Craving Chaos

Photo by R. Donovan
On the lush patio of the resort, she eased into a large wicker chair to enjoy her drink and dig into her book.  It was late afternoon, and the pathways winding from the lobby to the pool were abuzz with families toting boisterous young children.
The commotion didn’t bother her, as it might have in her younger days, when all she desired was solace from her children’s endless demands.  Now she found the dull hum of background noise a comforting and companionable reminder of the hectic life she once lived.
It had been five years since Charles had passed away, and some days she still had to remind herself that he was gone.  She found herself wanting to ask him a question about football or insurance premiums, and then she’d look up and realize there was no one to ask.
She could call Jay, who lived in South Carolina, but she wouldn’t dream of disrupting her son’s busy day with patients or his treasured evenings with his family, for such trivial matters.  She could email Sally, in California, but she wouldn’t want to chance interrupting her daughter during a client meeting or, heaven forbid, an actual date.
It seemed like a lifetime ago that those two were little ones under her feet, playing and squabbling, their six year age difference making Sally more mother than sister.  And there were many times Sally tended to her younger brother and comforted him when he needed it.  Sometimes, Sally was the only one who could calm him when their mother lost her temper and raised her voice to them.
Regret is a terrible thing.  It can sneak up on you and steal your joy without notice.  And maybe if she had possessed the foresight to know it wouldn’t always be so hard, they wouldn’t always need her so much, and someday she would actually miss all that needing.  Well, maybe she wouldn’t have been so desperately fighting for air.
She considered this now, as she watched the droves of children hanging on their mothers, whining for a snack or proclaiming that something wasn’t fair.  One young mother, in particular, caught her attention.  The woman sent her two children off with her husband, she presumed, after slathering them with sunscreen, and insisting they both wear hats. 
As the mother collapsed onto a cushioned lounge chair and cradled her drink, she watched intently.  The woman heaved a sigh of relief, and she exhaled with her.  She sipped the light green concoction, and she could taste the tart sweetness, right along beside her.
She’d been in those shoes many times and remembered the relief that descended when left to your own devices, for even a mere fifteen minutes.  
And as she sat here alone, so many years later, she wished she had believed that the day would, in fact, come when she craved that chaos and all that needing. 
It was an essential piece of who she was, and she wasn’t whole without it.
read to be read at yeahwrite.me

Comments

  1. Love this and I can really relate to it. My kids are gone this week and it is a bit surreal.

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    1. Thank you! I know, when they're here raising hell, I'm wishing for silence, and when they're gone, I'm missing the noise!

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  2. This is so true! You nailed it-- wanting to always be at a different stage. I can relate to both women.

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    1. Everytime I am overwhelmed with household chaos, I try and remember that one day I will miss it!

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  3. Oh this made my heart ache! Our 5 yo daughter is growing up so quickly and I am longing to freeze time - and not be too distracted by the chaos. My husband and I work full-time so we only have a precious few hours with her each day. It is going way too fast. Thank you for this.

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    1. It does go by so fast! Our daughter is going into second grade, and it seems like she was just starting kindergarten. And my baby is about to be two!! Crazy. Definitely treasure those ordinary days with your little girl :)

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  4. Oh man I totally relate! Just recently I discovered that baby teeth can be lost at age five, the same age my son is turning next year and I'm not ashamed to admit I freaked out a little. It's hard enough to imagine him at school but suddenly hitting all those milestones at once seems way too quick.

    Awesome post!

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    1. Thank you, Carrie! People used to always tell me how quickly they grow up, and I am starting to understand!

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  5. This is beautifully written. I love the way it flows softly from her thinking about her husband to her thinking about her children. I don't know why, but the description of the drink was very vivid to me and I wish I was on the patio with her!

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    1. Thanks so much! I think I was really thirsty when I wrote this! :)

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  6. Very nice. I love that she's supposed to be reading a book but gets caught up in this lovely reflection instead!

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  7. when i read stories like this i feel soooo blessed to already feel the way the older woman in this story feels now even though my girl is only 2.5... nicely done, Mama. ::hugs::

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  8. Ugh... this makes me feel guilty for getting after my almost five-year-old yesterday because she climbs into my lap the minute I sit down anywhere and sometimes I'd just like to sit by myself for a minute. Note to self: slow down mama.

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    1. Believe me, I am right there with you, which is why I found it so interesting to write from this perspective.

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  9. Two are gone already, another should have left by now, and the last one is only 15. I wonder how I'll feel when they're all gone.

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    1. You will be exhausted!! In a good way!

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  10. Oh, yes, yes! I think that many of us can relate to this feeling. Well done. I love the blog design too.

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  11. I can totally relate to this. I miss parts of the pre-child peace but I dread the day it returns, knowing I will long for the chaos. How do you return to a less-busy life after stretching yourself to the limit and be content? Loved your writing!

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    1. Yep, we're on the same wavelength! Thanks for the compliment!

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  12. Oooh! This is just what I needed. I am feeling "all the needing" so intensely right now. I've got to do a perspective check and savor it instead. The end bit was very well put together.

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  13. Such an authentic voice, I loved this and felt this the entire way through.

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  14. Regret really is a terrible thing, as you so beautifully (and sadly) illustrated with your words.
    You did a great job with this piece!

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  15. Another awesome post! So important to live in the moment but so hard to remember sometimes...

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    1. Thanks, Stacie. It is such a challenge to live in the moment!

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  16. Too much of anything can be too much - too much of your children, exhaustion. Without family? Isolation. Well done.

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    1. Yes, indeed. It's the extremes in life that are the most unpleasant.

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  17. We are just starting to look at preschools and it already seems like time has flown.

    Great storytelling and emotion.

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