Friday, January 8, 2010

Enjoying the now

I don't know my mother remembers this, but when I was nineteen she and I were driving around the neighborhood in the minivan and I'd just finished blathering on about some heartache or other that was mighty and present in my life and which I thought would be with me forever. She told me, "One day, this will all be a long time ago and you'll think back on these days and they will seem far far away and quite different."

Which brings me to this post. I learned a new word via Facebook's link (yes, I read the dictionary. On line. Via Facebook.)

From Merriam-Webster on-line


Pronunciation: \kwō-ˈti-dē-ən\
Function: adjective
1 : occurring every day
2 a : belonging to each day : everyday b : commonplace, ordinary
quotidian noun

And what does that have to do with the diapers in the dryer? Nothing, I suppose. Or everything.

The people on Facebook who were trying-out sample sentences using the word were making the everyday sound so droll, so lifeless. Quotidian ideas. Quotidian chores. The horror.

But I was sitting here thinking about how it's the quotidian that makes up our lives. Is our lives. It's not the big and flashy but the small and usual that gradually makes up who we are.

You know those country songs that twang on about how we'll miss this everyday business once time has moved us to ten years from now? The songs that remind us that this won't last long?

They're talking about the quotidian. The everyday humdrum that bores us to tears. The heartaches that seem so intense at first, until we step away and realize they're not breaking us (or we decide we're not going to let them). The days so normal they make us pull our hair out just so we can say something happened.

And I think about what I know of children and scheduling and how routine is so important to them. A chore we might consider quotidian (in a condecending, mean way) may be to them a comfort. Surely Uli knows that after we let the dogs out in the morning it's time to get into the car to go to daycare. She is learning that after supper it will soon be time for her bath. But it's not tiresome to her. To Uli the quotidian is important stuff.

And yet I and many others complain about it. What's our deal?

I think we either get lost in the routine, forgetting that it hasn't always been like this, won't always be like this, nor must it be like this. The everyday isn't forever, but we forget that. We long for the movie moments: the big speech that inspires us to action, the kiss that reminds us whom we truly love, perhaps even the battle to end all battles. But where are we the day after we rally? What do the kissers say to each other the next morning and the next morning and the morning after that? What were those soldiers fighting for?

It all leads us to to the everyday. The routine. The regular. Real life.

It's common, yes. Waking in the morning. Eating the food you know how to cook. Watching your child build her skills, learn something else, move on to more. Diaper after diaper. Grocery store for toilet paper and bananas. Summer evenings on the porch, winter evenings on the couch.

It's nothing special, perhaps. And that's just it. It's not the hands-off pristine ivory tower ideal, it's my life. Our lives.

It may be a struggle, remember that there's little as precious as this day. But I'm determined to use this year to celebrate the quotidian, to be thankful for "just another day" of routine.

Because someday Today, in all it's quotidian sameness, will be gone. Someday this will all be a long time ago. And I'll miss this.

Nurse, nurse. Run around. Breakfast. Read. Lunch. Nap. Nurse. Run. Dinner. Read. Bath. Nurse. Sleep. 
 It's all very much a Good Thing.


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