Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Simply Simplify

I chatted with my bosom buddy from high school the other day and she told me a story.

She ran into another high school acquaintance of ours a while back. It was completely random and she hadn't seen this person since high school (14 years). They both had their small kids with them, and my BB (bosom buddy) asked the AQ (acquaintance):
"So, how are you?"
AQ proceeded to tell BB all about her many college degrees, her amazing job, and her husband's degrees, and his amazing job. AQ then asked BB, "What do you do?"
BB could have responded with "I have my biology teaching degree" but instead simply said, "Oh, I'm a mom! I just chase around these little monsters all day." (BB has four kids.) AQ kind of smirked, and moved away.

I know we've all read (or heard about) Jane Clayson Johnson's book I Am A Mother and we know her story about choosing mothering over hosting national morning shows, so I won't go into detail about how JUST being a mom is the most unappreciated and yet the most important job in the world. But what I will talk about is BB.

She was the most well- grounded and confident person I knew in high school. She married very young (18), but waited until she had her college degree before having children (her oldest is a year younger than my oldest). She and her husband live out in "the country" and their older home sits on several acres. They have a barn, animals, and solitude. Her husband works "at the site" (for all you Idahoans, you know what I mean), and she stays home with their kids. They don't travel much, and if they do, it's camping or visiting family in nearby states. She goes to the gym, does her visiting teaching, scrapbooks, and cooks. She does laundry, feeds the dogs, harvests tomatoes, and takes her kids to library time and swimming lessons. She leads, in reality, a fairly simple life.

It's a life, dear reader, I feel a longing for. In a very similar City Mouse/Country Mouse way, I find myself being drawn to my past and the style of community in which I was brought up. All the education, travel, and experience can't seem to make up for the desire to raise my family in a simple way. I love to travel, I love my education, I love my experiences --don't get me wrong --but at the same time, I long for that ability to just simplify.

If I'm being brutally and humiliatingly honest here, I will say that for a time I felt sorry for BB. I figured she didn't have as great a life as I had because while she was raising a pig, I was snorkeling in Hawaii. My arrogance shielded me from the truth, though: I actually envy her.

The grass is always greener or taller or prettier or whatever, but I'm not necessarily envying BB's exact situation. What I do have envy of is the simplicity. The non-obsession with "stuff" or "things" or "people." It's like I have this feeling inside of me that I should be doing something more (or less?) with our family and situation, and yet I haven't been able to figure it out. Remember a while back I posted about feeling that change was coming? I still feel it. I feel as if I'm just in the waiting area before the nurse calls me back to what's really going to happen. I don't know if it's because we're so close to Brandon's graduation, or because we want to have another baby, or because the dang neighborhood cats have been pooping in my garden plot and so now I need to order more dirt so I can actually plant in it (stupid cats!! And in case you think cat feces is good fertilizer, think again! It's poison, man. Poison!) --but I still feel that itch. That longing, or that knowledge of change.

I'm trying to be patient about it, though. I'm realizing that some things just can't change quickly. Most things need time, and for that, I need to have patience. That doesn't mean I should sit around being all sulky and crazy (which I'm prone to do and do a lot), but I should use the time to prep. Educate myself. Research. Write. Read. Pray. Ponder. Enjoy. Read and write what, exactly? I'm not entirely sure. Over the last 2 years, it's been about diet, childbirth, car seats, gardening, organizing, and finding awesome chore charts. Maybe that stuff? You know, the stuff I've been blogging about? Yeah, that stuff.

In any case, here's to simplifying. And here's to BB for helping me "see the light" without even realizing it!

Today is BB's birthday. She is now 32 like me. Happy Birthday, BB! Thanks for being my friend through all the years.


michelle said...

So what? You gonna up and leave and move away?

I'm glowering.

I think you should keep writing about how amazing motherhood is. We need more women like you celebrating the simple in life.


Amber said...

After sitting across from you at dinner the other night, I absolutely had to check out your blog. And let me just say that you write exactly as you speak--it's great! You are a girl who oozes personality and I really like you. Just so you know.

becca said...

Ah, simpicity... it's still hard work. I've found the more I cut out and the less "extra" curricular activities my children are in (one a piece for the older two, never at the same time)and the less t.v. (we do netflix like crazy) they watch, the better they eat- like all the healthy whole foods you've been blogging about- and the more we get along. I love my life in the country too, and someday I hope to have animals like BB (chickens this year baby). There's peace in getting back to the basics. Clean out your house. Get rid of all the extras you keep having to put away over and over or yell at your kids to put away over and over. Peace of mind will follow. Just simplify, Cheryl, like you want to! Don't let others views get in your way, just do it, take the leap, blog about what you've learned, and enjoy! At least you know I don't think you're crazy about eating whole foods, getting rid of toxins in our lives that mess up our bodies, and gardening. Right there with you, lady.

Laura@livingabigstory said...

Wow! What an incredible tribute to your friend!

I do relate to what your writing though - for me, there is a crazy mixture of fear/excitement thinking "What can I make of this life I've been given?"

I love that writing is on your list of things to do to prep - since starting to write again, my heart is so much fuller. I've forgotten how much I loved to wrestle with an idea in words.