Monday, June 6, 2011

arranging the pieces

Mikhail got a new job! Many happy dances were done.

He started a little over a week ago, and it's a one of those jobs that you can characterize as a really great opportunity. He is really excited about it, and I'm really excited about it. Even our houseplants are excited about it.

Gift from Mikhail's new boss, a money tree -- a houseplant we're really going to try not to kill!

And now, it's time for me to figure out how to to arrange all the pieces - Elan's preschool, childcare for Emry, napping schedules and household schedules, bedtime routines and get-out-the-door routines, and all the millions of little tasks that make up the days of mamas the world round, so that Mikhail can be working his new job, which will involve a lot of travel, and so that I can continue to work part-time. I've currently got two different grantwriting clients, which complicates things, deadlines and schedules (more schedules!) that I committed to before Mikhail got this job. I'm smack dab in the middle of the process of finding a new babysitter, training a new babysitter, and getting the confidence in a new babysitter so that I can leave my baby with her and leave my big boy with her and do my work and not be thinking and worrying constantly about my baby and my big boy.

And in that middle of that process, I took off to New Jersey for my grandfather's funeral and started thinking about time - how people grow older and die, how my baby won't stay a baby, how he's already grown so much and my big boy can be so amazing one minute, so excited and brave to touch a snake and thrilled about it, and then, the next moment can call me "stupid" and stick his tongue out at me and then scream and carry on and kick when I discipline him for it, and someday in the not-too-distant future my baby will be able to do these things. About how we're all growing older all the time, and how I hope I live to be 101 or even close to that happy and in good health, but how I can't really bear to think about my children growing up, how even imagining Elan at 8 makes my heart hurt just a little, not to mention the thoughts of my parents growing older, me and Mikhail and our siblings and all our friends, everyone growing older.

And thinking these kinds of big thoughts is not good for the nitty-gritty process of arranging your life, which requires focus and discipline and the ability to stop eating the deli when you're sitting shiva for a few days and then when you come home to start exercising again and find the energy to unpack your suitcase, and repack it again, and go camping, and show your big boy the king snake that has just swum across the river and been picked up by a man, and hold him close so he can touch it.

And then discipline him when you get home and he calls you stupid and sticks his tongue out at you.

Except, in an ideal world, I wouldn't have gotten quite so angry about this.

In an ideal world.

But this is not an ideal world. Outside the Starbucks, on the sidewalk, two men face off over some stupid insult, the rhetoric and the hand gestures flying, while a man with a baby in his arms looks on. The baby reminds me of Emry, which makes me want to be with him, even though when Mikhail came home, I was stressed, so stressed, needing to get out of the house and exercise and get to work. Feeling the stress constricting my breathing, thinking how am I going to do all this? How on earth am I going to do all this?

But the gym was closed, so instead I'm at Starbucks drinking a chocolate smoothie, which is definitely not the same as exercising. I don't know how I'm going to do all this, don't know how I'm going to arrange the pieces. I guess I never do know, until I do. And all there is to do is to remind myself to keep breathing and start.

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