Photo: Who has the time to take new pictures in new settings!? Not this woman, Dear Reader!
Here is what I learned this week: It’s likely that I will have less time to myself during the school year than I had during the summer. That’s if this week is any indication of how it’s gonna go…
Our schedule sucks. I feel like I’m always in the car, always half a step behind. I wrote no fiction, no freelancing this week. Barely cast on stitches for a crafting project I need to do. I have meetings scheduled for next week, three assignments that have to get done, I’m supposed to be re-outlining the novel I’ve been working on. I have things to do. But it’s all come to a grinding halt this week.
It doesn’t help that I feel like I spend an eternity waiting for the bus to drop off Major in the afternoon. Just standing at the end of my driveway looking like a schmuck for 20 minutes–that’s how late it’s been this week.
It doesn’t help that Minor’s separation anxiety from his brother means that he must be with me for every single second after we get home from preschool. 4 hours of me having to entertain my son, which means answering a million billion questions with grace and patience while either a) still charging through the house things that I need to do or b) not doing the work things I need to do because I can’t concentrate on him and work.
It doesn’t help that The Husband, after sacking me with the damned weekend to Missouri, had to be out on business all week this week, so I’ve been doing everything solo. Everything. No break, no help, no sleep. Just exhaustion and frustration. It’s been a shitty, shitty week. I want a beer and a backrub and good sushi and someone else to do all the housekeeping I’ve only barely managed to do.
I’m ranty… I’m sorry… this is supposed to be Quiet Thoughts. I have to do better.
Actually, there is a lesson from this crazy week. It was taught to me on Wednesday, but I didn’t comprehend it until this morning.
You see, the bus has been running late, so on Tuesday I (politely) asked the bus driver when he is supposed to be at my driveway, and he basically said that he’ll be getting to my driveway at about the time he’s been getting there. (I know I’m being vague. Sorry. The internet is dark and full of terrors. I don’t want to be but so specific about this.) The driver told me what time school dismissal is. A time I kept in mind on Wednesday because I have to pick up Major from school so we can make it to guitar lessons on time. Minor and I had a very long day of preschool orientation, CSA pick up and splitting, a trip to Wegmans, and back to the house for putting everything away and feeding Minor before quickly getting out again with the guitar and snacks.
When I got to the front office, it was empty of children but for Major, who was quietly playing on a playmat in the corner, making puttering sounds while rolling a matchbox car. The Office manager greeted me, motioned over to the sign-out clipboard.
“I’m quite obviously late,” I huffed as I signed my name. Dismissal was in full swing. “What time was I supposed to get here?”
“[15 minutes earlier],” the woman said flatly. Straight face, no smile, just the time. “We bring up the kindergarteners first so you can scoot out of here. It’s all in the handbook.”
I wanted to cry. I don’t really know why. I recognize that there is an irrational highly emotional wave that came over me. It was the cold recognition that I had an answer to my questions from Wednesday and even before the school year starts.
Yeah, I kinda hate this
and, what’s worse….
I kinda suck at it.
I’m not good at this right now. I kinda suck at this elementary school thing.
I didn’t cry. I kept it together because I didn’t really have time to fall apart. I had to sign my kid out, get him to my car, get him locked in, give him a snack and get him across town for a guitar lesson in the span of 20 minutes. I had shit to do.
I’m doing the best I can.
And what I noticed then but didn’t appreciate until this morning while brainstorming this post, is that there wasn’t any follow-up from the Office Manager. No, “it’s ok. No biggie.” No, “hey, it’s not a problem. He’s perfectly fine. You’ll get it next week.” No patronizing reassurance. Just a sorta silent command: Just don’t suck next week.
I’m being hyperbolic, yes. I know there was no anger. I’m sure if I’d fallen apart in front of her, she would have been very kind to me. There was warmth there, Dear Reader, for sure. But there was also a lesson there. This is the big leagues now. Major is gonna get less hand-holding and, dammit, so am I. Be better. Suck less. Learn the ropes. Find your lane.
Try again next week.
Suck less, please.
We all get to go back. We all get to try again. Minor and I will come to an Afternoon Accord before next weekend. I’ll get back on track with the freelancing, will start to get up early again to work on my fiction. The Husband returns tonight, so I’ll have partnership and help again. We’ll run the Wednesday Wacky schedule again next week and I’ll be on time.
And it will all suck less. Because we’ll be learning, reassessing and applying as we go.
That’s all we can ask to do right now, right?
It’s a hot, hot Friday here in Massachusetts. That’s not helping my mood, either. I’m sitting here wanting to indulge in All Pumpkin Everything Season but the 90s and high humidity are souring my appetite for the rich, creamy and ultra indulgent. I look forward to chilled air and open windows again next week! In the meantime, I sit here with wishes for you, Dear Reader. I wish you time to feel accomplished, having completed everything you really wanted to and needed to, and feeling the weight of it all lifted off of your shoulders for a time. I wish you helping hands and open ears to help you get it all done. I hope there is a bit of laughter, a bit of song as part of that, too, as these are elements that often uplift and lighten. I wish you one sweet thing, a pastry or a cream, to brighten your mood and make you smile. I wish you one well cooked savory indulgence. One last grilled burger in these waning hot days, perhaps? Make sure to cover it in munster and stick it on a brioche bun… and smother it in grilled mushrooms and onions! You know what I’m talkin’ ’bout!
I wish you a held hand, a hug that lingers, an intimate whisper for your ears only. A smile full of meaning, maybe invitation. The small, quiet things in this world have profound power, don’t they, Dear Reader? Like that casual and almost obligatory “I love you” that we say to each other from day to day. Stop and say it with gusto just once this weekend, Dear Reader. Let the words fill the space between you and whoever you usually say it to. Let the words return to you and fill you up a bit. It’s not a small thing to love and to be loved in return.
Until Monday, Dear Reader, take care.