My Layer Cake Life: This is not the travel blog you were looking for

October 15, 2012 in Asia, Inspiration, Thailand, Travelogue

Do you live life in layers?

So often to me it seems like our lives are layer cakes:

  • Different flavours
  • Different textures
  • Sweet fillings
  • Sometimes icky fillings
  • The occasional nut thrown in that I’m wildly allergic to
  • The icing… I love the icing, and the chocolate shavings or cherries sprinkled on top
  • Raisins… hideous puss filled nasties that poison an otherwise delightful carrot cake
  • The occasional piece of egg shell that jars your teeth and ruins a bite

There are birthday cakes, anniversary cakes, Christmas cakes, lamb shaped Easter cakes, Mardi Gras king’s cakes, play-doh cakes, coffee cakes, and everyday cakes in our lives. Each one celebrates something, from the once in a lifetime, to the extraordinary, to the annual milestone, to the everyday joy of family living.

Today’s layer cake includes:

  • Kids schooling
  • Friends staying over
  • A lego fest on the living room floor
  • A five year old with a ping-pong paddle and ball on the tile floor
  • A clogged bathroom drain
  • Laundry that came out pink
  • Online classes being taken
  • Spaceships being flown between my face and the computer screen
  • Fiddle music playing
  • A man jumping successfully from the upper edge of the atmosphere and us cheering for him
  • Daddy working
  • Another Daddy sleeping off Continental Shift sickness
  • The beginning of the vegetarian festival
  • BTL sandwiches
  • Tea…. lots and lots of tea
  • The car alarm being set off three times on our rental car, whilst trying to open it
  • Thinking about taking a month long walk
  • Wondering where we’re going to go next
  • Ubiquitous boy noise
  • Writing articles that are over due
  • Knitting socks for impending twins
  • Sending birthday flowers to Grandma
  • The biggest, best five year old hug I’ve gotten in a LONG time

You get the idea.

Everyday life with four kids on the road is always multi-layered.

But my inner life is layered too.

My body might be frying bacon, explaining how to find the percentage from a ratio, writing to our fabulous Skype art teacher, knitting a sock, scrubbing grease off of the back of the oven, or shoving baking soda down the clogged drain with a skewer to chase it with vinegar…

…but my mind is almost always elsewhere.

The layers of my mind look more like this:

  • What can I do to make Tony happy today? I wonder if he wants his sandwich bread toasted or not?
  • I wonder how much that semester at sea costs, Gabe would really love that.
  • I consider how to help Hannah forward with learning to manage her own multiple projects and classes.
  • I think about how to increase Ezra’s attention span with delaying his own desires in favour of the needs of others.
  • I notice that Elisha has done the dishes, as per his list, before I had to ask.
  • I think about the three articles I’m writing and come up with mental outlines of pitches for three more.
  • I wonder if my Mennonite friend has recovered from her bike ride yet.
  • I contemplate my own soul, the self improvement projects that I have underway.
  • I remember that I promised my friend that I’d light a candle for her today, she lit one for me yesterday on the other side of the world.
  • I think about my plan for Christmas gifts and wonder where I will find the supplies I need.
  • I consider Nietzsche’s thoughts on the origin of moral thought and the weakness of man.
  • I enjoy the singing coming from the other room.
  • My heart is sad for a friend who is suffering and commiserate with her.
  • I take a virtual walk with another friend, with whom walking is our ritual and mutual meditation.
  • I write a blog post, in my head first, later on “paper.”
  • I scroll through my mental calendar: work, friends, fun, assignments, kid stuff, etc.
  • I think about my mother-in-law and how happy I am it’s her birthday and how much I wish I could gift her with her grandchildren instead of flowers, she raised such a great son.
  • I miss the people I love.
  • I remember why I need to keep my focus, try, and try again, why it all matters.
  • I consider my Dad’s saying, “Keep your stick on the ice.”

Perhaps life is not like this for you… layer upon layer of external compounded by layer upon layer of internal…. but perhaps it is.

The longer I live, the older my kids get, the harder and the easier it all gets, at once.

I’m learning what I can live through, persevere through, overcome, and manifest in my life, and the lives of those who I love. For better or for worse. I’m also learning how complicated and bittersweet it all is. That cake that looks so perfect, frosted and decorated, bedecked with candles contains things we can even imagine before we cut into it, both good and bad, from raisins to a plastic baby Jesus, depending on the sort of cake it is.

Were you waiting for this post to be about travel?

About the fabulous beach day we had with new-old friends two days ago? Or about our polar-opposites day of shopping at the Jungceylon in Patong and then Super Cheap on the way home? Or about the Vegetarian Festival that threatens to be the craziest thing we’ve yet seen on the road that starts today? Were you waiting to hear about Ezra’s latest antics?

Sorry to disappoint you… today’s post, brought to you by the real world inside my head.

Where we are matters very little in the grand scheme of things. Life is a solitary pursuit and it happens inside each of our heads. We can hold hands on the outside, hug hard to try to get beneath the surface, but at the end of the day, we walk the path alone.

We make our own cakes… and we eat them too.