Tuesday, June 18, 2013

...Just Musing

When I was a teenager, I used to clean the kitchen late at night after everyone else had retired to their respective nighttime abodes. My family was ever gracious and indulgent of my teenage-ness. I would play mournful country love songs loud enough to almost make me feel like my voice blended in. And of course, played the same songs over and over and over again. Wow...were my mom and sisters tolerant! But it never really occurred to me then how special that time was to me. It was a gift they gave me, allowing me to just be myself, doing things my way, my alone time for the day.

Somewhere in the era of newlywed bliss, I let that habit slip away. And then babies and breastfeeding, and the sheer joy of the children of the house FINALLY being asleep and not wanting to disrupt in any way the whole house being quiet, further removed me from that wistful daily refuge. And while over the years I occasionally slip away, and do manage to carve out periods of alone time, I haven't ever quite hit upon that same combination of emotional outlet/restoration as those late night sing-alongs.

It was restorative not only because I was alone and had a release of all my big emotions, but also because of the how. I could mix my teenage tears with the soap suds and then let it all down the drain, or sing and scrub until my frustrations or anger dissolved just like baked on cheese. The fact that I was washing dishes and sweeping the floor was as therapeutic as my impassioned imaginings of country-singing greatness. Because, I was not just wallowing. I was accomplishing something while I wallowed (or soared with excitement!). Something beneficial to everyone I loved. Only I didn't know that back then.

Tonight, I played mournful country love songs as I washed dishes and scrubbed pots. With the music loud enough for me to not feel totally embarrassed to sing along. And like my family did back then, my family tonight gave me that time as well. They were in and out a few times, but eventually, Victor had the kids settled in bed and Kit in the bath, and I was free to have a little while alone. And it is still a gift. It was a great emotional outlet/restorative experience. And the satisfaction of a clean kitchen at the end of it is far more valuable to me now than it was 15 years ago.

Perhaps in time this tradition will find it's way back into our family flow. But even if it does not, tonight was good. It's nice to recognize the good when it's happening. It makes us appreciate it more.

And now, same as then, certain songs just capture me. Some take me back to other times and memories. Then there are those that take on a whole new meaning or depth than they used to have. This was that song for me tonight.



1 comment:

  1. Nice tradition! I'm usually scared to make much noise after the kids are asleep. I do give myself some personal time after they're asleep, though, by reading my books or watching a movie. I hope you can get your old tradition back!