Lately I've been avoiding the phone. It ring, I pick it up, see who's calling, and set it back down. I don't want to talk to anyone. Day after day, ring after ring, the calls go unanswered. Messages go unheard. I finally cleared the message queue this weekend and there were fifteen of them. (Not all friends, though. You know those "Find out your home's value for FREE" ads on the web? Who knew they were trying to sell you homeowner's insurance. I thought I'd be hearing from Realtors, but no. Insurance people. Relentless, annoying insurance agents. I hate them. Unless YOU are one, then I love them. Not really.)
Thing is, I can't figure out exactly why I'm not answering the phone. I'm not in one of those occasional crippling depressions. I'm not happy and I'm not exactly OK, this is true. But I'm not overwhelmed by sadness either. I just...I can't explain it really. Its more of a pervasive sense of Blah. I force myself to drum up interest in things I should be doing, and am mostly successful. I'm doing all the right things, being outside, socializing, doing projects, exercising. I just feel like not talking. Considering how often people wished I would talk less, maybe this is a blessing. Hopefully the wonderful friends who have been wondering how long its going to take me to pick up the phone won't stop trying anytime soon.
I did get to go trail riding this weekend. It was only my third ride on Miss B this year, and her first trail ride in more than a year. Its possible this was not a bright idea, two fresh horses, neither of them seasoned trail veterans and neither a comfortable lead horse. But sometimes you can't wait for perfect conditions, sometimes you just need to ride. And so my friend Michelle came swooping by with her horse trailer and collected us and we went down to Big Flat, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Habitat Management Unit. Big Flat is 832 acres of trees, fields, scrub brush, hills and wetlands situated on a small peninsula down on the Snake River. We rode for a couple of hours, no one got hurt and even though my little firecracker shied at some of the sprinkler heads and the occasional clump of dirt, by the end of the ride she was settled down and not quite the flight risk she often resembles. The ride was much more than a chance to shake the cobwebs off my saddle. Spending time on my horse enables me to reconnect with the person inside that I aspire to be. It grounds and centers me, balances me. The synergy of working together with my horse, to move as one and at the same time being in nature, among the trees, rocks, dirt and water is more refreshing to me than a week at a spa being massaged and pampered. THIS is why I moved here, this is what I want to do, to be. My mother's day gift to myself.
And then there was Mother's Day. I asked J if I could have the kids through dinner, and ended up keeping them overnight. It would be the perfect frosting on the cupcake of the weekend to report that I had the most perfect Mother's Day ever - but it would not be my real life if THAT were the case! True to form, both kids conspired to be just about as maddening as they are capable of being. I was ready to lock them both in the dungeon by about noon yesterday. Lucky for them I don't actually have a dungeon. Instead, I shoved them out the door and locked it.
After a nice long timeout in their rooms, during which I affixed my iPod to my sweatpants and turned up the volume so I could clean the bathroom without being distracted by their whining, I opened the door, pushed them through it, and warned them on pain of dismemberment to play together, outside, without screaming, yelling or crying, until Mommy was done cleaning up the house. After a morning which was probably as thoroughly frustrating for them as it was for me, it was a pleasure to finally have the inside of the house to myself for a while and to catch up on the housework I didn't get done during the week. Eventually the kids across the street came home from whatever family activity they'd been doing all day, and the kids went to play with their friends until dark. Despite a shaky start, we managed to pull through and have a pretty decent day after all.
In a way, the weekend itself is a perfect snapshot of how I dig out of the flatline my life has been in lately. Toss the salad and you find chunks of perfection, slices of crabby and cranky, and big flat leaves of tired contentment. Like many of of us, I am often guilty of focusing on too narrow a piece of things to be objective about the whole. If I think only about the things that I don't like, I don't appreciate the things that I love. If I focus too much on the parts I love, I get surprised by what doesn't go well. But when I add up the perfection of a beautiful ride, the frustration and challenge of parenting two very strong-willed, sensitive and active children, and the satisfaction of some productive alone time, I see in the whole of its parts a life that is full. And good. Last night, while the children played across the street, after I finished cleaning bathrooms and vacuuming floors, sweeping, dusting, folding laundry, I enjoyed a glass of wine in my backyard, watching the horses graze and the dogs run around the yard, and I realized how very blessed I am.
I'll start picking up the phone soon, really I will.