I just finished reading Jackaroo, by Cynthia Voigt. Yes, just barely.
I was impressed by the description of Gwyn's mother, the ever-present sadness in her voice, her statement that 'death is easy for us, it is life that is hard' clearly revealing the non-existent joy in her life. I told myself early in the book that her unhappiness was most likely due to the fact that she busied herself too much in her daily duties and responsibilities. I felt sad for her as a mom.
As I thought this, I wondered also if I get caught up in the motions with each day's duties - just as Gwyn's mother does in the book. I thought about my day today: making breakfast; encouraging the kids to do their chores; vacuuming the house; searching for a soccer uniform; finding outfits for each of the kids and encouraging them to get dressed; making beds; picking up children's clothing carelessly flung on the floor; cleaning up breakfast; switching and starting loads of laundry; changing poopy diapers; breaking up fights; driving; going through loose school papers, corrected homework, newsletters from teachers, and artwork; putting things away; collecting money from other soccer moms to buy gifts for the team's volunteer coaches; chasing my 1-year old around; organizing mail, bills, receipts and updating the budget; folding laundry; making lunch; looking through cookbooks to plan the meals for the week; driving; getting gas in the mini van; circling inside a Super Wal-Mart, too far away to visit often, while trying to appease four kids, visit the restroom for each of them, and try not to forget to buy anything necessary and comparably inexpensive; giving various lectures on why it is good to love and be nice to your siblings; making dinner; etc., and all this amongst continuous cleaning, mediating senseless sibling rivalry, and counting ("to 1, 2, and 3").
I am wondering how happy I appeared to be from my children's perspective. I doubt I was smiling, and I'm sure I wasn't whistling a tune for the majority of the day.
Wouldn't it be nice, I thought, if a masked horseman rode up and gave me a purse full of money, or deep clean my entire house? Would I want to be relieved of my duties, if even just for a short while?
As I continued to read, I recognized how wonderful it is to have work to do, to be busy and productive, especially in the service of others. I felt secure and good inside as I thought of how much I love to work, even though I don't make and knead my own loaves of bread or have horses to curry and exercise. I think work is constructive and calming to our beings. I have been quite unmotivated lately, more possibly than ever before in my life. I am not sure why this is, but I hope that these reflections of Jackaroo will affect me - and maybe even boot me out into the cold falling rain. (Yes, it is raining here - a lot lately.) Reading the descriptions of Gwyn's responsibilities brings me to my knees in gratitude. I thought of while my husband and I did dishes together last night.
In general, I liked reading Jackaroo, but not so much that I would read it again. I felt as if something was missing as it concluded. I read it quickly, most of it today, and longed for a bit more depth to the characters and their relationships. I guess I would refer to it as 'super light reading' but it was enjoyable nonetheless.