“Crazy.” That’s how I describe my life nine times out of ten. I keep telling myself that this too shall pass, but then I realize that once it passes, a new kind of crazy finds me. I try to tell myself that there are just short intervals of crazy in between normalcy, but then when I think back to conversations with my far-away friends, I realize that every time I’ve spoken to them across the years, I’ve been describing one kind of crazy or another. Is my life really that crazy, or do I need to recalibrate my expectations of normal?
Here’s a glimpse of how our day unfolded.
- 4:45 am: Our son wakes up to face the day. Wide awake, mind you. He talks my husband’s ear off for 45 minutes before either of them have the wherewithal to check the clock and go back to sleep. After detailing his social interactions, and recounting every Star Wars episode, the key take away is his decision about school. “You know, I really like school, Pops. I think I *will* try first grade.” Truth be told, I didn’t realize first grade was an open decision, or a point of consideration. But it is good to know that our son has decided to give it a whirl.
- 8:30 am: My phone starts buzzing with emails from clients that wanted their data yesterday, but had failed to ever inform me of said request. So now, I’m scrambling to pull data out of … well … the ether, shall we say? It’s my “day off,” by which I mean, I block out my calendar so nobody will contact me while I spend some time focusing on my tasks and actually getting some work done. This is irrelevant to my clients who don’t have time to look at calendars–mine or their own. I’m just lucky it’s still technically a weekday, and not Sunday morning at 8:30, although … I can only anticipate that the same will happen then. The difference is … I don’t respond on those days.
- 12:00 noon: Task completed. My husband has to leave for work, so I have to entertain our daughter for the afternoon, because she doesn’t have school today. I ask her to get dressed so that we can go run some errands and find something to eat. She refuses. I beg her. She wants to stay home. I bribe her. She insists that she won’t go anywhere unless I dress like Fancy Nancy with her. It is her special Momma-Daughter day, she points out. I give in. Now I’m wearing a gold boa, white satin gloves, sparkly heels, a pink shirt, a skirt, and a BIG pink ring … to return the cat crate to the vet.
- 1:00 pm: We find some food–after no more than 12 people stopping to comment on what fancy princesses we are–run our errands, and manage to respond to all of my emails, texts, and phone calls without missing a beat.
- 3:00 pm: We pick her brother up from school. Still looking fancy. In front of all of her peers … and mine. Today, I’m teaching self-confidence. Only … my daughter does not struggle with confidence issues … so I think I’m the student in this strange twist of role reversal.
- 3:30 pm: At home, we dive into an afternoon of arts and crafts. Cutting out hearts and labeling them with the names of family members so my kids can send Valentines. Only, my daughter refuses to write the name of one of her Uncles, because she’s “just not used to him yet.” I tell her that’s not acceptable, so she goes on to complain that “every time I hug him, he tickles me and I don’t like that.” I ask her if she’d like me to talk to him about it. She says “no, because sometimes even when you tell people things, they forget them anyway.” I tell her to write his name on the heart. And like it.
- Meanwhile, my email is pinging me again. I’m elbow deep in dishes, and the animals are screaming to be fed. The washing machine is beeping some error message at me–full of wet clothes, and it will not unlock to let them out. My husband and I are playing cupid for a couple of friends tomorrow, so my phone is ringing off the hook with people trying to lock down the big blind date plans. Grandma is going on day two in the ER, and nobody knows what is wrong with her. And I’ve only managed to check off two of my eight “MUST DOs” for the day. It’s going to be a long night.
Even though this is a mild kind of crazy compared to some of my life’s adventures, I do have to say that I am abundantly grateful.
- The fact that my son wants to go to first grade means he’s finally conquered the anxiety that has been troubling him all year.
- The fact that my clients are out of control means that I have work in the worst economy of my generation.
- The fact that my daughter wants to dress up means that she has a great imagination, and aforementioned confidence. I like that in a girl.
- The fact that I have the flexibility to run errands and spend time with my daughter and still respond to urgent work issues means that I am truly blessed. Not everybody gets to find a life/work balance like that.
- The fact that my kids are learning to read and write under the guise of arts and crafts makes me feel like I’m doing something right as a mother. Or, they have incredible teachers. Or both. Either way, they’re learning.
- The fact that I have to work all weekend to conquer my “MUST DOs” means that someone thinks my work is valuable enough to pay me to do it … so I can in turn put food on the table for my family.
Putting food on the table for my family … kind of an oxymoron, right? The fact that I’m working so hard to buy the food negates my ability to prepare the food to put it on the table. Which, as you know, is part of my challenge for the month. Crazy how that all works out … CRAZY, I tell you.