someone reminded me about my rule of one thing, for those snowdays when you are trapped in a house with a bunch of kids and all hope of getting your list done flies out the window (or lies buried under a stack of soggy snowpants)
The Rule of One Thing
About 14 years ago, in the midst of the biggest theatrical project of my life, a commissioned from scratch look at the Don Juan myth from the woman’s perspective, a musical written by the actresses, I had my first child. No problem. I thought I would bring the baby to rehearsals. I thought she would grow up with my dance company. Nobody told me about colic. Nobody mentioned that leaking breast milk down the front of your opening night cocktail dress is totally uncool.
Nobody told me toddlers chew on theatrical electrical cording and don’t want to sit through mama’s rehearsals. Nobody told me how much a new person is a totally new person completely uninterested in following my agenda.
That baby is a womangirl now, and nobody told me that in the garden of children I would end up with an orchid, not a daisy, and that she would be dragging me to Berlin in the middle of winter to support her career as a film maker. And silly me, I gave birth to two more of these marvelous martians and I am still figuring out what planet I am on and trying to learn to breathe the air here and figure out the languages and customs.
I have been trying to figure out for the last 14 years who the heck I am today, this minute, because that’s about all the coherence I ever get—one cotton picking minute. It seems like just about every day is a big life transition: first tooth, first day of school, first bully, first date…Its all so much. And I will tell you the one thing that helps me when it starts to be toooo much. It’s the rule of One Thing. All you have to do today is one thing. Pick it. It could be making the holiday cookies for all the teachers. It could be the laundry. It could be sitting and sipping the coffee instead of losing the cup until its cold or worse, moldy. (Today its getting the plumber to come out again because if I have to go one more day having to empty a bucket every time someone flushes the toilet, I am going to go insane) Caress and love that One Thing. Revel and enjoy your One Thing. Make sure sometimes the One Thing is getting together with a friend (check, did that Friday) and sometimes its reading a great book, (check, did that on November 22). And try to make most of your One Things just to be with this person you brought into the world. And realize that someday the house will be too quiet and it will stay too clean, but by then you will be too old and tired to care….
Having children is a form of surfing. You have paddled out to the Big Wave. You cannot control it. You cannot hang on to it. You can only ride it until it passes you by and spends itself upon a distant shore. It will wash over you and set you spinning. You will learn to surf the crest of it. Cowabunga!
May you have a lovely one thing today