Oh it is not easy for me to let go of the unfinished. I am a completer of things. I enjoy checking things off no matter how long it takes me. Everyday I walk past our unpainted baseboards that my husband has yet to paint is another day that reminds me of unfulfilled — what exactly? Promise perhaps. Yes, it was promised that these baseboards would be painted six years ago. Six years ago! But really these baseboards don’t interfere with my daily life. These baseboards don’t stop me from cooking dinner or weeding the garden. They just serve as a constant reminder to me that I can not control them, dammit. I can’t force these damn baseboards to paint themselves and why can’t I? And I can’t force my husband to magically create time in his schedule to paint them either.
I have come to an uneasy alliance with the baseboards. They taunt me when I sweep and mop, knowing they irritate me, yet I appreciate their harsh reminder that I must come to work around the very uncontrollable elements that exist around me. There were always be paint and there will always be baseboards. Someday the two will meet and come together.
I’ve said goodbye to my dreams of a vegetable garden and took out my raised beds that have only ever sustained weeds and rocks. For the last three or four years these beds have grown bounteous harvests of good intentions, sowing seeds of frustrations. Now it’s all gone. All that remains are their footprints and my wild imagination for my kids and their play area. I don’t need to grow my own vegetables to know I love the dirt and what it can yield. I don’t need to look out my kitchen windows and watch endless weeds take over wishful spring seedlings to remind me that even though I might want to do this gardening I don’t have the time to nurture this gardening. What I do need is to nurture childhoods and I conveniently have a little girl who loves to swing a young man who loves his treehouse.
Some square pegs can be sanded down and chiseled to fit comfortably into round holes, I have found, while other square pegs just need to be made into footstools or candlestick holders or even given away to Good Will. And then there are the round holes that need to be filled in with cement or used to hold flowers or possibly even find its own way to be happy — not thinking of itself as empty but seeing itself as open to opportunity.
I am understanding myself better. I am learning the lines of my dreams better. I’ve become more fluent in my own language. I have become more steady in self even if I am still shaky in me. Baseboards will wait because they can wait. I can not control them just as I can not control any other forces or elements that exert their influences on me or my life. I can happily take out the old dreams of a vegetable garden because it has no comparison to the dreams my children have as they fall asleep at night. I will labor tirelessly in the tending of my children before I ever tend the soil.
I pick and choose which pegs will remain squares or which will be molded into other shapes. Some might be tossed aside while others will be crafted to fit into other places. Some empty spaces will remain the same. Not because certain endeavors are bad or were not good enough but simply because the time isn’t now or these endeavors were not my match. When I was younger I would have said I was picking my battles but I’m trying to be less quarrelsome now that I am “vintage-ing”. Now I would say I am simply adjusting how I shape things and allowing other shapes to go in peace.