The Lovely Present Participle

As I’ve mentioned, when I’m in a reading rut, I turn to Anna Quindlen. In her intro to Living Out Loud, she reflects on her deep gratitude that her life’s main tasks (“loving my husband, raising my children, being a woman,”) are couched in the present participle, “the lovely part of speech that simply goes on and on and on.”

Grammar is not my strength, but Google reminds me that a present participle is: “the form of a verb, ending in –ing, which is used in continuous tenses, e.g. in I’m thinking.”

Loving David.

Raising Diego.

Being a woman. Each task, a present participle. What a privilege to go on and on and on, doing all of that, each day.

The Living Out Loud introduction is about much more than grammar. Quindlen’s essay reminds me to take notice, live out loud, and see the life and beauty in “muddling through the middle.”

When I read the Exhale January prompt, “On Repeat,” it felt like a reminder to wake up to all that. I constantly document life’s exciting moments–our travels, holidays, weekends. But the majority of our life? The Monday-Friday daily tasks, on repeat? The meal planning, the BART-ing, the bathing-reading-please-go-to-sleep-already-ing? Very little photographic evidence.

But in all that muddling through the middle, I get to be a part of the verbs that matter most. Loving my family, growing as a mother, showing up as a friend, learning, questioning, supporting. The laundry is the love, the pickup and drop-off is the child-raising. It’s all connected. When I think about it that way, good grief, how lucky am I to experience any of it?

So, in this online scrapbook of hundreds of big memories, here’s a a few of the unseen tasks, the big and small actions that go on, and on, and on.

Pretty sure laundry is the most present of all the participles in my life. A verb, a noun, just an omnipresent force that is never complete.

Offer Choices,” says the New York Times. “Pick your Battles,” they say. The getting dressed negotiation is REAL. 

Somewhere, under this sofa, our knockoff Roomba maintains its status as the most valuable member of this household


I might not love everything about our apartment, but living across the street from BART, and working in an office above BART, is pretty  incredible.

Work! Been trying to figure out if I want a permanent standing desk for years…seeing this photo makes me think it is time to commit

The train ride home
Grateful, grateful, grateful for another day, another bedtime, all of it, on repeat.

This post was written as part of a blog hop with Exhale—an online community of women pursuing creativity alongside motherhood, led by the writing team behind Coffee + Crumbs. Click here to read the next post in this series “On Repeat.”



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