Friday, June 8, 2012

state of the union

I've gotten word that my far flung friends, the ones who use this blog as a way to keep up with the general tilt of my life, have been wondering what became of me. I've been stuck lately - unable to put down my thoughts, perhaps to collect them in the first place. And so, this here post will not be a theoretical comment on the general state of 21st century parenting, but a simple state of the union.

About 8 weeks ago, during the end of my last botox cycle - the time in which the migraines come back and I forget all about the miracle of being without them, and the noise that is my children feels like a thousand horses galloping across my brain - I called a friend who has his hands in a bunch of projects to ask if he needed help with any of them. One of the things he's doing is running a CSA (community supported agriculture - see here if unfamiliar), and he said one of the farms he uses needed folks during the spring crunch time. (Actually, he first said, "You want to work on the books?" to which I said, "Noooooo!!") So I set up a sitter for 2 afternoons a week and off I went to transplant seedlings to containers to sell at farmers' markets. I had been inside the greenhouse for all of five minutes, my hands in the dirt, before I thought, "Aaaaaaaahhhhhhh. This is heaven."

I wanted to keep my two afternoons out there forever, and I somehow tricked myself into thinking that was going to be the case. Then a couple of weeks ago the crunch time ended, the college students came home to work their full time summer jobs, and the farm didn't need me anymore. I cried. 

Working out there did my spirit enormous good. It was a very very good thing for me to have something outside of this house. Something of my own. Adults with whom to interact. Sunshine and vitamin D and open sky. And relative quiet. 

I was only away from the kids about 10 hours a week, yet it felt like ages, and it completely revived me as a parent. (Vacations don't even do that.) I've said before that bedtime is the worst time of day for me. The. Worst. I read a blog post about this issue recently and the author said bedtime should be in the morning when everyone still has their patience and good humor. Yes! But it's not. It's at the very end of everyone's rope, including mine. I've accepted this and no longer berate myself for passing off this time of day as much as I absolutely can. But! When I left the house after lunch and came home around 6:30, I found I loved bedtime! So much so I even told Mitch more than once that he could stay and work late if he needed.

I've been thinking about asking the other farms here (and there are many) if someone else can use my help. But then, the kids struggled with the change. Yet as I write this I am aware that their struggles were probably temporary - adjustment is hard - and the specific issues are ones I could certainly address with the sitter. For example, they discovered a new game - a sneaking game. Sneaking candy, sneaking into the attic into things packed neatly away (disaster in their wake), sneaking into my make up, sneaking off and covering Clark's face with marker. Maybe it's just a stage that would be happening with me here? Anyway.

Yet, they would adjust. And as I write this it's plainly clear to me that their having a mommy who hasn't run through all of her emotional patience would be a good thing.

In other news, we have a German university student coming to live with us for two months beginning in August. We got hooked up with her through a german colleague of Mitch's, who is a friend of the family. She forwarded us an email from this student who was looking for an au pair position. We emailed her back to say that we can't offer her that since I don't work, but if she just wanted a place to stay and a little spending money for sitting the kids now and then... We've skyped with her, and the kids are so excited. I'm excited too - it seems like too much to ask that I will be able to just say, "you okay w the kids while I make a quick grocery run?" Oh my. Not having the shlep everyone over there? Oh my. What worries me is how I'm going to take it when she leaves. I think everyone had better be prepared for the winds of depression to blow in.

Change of subject again: I think - I think? - that this blog is nearly done. I think, unless I go crazy and decide to have another baby. It's pretty clear to me now that this blog has been about how to exist in our adult bodies while caring for baby humans. How to do this thing with some grace. And although grace is what I'm trying to achieve now too (always, always), I'm not doing it with baby humans anymore. I'm doing it with small children. They are different creatures; it's a different planet, with a different colored sunset. I'm finding I'm not prepared to talk about it, at least in the same way. I would need to talk in riddles, or verse. Maybe that will be the next blog.

I'll leave you with:
Last night at dinner I was commenting that, because of my fabulous sinus infection, I can't taste anything. Dinner tasted like nothing.

Frances: What is nothing?

Clark: Nothing is nothing!


Clark: Mama?

Me: Yes?


Clark: Nothing.

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