"Life is short, the art long, opportunity fleeting, experience treacherous, judgement difficult."
"Mama can you pat me on the other shoulder?" "What?" "My other shoulder...you need to pat it." "Umm..Why?" "Because you patted this one..now you HAVE to pat the other one-to make it even!" "Even." "Yes! I like everything in twos..nice and even...so you have to pat me."..."No." "What?" "No..I won't..I can't" "Why?!" sigh..."Because once you start with making things even..it gets worse..you start to count things..ceiling tiles..floor tiles..road lines..and before you know it, you are quitting your lucrative job as an artists model because counting has taken over your life!...Trust me-that is no way to live!" "But..... I just want you to pat my shoulder." "I won't do it to you buddy..I can't as your mother, in good conscience lead you down that path!" This was followed by a very long afternoon in which my boy,( behaving as stealthily as a gangling legged eleven year old can be) attempted to get me to touch his other shoulder. We actually had quite a lot of fun. He would jump out from behind doors..sidle up to me...he even put things on said shoulder in an attempt to lure me into patting it. We had a great time. More importantly, I got him out of the "making things even" frame of mind-if only for an afternoon. It is the end of summer and the school year is looming ahead of us..Let the anxiety begin!
This is an awful time of year for all of us. Looking back to the beginning of Summer. Oh I had such plans! So many ideas! We would work on math and science, take long walks..watch documentaries. I even thought about trying crafts! HA! Me and crafts-that is a joke. Give me a glue gun and some sticks-and you'll wind up with a mess.(Give them a glue gun and some sticks and you would have an advertisement for industrial cleaners or sedatives) Who am I kidding?..It seems that in all my planning I forget a few essential things. Like asking them what they wanted to do. Sometimes I forget that I am surrounded by some very strong individuals-who differ in age..interests,,and emotional levels.Working one on one hardly ever happens at our house. It is usually all or nothing. We did do things as a family..we took day trips, have gone hiking, we even went camping with friends . It's just that I feel as though I didn't prepare them...work with them enough..get them fully ready for the next school year. So the anxiety sets in..for the kids as well.
This is a big year for us. Sammy is going off to the middle school, Lily is in second grade, Oscar fourth..and my baby girl Zoe is going to pre-school. As for me? I will be alone..by myself for the first time in almost twelve years! So we are all a little edgy..jumpy...loud. None of us seem to be fitting in our skins. There is a lot of very loud laughing and crying and eeeeeing and repetitive behavior. Being that I am the primary herder-it is all directed at me-and I am overwhelmed. I feel as though I am running around putting band aids on issues and helping no one. sigh... If only they could take turns with their anxiety.
The sweetest thing about all of this is-that they worry about me. They worry that I'll be lonely..that I won't know what to do without them around. "Oh I'm sure I'll find something to keep me busy while you are at school" I tell them- trying to keep a straight face..while in my head I am dancing a jig...surrounded by books and coffee.. Although,to tell the truth, I am a little anxious. I don't think I remember how to do anything without constant interruption. Will I have the urge to suddenly drop what I'm doing and make snacks-only to wind up wandering through my empty house (in dirty pajamas ) looking for someone to give them to? sigh... I'm afraid my dogs are going to get fat. God! When did I become such a ..a mother! Will I never learn to relax? If only there were a support group for us disenfranchised parents. I can imagine what it would be like..held in some musty church basement..squeezed in between the A.A. and the O.A. meetings..I would be the one hiding in the back..to cool and reserved to join the circle..until I was forced to testify. "Hi I'm Kathleen and I'm a redundant stay at home parent" .."Hi Kathleen.." And thus I would tell my tale of snack bags..and woe..Sigh..I know that in a couple of months or so, after everyone is well into their new routine and settled into the rhythm of the school year (probably just in time for Christmas vacation) I'll start thinking of things that I can do. It's just hard right now, to realize that my services in the home will no longer be needed as much. Just like that...And.... I don't even get a gold watch.
Oh deep down I know it will be alright. I already have more than enough to occupy my time with. It's the wide open space of possibility that makes me nervous. Excited as well. I look forward to filling it up. With what? I'm not sure-But I can say with absolute honesty it won't involve glue guns or counting.