I couldn't think of anything to blog about, and when that happens, I turn to the weather. It's like in conversation, when you don't know someone well, or have little in common, weather is a safe topic. Well, the weather here in WI has been gloriously sunny and warm--until today. Today the temp dropped into the upper 50s, and on top of that it's rainy. Perfect timing, of course, for my parents to have finally booked a little cottage in Door County for the two day vacation they've been meaning to take for the past few weeks. Oh well, they can still go through little shops and eat out when it's raining.
(And now that I've gotten my fingers and brain warmed up, I have something else to say. Maybe writing about the weather is my quick fix for writer's block. I'll keep that in mind....)
(*I may have gotten a little too warmed up. This turned into a bit of a babble fest. That happens when I'm drunk, or overtired. (Haven't had wine in months...so.) Read on at your own risk. You may be a year older by the time you finish. In that case, Happy Birthday!)
Have you ever noticed that as you get older, your obligations and responsibilities increase? And have you ever looked back and wondered why, ten years prior, you thought you were busy, even though now you've added a dozen or more activities to your daily schedule? Did that even seem possible back then? I remember days when I got home from work and konked out on my bed thoroughly exhausted. Now, I wonder what my problem was. Once work is done now, it's like a whole new day's work begins, at home. There is no time to konk out or to even put my feet up!
I've always, always had a problem with being late. But now that I not only have a job, but also two children (along with a husband and a dog, and let's face it, they require time and maintenance) I have no idea what my problem was when I was child-less and single. So why,why did I have to drive like a mad woman EVERY day to get to work even five minutes late? I mean, seriously (as my five year old would say). All I had to do was get up, shower, eat and go! I didn't write then, nor did I work out regularly. If I did work out, I certainly didn't need to cram it in at 5 am because that was the only "free" time I had in the day. What was my deal?
When I had my first child, I could barely handle the additions to my schedule. I got up (after maybe 2 hours of sleep here, another hour there), nursed, packed up milk and lunch food for him, showered, ate, packed a snack for myself, dressed and changed him, got him in the car and to the sitter's, went to work, taught for 8 hours, picked him up, nursed him, changed him, made dinner, cleaned up dinner, did laundry, gave him a bath, had some play time with him, put him to bed, did school work, went to bed...and then started all over. That seemed like all I could possibly fit in my schedule. Yet, when my kids were little like that, I looked at people with older kids, with whom they were running every night (to dance, swimming, soccer, religious education, sporting events, school events, pto), and my mind reeled. How would I ever manage to do all that?
But time passed, and routines and jam-packed schedules became the norm, and I adjusted. Now, my kids are a little older. We have swimming and soccer and flag football. I am secretary of their school's PTO. (I also went part-time two years ago. I don't envy all the teachers I work with who are full-time. Writing would never have happened for me.)
I think I have it all down. I wish I had time to put my feet up, time when I didn't always feel like I should be doing something else, but I've decided guilt is one big, huge, large, unavoidable "thing" that comes with parenthood. It's like my shadow, only its there whether a light is shining on me or not.
Now, as I tell you all how busy I feel, I look ahead to two months from now when Baby #3 is born. And I don't know how, but I know from past experience that somehow I'll get through the changes and I'll adjust. Hours won't be added to the 24 hour days I'm alotted. But I'll add feedings every 2-3 hours, I'll add workouts back into my schedule, I'll continue to blog and write as often as I can steal minutes away to, the house will occasionally get cleaned and I won't ignore the other living beings in my home.
Somehow we always find a way to adjust as time goes by, as we age, as our lives get fuller. With each opportunity, with each new blessing, with each year that passes, we learn to live our lives the best way we can. Sometimes looking at other people, and how they live their lives, can be inspiring. Sometimes it can make us feel discouraged about how we're faring in our own lives.
Years ago, I had a crush on Elvis (yeah, erica confesses to having crushes on Kirk and Christian, my confession is Elvis...and I'm a year younger than her) and my parents took me to Graceland one summer. I remember hearing one of his favorite expressions (an adaptation of a famous quote): “Don’t criticize what you don’t understand, son. You never walked in that man’s shoes.”
Anyways, it's meant more to keep people from criticizing others, which is why I love it, but we can use it to keep from making assumptions about others also, especially when making those assumptions leads us to criticize ourselves. We can only do our best. With our jobs. With angry, troubled, disruptive students. With our families. With our one, or hundreds, of obligations outside the home. With our housework, shopping, cooking, errands, and family events. We can only do our best. Not someone else's best. Our very own.
This goes for writing too. We can't look at others' successes, or failures, and compare them to our own. We have to write. We have to pave our own path. Our path to success might go quicker than others, or it may take way, way longer. We can't let it get us down, or steal our motivation.
Just keep trucking.
And I will too.