Housewife

I was reading back through some of my old journals recently.  There is a pattern of trying to work out how to get things lined out like I want them.  Things like how the house is arranged or a schedule to keep up with the chores.  I recall when the children were small and we lived in California.  Our house there was sparsely furnished.  We didn’t have much stuff in the way of toys, books, clothes, dishes, tools, etc. 

Over the course of a lifetime, we have accumulated a lot of things.  I drag home junk from the thrift stores, book sales or Walmart.  He drags home stuff from the feed store or cattle auction or someplace.  Our parents and grandparents and others are gone and we absorbed some things from their lives.  It adds up over time.  A little here and a little there.  Before I know it, I’ve got too much. 

Periodically, I go through things and pile stuff in the jeep and haul it to the charity shop.  Some things end up in my daughter’s prop room and costume closet in her theater class.  We have bingo at church and at a ladies’ retreat for which I donate prizes.  I am not above re-gifting something if it doesn’t work out for me and I know the recipient would love it. 

There is that age old rule: a place for everything and everything in its place.  I sometimes watch the shows with the hoarders.  I used to watch the one with the team that would come in and clean up and organize things for people who weren’t actually hoarders, just overloaded and overwhelmed.

I have to walk through my house and remind myself that what I do have stored isn’t really all that much.  I don’t have a basement or garage or even a shed for storage.  I have very little in boxes aside from three or four medium size tubs of Christmas decorations.  I must confess a few too many toys for certain little girls.  And far too many dishes and pots and pans and books.  (No comment needed on this subject from Rock!)

I still dream of the days when we first moved in to the house at Campers Cove and when we lived on Monterey Bay.  Maybe it’s not so much the place, but the time.  Our children were little and growing into the fine adults they have become.  Maybe it’s the little boy and the little girl who used to fill those houses that I miss.

I knew then these days would come. I tried to slow down time.  To hold them in my arms a little longer.  But, the sands of time are steady and sure.  They made their way into the world and have created their own little ones to love. 

If I had some advice to give younger wives and mothers, it would be to keep it simple.  Eat on paper plates all week if it’s going to be one of those.  Don’t try to have everything perfect all at one time.  Give things a lick and a promise and let it go.  I finally figured out that no one was going to come inspect my house or feature it in a magazine.  I guess the equivalent now is that no one is going to post pictures of my house on Instagram unless it’s me.  And only I can see the pile of clothes on the bed that I didn’t fold yesterday behind me while I photograph this staged set for the world to see.

One praise for my Rock among many.  Back when the children were home, he would often have to find his clean socks in the laundry basket of clothes waiting to be folded and put away.  He never complained.  They were clean and he was okay with that.  More modern women will howl why didn’t he fold and put away the clothes.  I have always had an easier job and shorter work hours and an easy commute. It’s the way we want things.  I also take out my own trash.  I tease him that he doesn’t even know where the kitchen is.  Perspective, attitude, expectations.   

One of my favorite subjects to read and study about is housekeeping.  The craft of it.  The history of it.  The lore and mysteries of it.  The oldest profession is not what most claim.  Eve was the first one to build a fire and create a hearth for the men to come home to.  I am one of the most ancient of sisterhoods when I claim my title of house wife or homemaker.  I spent 27 years splitting my time and energy with a 9 to 5.  Many of those years, there were children at home and ailing parents to care for.  My job outside my home was never more than a job for me.  I had no special training or degree or career to follow out there.  My career is and has always been that of home keeper. House wife.  Rock’s house wife. 

How do I want my days to feel?  When I lay down at night, I want to be sure I haven’t let frustrations over temporal things get in the way of eternal things.  Yet, I often do.  Even now. Retired. Too much time on my hands most days.  I still get off track, distracted by things that aren’t in line with my expectations for my days. At the end of the day, did I do what was needed to take care of him.  Did he have a good supper?  Does he have clean clothes for tomorrow?  Did I take care of the household business for the day? 

What is needful?  Nutritious food, something to drink, a comfortable bed, clean clothes to wear, a warm shower. Love and cheerful companionship, affection and attention.  If a home has that, whether two people, one person and a critter, or a whole passle of folks, then that home has more than most of the rest of the world.  Rock and I are blessed.  Don’t know why us, but very grateful to the Lord for it. 

I’m sure I will keep rearranging furniture and sorting through things to get rid of one way or another.  I don’t think I will ever have things as simple as they were on Monterey Bay or even at Campers Cove. But, it’s a goal.  Something to strive for.  Everyone one needs something to work on and to feel some joy at accomplishment over.  For my simple heart, I have my housekeeping as a career.  This vocation along with a little dancing barefoot in the kitchen and passionate kisses and I am one very happy old gal!  Enough of this for today.  I’ve got some clothes to fold……………feeling some orchids raining.

A Song

I have heard a couple of songs on the radio recently. One is a current hit. One is from several years ago.  The one from several years ago is about a woman questioning what she is doing with her life.  I struggled with that for years.  Why didn’t I finish college?  What career path should I have taken?

I married early and had children. I had ill parents to tend.  By the time, real opportunity came along for me to pursue something else, I didn’t have the resources to move on it.  Resources aren’t just money.  Time, energy, desire.

Perhaps it is the approach of middle age. Perhaps is it the imminent arrival of granddaughter number one and the fast approaching granddaughter number two.  I am losing the sense of loss over missed opportunities.

The current song just made me recall my original dream. I don’t even know what about the song made me think what I did.  All I ever wanted was to be a wife, mother and homemaker.  I did all that along with a 9-5.  My husband is my career and the 9-5 is a sideline.

I wouldn’t give myself a very good evaluation for my career performance right now. I have been sidetracked.  I have this terrible weakness of allowing media-books, magazines, Pinterest-influence my decisions too greatly.  I let the profit driven mass production world of commerce deceive me into thinking I am not in line with what is acceptable modern living.  The problem develops because I cannot keep up with their standards and actually provide an appropriate lifestyle or living conditions for our real life household.

I am changing that already. I have made some decisions and some behavioral changes.   I am having success with them.  I feel better about a lot of things.  My self-evaluation is having a positive effect of change.

Just be happy. He and his son have told me that.  I am glad that line is sticking in my mind rather than the old one from a corny old movie. “Find and fulfil your destiny.”  Nope.  Create my destiny.  Just be happy.  Be wife. Be mama. Be granny. Be housekeeper. Be aunt. Be niece. Be cousin. Be sister. Be me.

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