the simple minded suburbanite


Sunny Day
January 14, 2010, 7:35 pm
Filed under: authenticity, burbs, culture, parenting, suburb, voluntary simplicity | Tags: , ,

A friend of mine who reads my blog suggested that I may want to also include things I love about the suburbs.  It’s true.  There are reasons why people flock to them.  There are reasons why my husband and I chose the burbs as opposed to a small town or urban environment.

I was reminded of a few of those reasons yesterday, our first warm sunny day in weeks.

Yesterday was a good day and totally on target with my personal challenge to live more authentically and simplicly in the midst of the nuttiness.

The day started well with my youngest sleeping about an hour past when I take the older two to the bus, thus leaving me a quiet house.  I started with a simple meditation, a cup of tea, and a good book before the phone rang, as it almost always certainly does around 8am.  It’s a good ring of the phone, almost always one of two friends chimming in to say, “Good morning!  What are you doing today?”  And then we make our plans.  “I’ll take Johnny for you after preschool so you can clean your closets.  Or, can I drop Stevie off about an hour before preschool so I can get into work early?  Or, ooo, you’re headed over to the mall to take back the baby gift you never sent and is now too small…I’ll tag along and try on a pair of jeans and maybe even squeeze in a quick lunch!”

In the suburbs, I have an extremely strong support system of mothers, friends, some of whom work, some of whom don’t, but all of whom understand the value of family and the work it takes to “raise ’em right” no matter what your definition of “right” might be.  It’s a community.  We help each other out and there is always someone to call.

So, my morning chat, an actual shower, and I roused my little boy and his moppy curls from my bed where he slept perpendicular across.  Hugs and kisses.  Hugs and kisses.  And off to school, first picking up Johnny, sending them both off with a kiss, and a drive through hot tea and low-fat muffin for me as I did head off to the mall to exchange that baby gift now that it was probably too small.  And a birthday present for my handsome husband.  A set of three wire candlesticks that I’ve had my eye on for months, now marked down.  Ring ’em up.  Do I dare start trying on jeans?  Naa.  Too fat. Head home instead to put the candlesticks on top of the hutch in my dining room.  Perfect!  What happiness a pretty set of wire candlesticks brings to a home.  A home rounding out to reflect our family’s sense of peace, love, and individuality.  Then off to pick up my little guy before 12:30.

A special treat for him, since he’s been begging…”We NEVER go to McDonald’s!” Oh hell, why not?  We order through the drive through and park down by the river for a fast-food picnic.

In the suburbs everything is very convenient.  With this I can find whisps of solitude, adventure, hustle, and yes, even culture.  I can have a balanced day every day if I choose to because of the soundbites of opportunity around here.

A leisurely walk with my youngest who I challenge to hop to the next tree, then skip past the rock, then gallop to the next little bridge.  “This is so great, Mommy!” he laughs and I do too as he finds little shells embedded in the sand on the river bank.  One for older brother, one for middle brother, Mommy, Daddy, and even our old dog but, no, not the guniea pigs, they might eat them.  The air is fresh.  The park is safe and clean and we smile and say, “hello,” to nearly everyone we pass, mostly retirees out for a little stroll.

Then it’s bus time, homework time and the younger boys scatter across the back yards to play with friends while I take my oldest to guitar.  He’s practicing for the school talent show and his guitar teacher says he has never taught a ten-year-old who is quite as talented as my oldest boy.  (Brag!  Brag!  It’s my right!).  My oldest is sullen on the way to guitar, I try asking him about a friend he is having trouble with at school.  He’s chatty on the way back, telling me all about school and his dreams of being a professional guitarist and architect and maybe even building concert halls and stadiums.  We rock out to a few tunes, me singing at the top of my lungs to PJ Harvey’s “Seether”.  He asking, “What’s a seether?”  Dunno.

The suburbs is full of opportunities.  The businesses support families and children and no matter what your cup of tea, you can usually find it here or pretty close to here.  I know it is because people pay money, sometimes big money, for these opportunities for their kids and themselves, but that being said, so what?  People here do value exploration and learning and development of yourself.

At  home, my middle boy helps me peel tomatillos for our dinner dish and tells me about his first day in a new class and how much he loves it and how he can’t wait to tell daddy and how he wishes there were more football games on right now, but they’re only on on the weekends now because college is over and the pros are in playoffs and it occurs to me that I am really raising a southerner!  An early dinner with the boys and then off for PJs. 

Hubby comes home.  Terrible day.  I warm his dinner, pour him a glass of wine and listen while I sip tea, a bit late for my writing group, but realizing that he is feeling down, real down.  He fininshes and changes into some sweats and readies the basement while he awaits the other boyscout volunteer to arrive and test out the track for the Pine Wood Derby.

I am so thankful that I had such a restful day so that I could have patience for all who needed my patience this afternoon.  I am grateful, I have this opportunity, realizing many women do not. 

I threaten the children within inches of their lives to stay in bed and not bother daddy and his guest while I am out for writing group.  They nod.  I tuck them in with a kiss and a stern look for my youngest who does not look entirely convinced that I mean business.

And I’m off.  A night of stimulating conversation, challenges put forth, goal setting, and encouragement.  Who says that writing is a solitary endeavor.  A few politics. A few philosophical points of view.  We are all very different, these women and I, on the surface, at least.  But we have two obvious bonds, writing and the burbs.  And these commonalities led us to discover other commonalities, further differences, and friendship.

Suburbanites, despite my slants in previous posts, are not entirely from all one canvas.  Sometimes you have to push yourself to seek others out, but they are there.  And they are looking for you too.

I fall into bed, after contemplating catching up with some work correspondence, next to my husband who is still awake.  He never truly sleeps until I get home. I know this so I do my best to get home at a decent hour.  I kiss him good night, my youngest crawls into bed and I think, Thank you, God, for this day.  Tomorrow may not be the same.  Tomorrow my be fraught with stress and too much to do and some negativity.  But I know enough to know that when I am blessed with a sunny day, I had better say,

Thank you.

Thank you, Sunny Day in the suburbs!

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