Monday, December 15, 2008

Cat's Cradle

The string game of Cat’s Cradle has always intrigued me. An astonishing number and variety of unrelated cultures play this intricate game of manipulating string or yarn between the fingers of two people. It takes precision, concentration and dexterity to pull it off. One miscalculation and the entire thing collapses into a heap of tangles and knots.

I'd like to think I can run my days and my life like a well-oiled machine, but I daily feel this tangle of invisible threads: household chores, school commitments, errands, obligations and work. Accomplishing all of these things sometimes leaves me feeling as though I’ve pulled off a complicated string trick. Sometimes I miscalculate or order my day improperly, and it feels like I’m left with an unproductive mess.

There is solace in knowing that I’m more than the sum of my errands and commitments. My success as a mom, for instance, doesn’t depend on keeping all the strings straight and ordered all the time. I don’t have to do it perfectly each and every time. Sometimes, by choice or by happenstance, my “cat’s cradle” falls into a hopeless jumble of knots. Dinner didn’t get started because Corban and I got lost together in a read-aloud book about mice riding motorcycles (we’ll order pizza). Or, the grocery shopping didn’t get done on a school snow day, but we made snowmen and forts in the snow. Or, laundry didn’t get folded, but we built a Mars space station out of Lego blocks.

These unplanned diversions pay their dividends in the form of closeness and spontaneous fun. These are the things that matter. These are where memories are made. And these are what remind me that my life is perfect, even when it’s “knot.”


Dave King said...

That takes me back and you explain why I was never any good at it! Never mind, I enjoyed my first visit to your blog immensely. Shall return!

Sydney said...

Wow did I need to read this. I tend to focus on the stuff not getting done and miss the personal stuff, yet am feeling a loss of personal connection very much, since my life changed drastically 2 years ago (I moved from NYC, left my work, my friends, sold my home and got married for the first time at 48. I am still trying to recover, lol).

You have the right idea. As when I focus on the details or the to-do, it just needs to be done all over again anyway! Thanks