Wednesday, July 29, 2009

This Petty Pace

Today I was reading a blog by a Theatre Professor at UVU, who does a study abroad in England every year, and it hit me, how plebian I feel. How very...low brow. I'm sure everyone feels that way sometimes. Even Avram, who has studied almost ten languagues, and reads The Bible in Hebrew to take a break from studying Arabic, spends most of his free reading time with Role Playing Books. I have an odd obsession with the BYU honor's reading list (Just read The Ponder Heart by Eudora Welty - another line has been highlighted!). But...the last movie we watched was Galaxy Quest. And, I spend an awful lot of free time not bettering myself (thanks Internet!). And my children make me feel claustrophobic sometimes. As in, sometimes, I get cabin fever from my home, and my job description. Like this week.

I'd like to believe it's because I'm basically unsettled from not knowing about buying a house or not. We have a meeting with a loan officer this coming Monday, and from that we should know whether we'll be able to buy one or not. But it saddens me that this is the greatest desire in my heart right now. When I was still single and at BYU I worked for a short while as a custodian at Wymount. Mostly we did deep cleaning for apartments after people moved out, but occasionally we had women call in for a special spot carpet cleaning, usually because their baby had thrown up or peed on it. And even though they had cleaned it up themselves, they needed our chemicals, because they just remembered where it was.

My boss hated this. I must admit, these women usually came across as a little wimpy to me. (Except for the time that someone had us clean pig blood off her carpet, because her sister had stored her belongings at their house in between apartments, and had forgotten that her freezer bag was in the middle of her stuff, and they only noticed when the living room started stinking, and there was a pork roast bleeding all over the floor - that was a very legitimate use of our chemicals and prowess with carpet cleaners. Good times.) Aside from this, every time we visited one of these apartments, it gave me claustraphobia. The cute decorations. The dimness indoors. The small child and mom. Alone. In an apartment. 560 square feet. ALL DAY LONG.

I grew up babysitting. I also grew up in a large family. I knew I wanted to be a homemaker. But visiting the reality of it....I couldn't handle it.

Then I got married. And had Lydia. And Loved my job as homemaker. It was a very natural transition. I loved the quiet and calm of the apartment, all day long. At this point in my life, I would sometimes visit my sister who owned a house, and whose husband had an "adult" job, with adult income. She was a year younger than me, and very settled in life. And although I loved visiting her, the idea of me being that settled really did not sit well with me. I couldn't imagine being that tied down. Of being where you'll be until your kids leave home. Yikes.

And now I want that. I want to own a house. It no longer scares me - I see it as very attractive - more housework and all. Even if we don't buy a house now, I'm fully in that stage of life. Multiple children. The Mommy stage - the mommy brain. It's a good stage. But....sometimes, I want to feel on the edge of things.

Avram and I decided recently that we may have him go alone to Israel to study for a summer, but we would not be planning to have the family go for a school year, like we had previously talked about. The idea of finding an apartment, paying for air fair and visas and passports (Avram's expires after the turn of the year), and working out funding, and trying to sight-see, and doing all of this on a student budget, with small children who need naps and routine....It's just too much for us. For me. The stress of it all - I just want to not go.

Of course, if we found out he randomly got funding that could cover us coming as well, I reserve right to immediately negate the previous paragraph. But looking at it right now, it just seems preferable to stay settled in America. It saddens me I feel this way -that I would rather have stability and ease than life-changing experiences. Maybe it was being in England, where I wanted to do amazing things, but instead spent most of my time in a small third story flat, pregnant and anemic, with no energy and no money, living off of student loans. I feel like I never really got to see England. That I had all this...potential experience at my fingertips, and most of it slipped through them, without me seeing it. Being in England, but never Seeing England. I think under the circumstances we did alright. But....I don't want another foreign experience like the last one. I'd rather wait until Avram was a professor, and we could actually sight see, and our kids weren't so young. Even thinking about it right now...I don't want to go.

