Next year, I tell myself, I’ll know better.
Next year, I will commit to very little between April and June, and I will clear our family’s schedule for an entire month beginning two weeks before Memorial Day.
No signing up for preschool snacks. No dinner or birthday parties. No expectation that dishes will be washed, laundry folded, or floors swept. No newspaper columns!
I knew that gardening and poultry raising would be a lot of work. I expected labor. What I didn’t expect was the massive to-do list that seems to regenerate endlessly within my brain: chop off some tasks and, like an earthworm, it just grows more. I didn’t expect to track the weather forecast like a day trader tracks the stock market, my heart dropping with every raincloud icon that threatens to keep me out of the yard (yes, I know the rain is good for the plants.) I didn’t expect to feel intense frustration whenever I’m not outside digging or dumping or planting — the sense that all life not involving dirt is somehow wasting my precious time. I didn’t expect to rush off to so many meetings with dirty fingernails, muddy knees, and hat-head hair. I didn’t expect to keep finding myself outside, staring at a patch of dirt, until my husband or children call me in to dinner.