It didn’t snow today, as we all now know. Well, of course, it did — a little. Just enough to keep us guessing. It’s starting! (We’d been waiting for hours.) But it never materialized into anything more than an inch or so. Some ice on the windshield. A slick patch on the walkway, which M graciously salted so I could get to work.
To work. To teach the classes I had smugly neglected to prep, so certain they’d be cancelled. Because, blizzard. Luckily, these are classes I have taught for eleven years. On the drive in, I flipped through my mental syllabus. Week Four. Ah, yes. Group contracts. Topic proposals. Collaborative writing. Cakewalk.
And it was nice to get out of the house. To shower and put on a skirt and makeup and teach things when I had anticipated a day at home with a boy in pajamas, hours of questions and answers and watching the clock until dinnertime. His school had been called off since 8pm last night, so even though we awoke to barely a whisper of weather, he was still in the clear. M was home for the same reason, which was a stroke of very lucky luck from where I sit.
Tomorrow, it’s back to our regularly scheduled programming, which is just fine with me. I don’t even feel remotely jealous of all the joyous playing-in-the-snow photos my Boston friends are posting. Have at it.
They are talking about three more “chances for snow” in the next week or so, which seems more a threat than a promise, especially since we’re getting ready to take a long road trip out to Pittsburgh to meet some friends. But maybe we’ll keep dodging bullets. Maybe the whole rest of the winter (which can’t be very long now — I mean, where the hell did January go?) will be near-misses and dustings. Before we know it, crocuses will be poking their heads out. We’ll be thinking about the vegetables to plant in the garden.
I’m ok with that. I’m already ready to be done with winter wear. Capris are practically calling my name. The cropped-er the pants, the closer to God?
I try so hard not to judge other parents and the things they do just to get by. But when I see obvious ignoring, it really burns me. There’s a mother here at the coffee shop who came in with her 3-year-old, promptly set up an iPad for her, got a coffee (the kid has nothing) and got on her phone. Somehow, the iPad stopped working and needed to be reset, which the mother attempted while she continued to talk on the phone. All the while, the kid is wailing at full voice, “Mommy, it’s not working! Mommy, you didn’t fix it!” Over and over. The mother, mostly oblivious, only pauses her conversation when people look over at her to say to the kid, “Stop. It takes time. I am fixing it. People are staring at you.” And I keep wanting to say, “No, lady. We’re staring at *you*. No one blames the kid for whining in the face of your blatant disregard. We blame you. Hang up the phone for a second and attend to the broken device, which you brought here to keep her quiet so you could presumably do work. Or talk. Or something. Or whatever.
Again, I have absolutely done my fair share of tuning out a whine. And I have absolutely turned to technology as a babysitter. But I have never continued to tune my child out when he was standing a foot from my face, clearly saying, “Stop talking and help me.” (I have, however, put down the phone and said, “I am talking right now and I will help you as soon as I can.” I don’t think that just because kid demands attention means that he or she gets it that instant.)
Taking time for oneself is essential. Telling your kids they need to occupy themselves while you check out on the phone, in a book, with tv, etc. is completely acceptable and understandable. But what I can’t abide is half-listening. Half-attention. It’s no shame to withhold attention, but it is a shame to give it halfway. It feels crappy and demeaning and disrespectful to be on the receiving end of half-attention and it’s a good reminder for me to see it happening because it reminds me to be more mindful of it myself. I don’t want my kid to grow up thinking that he was interesting to me, only if something else more interesting wasn’t going on.
I’ve got glitter on my eyelids again today. Because it affects my sense of self-worth. How can you feel really bad about yourself when your eyelids are shimmering? Even reading it in writing, knowing how insane it sounds, I still believe it. I feel pretty, oh so pretty. I feel pretty and witty and gay. Um.
School’s closing early today for the 1-3″ of snow they expect to start falling…aaaaany minute now. An early closing means no afternoon kindergarten. When there’s a delayed opening, however, there is still AM kindergarten. My recollection from kindergarten (and, believe it or not, I do have many) is that when there was a delay, AM kindergarten was off and when there was an early release, PM was off. I don’t know how decisions are made. All I know is that I have to go get my kid from the before-school program because there’s nowhere for him to go since school’s closed. (Also, that’s a lie; my friend is picking my kid up. But I do have to cheerfully receive him.)
