chatelaine

I woke at 6:30am this Saturday.

Last night I kept to my cadence and sketched out the weekend’s tasks — a combination of house-manage and scholarship; that a-week-a-day class schedule waits for no weekend — and yet at about 10am I was adding more than half-again as many items, all of them submerged time-sensitive to-dos that floated to the surface.
I also changed that sketch to a checklist. For the tick-tick-tick satisfaction!

image of the pages from _Where the Sidewalk Ends_ containing That Poem

It’s now past 10:30am. I have crossed off one of the original items. The most pressing task — our laundry looks like Shel Silverstein’s illustration for “Sarah Sylvia Cynthia Stout Would Not Take the Garbage Out” — has yet to be fully addressed, largely because prior clean laundry has commandeered all the space in the laundry room. I am remembering, in mental images and in my body, what Saturday was like when I was a newlywed in a 40+-hour-a-week job. It’s been a while! And the scholarly items are looming, too.

**

As B was gathering herself up to return to school — so, during those last two days between the end of Camp B and Wednesday morning (when all of our next whirlwinds began) — she and I were moving through the house on our similar, but not overlapping, tracks. Putting away, pulling out, tidying, washing… we each were setting things in order so that Wednesday, and our respective semesters, would begin well.

Granted, a fair slug of my work was in winding up Camp B—gear to clean, equipment to oil, chuck box to restock. Since she needed to triage her belongings for school and take what was needed to the shipper, that took precedence over her taking part in the consequences of her party.

More than once, she caught me around the waist, gave me a big hug, and said, “Thank you, Mom, for all the work you’ve done, and are doing!, to give me such a great party.”

And one of those times she added, “I see how much work you do to keep our house running. I was thinking about how, long time ago, the woman in charge of the house carried keys at her belt not just to open things, but as her badge of office. The one with the keys was the one in charge — of everything.

You should wear those keys, Mom. You should have a badge of office, so everyone can see.”

**
Those keys are certainly jangling at my hip this Saturday.

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