Oscillation defines me these days.
I look forward to the day when everyone in this house (including Tina the fluffy cat) can wipe his/her own @ss ... but then I get nearly teary thinking our days of diapers will soon be done. (Gross but true.)
Some moments, I want to move into an old Victorian, or a modern bungalow with few walls, downtown somewhere... or back in Pennsylvania. Then I think about my NNE posse, the proximity to the bike path, the house where Jon and I grew from two twenty-somethings with a bad-ass orange tabby who hailed from Harlem (RIP Chuck) into a family of four (humans) with the sweetest Dempsey dog and two quirky kitty sisters. I can't imagine living anywhere else. Which alarms me. I don't nest. Settle in. I'm the girl who pretty much kept her college dorm room decorating to a poster or two because I was going to move along in two semesters. And I always expected to live in this house just a few years. Yet here I am.
My dance class makes me feel alive, like "me"; my online gamification course, interested, eager, thrilled by possibilities. And then I consider what maybe I should be doing instead: coming straight home to kick around a soccer ball while it's still a little bit light outside, investing my energies into investigating four-year-old behavior, looking into kindergartens. Sleeping more so I'm not so snippy. Or doing work that's tied to actual deadlines and deliveries.
And then there's that work: so many cool projects, ones that allow me to use both sides of my brain, to draw from all of my disparate interests and the patchwork of "liberal arts" experiences I've pieced together over the years. It's awesome. And engaging. And exhausting. And then I start to wonder: should I be expending so much energy on this right now?
These - these - are the thoughts that have been muddling around in my brain for days. And, then, today, when I opened my lunchbox (a hand-me-down from Julian, no less), I found this a little yellow taxicab.
And for whatever reason, I felt better about it all. I realize that this makes no sense.
But this is what it is. And then I started thinking: maybe the comfort of lunchbox surprise had to do with the idea that I'd started thinking of the little car as the manifestation of an important message...
That I'm still me - the girl who loves New York City and the fulfilling career that started there and being a mom to two crazy little boys in Vermont.
When I walked through the door at the end of the day home, Kai welcomed me with, "Mom, how was your work today?" So sweetly, punctuated with his double-dimple smile. Like he really wanted to hear about my day at the office. Like he loved his little life in which both of his parents work. And kind of a lot.
And after the boys were in bed, I reached into my mailbox to find a single hot-pink envelope, which held inside this card from my godmother, "Aunt" Judy.
Inside she'd written ... "It reminded me of of your blog entry and how I often I felt this way while working."
Here's the thing: My childhood memories of Aunt Judy - Mark's mom and basically a second mother to me and my sibs - was that she was there, always, with homemade baked goods and Band-Aids and the best books. Cheerly loudly in the bleachers. Offering advice in just the right ways. And all the while she was working as a school librarian and working on her PhD.
I'm going to choose to intepret this second surprise of the day as follows: Give up the guilt. Work really hard to be present. There's not enough time to waste any of it second-guessing. And if you need a reminder of just how fast things change, peep that old dot-matrix up there.