I meant it when I said that I remember kindergarten. I at least remember being kindergarten-aged. To be honest, actual school-related details are limited to arrival on the first day, the image of my teacher’s long, black braid, the room number, getting treated for head lice in the nurse’s office and kindergarten graduation. But I remember a lot about being five and six. Even though I have sporadic earlier memories (including my earliest from around one) kindergarten is probably when I really came online. And realizing this lends a certain amount of gravity to, like, everything now. The Who is going to remember things now. Maybe in 34 years, he will sit at a computer (or maybe just have thoughts that will be automatically typed out — who knows what the technology will be in 2049) and type out a memory of that one time when school was called off due to snow and he spent the afternoon putting together a picture frame made of 100 colored craft sticks while a few guys banged around on drywall and lumber in the basement.
It’s crazy to think about him as a 40-year-old. And just this morning, as I watched his impossibly long legs carry him to the bathroom to brush his teeth, I thought it was crazy to remember him as a newborn. Shit’s moving way too fast. Also, sometimes, not fast enough. At least there’s always time to throw a little glitter on my eyelids before I start my day.
I have a lot of thoughts this morning, as I sip on my half-dark roast/half light at Panera. (It’s the best combination; trust me.) I’m thinking about the drafts I am going to review as soon as I’m done posting this. About the piece of cheese The Who bit into the shape of first, Australia and then Maine. About how lots of kids in Pennsylvania have never heard of Maine, like the one he was talking to this morning. (He knew Massachusetts and even New Hampshire. But not Maine.) About how little kids have a lot to process. The one told The Who a story of a robber coming into his house when he was sitting on his homework folder (true!) and the other told him about a car accident she witnessed in New Hampshire. (I love the way little kids can ride a tangent so easily.)
I’m thinking about our basement project and how it seems like a dream come true. How will they turn what it is now into what it will be? Cork flooring that looks like hardwood. A tiny Harry Potter secret under-stair hideout. My own little cubicle for art and work. Whiteboard paint on the wall. It’s day 1 of a probable 25 and we already have a tiny forest made up of sawed down pieces of the wooden railing. (I know this might only make sense to The Who, our contractor, and me.)
I’m thinking a lot about writing after workshop last night. I recycled old memoir pieces, determined to resurrect them, combine them with newer pieces, and make a go of it. I was pleasantly surprised to find that they still, twelve years later, resonated. And amused by how much like stepping into a time machine it was. I felt like Marty McFly, holding all this information about the future, careful to keep it close to the vest so as not to disrupt the natural unfolding of events. It’s hard to edit and massage memoir pieces from a long time ago and it’s good practice for me.
I’m thinking about the protests that shut down the highway in Boston this morning and the ones that shut down the train on the way to the Pats game last weekend and all the other ones that have shut things down in the past couple of months. And all those people complaining about the inconvenience and saying things like, “Make them move! We really got to stop being chicken of these idiots.” I bet these same people will celebrate MLK on Monday and they’ll never make the connection. You can’t take a day off from work, say you’re not racist, and then say things like that.
There’s more. Art. Breakfast. Cooking. Money. Travel. The recurring dream about this family that I know peripherally. But I really have to start working on those drafts.
I’ve been on a bit of a soda bender. I’ve moved from Coke to ginger ale, which I have to believe is a step in the right direction.
Tonight, there was pajama dancing. He busted his moves with such joy and exhibitionism and I was reminded of myself at his age. I wondered at what point along the way I lost that lack of inhibition.
I’ve been taking a selfie every day since 1/1. The first three days reflected migraine, ennui, and fatigue. Today’s gives me hope.
The balloons from The Who’s birthday still hang in the doorway between the living room and dining room. Twinkle lights still line the banister. I think perhaps there is a Halloween decoration still on the window in the front porch and the scarecrow from two Thanksgivings ago sits dusted with snow at the base of the back steps. There’s something both a little soothing and a little unsettling about the footnotes from so many holidays all existing at the same time.
Netflix “Friends” and Lights.
Trader Joe’s had rainbow carrots today and the cashier assured me that they’d had them for a long time. I’d like to call bullshit because I believe rainbow anything would catch my attention, but maybe I’m just being overly homoconfident.
Ok, now I’m just blogging to avoid getting up and going to bed. Stay warm.