Knocking around.

I have a little problem and it’s called “I have too many things in my head to form a single blog post”.  So this is going to be random. 

1.  I started watching my niece during the day since my sister’s maternity leave is up.  I volunteered for the position back in October when she found out that her current daycare couldn’t take the baby (because of ratios) until the fall.  My sister was all in a panic over it and I volunteered since I am just here sitting on my dead ass all day.  Okay, that’s not true.  Entirely.  But mostly.  My house became busy with a wee 8-week-old babe and my trusty assistant, Amelia.  That little girl is in heaven, for sure.  All she has ever wanted was a baby sister (or brother) to mother.  And my niece just watches her all day, even when Amelia is doing something else. 

What have I learned from this experience?  I am done having children.  I mean, I am a woman of a certain age.  Geriatric in OB land.  But I have been saying for years that one of the tragedies in all of this is that I never intended for Amelia to be my last.  I didn’t get to savor her baby days.  I wanted to see at least one more of our babies use the gear and clothes and wee diapers we had collected for the other children.  It wasn’t to be.  And now it’s too late.  I suppose with the right kind of support (read: a wedding), I could be persuaded but there’s no way I’d go it alone.  And I’ve stopped wanting it.  I love having bigger kids.  I love leaving the house sans diaper/bottle/sling/bucket carseat/change of clothes for all involved. 

Also, she is bottle-fed.  Which is fine.  Totally.  But my children were breastfed and I now know that it was in large part because I was way too lazy to deal with bottles.  The mixing, the washing of the bottles, the dribble and spitup.  No thanks.  I know now that I was pretty lucky in the world of breastfeeding.  No supply issues, no latch issues.  I liked it.  I was home and didn’t have to go back to work so there was no reason to introduce a bottle with any frequency.  It’s just a different way to care for a child.  This baby starts to fuss out of hunger and is full on screaming at me within 30 seconds.  Kind of like a fire drill.  Five times a day.  Like I said, I’m okay being done with babies.

2.  Through the beauty and magic of Facebook, an old friend from college contacted me the other night.  He is a filmmaker and screenwriter on a smallish scale.  He’s had this idea for a documentary floating around in his head and asked me to consult on it a little bit.  The idea is this: Do you remember the last words said to a loved one before they die?  How do you feel about those words? 

We went back and forth.  I don’t know if I helped him at all because I feel like I did get a chance to say goodbye in a roundabout sort of way.  My last words to him (that he heard) were “I love you.”  So I was one of the lucky ones but what about people who just got into a fight and said angry words?  Or what about the mundane reminders and the ordinary days? I finally told him that all of us, no matter the reaction to those words (regret, anger, peace, fear…), we all thought we would have more time.  And we didn’t.  There was no way to say it all.  Those words were not for the dying.  They were for us; they were for those that survived and those that were forced to go on. 

I don’t know if anything will come of it (although knowing him, it will come around) but it is certainly interesting enough.  Hopefully there will be more to report.

3.  I am quite antsy about the prospect of spending yet another year at home.  I have been home for nearly seven years and I have had it.  Done.  I am done.  But my baby isn’t ready for school and I said I would stay home until everyone was in school.  The plan, six months ago, was to do four semesters of grad school and get my teaching certificate and get my own classroom of theatre/speech/ creative writing punks.  The schedule and school year mirrors that of my children and everyone is happy.

But now I can’t start school this summer.  Paying for school is one thing; I thought I could swing it.  But paying for childcare for the summer would break me in half and then even just one kid in full-time daycare in the fall is not a feasible option.  Once again, it comes down to finances.  And I hate that.  And I don’t want to wait.

I have other options.  I can apply for my stagehand union card and go work shows as often as they need me.  It will be feast or famine with odd hours and unreliable income with no benefits.  That is one route.  The other is to get a job and put myself back into the working world.  But then we’re back to daycare but, hopefully, that would be figured into the budget with the take home pay.  I don’t even know what I would do at this point except keep my feelers out for one of the many local arts organizations to have a position open up.  The right one could take months at best.

