Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A New Kind Of Normal

I'm up at 1:40am. I had a hard enough time getting settled and falling asleep when I finally went to bed at 11pm. (I was reading a book that had just started getting good.) When the dogs woke me up so soon afterwards, (Ruby, with her noisy middle-of-the-night bone chewing, and Tuendi, with her noisy elderly pacing) I knew sleeping was hopeless.

Tuendi has become an old dog almost before my eyes. She'll be 12 this coming January, and her vision is definitely different now. I struggle with calling it diminished, because saying the words, admitting that it isn't sharp anymore, is effectively admitting that Tuendi is not the tiny puppy, or the young scrapper, or even the dignified grand dame she once was. The simple truth is, she can no longer see in the dark.Even though I knew she wanted to go out, she balked at the top of the stairs and refused to move until I turned on the lights for her. Yesterday, she slept through my arrival home. I watched her sleeping, waiting for me at the top of the stairs, through the glass window in the door. Her ears never flickered until she heard my key turning noisily in the lock. It caught me a little off guard, realizing how much older she suddenly seemed.

Ruby, too, is suddenly not so very puppy. She's more of a juvenile delinquent teenager, trying to sneak out of the house, breaking curfew with her noisy (bone chewing) parties, stealing shoes and underwear, chewing chair legs, and forgetting the manners she only recently learned. She's physically bigger now, too, and fast, and strong. I can see puppy melting away on her as she slowly becomes her genetic destiny--a fearsome, barking, defense missile of fur.

I already had to come to terms recently with the fact that neither of my babies are babies anymore. Sam is thriving in Kindergarten. John is thriving in preschool. They have started school and entered into the wide, wonderful, no-mommy's land called Real Life. And I, too, with their crossing, have crossed from the realm of Young Mother to that of the Old Hat.

Suddenly I am left at home with a slowing-down senior Westie, and a full-of-spitfire teen aged Cairn, watching the two poles of a life coming together, and feeling very much like I am right smack in the middle of all that--neither old and tired, nor young and frisky. My youth is behind me. Old age is in front of me. It's time to get the things I'm going to accomplish finished NOW.

And I have a lot to do.

I feel like the Grand Marshall of a huge parade. I'm not actually in the parade, but it's my job to make sure that everybody follows the parade route, sticks together, and marches along in time to the music. I'm already getting caught in the extracurricular activity maelstrom. The boys have swimming, and Sam has soccer, and soon he'll have OM. There's always a school function or two on the calendar, and so far, a never ending stream of requests from the school for brownies here or time there. And that's in addition to all the household errands and chores that have to be done--the grocery shopping, the post office runs, trips to the library, clipping coupons, cleaning, keeping the paperwork moving, keeping in touch, and keeping our calendar and social life organized. I don't mind. Of course I don't mind. But all of my time is spent keeping others marching when I want to join the parade too.

I do not have enough time to do it all. Every day I wake up and have to decide, Are you going to write or are you going to clean or are you going to make crafts or are you going to go to the gym? I have a novel I need to work on, a stack of fleece that will someday, hopefully, turn into a stack of scarves, and mittens, and hats, and pajamas, a body that is following its genetic destiny by getting larger and softer, and a house that is always, constantly, in need of a good scrub. Even if I devoted my every waking hour to writing/sewing/working out/cleaning, I could never get half of what I'd like to accomplish accomplished, plus I'd never see daylight or have any kind of a social life to speak of.

All I can do is attack everything a little at a time and be happy with progress of any kind.

My weekly schedule is starting to solidify now--with Tuesday and Wednesday mornings my only opportunities to write or sew. On those days I work feverishly, trying to accomplish enough to keep my spirits buoyed until my next creative marathon.

It's hard to be satisfied with very low personal output, but I remind myself that it's better than no output at all. The boys will need me less and less with every passing year. Sooner than I'd like, the day will come when I'll have more free time than I'll know what to do with.

Even though I'm prevented from doing some of the things I love most of the time, even on my worst days, this is exactly how I pictured motherhood and this life--full and rich and busy--is exactly what I've always wanted it to be.
I'm sure this is the time I will look back on most fondly. A time when old and young, past and future, pre-kid Brittany and post-kid Brittany, pre-kid dog and post-kid dog, pre-kid dreams and post-kid dreams, all happily and chaotically collide.


  1. And even at 1:40am, you are still the gifted writer. Beautiful post.

  2. I love this post. I realized it's exactly as I feel, myself - I just couldn't put it into words. Very well put :)


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