How the hell is it already Monday night again? When my kids were really young, three of them under five, life felt like a time warp. Sure, I was exhausted, but the pace of my exhaustion was that of biology class. Endless.
I remember back then when I was teaching, one of my student’s parents agreed with me that little kids are exhausting, but she said, “You know when I had to quit my job? I had to quit once they all hit middle school.” At the time I thought she was being dramatic. Only now, with two teenagers and one pre-teen, does the toddler of our group make parenting seem easy. The pace is now much more like art class, time slipping away before I know it. Actually, it is more like gym class (however, when I took gym I used to hide in the closet during laps. Don’t tell anyone. I used to make my face sweaty with water and show up huffing and puffing at the end so I still got an A).
I honestly do not know how to manage all of this and am wishing I had a hiding closet now or, like in the shot of Q and Greta above, could just spend a month buried in down blankets next to my sleeping dog. I had to make four appointments today and none of them could be made after work hours. How an orthodontist gets away with “no appointments after three,” is beyond me. I keep taking off of work for appointments and pretty soon HR is going to think I either have a drug problem or am spending an hour a week at the spa. I also just can’t seem to keep track of it all. I have now officially called William’s pediatrician six times to confirm the time of his appointment this Friday. I feel like apologizing to the receptionist. “I am really not an idiot and I do know what a calendar is, but I have 100 students, 5 preps, 4 kids, 2 AP classes, and I AM NOT EATING ANY SUGAR.”
Add to that list the pressure of having a group show in November and the hamster in my wheel starts to vomit. I asked Susie today what we should title our show and she said, “Lucky,” because if we actually pull this off we will be lucky. Then she texted “I want a giant cheeseburger with ketchup and mustard. ON BREAD.” Susie is not eating sugar either. So maybe that will have to be our title, “Sugar Free and on the Edge.” The only good thing about sans sugar is that I feel good physically (which, if you know me or followed my Camel Key blog, you know is a miracle). I continue to lose about a pound a week and the hives have completely vanished. I am in the habit of eating almonds, apple slices, and an ounce of cheese for lunch, and all that chewing prevents me from grinding my teeth in nervous anticipation for the rest of the day.
It really is all the piddly shit that stresses me out, like how I came home to see that Greta ate a box of chocolate cookies and then peed all over the floor, or how I went to great lengths to make this Pinterest spinach chicken thing for dinner and then William just wanted noodles and Sean said it tasted like camel piss. Did Lizzie remember to bring Kleenex for her cold on her class trip? Did John get William to Kohl’s for the photo shoot okay? Who do I have to pick up from practice? Where did that sample for my design class go? These little things just weave themselves into a day that is already filled with a list of musts, and between the two things, I am just drowning.
The worst thing that happened today is that while I was making the camel piss, Quinn was playing in his sandbox. I can see him from the window and we have a locked fence around our house. This is our typical routine. I cook. He plays in sand. I put the baking dish in the oven and glanced out the window and Quinn was gone. Greta was gone. I walked out on the deck and noticed that the gate was wide open. I screamed. Screamed, screamed. Both Sean and Will flew out of the house, long legs moving so fast that they resembled pinwheels, and they were shouting, “QUINN!” It would take less than sixty seconds for Quinn to waddle down the driveway and get smashed by a bus. Sean found Greta, blocks away. Quinn, it turns out, was in the locked garage, holding a beach ball. He had pushed a brick up to the fence and unlocked the gate to let Greta run free.
I feel like today was a message from Lolo, who always told me, told everybody, “It could be worse.” She said that so much that we all teased her about it. So even though everything is piling up and crushing me, I have to just stop. Breathe in. Count blessings. One day at a time, sister. One day at a time.
That momma, the one who warned me of the pace of these years . . . I noticed via Facebook that her daughter got married last weekend. Pictures of her kids, two of whom I had as students, flashed on my feed and I paused, just knowing that the space in between chasing kids (to volleyball, to doctors, to birthday parties, to conferences, to rehearsal) to being one of their guests (at their weddings, at their home, at their jobs) is precious space. It is space we rarely have time to honor until it is gone.
Turns out that Luke did get a pretty good part in the musical. Yay. Hurrah. Even though that means more chasing (“Oh, mom, there is this mandatory meeting for parents tomorrow night.”) I am delighted for him and so proud. I was proud to watch Lizzie make the winning point at her volleyball game last week and super proud of how William is handing missing so much school for his modeling gig (which, by the way, anyone want to drive him to Elgin next week?). . . So a busy time, yes. Exciting, yes. Worrisome, yes. Anxiety filled, yes. It is also a time filled with energy and possibility.
Luke, in Godspell, sings, “Light of the World.” The plus side to this is that it is a big number and the lyrics are a constant reminder for me to “let my light shine” and that I have “got to stay bright to be the light of the world.” The downside of this is that, in listening to Luke belt it out every two minutes, the song is constantly stuck in my head and as I am racing around I keep hearing, “you are the salt of the earth, you are the salt of the earth,” and I feel like I should be dancing, but really I am just trying to find time to pee in between classes.
In Googling the lyrics to the song so that I knew what comes after the salt part, I stumbled across the biblical passage, Matthew 5:14-16, “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
So today, even though, Quinn played Houdini and Sean hated my dinner and I could not make any appointments after three and I had to call the pediatrician yet one more time, and all I wanted to do tonight was to crawl into bed with Greta and fall into a deep bear slumber, I had to write because, well, it is the only way I really know of to let my sugar-free light shine.