these are the last words greg said before he left for work this morning. the door shut behind him with a resolute “click”, moments later I heard the motor of his car as he backed down the driveway. this was right after he said, somewhat quietly, as though trying to soften the blow by lowering his voice, “I’ve got a meeting tonight.”
I inhaled a heavy breath and exhaled: “Okey, dokey.” I glanced at the clock in the bottom corner of the computer screen. Six fifteen. I absorbed the information, the baby in the rocker next to me, in a precarious state of sleep at best, the two year old already having felt the lack of my presence in bed, on my lap, up for the day. I did some quick math. Basically I was staring down the barrel of a fourteen hour day alone with the kids. He could have warned me.
“Sorry, babe. I owe you one,” he mumbled, as though the promise of some obscure future respite was supposed to make up for the marathon day that had been unexpectedly dropped into my lap.
Just the evening before Greg was saying something to the effect of his ten hour work days getting to him, that he needed a break, time to decompress and gather himself before going back to work again the next day. I looked at him not a little sarcastically and said, “Oh, really? I have no idea what you’re talking about.” This seven day a week, thirteen hour days schedule is what’s getting to ME.
Not that I haven’t chosen this path for myself and not that I would change it. Clearly, if I wanted to, I would. I can honestly say that I believe in what I am doing with my time. Still, it can take its toll and if there’s one thing my life is lacking, it’s any kind of balance (see thirteen hour days, seven days a week above). There’s just no goddamn time to gain perspective and rejuvenate before the next day comes at me like a mack truck.
Being home raising small kids can really test ones reserves of patience and mental fortitude. Still, I get to witness my kids growing up on a minute level and I wouldn’t trade this. It’s not for everyone, but for various reasons, I feel compelled to raise them myself, not the least of which is my seemingly desperate need to understand the nature of humanity.
Greg and I are lucky enough, and minimalist enough, that we can subsist on his income alone and we have this choice for me to be the primary caregiver of the kids. I am immensely thankful to have this opportunity. I need to remember that (I KNEW there was some reason that a free spirited drifter type like myself was drawn to a complete type a like Greg. There IS a method to my madness).
What will we accomplish in this long day solo? Probably not damn much of anything. My biggest goals for each day usually have nothing to do with things on a checklist or even things like keeping the house clean and all of the kids fed. My main goals for each day are to keep a positive mood and make most of my interactions with the kids as patient and as kind and respectful as possible. You laugh, but it’s much harder than you might think. Especially here in the doldrums of winter. When I feel like the squalor of the house starts getting to me, or like I’m about to lose it because of x, y, or z, I know that I just need to take a breath and SLOW DOWN some more, even if it feels like I’m already moving at a snail’s pace. I need to readjust my expectations and maybe change directions.
So, wish me luck. I’m gonna need it.