On days when I’m feeling particularly stressed, I inevitably end up at some place looking to spend money. I rarely do spend it (as we have little right now), but I wander, at Old Navy or Chapters, Roots, Wal-Mart. I drag my fingers along the spines of books, let soft scarves slip out of my open hand as I walk past.
What am I searching for, in these stores? Something that will never be found, not in the tight grip of consumerism.
Sometimes I end up at the drive-thru window of a Dairy Queen, asking for a burger and fries. I pull over in the parking lot and inhale them, guzzling the pop afterwards. Then I ball up all the garbage and get rid of it, so no one will see it in my car.
I realize that stress makes me feel lost, makes me feel hopeless. Like I’m floundering, trying to swim in an ocean of large waves. I’ve gotten better at coping with it over the past few years, and yet I have my moments, standing at the cash register with an armful of clothes that I neither need nor can afford. Most often, I talk myself down and end up leaving the store empty handed.
Yesterday I cleaned neurotically before my mother came. Everything had to be perfect. And as she walked through the front door while there was still wet laundry in the washing machine and cookie crumbs on the kids faces, I remembered that nothing is perfect in this life.
But she didn’t come here for perfect. She came for cookie-crumb kisses and screams of glee and the dog going crazy and a smile on my face, because this is my life. Messy, loud, crazy, wonderful. And I’m always so happy when I get to share.