Like I told someone tonight (in the context of getting a job) I’m not looking for Mr. Right…I’m just looking for Mr. Rightnow.  I don’t need perfect.  I need to get back to feeling like a productive citizen first and then possibly reconsider.  On the other hand, when you know you just know.  And maybe I’ll know.  Maybe this is the time and I just need a place.

All I know is that these walls are closing in on me.  You know, not in a scary way.  I’ll deal if I do have to wait a year and then continue with the original plan.  I won’t like it.  But I know I can do it.

4.  I miss Fat Camp.  (For the record, that feeling took less than a week.)

5.  I’m still considering making this blog into some sort of publishable work.  A book or…something.  I started with post #1 and I have worked through February 2009, reading every one.  Reading every comment. 

I know I wrote it all and I’m glad that I did.  There was so much in there that would never have been thought about again had I not written it out.  There are whole days and memories that would be lost by now.  There’s something to be said for just getting it all out there, even if it is quick and dirty. 

Is it a wonder that I have a coherent thought in my head?   This is just the tip of what is knocking around in there.

6 thoughts on “Knocking around.

  1. I really hope you do a book! I’ve been saying for years (to myself mostly) that you should. I’d buy it, and I dont buy books. I’m too poor, I’m a library kind of girl! I love the way you write. It really resonates.

  2. Re: grad school–I know that child care is crazy expensive, but there are a lot of writing programs that would see this blog as an excellent writing sample. You might get pretty good funding. It would probably mean teaching your way through the degree (which is a drain–but time-wise is not as much time out of the house as a full-time job), but you could try tossing out an application for an MFA program and seeing what kind of funding you’re offered.

    And you might find some really good, affordable child care through a university’s kid-related programs (child development or whatnot).

    But of course I don’t know what programs you were considering or what universities would work for you (I’m sure you’re not thinking about relocating for school, right?).

    • There is a small, liberal arts college 30 miles from my house that offers an accelerated Masters of Education degree to people with bachelors in an area that can be taught to high school students. You follow their course line and, at the end of 4 semesters, I would have a teaching certificate and be 9 credit hours away from a full Masters degree, to finish whenever. (The thought is that it’s easier to land a job as a first year teacher if you don’t have your master’s yet.)

      I am gunning for a Language Arts endorsement which would allow me to teach Lit, creative writing, speech/debate, theatre and journalism.

      The program is time and effort intensive, 8am-5pm EVERY day of EVERY semester. I was told by Financial Aid that I would, because of my undergrad grades and my age and my situation, qualify for aid enough to pay for classes. They do not have a child care center.

  3. I have thought you should write a book from the get-go!! You are an AMAZING writer!! AMAZING!! I would buy it in a heartbeat!

  4. I know how you feel. I’ve been home for almost 6 years, and I’m done with it too. I need out of the house, and ideally making something cool. Especially with Pat in school now full-time, somebody should be making some money. I am planning to go back to some kind of work in the fall. We are lucky in that Pat is at a big university that has a big child development department, and as a result, has a fantastic day care for students. So, our little one is hopefully going to go there. Are you anywhere near a major university? Even if you aren’t attending that school, maybe there would be some kind of reciprocal benefits with the small school. Is there any kind of universal preschool programs near you? We were able to get Nolan into a free preschool when he was 3. That might at least take care of part of the day. My niece is going to a universal preschool in NY for free, and then they offer after care for the rest of the day. Some YMCA’s have day care centers and have reduced fees based on need. Check with your town and nearby towns and with their school districts. Your town might at least have a list of day cares that offer reduced fees. Sometimes there are options right within the school district that aren’t well advertised. Do some digging, and ask every mom you run into.

    On a different subject. I have a friend who I think is some sort of literary agent. I’d be glad to pass your info and your blog address onto her if you’re interested. Let me know, you can email me at FB.

  5. I have been a long-time follower of your blog. I am captivated by your writing. The way you tell a story and convey your feelings, emotions, fears, and victories make me laugh and cry all at the same post. Isn’t that the true mark of a talented writer…to have an emotional effect on the reader? You are such a talent. I hope someone in a publishing position realizes that. I would buy any book you wrote. And I would be over the moon with joy at your success and triumph!

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