Friday, June 10, 2011

Mother Courage

"I can't make everyone happy all the time. Not even half the time. So please, enough negativity. I don't get it."
This is me, earlier, texting my partner. She wants to know when I am going to put my focus back into our own house because right now it's on someone else's house. Namely, a professor of Nanotechnology at the local University. I have a job housekeeping. It is physically demanding, involves  removing copious layers of cathair from bedskirts, dusting vertical miles of hard wood and otherwise toiling with sweat pouring down my face for hours. I hate cleaning but I find that I love serving. It is grueling but the extra money has been fantastic and I am starting to meet people. Laura is picking up extra hours doing the same small jobs and I was able to get my fourteen year old a job as  lawn boy. This is all a great spin off from a contact Laura made on a contracting job and I've been really trying to work the reference to move us upward. Sometimes the things I plan perhaps don't communicate back to the rest of the family in a way that makes sense. It all seems to play out in a good way eventually but all this work leaves them fending for themselves and until they see the fruits of it pay off they won't appreciate my absence. At least I feel needed.
   Today after working for two hours, taking a break to take the 12 yr old to the doctor and returning to finish the job, I helped Seth by raking the Profs yard after he mowed. It still is not done. I had to stop raking to take the truck to the mechanic, grab Isabella from a friend who kept her when I couldn't get her after All Star Softball practice and hurry home to help Ian with a research paper for English.
   When WILL our lawn get mowed? I am overwhelmed. I have taken on more than I can handle. How do women work full time jobs and raise children? How do they work at ALL?  Do they live on frozen casseroles? I suddenly have so much more respect for working mothers. I have chosen to stay home and CAN stay home because of my disability. I have some options, at least, where so many mothers do not. How do they manage softball practices, work and dinner? I feel guilty that we have been eating hotdogs at the baseball park. The family misses my Rachel Rae cooking. But it is only because I have time to cook that I can give them those things. Lately...I just don't have that luxury. I am swamped.
    I have just accepted a second job for another University referral. I feel like I am working my way toward something even if that something is just a grouping of good references. We are tossing around the idea of moving and that idea sounds better all the time. Except that suddenly I am developing contacts in the community and thinking of cute names for business cards. Names like "TA's-Your Everyday Teachers Assistants (Full service care for the Busy Professor)" (wait...does that sound like full service massage?) I want to be busy. I want to be healthy. I want to work at these things. But am I over doing it?
   I am overwhelmed to the point where I think about sleep constantly. I feel sleep viscerally. Exhaustion has become part of my nature. It exists as part of me in a way thats simple, like breathing. It just is. I take it for granted.
   And that is why I can sit awake at two in the morning when I have to be up at five. Knowing how desperately I need sleep, I have given up trying. I have to much to fit in this weekend that all I really do is sit up thinking about all of it.
   Tomorrow I will go to the zoo with Laura, to chaperone Sage. Her teacher said that so many parents signed up to chaperone that we will have Sage all to ourselves. A group of three. I asked her if that was really because of too many parents, or because of who we were. I mean, did I really think the school would be so open as to give two lesbian parents a huge group of kids to parade around the zoo? The teacher swears that all the groups are groups of one child except for two or three groups of two kids each. Most of the parents are going and taking their own kids around the zoo. We shall see! I look forward to a cheap trip to the zoo with just our daughter and a chauffer, if thats the case! After our jaunt through the zoo in ninety degree heat, I will work my second housekeeping gig for the first time. And then hurry to finish the lawn and Seth because we have company coming for a cook out tomorrow night.
   Isabella has softball practice again tomorrow so somewhere I will fit that In.Saturday she has an audition in the city at 11:30. In 2 hours Ian has to be up to finish a research paper that is going to require some pretty intense and serious effort. Apparently he will fail the semester if we don't get it done and the reason that it requires such work is because I messed up and didn't cite any of the research that we did. I did not know she wanted it cited in the paper itself. Every page. I was at a baseball game the night we were supposed to finish it and when I got home just before bedtime, Ian had hidden the laptop on me. He is barely speaking to me.
   And we find ourselves back to that one line...
   "I can't please everybody. Not even half the time."
    Punish me if you must by hiding things on me. Cry if crying helps. Pressure me as much as you can but baby, I'm steal. I'm a fuckin' willow tree. I bend in the wind.
   Watch me do it all. Like Elizabeth Taylor said, "I'm Mother Courage."

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