I've been absent from this space for most of the summer. It's intentional as much as it is not. I just haven't been focused on writing. Ideas come; some stay. Many go, but that's nothing new. Really, I've just buckled down and enjoyed the moment as much as possible this summer. Living, not documenting (unless you count posting pics and status updates on Facebook). I've spent hours diving into new and familiar waters--from previously uncharted crafts such as embroidery, to as many delicious moments as possible with my children. I've tended my garden (poor, suffering tomatoes!), read a few books, enjoyed time with my brother and sister, had a few decent nights out with Ian, spent countless hours walking my neighborhood with and without the dogs, spent many moments on the front porch or enjoying a girls night.
In short, for the first time in a long time, I've just chilled and enjoyed summer for what it is.
Maybe I've chilled too much. In a way, I've had no option. Why?
I don't do laundry anymore. I rarely make the kids' lunches for camp. I almost never feed the dogs. And on the off-chance I get to run the dishwasher, Ian puts the clean dishes away faster than you can say "OCD".
Ian usually takes care of these things and more. And it's taken me some getting used to. My whole life--I mean My Whole Life--I've been highly responsible. It wasn't necessarily by choice, but it was what it was. And several hundred thousand loads of laundry later, I'm not sure what to make of having so much of that burden lifted in the year since Ian and I moved in together.
It could be a power struggle about control and domain, if I wanted to be. At another time in my life, I might have started that fight. But really, it comes down to this: Ian, too, has also been uber responsible for most of his life out of necessity. He's also got his own way of doing things. Namely, he walks through the door after a day at work and doesn't stop until he's done every chore he deems necessary that night. Me? After years of being super "on", and never relaxing, I do things at my own pace. I walk in the door with the kids, unpack backpacks and lunchboxes, let out the dogs, and then usually take it down a notch. I open the mail and even -- gasp! -- sit down and read a magazine or play with the kids for a bit. I don't hustle to get things done immediately. But I am usually the one who picks up around the house, makes the beds, vacuums (and grumbles about the dog hair), keeps the yard pretty and the surfaces clean, etc etc. I plan to have friends over and Ian buys the beer. I call in prescription refills and Ian picks them up. I write the grocery list, and Ian goes to the store. I organize, plan, orchestrate. Ian keeps busy. And we are pretty even-Steven when it comes to caring for the kids.
And so for the first time ever, I've totally enjoyed a really mellow summer. The school year starts soon, and with it my new work schedule. Most days I will be going into the office earlier and leaving much earlier to be home in the afternoons with the kids. I will no doubt reclaim some of my domain in the laundry and dishes department as a result. I'm almost looking forward to it. At the very least, getting out from behind my desk for more hours each day will burn some calories. And I'll leave plenty for Ian to do, no worries there. Even if I don't, he'll find something to do. He'll find something that could use some repair, and get to work setting it right so that it works better than ever before.