Taped up on the wall by our front door is a drawing Aviva made about a year ago, with these words written by a teacher: “My favorite thing to do in the community is to hang out at home with Pearl.” I glance at this picture and take in these words countless times everyday. They make me smile, sometimes chuckle.
It’s like having a mirror by the door. Aviva’s favorite thing – when she was four anyway – was to hang out with her little sister. Introvert, extrovert – she’s a lot like her mama. She goes both ways, depending on her mood and what she needs and what time it is in her day, in her life. She is very social and loves her friends; just tonight she came down from her room and handed me a “letter” to put in tomorrow’s mail. It says, “AVIVA LOVES ELLA AND ELLA LOVES AVIVA.” She is also introspective, perhaps at her happiest when she’s with Pearl, me, and Greg.
You see, I don’t much feel like leaving the house lately. I do it anyway, mind you. I go drop kids off and I go pick them up, I go to work some of the time, I go meet a friend for breakfast, I go running through ankle-deep slush. I go visit Greg in his office. I go to the market, the bookstore, the vet, the pediatrician, the library, the gas station, the bus stop. I go sledding, swimming. If there’s a holiday party, I go to our neighborhood synagogue, the one we still haven’t joined. Go, go, go. Go, dog, go.
But I don’t feel like going. I only feel like staying. Stay, stay, stay – that’s not exactly a phrase we cut our teeth on. I feel like hanging out at home with Pearl. With Aviva. With Greg. Alone. I am so aware of my need to label this and define it and explain it and make it okay. It’s my period. It’s a sign. It’s something to overcome. It’s something to give in to. It means I’m lost. It means I’m depressed. It means I should be worried. It means it will always be like this.
I’ve been planning to attend a morning meeting tomorrow at the Coaching Center of Vermont. I have been to a handful of gatherings there, but am not myself a member. In fact, I’m sitting with uncertainty as to my coaching path; As I find myself settling more deeply into not striving, not manifesting, just being, I’m questioning whether I can or want to work with clients who want a coach to help them move forward – which is what I think of as the primary emphasis of coaching.
Today, I saw a friend. I had a client. I folded laundry and put away the folded laundry. I washed dishes and put away clean dishes. I had a big cry. I talked to a friend. I wondered if I’m depressed, or “just” hormonal, or just here now. Then I picked up Pearl, Greg, and Aviva. And on the way home, Greg observed that I was happy.
Maybe my favorite thing to do in the community is to hang out with my husband and kids.
Tonight I said to Greg, “Ugh. I’m just not sure I can go to this meeting tomorrow. It’s so not where I’m at right now.” He suggested that maybe I should say something came up. Maybe it’s not time for going out. Maybe it’s time for staying in. I considered that. Mostly, I just appreciated him for the permission. A phrase Bella quotes in her beautiful post today was exactly what I needed to hear: “A time to connect and a time to withdraw.”
The sun shines high above the cloud cover. When we lived in Tucson, I used to long for moody weather, rainy days that begged you to withdraw, to stay in, to hang out at home.
When Aviva was born and I asked Greg if he felt even a pang of disappointment at having a girl, he replied, “We got the child we needed.”
We get the children we need. We get the moods we need and the teachers we need, the goings and the comings, the meetings and the retreatings. I’m not sure where I am, but I’m hanging out at home. And in a way I can’t fully explain, I’m enjoying this experiment of just being in that place, that nowhere, that now here. My favorite thing to do in the community changes as I change, as the seasons change. For today, hanging out at home seems to be where it’s at.