I’m so deep in this parenting thing that it’s hard to know what to say, here or to any grownup who might ask. I’m moving all the time, or shuffling people along. Socks, shoes, mittens, coats, hats. Shoes, Iris. SHOES! Or mediating. Hmm, we have two girls who want the stuffed kitty, and only one stuffed kitty. What solutions can you think of? Or correcting. Ask nicely. Use a Kleenex. It’s ok to touch your bottom, but not when there’s poop on it. And usually at the same time whirling around the house picking stuff up, moving clothes and food and dishes along their predictable paths. How interesting is that?
A friend from grad school called yesterday afternoon. After sharing all sorts of news of cross-country moves and career achievements and tropical vacations, she asked if we had any plans for travel, and my first impulse was to answer, Well, this afternoon we might make it to Super Target. I could tell she was being careful not to say anything that would point up my supposedly unexciting life. I couldn’t pull myself far enough up out of the dance to convey that I’m pretty content with how I spend my days. I think she interpreted my lack of talk as dissatisfaction, when really I just couldn’t find a way, right then, to turn this constant, exhausting love into something to say. A trip to the suburban mega-store is a big expedition right now. Weirdly, I don’t crave a whole lot more glamour than that, but on the phone with this busy, overachieving friend, I couldn’t think of how to get across that what I’m doing seems like enough.
But, wow, I do crave rest, and silence, and the opportunity to think and speak and listen in long stretches. The material of life feels fulfilling, but the pace of it is starting to knock me around a little. I’m not quite craving a year’s sabbatical, but a week of vacation sounds awfully nice. Even the idea of a brief dissociative fugue isn’t totally unappealing.
Mostly, though, I’ve been feeling level-headed and capable and even proud about what the three of us do in a day here. We’re almost halfway done. The house is mostly in order. People are mostly happy. You’ll be over shortly to take the kids for six or seven days so I can have my mid-expedition break, right? Good. After that, I’m sure doing this on my own until April 9 will be no problem.