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Rhythms and Orbits

June 9, 2010

We are almost two weeks into the girlies’ summer and a week into the summer 1 session I am teaching. We’re pretty consistent here on schedules; we all five of us thrive on predictability (I never wonder where the kids get it from, although I’d swear I didn’t used to be this scheduled, this predictable?). Because we like the ebb and flow of days well planned, we slid right into the flow of the summer schedule as if we’d been following it all along.

There is a deep satisfaction in organization, in knowing the shape of the day ahead. I know that my children feel it; they are tied to clocks in ways I am not and keep me on schedule so that things happen when they are supposed to. I like routine, but I like it at my own pace and my preference is for a flow of activities and foods, none of it happening at any particular time, so long as it happens in the day. We get up hours ahead of any need to be somewhere because we don’t like to feel rushed, and if I have hours to get ready, then I don’t feel beholden to a clock.

Our days revolve around routines, each of us our own satellites orbiting our own particular obsessions, interweaving ourselves around each other as those obsessions intersect.

The girlies and the bright boy are heavy into Pokemon and Yugioh and other anime things I’m not the least bit interested is so long as I don’t have to hear about it. They lose themselves in it, all three immersed in these worlds where they understand and relate to each other beautifully.

The girlies and their daddy are into Sims, all three versions (with every single add-on), with the girlies preferring each version for different reasons and switching which version they play depending on the reason. They talk just as intensely, the three of them, about the games and watch each other play. Because I occasionally dip my toes into the Sims world and used to be a dedicated gamer, I revolve around these conversations but am not central to them.

Science, philosophy, comparative religion, ancient history, and teaching the kids odd Gaelic and Latin phrases: these are the orbits my children and I share that usually leaves their father outside and, I am sure, at times, the bright boy wishing he were, too. The kids and I soak up documentaries and term this our neeking it up (geek/nerdifying), and throughout the summer, we watch several a week. Reading is another activity that has us in orbit together, as we share books and I find tremendous joy in sharing worlds with my children the way my grandmother and parents once shared (well, my parents still do) with me.

Science fiction and geekifying we all love, and for this our orbits intersect. The girlies and their dad and I share a deep and apparently abiding obsession with The Big Bang Theory (the boy is good for one viewing, but the girlies and Rick and I have been through seasons 1 and 2 at least four times in the last three months with the girlies–some bits we have to forward through or skip).  I long for the day that all my favorite scifi shows will become age appropriate for the girlies, but we enjoy sharing with them what is appropriate now. Our favorite catalog, all of us, is ThinkGeek.

We have our own singular obsessions, too, that leave everyone else outside our orbit; bits and pieces that are just for ourselves, that distinguish us from each other. Whatever those singular obsessions, each feels welcome to explore it, to share it, and to revel in it.

The older I get, the more I appreciate that each day blends into the next, that the ebb and flow of activities have a familiar rhythm to it, that there is constancy at the same time there is change, and that I share these revolving orbits of obsessions and obligations with four of the most wonderful people I have the great fortune to share a home with (and that next door are two just-as-wonderful people, my parents, who love me and are willing to go along for the ride and listen to me babble about my latest focus of intense interest).

The summer will flow by, carried by the currents of our rituals, our schedules, our intense interests, and when it is over, we will slide easily into the new rhythms of school and work, each of us buoyed by the support of family members who share enough common obsessions to keep us anchored together, not because of blood ties and obligation, but out of a deep and abiding joy in being with each other.


(crossposted at Detritus)


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