My life, it feels a bit like IKEA on a Saturday. Once I made the near fatal mistake of suggesting a trip to the all-consuming royal blue box.
On a Saturday.
For a single picture frame.
The mother ship had me in such a trance that I barely noticed the 2 mile parking lot walk it took to get into the door.
Giant revolving doors sucked us into a sea of people and the thick scent of cafeteria meatballs. Weaving through wanna-be European hipsters my son and I took our one small frame (I’d say it was a 4X6 but I don’t know what the Swedish equivalent of that would be. Maybe Donkatoma – don’t google it, totally made that up), and tried to make a break for it.
Then we stood in the check out line for 20 minutes.
“It is our turn yet Mama?”
“No baby, Mama can’t take this anymore.”
We ditched the frame, walked to the car, now 4 miles away, and sat in exit traffic for another 20.
A spastic, sweaty mess I made eye contact with my son in the rearview mirror. “Repeat after me honey, Never go to IKEA on a Saturday. Even if they give everything away for free.”
This is my world since September. The parking lot of my life has been jammed with youth sports, backpacks, school, Halloween Costumes. More specifically, standing in a preschool hallway yanking Cinderella’s freaking ball gown over the head of my daughter before she can go into the room. Can’t rip the ball gown getting in and out of the car. And then why Cinderella? She is trying to kill me. PLEASE can you be Joan of Arc?
Homework. New shoes. Pumpkins. Raking leaves. Again. And again.
Carpool, school pictures, flu shots, a bout with the flu because I did not get my shot, coffee, misplaced keys, phones, calendars. I’m standing in the check out line panicking. LET’S JUST GET OUT OF HERE!!!!
So a few weeks ago. I did. Get out. In my mind that is.
My five year old, like most, is afraid of the dark. Lately when I tuck him in he asks me this, “Mama, can you snuggle me ’til the sky turns gray?”
“What do you mean baby?”
“Well look out the window Mama. You see how it is black out there now? When it starts to turn gray I know daytime is coming and it will be okay. So can you hold me until it turns gray?” Who can deny that request?
So I slam on the brakes of the IKEA madness, the sheer weight of life’s exquisite moments swallows me ,and I climb into bed with him as a tear slips onto his Lightening McQueen pillowcase. And of course as I lay there my mind is divided.
One part wants to wallow here forever while the IKEA check out line needs to clean the kitchen, turn in edits, send a few emails and just wants a glass of Chardonnay on the couch. How long will it take for him to fall asleep so I can sneak out?
But my soul, the part that knows the ordinary holiness of this moment — dripping, nearly breaking open with peace, tells my heart to hug tight and just lay still. So I do. I watch him fidget and twist. I wonder how his colic will look come High School. I start singing to myself this Jay Jay Pistolet tune called “We Are Free.” My favorite line?
“But I, would like to sail away with you, to a place where the sky and the ocean are the same shade of blue.”
Some days the calm takes over and I lay for a bit on a booger riddled pillow that smells like feet and I contemplate black skies and gray skies. And I wonder what it would be like for just a moment to sail off to where the sky and the ocean are that same shade of blue. Just me. My hubby. My kids. On a boat. No errands. No IKEA. No Saturday. Just Sunday afternoon on a sailboat, looking for the perfect shade of blue.
So as the Holidays threaten to gobble down what’s left of crimson leaves and goose-neck gourds, and may you catch a moment contemplate the colors. To sail away, even if only for a moment.