She has twenty-four million things to do because she agreed to do ten million things and the other fourteen mil have just come to her in that gradual way in which things-to-do accumulate.
People assumed and she didn't say no mostly because she doesn't want other people to do them anyway.
They're not as good at it.
And so now these things are on her to-do list and will continue to be on her to-do list until she dies or has a nervous breakdown or gets too old and by that time no one cares if those things get done anyway.
I'm talking about things like vacation planning here.
People who don't do the vacation planning in their families tend to think that vacation planning is no big deal that it's a sort of 1 2 3 process that just involves making a few decisions that it isn't a ginormous time suck.
Also vacation non-planners do not tend to understand the huge burden they are placing on the vacation planners to be Responsible for Your Fun.
Because most vacation non-planners actually do have quite a few loud opinions about how things go, what things are done, and where anyone sleeps.
It's just that they decide to voice those loud opinions later--
during the vacation, for example.
So vacation planning is on her forever to do-list for her family of six and her extended family on her husband's side (they don't vacation with her side of the family, 'thank fucking god,' she says) and it's just one of fourteen million things for which she has made a slow slide into Doer.
You might imagine that she is a busy person, that she is full of energy, that she is a talker who is always on the go
and you would be right about that.
She's got stories for ages and she'll always be happy to see you and she will always have at least three agenda items to discuss with you.
You will have a fantastic time with her laugh your ass off say things out loud you would never normally say
you will love her
and when you part ways so that you can each get to your next meeting engagement work session childcare whatever
you will be exhausted.
You will wonder
is she exhausted too? Did she just slump into her driver's seat and put her hands over her face? Is she wishing like hell she could go take a nap? Is she spent, totally spent?
is she revved up by that good time? Did she just hop into her car, shoot off a text message, and hit the road looking forward to the next person she'll see?
I don't know the answer to that.
But I can tell you that sometimes
she needs to recharge.
Sometimes she tells everyone in her family to fuck right off and she gets her favorite bath towel and her ugly slippers and her labrador retriever and she gets in the bed with a wine glass full of milk and half a bar of chocolate and she cries.
She cries all over that towel and that bed and that dog
just sobbing it out
big wet tears
those quick inbreaths
that curled up sorrow-full wringing out
for a long long time
until she falls asleep without even brushing her teeth.
On those nights, all four children steer clear.
Her husband sleeps on the guest bed.
Her cell phone beeps and rings and whistles from the kitchen counter where she left it and she doesn't hear it over her crying and that's the way she wants it.
I do some creative writing here like what you just read. Bits and pieces of real story and made up story. One small way to keep myself creating--and to remind each of us that we are not alone.