Life Is a Mixed Metaphor

January 20, 2005 @ 1:36 pm | Filed under:

“You have so much on your plate!”

“I don’t know how you juggle it all.”

“You really have your hands full.”

This is what I’m always hearing from people, variations on the theme. Either I have too many balls in the air or too much food on my plate, or maybe it’s PLATES I’m supposed to be juggling instead of balls, and I guess in that case any amount of food would be too much. And it’s true, I’ve had plenty of days when it seems like the metaphorical spaghetti is raining down upon my head. Especially this past year, since the baby was born.

But I’m of the mind that a little pasta in the hair can be a good thing, metaphorically speaking.

Full hands are a blessing. Juggling can be exciting. A plate heaped with food is generally considered something to be thankful for.

And oh boy am I thankful. Sometimes I’m dizzy with thanks. Other times I’m just dizzy—life whirls by so quickly. What’s on the spinning plates is a blur. So I thought I’d write about what’s on each dish, the whole savory smorgasbord.

I wonder how my children will feel, later, about having been described as dinner. I won’t beat an already battered metaphor to death by attempting to compare them to specific foods. Enough already! The whole point is that real life resists being squeezed into cliche. I’ll scrap the whole thing and just say, yes, my hands are full (aren’t everyone’s? full of something or other?) and I’m so glad and here is what they’re holding:

The children. These days the girls are calling themselves Jane, Rose, and Beanie. Well actually it’s Jane and Rose calling the youngest one Beanie, but she answers to it. And then there’s the baby, whom we affectionately refer to as Wonderboy. Their ages are 9, 6, almost 4, and 13 months. They are homeschooled. So are we, Scott and I. (Are, present tense, not were. Education never ends…)

Scott. I’m tempted to annoy him by writing something mushy, but I’m supposed to be working right now so I think I won’t push my luck. Heh.

Work, oh yes, there’s that. I write. Scott writes. Both of us, here at home, in this messy office with my photocopies of 18th-century Edinburgh all over the wall and his comic-book-hero statues staring at us from atop the shelves. I’ve got a big deadline and I’m working doubletime right now. Scott’s got the kids outside running laps around the house to keep warm. I should shut up and get back to work right this minute.

Just wanted to stop juggling a minute and step back to admire the plates soaring through the air.

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2 Reponses | Comments Feed
  1. Melissa Fowler says:

    I love your analysis of plates and balls. Being in the same state in life I get those comments a lot as well. Thanks for your insight. Melissa

  2. Marjorie says:

    Hello Melissa, thought I’d stop by and say hello. We met very briefly at the VHEA conference last summer, my husband (tall w/dark hair) took your writing class and introduced us later — we didn’t have our kids with us. I’m so glad you have a blog, I look forward to following it.