Peace and Chaos

Birds chirping, chimes making music, Jack and Fiona talking to each other in their locked room, it’s naptime. It’s possible they won’t go to sleep, but I still need my break. Fiona and I were early to pick Jack up from school today, I made the mistake of going in his classroom causing chaos. Jack got up and poured out a basket of toys and every classmate of his, (who had all been sitting quietly enjoying their lunches before I arrived), started laughing. I was intrigued, why was it so funny? Because Jack was doing something “Bad”? I don’t know, but I apologized to the teacher for causing such ruckus. We walked upstairs and noticed the door of the Episcopal Church was open. It is a historic building, with beautiful stained glass, I’ve always wanted to check it out inside. I tell Jack and Fiona, “Shhh, be quiet and don’t touch anything”. The ceiling is high and vaulted, there are beautiful stained glass windows. It smells old but inviting. It feels sacred, I want to just sit here and rest. Fiona is quiet and calm, not Jack. He bounces from one thing to the next, “don’t touch” I say repeatedly. I wonder if I need to take them to a service to expose them to what happens in here. I want to come to just absorb the space, but the sermon would destroy this sacred space for me, the praying to God or taking Jesus into my heart would ruin what I’m feeling right now, the spirituality this church inhabits, the connection I feel to it right now would be stripped away from me to sit through a Sunday service. I would sit thinking in my head over and over again, “I don’t believe in God, I’m an atheist, how can these worshippers believe in heaven and hell?” It would ruin my experience. I’m connected to the sacred space, the ritual of thinking of others, of wanting peace on earth.

We leave the church and head to the grocery store, not my first choice of activities with three-year-old twins. Jack and Fiona tell me they want to “walk” in the store. I agree, but say, “Don’t touch anything or you are going in the cart”.  We get green smoothies to ward off our sugar addiction, I’ve been weening myself off, gone through withdraws and depression, it was one of the hardest things ever to admit I’m a sugar addict, that was step one. Then to read all the labels and find out how many grams of sugar is in my food that I consume and give my family. I’ve always said, “it’s OK I worked out today”, then I would have my chocolate chip cookie, or my bowl of cereal or my flavored yogurt. There are so many times in the day where “I want something sweet”.  I want it so bad! We wait for our smoothies to be ready. The juice bar is located in the cakes and cookies section of the grocery store. It’s hard to handle, I want to buy a chocolate cake, but I don’t. We get our smoothies and they are really yummy. Jack starts bouncing again, bopping from one thing to the next, touching things he shouldn’t so I put him back in the shopping cart, I put Fiona in the inside part. We grab what we need on our way to the vegetable isle. “Can I get out and walk?” Jack asks. “Can I help you pick the vegetables?” he says. This sounds reasonable, I let Jack and Fiona out of the cart. “Stay by me, don’t touch anything, watch out for that person” I say. (Over and over again) Jack grabs a red bell pepper and takes a bite! The other customers in the store seem both annoyed and amused by me and my children. I BARELY have them under control. I’m embarrassed because I’m one of those people now, with unruly children running around the store, and I’m proud because of their love of vegetables! As I get to the cashier the woman in front of me is telling the story of Jack biting the pepper to the cashier, “There they are” she says, pointing to us. She tells me she also had a son named Jack, he’s all grown up now. She says my Jack reminds her of her Jack, as my Jack is messing with the automatic doors ignoring my calls to “Come back in the store”. She says she found out to late that her son had ADD, “Not that that your son has it, But…”

I’m starting to feel at ease again, I had to put on a show for Jack and Fiona, it doesn’t seem like they will sleep. I need more time to myself, studio time. I haven’t had much time to paint in a while. But I can hear a lot of rumblings coming from their room. It might be hard to get in my studio today, Fiona is crying and calling me. I want something sweet. What to do, what to do. The sounds of the birds enter my consciousness again, the chimes, I take a breath in my nose and slowly let my breath fall out of my mouth. Then yawn. I’m tired already, it’s only 3:00. Maybe I should just let everything go that I want to do this afternoon, like painting and my studio. Or see if I leave Jack and Fiona in their room longer if they will fall asleep, but that means they will be up till nine! Now they are up, I’ve released them from their room and decided to keep them up until bedtime, which will be 7:00 tonight!!!

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