Wednesday, March 25, 2009

My Back-Pocket Happy

My laptop came in the mail yesterday. So extravagant. My oldest son, spartan as he is, will be appalled when he comes home that I so impulsely spent this kind of money. It is silly that I feel like I have to give an account to him, but his attitude will resonate with my own self-doubt, so it will bother me a little. But not only is there competition for the family desktop with three kids at home either needing it for school or wanting to check e-mail, IM and play games, it is also tucked away up in our bedroom. So the only way for me to be online was to be away from the heart of the home and family.

So it came yesterday and now I am connected with the world right in my very own kitchen. And I am still available to help with math problems, put up emergency ponytails, hear who said what to whom, get snacks, and give "poor baby's" for the latest boo-boo. And more important than being connected to the world -- this is where my self-doubt comes in -- I have an avenue to create something useful. At least I'm hoping it will be useful.

The sweet part of it all is that my husband, who has funded my extravagance, is happy about the purchase and supportive of my venture, even though there is no obvious way it will ever produce ... money. The one who paid for it all is supportive and more optimistic than I am even, but swirling all around in my head are the imaginary reactions of almost everyone else I know who are rolling their imaginary eyes and mocking me, saying Why would anyone spend so much time on something that will never pay? How could that ever benefit financially? And she BOUGHT A LAPTOP so she could work on it???? Good grief!

And they'll remember all my other hare-brained schemes -- which were never actually "schemes" as much as interests that the demands of my family prevented me from pursuing as far as I'd have liked. But they were things I read about and talked about and probably spent a little money on, but in the end didn't have time for. Now I've spent a big chunk of money on something that I can't see ever giving me a return on my investment.

It is a depressing concept that ideas are only as good as they are fiscally beneficial. In the face of all the nay-sayers, I insist that pursuits that do not produce an income can be very important. One is for just plain happiness. This laptop, this blog and the website I'm working on -- they make me happy. They are a healthy salve to a personal ache that was threatening to develop into full blown sadness, an ache that first niggled its way to the surface when my oldest left for college and my third-born entered public school in the fall.

I still have one at home during the day (being homeschooled) and plenty of running around to do for all of them, so my job is secure for the moment. But it's clear my role here is winding down from the frenzy it once was. I find myself now, for this first time in maybe 16 years, having moments, even sometimes a couple hours in the day, when no one is pulling on me. Schoolwork has been finished, no one needs to be driven anywhere for awhile, dinner can wait, and the only thing between me and a good book is housework. The housework is always there.

But housework doesn't satisfy. It does for some women (my mother-in-law), and I admire them for that. I imagine they get a inner peace, a personal glow from a house well-cleaned, like an endorphin rush. For me that inner happiness comes from words well-written and ideas well-expressed. All the better if someone wants to read those words, but readers are not even entirely necessary. Just getting the words down makes me happy.

(I am not saying necessarily that my words are well-written or my ideas well-expressed. But they're as well-expressed as my abilities allow, and that's enough for me.)

And so I find that in the short week of its existence, this blog has become my "back-pocket happy." As I scurry about my daily tasks, important but mundane, I find myself remembering this blog. Like pulling a favorite pet out of my back pocket and holding it for a minute, I'm reminded that it's there waiting for me. Waiting to hear all the words and ideas that have floated through my silly brain in the past day. And it fills me with a crazy sort of joy that defies description. Isn't that worth the price of a laptop?

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