The Autobiography Project

Your Autobiographies

Rosalind Kaplan's Autobiography (submitted 4/25/06)

The house quiets in stages each night, one person, one creature at a time. First the elderly Bassett Hound lies down in the corner of the kitchen. My adolescent daughter takes her moodiness and false bravado to bed, fighting sleep and our parental exhortations to brush her teeth and pack her bookbag. The Border Collie curls into his bed, having given up on finding another biscuit tonight. Then my dog-tired husband puts down his journals and succumbs to sleep in seconds, and finally the almost-grown-up, procrastination-prone son finishes homework and hangs up the phone after the night's last conversation with the girl he wonders if he will love.
I lie awake with my crossword or my book, wanting this time when only I am awake in the house. On a warm night, a light breeze may waft from the bedroom window. Everything is done for the day and I feel complete and calm and lucky. I am not a lucky person in many ways. I fought a serious illness and lost both parents as a young adult. I worry over a child who faces challenges. I'm not graced with an even temperament or an easy-going family, or with a lot of money. I chose a difficult path, both parenting and practicing medicine, and responsibility weighs heavily on me. Nevertheless, I feel lucky, and I feel rich.
Sometimes, during the chaos of a busy day, I wish to live a different, easier life. I wish for wealth, for children with simpler needs, for more leisure, for fewer burdens. I wish not to have to strive so hard for serenity, meaning, knowledge, love. And yet, lying here in my quiet, messy house, I know this life is rich. It is the only life I was meant to live.

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