Donny had swim team this morning. He's new to swim team and it's busting his ass. Every day is another arduous physical challenge. His muscles ache. He's sore everywhere. And it makes him hungry. This hunger dominates his entire existence. His mood is altered like that of a bear freshly awoken from his winter's sleep. When Donny is hungry he is incapable of performing even the smallest basic task. He gets stuck in a Catch-22 of hunger, too hungry to do the simple things required to become unhungry.
We returned from swim team this morning at 10:30. Having passed up breakfast, he was now both muscularly and gastronomically drained. He rolled out of the car and down the basement steps where he was somehow able to strip his wet suit off his weary legs. His plan, I suppose, was to crawl the few inches to his clean laundry basket, use his last bits of strength to locate some underpants, and put them on. But, alas, no clean laundry in his hamper.
The whining began.
"Mahhhhm!" He called weakly, naked and on his knees on the basement floor. "Get me some underpaaaaaants!"
I knew he was tired. I knew he was naked. I knew the clean underpants were two floors up, somewhere in his closet, probably right in his dresser where they belong. But you see, I like to build independence in my children. I like to encourage them to do things now that will help them grow into capable, self-respecting adults. Someday he will be someone's husband and he really can't be kneeling naked on the basement floor whining pitifully for his wife to bring him some clean drawers. So I refused.
"You can get them." I sang in a lilting and cheerful tone, my voice a melody of encouragement and support. (I often use faux cheerfulness to discourage faux helplessness. I think the kids have caught on.)
"Somebody!! Help! I need underpants!" He saw right through my false cheer to the cold, hard nugget of indifference in my heart and decided to appeal directly to the masses - anyone within earshot who might be generous enough or bored enough or enough in need of favor-banking to retrieve for him some clean boxers.
"I am freezing and tired and starving and naked down here!!!! Why won't anybody help me?!!!"
You know how this ends, of course. Not a single person offered to help him out of this pickle. Not one of his 4 siblings or any of the various neighbor kids who were in the house at the time. He had to reach deep inside himself and find the will and the power to haul his cold, tired, sore, wet, naked ass up two flights of stairs to the comfort of his own room, where he would find clean, soft, comforting undies waiting for him. They were there, of course, right where they should be. All he had to do was stop shouting, stop waiting for other people to save him. Thusly clothed, he could then easily stroll into the kitchen and help himself to a snack. Once fed, he could go on to do anything he wanted... Take a nap! Read a book! Call a friend! The world is waiting, Donny! Just get yourself out of that cold, dark basement and get your underpants!
Hilarious, right? Not so much.
You see, I find myself in a similar situation. I am in some sort of funk, an embarrassingly cliche midlife crisis. While I have everything I need right where I need it, I continue to roll around on the floor of the basement of my soul whining, "Help me! Why won't somebody help me?!" What I need to do is haul my cold, naked soul up to the place wherein lies the happiness. Once there, all I have to do is recognize it for what it is! Health, prosperity, family, love... it's all right here in front of me. All I have to do is see it. Thusly happy, I can go forward. The world is waiting!
Get it? Good analogy, right?
Anyway. This blog is my attempt to do something, to move and grow and push myself to look around me at what I have and feel thankful for it rather than wallow in this nasty midlife whatever-it-is. My goal is to write once a day. Each day I will take one tiny moment from my life and show how it makes me happy. My hope is that the effort of looking for my daily morsel of happiness and the act of putting it into words will draw me out of this funk. Also I might get famous and get a juicy book/movie contract out of the deal. If I do, I promise to feel happy about it!
Back to Donny... he did indeed get dressed. He flopped around a little more, whined a lot. Possibly he fell asleep for a half hour. Then he dragged himself into the kitchen and made a trio of frozen blueberry waffles which he drenched with Aunt Jamima and snarfed down without the use of utensils.
As he basked in the sticky sweet aftermath, looking satisfied, calm, and happy, I asked him if he felt better.
"Well," he mused, "I feel like I could get my own underpants now."
That's all I want, Readers.