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Those of us who are creative, artistic types, or who are into the mothering bit, or both, have a tendency to start projects and never finish them. The inspiration is there in the beginning, but then you get sidetracked, disappointed with how your project is turning out, distracted by the random crying child, or inspired to do something else. The result: an unfinished, unrealized sketch/draft/idea that could have been a masterpiece . Call it what you will, but I will be honest: what we lack is basic, boring old discipline . But, ladies and gentlemen, the time has come to bring these half-finished creations and half-hearted efforts to fruition!

And so, I hereby pronounce the first ever Week of Project Completion! (I am open to more creative week name suggestions). Over the course of the seven days comprising the week, I will endeavor to finish seven projects that have been idling for weeks or even months in the recesses of my home or my mind. Incidentally, the week will start on Sunday, July 25th, and end on Saturday, July 31st. I say “incidentally” because July 25th just happens to be my sister’s birthday, and she is a notorious procrastinator and project-starter-and-not-finisher. So, my dear Lizard, may this be a twisted sort of birthday present for you, so that you too may participate in this first but not last Week of Project Completion and feel compelled to bring at least seven projects you started to completion.

In fact, I would like to invite all of my 2.7 readers to participate! Feel free to blog and/or leave comments about your progress on my entries during each of the seven days of this week, keeping us updated on your victories over unfinished/unrealized creations. This way we may feel more accountable to do what we set out to do, and more encouraged as we see others succeeding.

All “Unfinished Projects” should fit into one of the three categories below:

– Category One: These are the artistic unfinished projects – a partially painted canvas, a roll of film shot last spring and still undeveloped, a short story, written but not edited, a collection of poetry, edited and revised to death, but not formatted for print…

– Category Two: These are the homemaker unfinished projects – pots bought to plant flowers weeks ago, and still no flowers in them, curtains and curtain rod, neatly stowed under the bed and waiting to be hung for months, furniture fix ideas, interior design alterations…

– Category Three: These are the thought projects, revolving in your frazzled mind like laundry on spin cycle. You and I need to do the things we’ve been thinking about needing to get done for N number of weeks, and get some new thoughts! These include thoughts on trying out new recipes, new bedtime routines, or new discipline techniques. But careful here: make sure these category three thought projects don’t turn into another Incomplete. In other words – you have to finish it in the one day allotted.

A few words about my situation: This Sunday I am working 1am – 4am (hey, up there in space they don’t care that it’s night here on Earth) and Monday I’m working 7pm – 6am. On top of that, Friday evening after work I am flying out to San Diego , and returning Sunday, the last day of the Week of PC. So that bodes well for my success, right? Well that is the point: we don’t finish these projects because there is always something going on, something more important to do, distractions, distractions…

So, let’s think of the project we’ll tackle, post about them over the weekend (like New Year’s Resolutions) and then get to finishing them!

by Mary Cassatt

Mother

Inauguration into their ranks
Came in the shape of a good face-to-face
with the toilet.
Ninety days in a row.

Mother, mother, mother.
Like you, there is no other.
You are the bread winners
And bread bakers.
The diaper changers
And soccer-practice takers.
You are the lunch-bag senders,
The love never-enders,
Behind-the-scenes directors,
Always welcome-and-never rejectors.
Most faithful wife and mother –
Like you there is no other.

After a dehumanizing visit to the OBGYN
The doctor wiped her hands
And heading for the door, as if in afterthought, said:
“Well, looks like you’re having a baby!
…Any questions?”
Well yeah….I did have a couple…

Mother, mother, mother
I don’t know why you even bother.
You were the fire-keepers
And story-tellers.
Today, you’re professors, doctors,
Real-estate sellers.
But you remain the sacrificers
And dream trappers,
Devoted bandage wrappers,
Hidden talent tappers,
The peaceful fighters,
Profound emotion divers,
The all-odds overcomers,
The survivors, the survivors.
Among your ranks I stand, so unprepared.
Wondering, like any other,
If one day I may also earn the title:
Mother.

Wiping the last sweat off my brow
After the birth, I’m feeling older
Bolder
I glance up lovingly into the eyes
Of my committed spouse – hand holder
And whisper, “Honey, if ‘ere again you feel that yearn
Remember, dearest, next time – it’s your turn!”

Wondering why it’s prevalent in our society. Look – I am sick and my boss literally ORDERED me to stay home, and I am feeling guilty that I took the kids to their preschool. I feel guilty when I’m online and not working, guilty when I am working and not cleaning, guilty when I am cleaning and not spending time with the kids, guilty when I am spending time with the kids and secretly wishing they were asleep.

And then sad when they do fall asleep.

Freely you have received, freely you should give. Why is this so difficult to grasp? Notice, it’s harder to receive than to give. I think that if I or anyone else has issues with feeling guilty about everything they do or do not do, there is something about forgiveness and salvation they are not understanding.

Granted, having gone through every welfare program out there (I admit), it has become easier to receive. At first there was shame that I was there, the word “social worker” somehow never managed to leave my mouth without a cough…then it was annoying, then just business as usual. But always humbling. I have learned to receive surprise gifts from friends, unexpected road tolls paid by kind strangers, lunch covered by coworkers when my credit card was not working…Praise God, through all of these kindnesses and more (unexpected bonus that bought us food, a long-lost check coming in right when the power was about to be turned off, a huge debt – forgiven) He gave freely. And we received.

Then why does that feeling that you should be doing something else, something bigger, better, kinder…why does it persist?

And where does it come from?

This feeling strives to render the gift of freedom useless. But having understood, at least somewhat, now I chose to accept it, again. Now I am free. I should just live accordingly.

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