch, and maybe a back rub; when the days flew by in a happy, busy blur and I thought it would always be so.

Occasionally, I would long for quiet; for less frenetic comings and goings; for time alone; but, for the most part, I loved my life and was content. Time is a sneak though. While I wasn't looking, the rug rats grew up, and, ever so slowly, so I hardly even noticed, drifted off to their own lives. Which is the way of things,I know. And I'm fine with that.

I really am. But, if I had it to do again, I would sit in the sand box more often and make "cakes" with them [no apple]; I'd read that "one more story" before turning out the light; I would go and bring "one more drink of water" to reluctant sleepers without a sigh of exasperation; I'd get a sitter for the baby and go help in the classroom; I'd get on an airplane and go hold her hand when life was overwhelming and she was all alone and lonely; I'd get in the car and drive to the other side of the country when the bottom fell out of his world.

Can you make up with the youngest for your shortfalls with the others?

My eyes were stinging at the kitchen sink today. And it wasn't all because of the onions.

23 comments:

Warty Mammal said...

I'm sorry. This is one of those hindsight 20:20 things. I have those same sorts of fears, about missing out on life because of minutiae.

riseoutofme said...

Ah Molly ... you're HUMAN ... stop beating yourself up.

Wish I was there .. then we both could blubber into the sink ...

Thimbleanna said...

Molly! You've made me cry! If only time would stand still! I loved that hustle-bustle life too. I know people don't believe me when I say I loved getting up in the middle of the night with those newborn babies, but I did. I only remember groaning once -- when one of them had been sick for two weeks and I was exhausted from no sleep. All the other times, I was so excited to be able to see them again -- even if it was at 3 a.m.

The only problem is that it all went by just WAY too fast. And there are MANY things I'd do over again and do better. Do we all feel that way?

Thanks for another lovely post. I hope you're not crying anymore -- those birthdays tend to do that to us!

Connie said...

The kitchen is a good place to think, You like me I alway go back in time, think about my Girls when thy was little, thing I would do different, but time change got grands, so I spent my time with them. You have a great DaY!

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

How apropos. I am standing at my own sink this week... trying to wrap my head around the changes that life brings to each of us.
Very similar to what you see when you look back through time's kaleidoscope.

The memories are so precious, but not as much as the moment we hold in our hands right now.

~HUGS~

Scarlett & Viaggiatore

peppermintpatcher said...

I'm certain you did a great job, otherwise they wouldn't have had the wings to fly.

Pauline said...

oh I know! but I know, too, that in those long gone can't-get-them-back days, the sigh of exasperation, the refusal of one more story were your best then. No need for regrets - just know that when you can do better, you will.

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

I know what you mean .I'd like to have known then just how fast it would all go . I definitely wish I'd had more patience !
But I love my daughters and love any time spent with them ,and I watch their progress with pleasure and pride . And feel very lucky to be able to do so .
Just think , all that time you spent practising on your children has turned you into a Granny who makes beautiful dresses and tells the best stories , sends postcards and chats on the phone .

Connie said...

Thanks Molly for your comment, You have a great day! THe little dress you made is adorable!

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Hugs.

Meggie said...

So many familiar thoughts here Molly. I write fantastic posts in my head, when I can't sleep or when I am in the shower, or waiting for someone, or something.
I was regarded as a freak mother, because I loved the school holidays, when I got to spend more time with my children, and we did fun things together.

The Lass said...

Oh Molly, this made me cry. I am, selfishly, grateful that I read this now, while I am in the middle of it, as it were. Big hugs to you!

Isabelle said...

Oh Molly, yes.

Friko said...

If only, dear Molly.
There never is an 'if only' and if you had to do it all over again, you'd do it just the same way you did it then. You absolutely know that you did your best and what you did was also the best for them.
Nostalgia is fine, standing at the kitchen sink you just have to indulge, washing up would be even more soul destroying if you weren't dreaming, but nostalgia is a yearning for something that never was in the first place.
I am sure you are fine, really, and if not, get a dish washer. You can still cook their favourite meals.

Ali Honey said...

I bet you were Great! Just enjoy the rest of your life and your memories.
Don't wait till you're old; find those notebooks and get started.

Stomper Girl said...

I can't bear to think of a time when I won't be able to solve their problems with a Mummy-cuddle. And I feel it racing towards me.

But Tracey is right, you must have done a good job because you gave them the wings to fly.

Kacey said...

Oh Molly, you've hit the nail right on the head. Tempus fugit and before you know it, there is very little left. Enjoy these next years, live every minute, never take a beautiful sight for granted, see your children as often as possible.....because it is over too soon and life is grand. We are packing for another trip home to Ohio and I dread all the time wasted in doing and undoing. I long to sit down and write something half as lovely as your post or finish the quilts I have sliced and diced, instead of all this silly back and forth stuff. Hopefully, God will allow me a few more years on this side of the veil, because I do enjoy it so much.

persiflage said...

We all recognise our own imperfections and wish we could have done better, could wind back the clock and change the past with the benefit of hindsight and increased understanding and maturity. You seem to have done better than many of us. I have so many regrets, which all the excuses in the world won't take away.
As for those perfectly expressed thoughts which vanish if not seized immediately, oh yes, how true that is. Later versions are not as good.

StitchinByTheLake said...

We've all had those thoughts Molly - we've all wished we'd done things differently. But in the end they are who they are because of who we were and what we did or didn't do. And haven't they turned out beautifully? So you must have done it right! blessings, marlene

Relatively Retiring said...

I echo all that is said above, plus the certainty that you can't get everything right, especially as a parent. You can but do your best, then as now, and it certainly seems you've done just that.

jkhenson said...

I, too, got misty eyed with this post, and mine aren't out of the house, yet. They do grow too fast. The post was wonderful. Thank you for putting feelings into words.

Ruth D~ said...

Ahhhh... I'm on the same wavelength, lately... Nicely expressed.

BrightenedBoy said...

You sound like a wonderful mother, all the more so for mulling over these mistakes that your children likely don't hold against you at all.

If my own mother were as caring, considerate, and compassionate as you seem to be, I would count myself very fortunate.