Friday, September 19, 2008


Every September I have this incredible ANTI squirrel urge—instead of wanting to pack away everything for the long winter, I have this insane need to clean out my life, unload baggage and organize. It could be that it’s a corollary to needing to get the winter clothes down from the attic, and I have to sort of finish the project. It could be the sheer terror of being trapped in the house for the next 6 months with all my accumulated STUFF. Whatever the seed of this urge, I go with it.

I was going through drawers and found the old VH-C’s of family vacations when my teen and preteen were very small. In sorting through them to determine which ones to have digitally copied, I found myself in a kind of joyous memory lane. Oh my god, my preteen son as a Prince at two. The video of the chicken pox. These things are priceless.

And there in a forgotten drawer I found my big rocks.

You know the lecture that says your life is like a cleaned out peanut butter jar. Figure out what the big rocks are so you put them in first because if you fill up your life jar with all the minute annoying pebbles of grocery buying and laundry doing you will never be able to fit the big rocks—two small children discovering tidal pools—into the space that’s left.

The big rock in our family is TRAVEL. Getting away from our daily lives and exploring. Being with one another. It is in these times that we find each other. And these last few years it was the first thing we cut when trying to balance the household budget. But whats the point of a house if we don’t know and love who we are living with. We wanted the bigger house to accommodate the bigger family, but I would WAY rather have a shack and vacations than a nice house and stay put.

And I suddenly realize how guilty I am of not making those big rocks a major priority. It is too easy to get caught up in the sand of life as it buries you—the permission slips and where are the ballet slippers and who forgot to pick up milk.

I suppose this is why I am such a dreadful housekeeper. There is just not enough time in my life to read a chapter of Charlotte’s Web to the kids—we are at the part where Charlotte dies and that is going to devastate all of us, and bring us up close and personal to the tenuousness of living---and get the kitchen floor swept and mopped up. I hope my epitaph reads: She lived a wonderful life. She kept a very messy house……

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