Two kids + a part-time job + one unpaid writing gig + a couple of blogs + a house that doesn't clean itself + meals up the wazoo + and a husband who works a ton =
two forgotten appointments, two forgotten friend's kids I was supposed to keep an eye on after school until their father arrived, one forgotten Kindergarten tuition, one forgotten cupcake I was supposed to send to school with Max, and one forgotten cup of sugar that should've gone into the pumpkin pie.
I've always leaned toward airheadedness. I mean, I know I'm not a stupid woman. But I biff a lot of things. Forget simple tasks I'm supposed to do. Mess up others.
I try to convince myself that it's because I have a lot of balls in the air.
It can't be early onset alzheimers because, well, it just can't be.
Comfort me. What have you totally effed up lately?
Last June, when the kids and I were visiting family in Michigan, my aunt Betsy slipped me an envelope. Inside were jewelry, photos, and old recipes that had belonged to my grandma. Today, finally, I spread out the recipes and read through each one.
What I want to know is, how can my grandmother's handwriting, so loopy and familiar, be here while she is not? How is it that she isn't a phone call or plane ride away? That I'll never get another birthday card written in her arthritic, but still flamboyant, hand?
How can it be that she died one of those awful First World deaths through which she lingered and lingered in a hospital for half a year, unable, somehow to let go?
How can her life have been over for seven years now?
This afternoon J. and his mom took Max down to the Seattle Art Museum to see the roving Picasso exhibit. Claire and I stayed home playing Candyland (at which she cheats badly and changes rules to win).
I might've been the tiniest bit hungover from Stacy's and my day of wild Black Friday decadence. By which I mean we got makeovers and drank too many cocktails.
Hanging out with her significantly refreshed me. Not physically so much--I'm actually teetering on the brink of long, hard sleep at 9:30pm, but psychologically. Just getting out into the world with someone who makes me laugh hysterically, validates how overwhelming it is to have small children around all the time (because she is a childless woman smart enough to appreciate her independence and cluck, Yes, yes, being around kids IS tiring), and listens to me dump my worries of the moment, made all the difference.
Now I'm happy to be Mom again and sit at a Candyland board while Claire false shuffles and bottom deals. So proud!
Here are two pics of the kids that represent the best of our week. Because yes, there were some glimmery moments despite my heavy sighing and stomping around.
Today we went to the Children's Museum, ate lunch at Seattle Center, made pies, played games and watched videos on YouTube!!! Thanksgiving break rocks!!!!!!
Okay, we did do those things. But not in immediate succession and not with a !!!!!! sense of joy. Though it was nice to be able to take Max and Claire somewhere they really love to go. Personally, I think they've outgrown the Children's Museum, but they don't share that opinion.
Apparently tomorrow is Thanksgiving. Since I've spent my week kvetching, I thought I should partake in the Grateful List. (Take into account that I am, of course, above all else, grateful that my family, good friends, and I are well-fed, sheltered, healthy and at times even mentally stable.)
I'm grateful for...
• The Library. I've sworn off buying books on a regular basis. I was whipping through them too fast and spending a lot. I've recently discovered, though, that the library is for more than just storytime and picture books. They stock actual novels, too. Good ones!
• A husband who, yesterday, offered to walk from his downtown office up to 9th and Seneca in the bitter cold to pick up some tickets for me and the kids.
• Goose down.
• Cinnamon. Love it sprinkled in my coffee grounds.
• Iron Supplements. Without which I'd be a rag doll heaped on the floor. Staring up at the world through my black button eyes.
• A mother-in-law willing to play 500 rounds of Chutes and Ladders and clean up after me in the kitchen.
• Cats and their ear fur.
• Rain. Which will soon come and wash the snow away.
• Lip balm.
• A new oven whose exhaust fan will not be groaning through three hours of turkey roasting.
• Turkey roasting.
• Songs sung in French.
• Boots. Tall, short, sturdy, impractical.
• A job that is not my life's work, but that I like for now.
• Reading glasses.
• Sledding. As long as I don't get too cold. Or wet.
• Taking moody photos that I can hardly wait to upload and convert to black and white.
• You guys. Thanks so incredibly much for reading.
I see all these Facebook status updates that say things like: "Sledding with the kids! Then hot chocolate with marshmallows and a matinee. Later...pizza out with friends. Stories and tickle fest before bed!!! I love snow days!!!!!"
And I'm like, who the hell are these people? Clearly, they have boundless energy levels and an endless capacity to do stuff with their children. How are they not exhausted at the end of all that? Or even halfway through? How do they not want to crawl into bed with a bottle of Malbec at 7 pm?
Seriously. I do one craft project with my kids and I'm proud of myself. A couple stories and a game and I'm done for a while. I. Just. Can't. Give them as much as some other parents give. I need to be alone. I need to think. Constant activity nauseates me.
So, Max and Claire get some of me. Most of my love, for sure. But not all, or even half, of my attention. My mind has to wander. I'm sorry for that, but it does.
Half a week into this snow/Thanksgiving/no school extravaganza, I'm totally ready to get some time back. I need it like I need air to breathe and warm boots on my feet. Time to be mellow. Alone.
Seven more days of blogging non-stop. I'm sick of myself. Aren't you sick of me?
That said, this little venture has done what I'd hoped: it's broken me out of my blogging funk. I've felt more inspired than I have in a while. Forced to put something down in Typepad's little window whether I've wanted to or not.
When it's over, I hope/plan to blog more than I had been. Two or three times a week perhaps. But not, dear dog, every day. I want to get back to fiction.
As the woman was going to bed the night before, she was grateful for her snug house. Her husband said, "I'm glad we're not homeless." Because the bitter wind was so constant it was almost inaudible. White noise. A dull rush.
The next day, before she imploded from too-much-kid-time-cutting-out-paper-snowflakes, she took her children to the library. The smell of unwashed people, people who needed to get out of the weather, lingered in the air like recently fried ginger.
This woman, who always felt she was toeing the line of taking advantage of her mother-in-law's industriousness, asked anyway if she'd read the kids a book so the woman could wander over to the Fiction section.
She seemed to continually seek out tomes with characters who were on the brink, chafing. Her eyes caught a title: Divorced, Desperate and Delicious. She had no intention of checking out that book, but she had to read the words again to make sure she'd gotten them right. So cheesy, she thought and browsed some more, trying to plug her nose from the inside at the same time she suffered survivor's guilt for having the house to go back to.
She heard her son's seal-like cough from across the building. He'd been up at 3 and 5 am with croup. The whole family was weary.
Two novels in hand, she made her way back to her children. It was time to go home.
As far as blogging goes, I've pretty much got nothin' today. But, you know, NaBlow. So I'm going to post, darn it. Even if what I write turns out to be mind-numbing:
• The wind is a constant rush through Seattle right now. Like living next to a waterfall.
• I'm knitting Max some socks. It was his idea. He picked out the yarn. He sits next to me while I'm stitching, watching as if he's at a baseball game taking in the play-by-play. It's cute.
• J.'s mom flew in today. 81 and still traveling. Zipping between San Diego, Seattle, and Brooklyn as if it were her job.
• Claire is in an anxious, slightly unbearable state. Clingy and a little whiney. All weekend she kept announcing she wasn't getting enough attention. This after a trillion rounds of Old Maid, mancala, Candy Land, etc. I like that the kid can use her words to express feelings. But I'm also pretty sure I could do nothing but play games and paint her nails all day and she'd still demand more.
• I have problem hair.
• I have not been taking photos lately, except of food and legwarmers, and this bothers me. I intend to take my camera out into the world again soon.