Here's how things are going.


I ran into the store today to pick up a few things for dinner.  As I was loading Ethan and the groceries into the car to head home I remembered that I had forgotten to buy sourdough bread for Olivia's class tomorrow.  (They are having a "cowboy celebration.")   She told me about the bread last night and I have no sourdough starter going in my fridge.  At least I remembered in the parking lot.  I unloaded Ethan and we ran back in to pick up the bread.


Got home, out of breath, the phone's ringing.  It's Olivia.

"Um, Mom, someone else is bringing the sourdough bread.  Can you bring a crockpot of pork and beans?"

I swallowed  my "grrr" and my sigh.  I love going to the store three times a day.

I'm losing my mind and  it's not just because of the bread or the pork and beans.  Sometimes there is just so much that I am dizzy from being the "center of the wheel."

Anne Morrow Lindbergh in her book, Gift from the Sea (a book, incidentally, my mother would not let me read until I was "old enough"...wise woman) wrote:  [This is long, but brilliant.]

"The life I have chosen as wife and mother entrains a whole caravan of complications.  It involves a house in the suburbs and either household drudgery or household help which wavers between scarcity and non-existence for most of us.  It involves food and shelter, meals, planning, marketing, bills, and making the ends meet in a thousand ways.  It involves not only the butcher, the baker, the candlestickmaker but countless other experts to keep my modern house with its modern "simplifications" (electricity, plumbing, refrigerator, gas-stove, oil-burner, dishwasher, radios, car, and numerous other labor-saving devices) functioning properly.  It involves health; doctors, dentists, appointments, medicine, cod-liver oil, vitamins, trips to the drugstore.  It involves education, spiritual, intellectual, physical; schools, school conferences, carpools, extra trips for basketball or orchestra practice; tutoring and transportation.  It involves clothes, shopping, laundry, cleaning, mending, letting skirts down and sewing buttons on, or finding someone else to do it.  It involves friends, my husband's, my children's, my own, and endless arrangements to get together, letters, invitations, telephone calls and transportation hither and yon. 

My mind reels with it.  What a circus act we women perform every day of our lives.  It puts the trapeze artist to shame.  Look at us.  We run a tight rope daily, balancing a pile of books on the head.  Baby-carriage, parasol, kitchen chair, still under control.  Steady now!

Woman's life today is tending more and more toward the state William James describes so well in the German word, "Zerrissenheit--torn-to-pieces-hood."  She cannot live perpetually in "Zerrissenheit."  She will be shattered into a thousand pieces."

Zerrissenheit, exactly.

This week has been full to bursting with things to do and I have shouldered that load alone, as my husband has been swamped at work.  (Came in last night after midnight and was out of bed before 5.)  I feel my shattering coming on, its hot breath on the back of my neck.

Just this afternoon, somehow I have to get Caleb to violin lesson and scouts, transport and support Savannah at the school talent show (with costume), go to a wedding reception for one of my former young women, buy a gift for said reception, help Caleb finish up his science fair project, practice the spelling words (tests tomorrow), prod my kids to get their homework done, make dinner, clean up, finish folding the laundry from Monday, go to book club, and finish my visiting teaching....oh, and also make a crock pot of pork and beans for tomorrow.

I'm tired.

Ethan came up to me this morning and said, "Wake up sleepyhead!"  And I wasn't in bed or asleep at the time...just fogged over from the lists in my head.  This balancing act is taking all my powers of concentration.