There are eight million tiny things to do every day.
Last week, in the interest of seeing where her time went, Herself recorded all that she did in a day. Or rather, she tried to do so; after midafternoon, though, she gave up trying to write things down. Granted, it was a particularly busy Tuesday. Would you like to see?
Sometime last night: let ailing dog out to pee three or four times. Morning: get up. Wake up Offspring the Third. Take baby dog out. Feed baby dog. Feed guinea pig. Take all dogs out again. Provide breakfast for Offspring the Third. Put away the two loads of laundry. Make bed. Check FaceBook. Make bag lunch for Offspring the Third. Provide him with water bottle and send him off to school. Empty the dishwasher. Load dishes that wouldn't fit last night. Check e-mail. Check list of work projects. Answer a few work e-mails. Put in load of laundry. Make breakfast for Offspring the Second. Make bag lunch for Offspring the Second. Prepare chicken and lentils for lunch. Clean kitchen. Take Offspring the Second to school. Go to physical therapy for hip. Receive call from vet while waiting to pay for physical therapy. Write down instructions for type of insulin and type of syringes, and make appointment to learn how to give shots to dog. Go to car. Cry three tears. Pull self together. Go to pet store to get bedding for guinea pig; to pharmacy to get insulin; to grocery to get oatmeal for Beloved Husband. Go home. Feed big dogs. Fold laundry from dryer, put fresh load into dryer. Do Work work. Warm up lunch for Beloved Husband. Make phone call to resolve medical billing error. Look up driving directions to attend doctor's appointment with extended family member the next day. Do more Work work. Greet Offspring the Third and provide post-school snack.
That was from about 6:30 AM until 3 PM that day. The rest of the day was a similar blur of activity.
Herself does not (usually) mind taking care of all the little things. Looking after the household is what she enjoys the most. She needs fuel, though, to motivate her and to keep her moving.
What is that fuel? Adult companionship.
Herself has never been particularly a 'people person.' She dislikes large groups, crowds, social functions. Nevertheless, she does require interaction: ten minutes' undivided attention from Beloved Husband; a telephone call with her lovely sister; a bit of talk with another adult at the gym; a text or e-mail conversation with a friend.
Logistics oftentimes impede matters, though. Beloved Husband is extremely busy and often exhausted. Herself's sister is occupied with her own children and complex life, and is too far away for spontaneous get-togethers. The schedules of the adults at the gym vary, and there are days when none are there except Herself. And texts and e-mails are only checked periodically; people all have their own lives to manage.
There are days -- sometimes several in a row -- when some kind of communication with the world beyond the walls of the house is sparse. Or nonexistent. Herself starts to flounder. She becomes angry at herself, both for what she perceives as her sloth as well as her weakness. Yet she hesitates to reach out, lest she inconvenience her friends or loved ones. Or worse yet, reveal herself to be needy.
Apathy sets in. All the things that need to get done do not get accomplished. She does not care.
What is it about loneliness that keeps her from mopping the floor or dusting the shutters?
Sometimes, it is the seemingly tiniest of things -- a short text; a humorous e-mail message; an invitation for a walk -- that keeps her from feeling as though she might wither away completely. The outside world has reached in to her and held out its hand. She is grateful. She has more fuel once more, and can start anew on the next eight million things to do.
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