One of the first things that happened this morning when I got my shit together, I open the door to let some kitties in while holding a hot cup of coffee. Up looks Josie, her perfectly-lovely little white paws very dirty from soot (WTF chimney-sweep), and cupped around some tender prey – an odd rat/mouse-like creature. I rushed the cat off and found the rat/mouse wasn’t too quick on his or her feet. He/she was very wet but looked intact. I huddled him into a box with fleece and sent out a tweet asking for any advice.
I like being an at-home worker. I like waking up too early with my son, getting laundry done and making up some hot breakfast cereal, then taking a bath with him (“I love you so much mama… more than anything”), and huddling back to sleep a few more hours. I enjoy being able to write, sew, rest, do housework, play with kids, or participate in Recovery – on more or less my own schedule and that of friends and family. I like being available for those who need help, family, friends, and people I just met and may never see again.
I enjoy even the simple task of grocery shopping and then buying my kids that chocolate milk at Lunch, the version the owner always makes extra-fancy for Nels (like – ridiculously fancy). I enjoy taking Phee in to the doctor’s (diagnosis: swimmer’s ear, probably from the several times a day the kids went swimming in an overly-chlorinated pool at LIG) and watching my little girl manage her own health plan. I enjoy seeing people in the community and having the time to talk with them, and make eye contact. I like living in my body, in the rain and the lovely strains of the radio, instead of living in my head.
I really and truly and deeply love this kind of stuff. This year marks the ninth I’ve been at home and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
By the way, the little rodent was all dry and very spry later in the day, so we released him/her without further assistance. We also dipped Josie’s sooty-paws in some water so she’d feel compelled to do some self-hygiene. She remained, as ever, bitterly composed with that moderately-irritated expression on her face.
Your post reminds me of when I visited my parents last month. Both of my parents are unconventional workers – my mom works for herself at home, and my dad is basically retired, though not from anything. He works the odd job when he can get it, but has been underemployed for so (so) long that I don’t see it ever changing, given his age. They live with and look after my mom’s mom and my dad’s dad, both of whom have Alzheimer’s. It was interesting to see how their day to day life was, with my mom being a counselor/healer/doula, and my dad running the household – cleaning, errands, appointments, tending to the house + yard + cars. My mom told me she doesn’t really do any housework anymore, just some of the cooking, and she and my dad wash dishes together. This is so different from how they were when I was growing up! My dad also acts – in commercials, on stage, on the radio, whatever roles he can get. He does it, I suppose, as a creative outlet more than anything.
They’ve always been people people, but now more than ever, because they have the time. In between running errands and taking the elders to appointments, my dad sits down and talks to the home care aides. He talks to everyone. They listen to people. The whole time I was there, my mom was telling me about all of these *people* they they know – the neighbor whose husband is sick, and the neighbor whose son just died, and the children of the woman who works at the store where Mom buys soap and incense, and so on. They’ve only lived in this city for barely a year! It’s been really interesting to see what kind of life they have built instead of the life they could have thought they had to live if they’d believed success looked a certain way.
Thank you so much for sharing that. What a “village” life your parents (and grandparents) have! Just reading a little about it, I could imagine many workaholics I know – people who DO have economic options to slow don’t but don’t take them – would envy it.
Thank you for your comment.