zookeeper

It’s becoming even more obvious to me lately how much of a lifeline writing was for me in some darker moments because as I settle in to life in our little circle of three and things become comforting habit instead of constant chaos, I have to remind myself to make time to write – whereas there were stretches of months at a time when I felt a burning need to record things here and couldn’t rest until I did. So this is me showing up tonight with no grand agenda.

Right now the kids are asleep, and I am in recovery mode from a week which was insane in every way. The summary is that Jude got sick which is no big deal, but it was the flu. And it required close to 8 days of care before he could finally act relatively normal again (just this morning). I feel like if you walked into my house on most days, you’d think we have it all together here with a good system, not that things are perfect or spotless, but that we are out the door at the same time everyday and doing our usual routines to get my kids where they need to be. Kid sickness is the fastest way to derail the train though. It’s on those days that I suddenly realize it is all held together with twine and just barely balanced.

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I love that Norah can come to work with me. Our on-site preschool is amazing in pretty much every way. Great teachers, caring environment, and steps from my office. But it inevitably creates this dynamic that I am the only one who really knows her schedule and how to get her there and has reason to drive that direction. It’s a haul from both her father and my mom who are the two people I have to call on when things happen that interrupt the daily grind. Jude’s school is 6 minutes from home, but it is much the same scenario. I am the one who knows what he is doing and when and what days he needs after-school care and how to pack his lunch and all the other details. I’m not special for this. It is almost always moms in this position somehow.

But then something happens that prevents you from doing the usual, and it feels like nobody can do things the way you can because you are the one to always do it. And the whole scenario ends up heaping more stress than necessary on everyone involved but especially mom. And truth be told, nobody else can orchestrate the schedule the way you can, and you are right about that. But it gets done anyway. Or most of it. We survive.

I save yoga and any semblance of relaxation for the hours after kids are in bed. But Thursday, I attempted to do a quick video while they were up. Sukhasana is not so relaxing with a three year old crashing in your lap.

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How do we get it done with little kids underfoot? Do you ever think of these things? (Talking mostly to those of you in my “season” of little ones at home.) I get frustrated with myself for not quite being the teacher I wanted to be on any given day or not cleaning that closet that I’ve been staring at for months or not prioritizing exercise or not writing something for a particular submission I have my eye on… But then I take a step back and realize that this entire three-ring circus is so ridiculously batty that it’s actually funny sometimes when you are brave enough to laugh. The fact that I shower and show up for work and make complete sentences on this screen is actually an accomplishment in light of what I encounter on a daily basis.

On Sunday evening, I made a whole chicken in the pressure cooker and had my weekly meals planned around it. I left the plate on the counter when I went upstairs for a minute and came back down to see that our dog had eaten every last bit of it. Jude spent all day Tuesday cuddled up next to me on the couch when I had loads of midterms to grade that were not happening due to his constant demands. Norah’s classmate bit her on the hand on Wednesday, and instead of telling her teacher, she bit him back. On the face. On Thursday, she got in trouble for calling someone “Stinkybutt” in the bathroom.  I awoke on my 35th birthday with 4 hours of sleep in the midst of a kid with a scorching fever who woke up so many times the night before that I lost count.

It makes me laugh when I stop to think about how I like to say lately that my life has calmed down exponentially since this time last year. It has. I’ve moved and settled and don’t feel the least bit of strangeness signing my maiden name. I’ve trudged head-first through the murkiest waters to arrive in a solid place on the other side. I’m feeling a burning sense of fulfillment and curiosity that I haven’t felt in years. But I still live in a zoo. I tend to overlook that sometimes.

And we all do, I think. So if you are reading this in the midst of caring for your own little people and juggling school and work and baseball practice and therapy appointments and mortgage payments and PTA meetings and grocery budgets, this is me waving from my own version of that tale to say I see you and I feel you, and you are doing a great job. I am too, I think. Even among the madness.

 

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5 thoughts on “zookeeper

  1. This is totally on point. A little circus it is sometimes! I have to say I love that Norah bit back the kid who bit her (laughed out loud reading that). And the dog eating the chicken? Ah!

    We need our routines to manage it all, so when one person in the family gets sick, it calls for a slowdown in some ways, time now allowing you to take every morsel out of it (and not in the vacation kind of way). Oh, and yoga with kids has often a time ended up with Zade hurling himself on my back each time I gear up for a downward dog. Love that you incorporate that for yourself in all the things though. We can all be better at that. Hope kids are healthy and off to a better week!

  2. So glad to know that someone else out there gets it–waving back atcha over here! I only have one kid, but some days she feels like ten kids, LOL! I think that moms everywhere, who are holding it down (and holding it together) on a daily basis should be applauded and awarded a cape with an ‘S’ on the back. Thanks for sharing! P.S. Try something like Zumba with your little one, mine loved it. It keeps them off your back/lap and makes them tired enough to not battle you at nap time…

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