Monthly Archives: February 2011

A Lot More Good

It’s been a rough one. I won’t get into too many boring details, but it’s been a swirling whirling hot mess of a day. I’m having trouble moving ahead on anything much, and had a major setback in The Great 2010-2011 After-School Babysitter Search, just 3 days before I need someone once again. I’m tense and tired, although a teensy bit of the tired feels good because I got up at 5 o’clock this morning to work out.

But mostly it’s not a good tired at all, and I’m heading into a long weekend where I’m working two out of the three days. Late this afternoon I was fighting tears as I logged back in to websites where I might find a babysitter willing and able to do the hours I need, for what felt like the fiftieth time. And may well have been. I looked around and saw kitchen counters piled high with dirty dishes, Valentine’s Day gifts, books, and random detritus. I’d been here all day and had not even unloaded last night’s dishes and reloaded it with the breakfast dishes. It was just a shitty day.

This evening, after getting the kids into their pajamas and seeing that they were calm, I took the dog out for a walk down to the beach. What I saw was amazing: a big, full moon over the lake with a beautiful reflection on the water. And right below the moon were at least six twinkling white lights spanning the sky: airplanes, waiting to land at O’Hare. They were perfectly spaced and appeared to be at a complete standstill in the air. Gradually, gracefully, the first one in line veered off and flew over the moonlit water. A few moments later the next one left the flock like a shooting star. But always there were more lights behind them. One after another.

I was struck by the neatness, the constancy, of this. It was in stark contrast to my chaotic, unpredictable day, and it was calming. I felt that I knew each of those shooting star airplanes, that they symbolized the constancy and love I have experienced amidst the chaos today:

One was the friend who reminded me that her house is a mess at the end of every week, and another was the friend who assured me that her bedroom was as disastrous as my kitchen.

The next was the friend who told me to order take-out for dinner at exactly the right moment.

Another was the dear one who told me to go ahead and let the kids fuss about tonight’s sleeping arrangements, that I am tired and should sleep in my room with my husband again for the first night in 10 days now that Baxter is doing much better. I love your boys, but let them cry, she said. I listened. She was right.

The next three gave me the gift of names and numbers of more local babysitters without being asked. They dug deep into their email archives and went back to old listservs to find them for me.

After that came the one who visualized a big glass of wine for me while I cruise babysitter ads on craigslist tonight, followed by the friends who simply felt my pain and commiserated.

Later I saw the light that was my husband, whose series of hilarious Twitter messages in which he pretended to be a flaky babysitting applicant brightened my afternoon considerably.

They just kept coming, in a steady stream of light.

When I got back home, the boys had climbed into our bed together and were playing a game called “Here’s what THAT felt like!” as they poked, hit, kicked, and pinched each other, laughing hysterically.

And the phrase that kept coming to mind was, There is more good than bad today. A lot more good.

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L’il Packers Fan


Translation:

Go Packers!

Boba Fett Rules!

(That’s Me.)

Packers Rule!

BOOOOOOO Steelers!

Go Lyle!

Gooooo Packers!

Steelers Suck!

 

[We had a little chat about the word “suck” right after I peeled myself off the floor where I collapsed in a heap of laughter when he went skipping out of the room. I also had something to say about the illustrations at the top of the page, which are apparently depicting something to do with the Steelers logo, missiles, and bombs. But ohmygod, the Packers fever is funny.]

Trying to Move On

When I went downstairs to turn off the boys’ light and forcefully pry their books out of their hands, seeing as how it’s nearly 9 o’clock, Baxter appeared quite tired. “Just reading about all these world records has tuckered me out!” he declared, rubbing his eyes, and handing over the 2010 Guinness Book of World Records.

While I found that humorous — that simply reading about “the tallest and the fastest”, as he put it, would exhaust my child — that’s kind of the way we roll over here. Sometimes I fear we are more likely to “get tuckered” from reading about other people’s adventures than from actually having them ourselves. My kids are the ones who start out running through the snowy street when I encourage a pre-breakfast, post-blizzard adventure, and then collapse from the effort or cry about the snow in their boots 2/3 of the way down the block so that we don’t actually see the snowy beach and I have to take a solo trip later to see it for myself. They’d rather go home and eat those blueberry waffles they picked out at Trader Joe’s.

This makes us the perfect candidates for a big blizzard with two feet of snow and a couple of lazy snow days without school. It has to be a “historic snow event” for Chicago to close its public schools, and it was: this was the third biggest snowstorm on city record. We listened to lots of music, I finally made the old-fashioned peanut butter cookies I’ve been dying to make with the kids, we played in the snow a lot, and they watched a great many Star Wars movies. We really did have an incredible time, and lived our small, snowbound life to its fullest. I had a blast, personally, taking in the sight of huge mountains of snow and neighbors banded together to clear alleyways that the city doesn’t plow. In fact, three days later, our own street has yet to be plowed, but I assume they’ll find their way here soon. People here have a lot of spirit and character. “Flinty toughness” indeed, President Obama. I’m totally impressed.

As is often the case for me when I turn away from work completely for a few days, I am having an incredibly hard time getting focused again. I could be using these days to catch up on paperwork that sorely needs doing, and yet it’s as if my brain itself were filled with two feet of snow. But today I was able to leave the alley behind my house in my car, and the boys went to school (Matt took them there on the El), and reality is coming around again as surely as those vehicles are being dug out of every street. Unfortunately, with Baxter’s tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy scheduled for next Wednesday, I will only be re-immersed in work for two days next week before I’m pulled back into family time all over again.

I believe that I should claw my way to the surface of reality and be a responsible clinician and business owner, at least to catch up a bit before Baxter’s surgery, but instead I edit and organize my Flickr set from the blizzard and spend too much time creating a video montage that expresses what these few days have been like for me. Then I watch it too many times, even though so much visual quality has been lost from the original photos. When I do some laundry or wash a few dishes I feel I’ve accomplished something.

Perhaps tomorrow I’ll be ready to move on. I wouldn’t put money on it, though.