Friday, April 19, 2013

Sacred space

This is a man-made lake a few miles from my office. I went there for some lunch hour serenity now earlier this week. 

Everything that wasn't essential this week didn't get attention. (Nothing written here? Sorry.) Morning coffee - essential. Hot coffee? No, it turns out. Every night this week I brewed two cups in a pyrex measuring cup, waited for it to cool as I packed lunches, and poured it in a thermos and stashed it in the fridge. Every morning this week I left the house with a thermos of delicious ice cold coffee, and it turned out to be healthful, as leaving the house with a thermos dramatically increased how much water I drank each day. It turns out I will drink much more water from a receptacle than a water fountain. Every six months or so I relearn this.

The toothless husband has been travelling all week for work. I took three kids downtown to the National Gallery on Sunday for a field trip with E's Daisies troop. I took three kids to two kids' hair cuts. I took three kids to one kid's swim lesson. We traveled together this week, all the kids and I, because there was no option to divide and conquer. That's how it goes.

We addressed springtime preschool traditions this week: we got Crazy Hat Day and Crazy Hair Day and Pajama Day. We remembered show-and-tell on Monday and soccer-worthy shoes on Thursday even though soccer is usually on Friday but was moved for a puppet show. We finished math homework and book club reading and planned out our needs for E's school's upcoming Spirit Week, including Dress Like Your Favorite Animal Day.

Apparently I'm sewing a peacock dress. I can totally do that, right? I'm seeing a blue and purple bustle...

I have dropped off three kids at two schools and traversed the Beltway and been on time to work every day this week. Sometimes on my single-momming days I think: if I can just get to work on time, everything will be okay. It's either a very meager goal or a foundation for setting the day's tone. You decide because I don't have time to think about it. But I was on time to work every day this week, which is good because I left early every day this week, because that's the only way to pick up three kids from two schools by the time they're expected to be collected. And so it goes.

Tomorrow is the end: of the work week, the school week, the single-parenting week, and the lovely husband will return, the kids will clamor all over him, forgetting entirely that I remembered Friday's soccer shoes on Thursday. As they should. I don't want accolades, just for their childhoods to be unimpeded by our adult bumps in the road; work travel or a heart-heavy news cycle or Mama's wish for typing time competing with Mama's need for building in extra sleeping time because one kid has been having nightmares and one kid needed a middle-of-the-night bedsheets change and the third kid, whichever that may be, will always wake up from the cries of one of the first two. It makes me smile, though, even at 2am, the way they have sonar like dolphins. When one's in distress they all three seem to be, and though they manage to magnify my every sensation of incompetence with that special talent of theirs, still, they're a pack. They stick together.

These weeks are hard. They get easier in the sense that nobody's a newborn anymore, and harder in the sense that we have field trips and swim lessons and socio-geographic commitments that never existed when they were little.

I caution myself to appreciate the craziness, not to let these weeks go by in a blur. I don't want their accolades for remembering Friday soccer shoes on Thursday, but I want to remember to award them to myself. Another week in the books, and well enough done. You many know that one of my favorite quotations is "God is in the details," and this week was a careful walk on holy ground.

But maybe that's not just about my single-parenting tribulations so much as...parenting. And on we go.

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