Thursday, September 22, 2005

A Few Words about Whim

I like whims. Mostly always have. And now that I care for two small children and a husband, whims have become a necessary part of existence. Though I have found that some days, when things NEED to get done, the whim may be somewhat underappreciated--which is why I feel a need to explain the why. The why of the whim.

But first. In an effort to NOT sound like a whiney, ungrateful stay at home mother who is whining about nothing, I'll say that I am a go-out-of-the-house-mother trying to perform the duties of a SAHM with the help of her sensitive, new age (without the hairdo) husband who does things around the house and likes children and cooks. We own a house--or at least a mortgage. We have a couple of cars. Computer, television, telephone, running water, electricity. I have choices. I have money, more than some, less than some, but enough. People, besides me, love my children and help me with them. My children are healthy. I am healthy. Tad is healthy. Did I say that I have choices?

Choices. There are choices. And then there are choices. This is where whim figures into the discussion. The one that I have with myself while executing duties of motherhood. It goes something like--I am in the mood for something. I don't know what it is, but I know it's something. And then I wait and see. Look and find. Let the whim come to me--so that when both children scream at each other, scream at me and I, unsuccessfully try not to scream at them, all of us loud enough so that the neighbor out for a smoke asks if everything is o.k. I say, "We're going to the art store to buy a canvas." Whim.

The whim says, "Choose me," when faced with screaming or a pile of dishes and a dishwasher (I bow down to it), or a pile of laundry and a washing machine (on knees in worship). The whim says, "Go ahead and do what wants to be done instead of what should be done." And finally, the whim says, "Do it later." Or at least make it interesting when you do get around to doing it. The wiping. The picking. The paying. The cleaning. Choosing to whim is a way of exerting control, I guess, over that which must be done, the predictable. Doing laundry when I want to do it is better than doing laundry when I don't want to do it. So the whim and the conscious, unconscious decision making become a way of not hating what I do, of honoring what I do--honoring the sporadic moments of unfettered love and joy and wonder that do not involve cleaning or water or wiping or spit out food or poop.

I say whim, not folly, when describing why I buy canvases and buy paint and try to create. Something. Anything. Taking pictures--whimmish. The whim--responsible for a rainbow of yarn bought to knit a vest for Aidan. I blame whim for my saying that I'm going to stay in and then later, deciding to go out and whim is the reason for my leaving the house simply to see what will happen, to see who will happen. The whim is the reason my child, sitting next to me as I write, drops a bowl from the table and breaks it. Whim, of course, an explanation for my spotlessly unclean house (no white glove test here).

And whim, if misinterpreted, misdirected, can become the equivalent of irresponsiblity. But the whim is not irresponsible. The whim is the whim. It is pure. And it is free. It gets the job done. And the follower of the whim, if engaged correctly, doesn't feel guilty or worried or sad about his or her decision to have a whim, but rather feels that this decision, the decision to whim, is the rightest thing. If the whim is irresponsible, the whim follower will suffer the consequences. Don't you worry. Don't you worry.

It doesn't help to worry. Whims get worried by worrying. And the problem is--I need the whim and the whim needs me. It's what keeps me participating. It's what makes me remember. It's what keeps me interested. And it's what makes me forget. It's the whim, the promise of the whim. That keeps me. Here and able and willing.

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