Thursday, June 9, 2011

Day 4: Overcoming My Tendency to Observe (for my cousin Emma, who says that makes me lame)

After just a few days, the house is looking much better overall. I think it's the result of being more chore-minded in general. And I love having a list to follow. A list that someone else wrote. A list that feels authoritative. A list I don't have to think about, just follow. It leaves room to think about all those heart issues.

Yesterday I was charged to bring life to my domain. This can be interpreted in many ways, depending on how your domain is defined. I began mulling over how to do this. I already have fresh flowers from my yard placed in my kitchen...I have four children and two cats (that's a lotta life)...I try to do little decorative things...I invite guests over regularly...??? How else should I be bringing life to my domain?

Then I thought about my tendency to observe my surroundings. I have been like this for a long time. I'm not often a participator, unless it involves talking or music. Or reading. But reading isn't often participatory. And it is the same in my home. I try to keep life a little bit at an arm's length so it doesn't have such a harsh impact (face it, four kids whining for breakfast can be harsh). Unfortunately, this isn't the best approach--or even possible--when you have children. So I began to think of ways to put myself in their place and also to benefit them and further enhance their home.

Step One was bringing a water cooler full of ice water and some paper cups out to the backyard. Usually when the kids are playing out in the hot, they come in when they're thirsty, usually interrupting me from something I feel is important. Step Two was to go sit on my swing and be with them in the backyard, something I don't often make time for. Have I mentioned I don't like to be hot? It's hard to make time for things you really don't like, like sweating.

But I noticed right away that the children didn't go in and out of the house at all while I was outside. I think they were so thrilled I was out there, that the 90+ temperature suddenly didn't bother them. Because interestingly, they didn't get that many drinks, either. I would get little visitors at my swing who would then dart back out to the sandbox. Having me within eyeshot was enough. It was my presence they were thirsty for.

I've also noticed that I'm interacting more with my surroundings, not just the children. Being focused on what chores are getting done has made me more aware of the house itself. Normally if I see folded laundry sitting on the dining room table, I walk by thinking, "I really need to put that away." (Observing, but not participating.) Now when I see folded laundry sitting on the table, I think "don't get trapped in the vicious cycle!" and go put it away. When I see dirty dishes, I don't groan and think about how unpleasant it would be to do them. I wash them and smile at my empty counter and shining sink. (See Emma? Interactive! ...I wonder if Emma even reads these...)

My husband is home and I think he'd like me to talk to him instead of typing. See? Life-bringing. Onward!

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