I should preface this post with a disclaimer:
I am having a terrible day my perspective sucks today. If this post sounds a little weepy, a little oh-poor-me, it’s because I’m feeling rotten inside and out. Undoubtedly it will pass- tomorrow I am going to see a few very good friends in New York, and I’m excited about that. It’s going to do a fine job of clearing these clouds out of the sky. But for right now…for just these few minutes…I’m feeling pretty low.
Being a single parent is such a wonderful thing, in so many ways. Mostly I am thankful that I don’t have to share my children. I know that sounds terrible, but it’s the hard truth: I like being the primary decision maker. I love intelligent and thoughtful input, but I don’t like sharing the responsibility of making the final calls. I also like not having to take anyone else into consideration, save for my children and myself.
I am not a selfish person, and I actually believe that I could share parenting duties with the right person, but I haven’t yet met him. In life, I would much rather handle things alone than with the wrong person, and so it is with parenting.
But sometimes…not often, but sometimes, there are terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days, and that’s when things begin to weigh down. I just had an overwhelming 24 hours, and at the end of it, it’s just me and my thoughts.
The kids and I are all sick, which has been like a blanket of frustration over my entire day. I’m achy, Carolyn is fussy, my head is fuzzy, and Jack’s nose is running like a faucet (and my sleeve has become an all-purpose wipe). Despite my aches, I started my day with yoga in the studio…only to find out Kathleen had an emergency. I still had a good practice with the sub, but I just didn’t feel like I was responding as well.
I also began my Fall semester with my Intro to Poetry class. I have a great professor, uniquely inspiring and off-beat in his demeanor, and I can tell that he knows how to engage a class. However, I found myself missing my friends from Spring semester terribly. I know that I have a great semester ahead of me, and some fun classes lined up, but there was an emptiness today knowing that I wouldn’t run in to anyone I knew.
I managed to lay down after class for a half an hour while the kids were asleep and under my mother’s supervision, but when I woke up I felt disoriented and sleep-drunk (another reason I don’t nap- I never seem to wake up refreshed, just disheveled and confused).
I got the kids in the car and drove around hunting down soup-y ingredients (the pantry challenge is so on hold until I’m feeling less icky), and I ended up scoring some purple kohlrabi and gorgeous dinosaur kale at None Such Farm. I was pretty sold on a nice root-veggie-bean-kale soup with plenty of broth, and actually managed to keep Carolyn occupied long enough to prep all of the veggies and get the soup onto the stove. Unheard of!
Then it was to bed with Jack around 8. Carolyn finally crashed at 10, leaving me free to tuck myself into my bed and dive into a big bowl of soup topped with fresh avocado. It was everything I had needed all day in a single dish- warm, comforting but light because of the kale and broth, and flavorful from a teaspoon of cumin. I could have eaten the entire pot.
Unfortunately…in the course of cleaning up the leftovers, our new Pyrex pan exploded- with my beautiful soup inside. Cue my sick little heart cracking in two. My mother’s foot got cut, and there was glass and soup everywhere. It wasn’t anyone’s fault (alright, I’m actually blaming Pyrex a whole lot), it was just life. Something unfortunate happened, and it sucked.
Except it wasn’t just soup. For me, it was a few hours of driving around for the ingredients and prepping them with a screaming Carolyn on my hip. It was money spent on the food and gas. It was something warm at the end of a hard day. It was so damn frustrating.
No one is going to re-make my soup. No one is going to run out and pick up a container of soup from the store, or whip up another meal for me when I’m all cooked out. I could wake Carolyn up and drag her out to McCaffrey’s in the hope that they haven’t closed their hot bar for the night, but that hardly seems like a good parenting decision for a sick baby. There’s no one here to make it better…except me. And I’m tired.
Most days, I feel empowered by my independence. Of course I look forward to meeting “the right person” someday, but for now I try to appreciate what I have today. I suppose that’s today’s lesson- to be thankful for all that lies beneath life’s little frustrations. Like Jack’s singular and delightful fascination with trains, or Carolyn’s thrill at pulling herself upright again and again. Or seeing a good friend in from Los Angeles in my home away from home.
So yes, sometimes I want to throw a chair through a window. Life isn’t always hot soup and sleeping children and free yoga bags- sometimes it’s late nights and colds and broken Pyrex. I am trying to maintain perspective and find the beauty in all of that, trivial frustrations and all.
It’s a work in progress.