Wednesday, August 13, 2014

summer realizations

This really has been the summer of Catie. I mean, in terms of doing as little as possible that makes my unhappy, that is. I haven't had near enough beach time for my liking but there isn't too much I can do about that.

Or is there? I'm not sure. I am too busy sitting around watching Netflix and reading novels and wondering how my children got old enough to not need me so much anymore. I have one kid who works all day (and it isn't Cicely), I have one kid who sits around most of the day on the computer, waiting for all those people who want her to work for them to call (and that is Cicely). I have one kid who plays with his friends all day and I have Amelia who has decided she's a big girl and can entertain herself.

Every now and then I inject myself into their view and ask "how's it going? Does anyone need anything?" to which they respond with one word answers like "good" and "nope". And I continue wandering around aimlessly pondering this stage of our lives and what it means.

And this is my determination. They are growing up. So amazingly fast are they growing up. I feel like they are leaving me behind.

I have spent the last week or two wishing September would come faster and then smacking myself on the hand for wishing away the summer like that. But I am wishing for it because then school will start again. For me. When I am in school I am so busy and have so much to do and I don't feel so left behind anymore.

When I go out I force as many children as are home to go with me. I feel like I need to spend every minute with them. I feel almost desperate to be with them, as if our time together is limited. I don't know if that is true but that's what it feels like. When we are all home, they don't want me. They have their own interests and rarely does that include me. It's how I trained them, I wanted them to be independent and self-reliant and damn, if they aren't the pictures of self-reliance! So I take them places because they need me to get them back home again. They are trapped by my methods of madness and they don't even know it.

This summer has felt different than every other summer I have ever had as a mother. And I think I know why.

Here is the truth. I have one year of school left. And my heart is being pulled towards a career. I want something for me. As the children grow and leave I have to make sure I have something for me or I will be sucked into a chasm of sadness and displacement. I won't be able to get out, it will eat my sanity and leave me empty. I know it will. I know this because I feel it when they are busy and I am not. It surges through my veins when they are gone and I am home without them.

It comes on so fast. I barely have time to blink and it's there. There's a heaviness, a loneliness, a sinking. I don't like to be alone. I mean, what mother and housewife says that? Don't get me wrong, I like me some alone time. But a day, one day, with nothing to do and I am literally in the dumps. That's all it takes. I have the standard list of things I want to do so that I don't get like that. Like reading and housework and errands and movies. But my distractions only carry me so far.

I used to be the queen of projects. I used to do so much when my kids were young. I doted on them and then doted on me in my free time. I was painfully happy and content in my role of mother. Stay at home mother. But none of those things I used to love hold any interest for me anymore. They are all things I used to do alone, because I was hardly ever alone and I cherished the time I spent with just me. But now, I feel an aversion towards my home. Where there used to be a craving to be home there is now a longing, a pull to get out of the house and stay out as long as there is no one in it lest the loneliness eats me whole.

People gently criticize my choices. They ask me why I do so much. They ask me how I do it. The answer is simple. I have to do it, or I sink. And I don't want to sink. I do everything in my power to make sure that when I do start to sink I know that soon I will have to shake it off because there is just so much to do and only me to do it. That chaos, that busy bustling of energy, is where I find my level ground. It's where I feel most sane and put together. It's where I aim to be forevermore.

The moment I stepped onto the university campus two years ago I knew I had chosen the right path for me. It has never felt wrong or unmanageable and I know it is leaving me with options of where I will find joy. It isn't the path for everyone, I get that. I am excited for the future, and what even appears to be the near future, even though it means this time at home with my children might be coming to an end. There are many moments when that is hard to reconcile in my soul but then I remind myself that nothing is set in stone, my options are wide open, I am not trapped in a life that has the tendency to make me unhappy, and my children are still here with me, for the time being.

It's been a good life. And I am determined to make sure it stays that way. For them. And for me.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

the job hunt

I really just want to sit and read this book I delved into last night and can't put down. It is hilariously wicked and the sarcasm in it is to die for. If it is possible to die for such a thing.

