The number of ants inexorably marching across the ledge in my son’s bedroom has lessened. The ones that remain seem confused and/or bored. The way they stop, mid-stride, look around, and go back the way they came without having accomplished anything reminds me of the movements my husband makes when I send him to the store with a grocery list consisting of feminine hygiene products. It also reminds me of my advancing years. I will stand, purposely set off down the hall at a fairly fast clip (clearly what I’m going to do is so important, even the dog moves aside) but by the time I get to the end of the corridor, I’ve forgotten what I was going there for. No, no, it wasn’t important after all. I obviously just meant to get in some crucial hallway exercise. Burn a calorie. Yes, that’s it.
That’s my “A ha!” moment. So I’ll go back from whence I came, plop back down, and immediately meet a reminder. Oh. I was going to get my wallet…
Do these ants have that A ha! moment? Is that why they’ve spun back around? Or were they really so bored they couldn’t plod on in that direction one more millimeter? That reminds me of a job I once had. Day in and day out, watching the clock, counting the minutes until I could bolt from my seat. Wave goodbye to the crazy train for one more day. Go home and seek comfort from the dust motes floating through the air, the heavy layer of dust covering the furniture. Do you know if you allow it to settle that thickly you can let your children doodle in it? Aww, precious doodles. You’re welcome.
I used to have a friend who would come over and grimace at the toys covering the floor. The complete chaos my house was in. I remember feeling so inadequate! Why couldn’t I work full-time, be a mom, and also have a spotless house like she did? Looking back, I’m sad to think of the hours I toiled, cleaning, scrubbing, disinfecting – all the while, my kids were growing up, not caring whether our living room looked like a page from Architectural Digest or a Red Cross Hurricane Relief ad. When my friend passed in 2005, I had a major A ha! moment. My house hasn’t been spotless since. I wouldn’t waste countless hours of my life scrubbing away the last vestiges of my offspring’s childhoods.
Toys are not in abundance anymore. They’ve grown, but their stuff still litters corners of the living room. Dirty socks. Half empty glasses of chocolate milk that may or may not have been licked by the dog. Candy wrappers. I once found an apple core between the sofa cushions. I don’t care. As long as it isn’t smack dab in the middle of the corridor, interfering with my memory loss hallway exercise, they’re welcome to the space. That’s one less spot I’ll have to clean.