I Am Alive.

I think it was last May when I started whining about wanting balance.  I was fresh from a gig and spring had sprung but school was still in.  I was in a downward spiral of anger and extra energy and depression.  It was bad.  Really, really bad.  I can look at it now and know how bad it really was.  Because it was all-encompassing.  No sewing, no exercising, no baking, no gigs, no travel…just trying to hold on. 

And then my meds got doubled. 

And I got a house and started planning a move.

And then I moved away from all the folks who held me up all those times.

And my big girl got on a bus and left me for 8 hours a day.  And my little girl marched into preschool like she owned the place.

And I started working.  A little at a time.  Ten hours here and there.  A couple of contracts lined up. 

And then it turned into this: 9 weeks of constant work and travel and nights without my littles.

I’ve had some time to reflect on what’s been happening (other than the blizzard raging outside my door…God bless new doors!).  I’ve been harassed by a nameless family member about how much time I’ve been away.  It bugs me a little.  Okay, it bugs me a lot.  That’s not what this is about.

What it is about is that I Am Alive.  I am more than just present.  I do more than breathe in and out. 

I can manage a crew of a dozen stagehands and not have to think twice.  A dancer or a singer can ask me a question and I know the answer.  I’m learning the back roads and vendors of the metro area.  I know exactly how long it takes to get to the airport from downtown and how long it takes to walk to Starbucks and back again.  I have had conversations about books and poker and grandchildren and how things are made and how things work. 

All of which involved hours away from my littles.  Days.  Weeks even. 

I missed them, there is no doubt.  But I Am Alive.

Despite what unnamed family member thinks, I am still their mother.  And when I am not with them, they are safe and loved and fed and in bed on time.  They go to school.  My big girl even get comped into a certain ballet and allowed to fall in love with a certain Sugar Plum Fairy and her Party Boy son who gave her a jewel found on the dance floor after the show (which now has a place of honor in her box of special things). 

I am not doing this without help.  There’s no way.  I pay out the nose for really good daycare.  I also have an awesome family that is contributing in a way that I could never have imagined. 

Balance.  That’s what I needed.  Work some and play some and sleep some and be a mom too.  It’s possible.  And my littles are no worse.  In fact, they might be better.  They need to hear something other than the sound of MY voice which, by now, probably sounds like Charlie Brown’s teacher.  Except without the “Yes, Ma’am” at the end. 

I Am Alive.  Yes, I am.

5 thoughts on “I Am Alive.

  1. Awesome! Respiration is necessary but Alive is better. Alive can’t happen without the support you mention – even if it comes with a little (okay, a lot of) judgment from no-name!

  2. Oh Jenn, I am so darn tooting happy for you. There will always be “side-walk supervisors” hanging in the wings (bad analogy eh?)waiting to criticize (did you know that according to mine I’m not a “real” mom because I only have two children?)but the greatest thing is that you are forging ahead with head held high as you trust your gut instincts.

    Keep warm in this blizzard!

  3. It’s a shame a remark (so I gather) was made about you being away from your littles too much. It’s healthy, physically and mentally, for you to have a life, a passion outside of your girls. It seems it’s been a long time since you’ve found such satisfaction in work and I for one think it’s great!

    And you’re right, your littles will be better with some time away from the home as well. It will teach them how to mature and respect others as authority figures.

    Motherhood is not about being with your kids every second of every day. Don’t ever feel guilty for going back to work!

  4. YES you are alive! And nameless family member… apparently they forget… You were fortunate to have the resources to spend those first two years without Stephen staying home with the Littles, full-time. Many, if not most, widows do not have that option. In the depth of their grief and feelings of being terminally overwhelmed, they have to go out and find a JOB, and try to function, and worry about if they will be able to keep the roof over their heads. You were able to grieve, and to help reassure the girls that you were not going anywhere, and wrap yourself in their innocence and joy. NOW, if you need to participate in the world, in your own life, I say that’s cause to REJOICE, not criticize!

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