My plan is to make soap.
At first, I fully intended to make my soap the old-fashioned way - a little jojoba oil, a little shea…highly combustible lye…
Needless to say, a little research and my husband's raised eyebrows changed my focus. I'm a risk-taker, no doubt, but I have a child who is in need of a mother, and I wasn't very good at chemistry in high school. Plus, I don't have a well-ventilated work space seeing as how it has averaged 15 degrees in my new frosty home since I arrived, and I am fervently opposed to losing fingers to frostbite because I chose to mix hazardous chemicals in my backyard.
Nonetheless, I plan to make soap.
I have done a lot of googling, and there are plenty of lye-free methods out there I intend to try. I am passionately committed to addressing complicated skin issues for people like myself who once thought they had combination skin, then moved to Wisconsin and learned that they actually had very dry, flaky, chapped, lizard skin.
Today, I am committed to this idea. A few days ago, I learned to knit. Last week, I made kimchi.
One might say I am bored, but the truth is, I don't get bored - I get inspired. Over and over. By many things in many different forms. I bought performance activewear so that I can begin training for another half-marathon this summer while the weather remains in the sub-freezing zone. Today, I turned an old garage shelf into a stylish storage piece for my kitchen. I study Google Maps to find shortcuts to the places I frequent. I post a little too often on Facebook.
But, I'm not bored. Not yet.
Honestly, taking care of my little man is absolutely a full-time job. I love actually being there for every new milestone. I am so thankful for this opportunity to observe him in action. He is amazing, and I spend a lot of time brainstorming ways to provide him with even more stimulation and to entice him to say "Mama" before he settles on "Dada" as his first word. (It seems this is the direction in which we are headed. Dada, kitty, or, on the outside chance, "lamp".)
But, I have never NOT worked. (And, when I say "work", I mean maintain employment by a company that pays me. Anyone who says raising a child isn't work needs to have their wiring checked.) This is the first time since I graduated from college that I have not received a paycheck, and it is a strange and awkward feeling.
I come from strong feminist stock. My mother might not consider herself thusly, but I remember well a particular Sunday when our church pastor gave the "women should be submissive" sermon, and my mother stood up in the middle of our pew and stepped over no fewer than eleven people to exit the sanctuary. I was seventeen, and I followed her. Hence, I am not comfortable not being a breadwinner - however anemic my bread contribution might be. I'm sure my husband would say that it is pretty nice having me take care of a lot of the everyday logistics, but there is a small shred of my being that wishes I was getting paid for setting up our car insurance, managing our investments and doing all of the laundry. I would also relish being surrounded by "peers" again, as attempting to make friends without constant exposure to the same people everyday is a lot like trying to pick up a date in a bar using lame lines, except there is no social lubricant. I am literally hitting on the women running the registers at stores and the mothers of the other children in my son's music class.
"So, you're from here? I'm not. I just moved here from Florida. No, I don't mind the cold at all - want to be my friend? I make a mean kimchi!"
Luckily, people here are incredibly nice or else I might very well be "that weird girl"- avoided in mommy groups and snubbed in stores. As it were, I am more capable of handling this odd state of singularity now than I ever have been. Working in television, one grows armadillo skin. In the immortal words of Chumbawumba, "I get knocked down, but I get up again…" Eventually, my incredibly awkward pick-up formula will work, and I'll find a friend as bizarre as I am. I'm maintaining hope, anyway.
For now, I'll make soap. I may change my mind tomorrow and opt to pursue a taco truck (which this area desperately needs!!!) or simply buy popsicle molds and see how many different flavors of pudding pop I can devise. Maybe I'll plant tulip bulbs. Maybe I'll knit eight more infinity scarves.
Maybe I'll spend a little time meditating on that word "maybe". Maybe may be the single most freeing word in the English language. It's an open door - a cosmic vastness - one of those restaurant menus that is five pages long. Overwhelming, yes - but also infinitely promising.
Two syllables. Endless possibilities.