I'm not really complaining, in the sense that I wish I could/would change. I recognize that there are times and seasons to life, and right now is the time and season for being a mother of young children, of settling down, of security. And that even through this I can, and am, keeping up my other interests. Reading literature. Having nonsensical conversations in Arabic (That's about it for my intellectual activities.) I know that later there will be plenty of time to travel, to see plays, to mingle with others and have scintillating conversations that do not include phrases like, "Are you sitting on the potty? Good girl!" or "Can we hit our sister? [No.] What can we hit? [Drums]"

Sometimes, I dream, though....


  1. I know you don't know me, but bear with me a bit.

    It would be so awesome if you could go to Israel now, when your kids are young. We were overseas (in Saudi Arabia) when my kids were young and it turned out to be a great thing. I had miserable pregnancies and it's true that there were quite a few things other people could do that I couldn't because I had children to consider. But I would not have traded it for anything. I always looked at it this way: You are at home changing diapers and doing dishes whether you are in Saudi Arabia or Omaha, Nebraska. At least you get the occasional (or more) glimpse of a variety of cultures if you are overseas. And it is deeply satisfying to know that even teaching Primary is serving in a unique, needed way. The Lord has a way of moving His chess pieces around and you could be one of them.

    I can see how you could get a bit jiggy. I love the way you read so meaningfully. I made good use of our community library while we were overseas, as well as bringing in good books and taking distance learning classes. Those were all key to my own sanity.

    The key here, as with every decision, is what the Lord has in mind for you. Attend the temple for clarity. Go to the edge of the light, as Elder Packer used to say, and you will be surprised what the Lord can do with you.


  2. Those are some good points you make. I suppose, if Avram got a scholarship to go, we would all try to go. But knowing that most likely he'll have plenty of opportunities to go abroad in the future makes me want to put off going until he's the professor, and not the student. If I only had one chance, then I would take it, even if it came now.

  3. We need that dreaming, I think. Nostalgia for the past, wistfulness and hope for the future. It's all well and good to recognize there are seasons to life, etc...but it doesn't stop the wondering and wishing. And you know, although mommy guilt tends to set in a bit, I think it's okay to wish and dream a bit. Otherwise how will we know what to prepare ourselves for?

  4. It's funny how content we become just to be at home. I just saw a blog about how beautiful the wild flowers are in the mountains because of our wet spring and instead of wanting to go into the mountains to see them, I just contented myself to look at the pictures. Somehow everyting seems too much effort. Maybe it comes with getting older.

  5. Wow.I also dream of having a house and even the whole kid thing really is feeling more like a longing rather than a chore. I dream of the whole bringing a baby to a cute home with a nursery and nicely sized kitchen with lots of light. Call me crazy but we girls have to dream!

  6. I've been meaning to post a comment. First, I'm sorry you couldn't get around more in England. Wish we had been closer. It was that house in the middle of nowhere in Yarnton....

    Anyway, we had been to England before we lived there, visiting for a lot of a summer once, but we learned so much more during our year long stay than we did from our summer -- even though we didn't travel as much. The reason: Jonathan was old enough to go to school. Tim and I were just working, but Jonathan was completely immersed in the new country and culture, making friends, picking up the language, eating the food, and he brought that home.

    For you, Lydia will be approaching this age. And Elisheva soon. But I agree -- the money thing is definitely a tricky obstacle to overcome.

  7. I am so on this page with you, since I just made a big decision concerning sabbaticals. We'd always thought we'd like to do one in Europe, and Dean even talked about doing one this fall, and I'd said, "No, not with a new baby," and he'd said, "How about next year?" and I'd said, "Sure." And then for months I'd think about that and feel anxious and stressed--would we rent out our house? How can we get it in shape first? (It's generally a disaster lately.) How could I handle so many young kids in a new environment, and get all our stuff over? What would we do about a car? And on and on. Also, IF my health allows, I'd still like one or two more kids, but I have precarious health during and after pregnancies (messed up endocrince system.) Finally, a couple weeks ago, I just said, "I know that for our KIDS it's a good time to take them abroad while they're young (and flexible and learn languages easily and aren't involved in all the great high school extracurriculars, etc.,) for ME it's just not a good time until I'm sure we're done having kids and my health is clearly stabilized." And that decision has been a huge relief.