My body still warm from sleep, I stand in the kitchen in pajamas and bare feet. Eyes half-heartedly fight to stay open and I grab two pieces of bread as if on autopilot. The butter knife chills my hand and sends a prickle over both shoulders. I dip it into peanut butter, slather, and even though I’m barely awake, I’m overcome with a familiar feeling.
Yesterday, the same feeling came after pulling wet laundry out of the washer, in that short moment right before I shoved it into the dryer. The day before that, while re-filling a glass of milk. Before that? Mid-grab of a handful of clean spoons from the dishwasher.
Tomorrow? Who knows. It might come while I pick up a random sock in the hallway, turn off a bedroom light, or while writing bananas on a grocery list. It doesn’t even matter; I just know it will accompany an annoyingly repetitive task, one that’s a part of a seemingly eternal cycle of needing/gathering/cleaning/buying/providing/using/putting away or making — any the things I do to take care of my family.
It’s a feeling I can’t name exactly. It teeters on a sharp edge of futility. Flirts with despair. Connects in a fine line with overwhelm, occasionally resignation, and (on my best days) acceptance. At particularly rough moments, it’s met with anger.
My latest essay is up on Coffee+Crumbs ... about all the millions of things we do to keep our families on track and the lesson I learned in the middle of all of it.
As always, thanks for reading and sharing. -Sonya