Where'd You Go, Bernadette. I hate it when the library covers up the title with their stupid stickers.
Sarcasm. I need sarcasm in my life. In fact, I would die without it. It's part of who I am. My genetic makeup, so to speak. I feed off it. This book is... is...just so....weird. I love it. Having said that, I am only half way through, maybe it'll fall apart and turn into the garbage I expected it to be. But as of now? Nope, not garbage. Great. Laugh out loud funny.

Anyway, I want to be sitting and reading this book but I feel an overwhelming urge to share with you the experience I am having with my oldest child. She's a peach. A real joy these days.

Was that sarcasm?

In truth, she is a really great kid. She's lovely and kind, sweet and polite, smart and beautiful and all good things. But mostly when I interact with her she is not always the sunshine and rainbows she appears to be.

She's looking for a job. And has been for quite sometime. She's a tad picky and maybe a little snobby, if I may be so bold, about where she wants to work. I believe all good people are allowed that sense of entitlement in their lives on occasion.

Bad people too. Not that I believe in bad people.

Yes I do.

I have seen, over the last six weeks, her open her eyes to a degree about how picky she's allowed to be in finding a job. She's tried all her dream jobs. No bites. So now she is extending out to her less than ideal job locations. She even applied at EggsOasis, for crying out loud.

Stupidest name for a restaurant on the planet. I mean, I love eggs, but c'mon.

I am prodding her gently to try places she wouldn't normally try; however, she is about a 1 on the patience scale with me.

1 being the least amount of patience one person can have for another human being. Like so impatient that if she had a gun and two bullets she'd shoot me twice. And then she'd go to jail for murder but it wouldn't matter because she doesn't have a job.

Today I offered to drive her around, again, to hand out resumes. I would drive to a place and say, "What about here?" To which she'd respond with something as helpful as, "I'll try them later."

Ahhhhhh, now I see where the problem in finding a job lies. She suffers from later syndrome. I'll do it later. I'll check online later. I'LL ATTEMPT TO FIND A JOB LATER!

I see how this works. And I also see how it doesn't work.

So, we're at the mall. We are walking around. She has a folder full of resumes. I say things like, "Have you applied here?"

"No." That's all I get. A no. Just no.

"Why not?" I ask as sweetly as is physically possible.

Huff, grunt, eye roll. "Mooooomm. Geeeeeez."

After a half dozen of these responses I pull off my nice girl pants and put on my naggy mom hat. So now I am standing pantless, in the mall, wearing a stupid hat on my head. A look I don't care for, you should know, even if it is metaphorical. "Look kid, do you want a job or not? We are standing here right outside this store in the same mall you have come to 5 times looking for a job and you are telling me you haven't applied here yet? I am asking why. Eye rolling is not an appropriate response to this question."

"FINE!" And off she goes into the store. And the eye rolling becomes all mine.

Here's another fun conversation we had today:

Me, after she returns to the truck from going into a restaurant, "Well? Are they hiring?" A simple and appropriate question, in my opinion.

Her: "I don't know."

Me: "What do you mean, you don't know? Is it open?"

Her: "Yes"

Me: "Did you talk to someone."

Her: Yes"

Oh my gosh, kid! Throw me a bone!! You're killing me.

Me: "What did they say?"

Her: "The manager wasn't there."

Me, exasperated: "You know Cicely, you should still leave a resume when that happens."


Me: "Well, c'mon Cicely. Tell me these things so I don't think you're walking away without even trying."

Which isn't what I wanted to say at all. What I really wanted to say was: you know what you're doing, oh wise one? Really?? Because.....oh never mind, the rest is just mean and she's probably going to read this and then never speak to me again. Ohhhh, how I will miss the snarky one word answers. Eye rolling is non-verbal though so I am sure I'll still get plenty of those and her sweet, unabrasive nature won't be lost unto me forever.

So, now we are home, jobless, hot and spent. Taking our distance from one another in an attempt to recover from this torturous, yet ongoing event we lovingly refer to as the job hunt.