I’m completely out of sorts.
It’s not just that I got so sick, and then recovered just in time to catch some sort of sinus thing, instead, although I’m sure none of that helps. And it’s not just that we’ve now been away for over a week, and I’m learning that in my old age a week is about my limit before I start itching for my own space. It’s not even the various and sundry family drahhhhhmaaaahhhs going on, or the fact that I’ve seen my poor husband going through a level of stress this past week that I’ve never seen before, not even when his mom was in the ICU this summer and we didn’t think she’d pull through.
It’s all of that, and also being back in New England, and driving past my old house last night, and a hundred other things. Taken individually, each thing is small and manageable, and collectively, it just makes me feel heavy and slow and sad.
And then I went and checked my IRA account this morning, because apparently I didn’t have enough to be depressed about. I honestly have no idea what I was thinking. That, of course, prompted Otto to check his. And while we were both well aware of the state of the economy (DUH) and all of that, it was quite another thing to be sitting in bed together with our laptops, discussing how really, it’s fine, it’s all fine that we won’t be able to retire until we’re 105 and 106. No problem. We LIKE working. Forever. Apparently.
(Do you think I’ll still be able to blog when I’m old and arthritic? Maybe I should start saving up for good voice-recognition software, just in case.)
We’ve seen friends who have changed so much since we saw them last, and missed seeing other friends for various reasons (which means another long stretch of time before we may see them again), and I’ve had a lot of friends on the brain who have slipped out of my life in this past year. Some have gone quietly, and others with raucous exits, but the fact remains: Relationships are unpredictable. And there are people I miss, regrets I have, and situations where I’m not particularly proud of how I handled myself or others. I was telling Otto the other day that it took me over 30 years to stop expecting everyone to live up to my (usually impossibly high) expectations, but now I think I’m quicker just to back away than I used to be. I used to stay and argue. Now I shrug and move on, or move away. It makes for a lot of changes, feels like.
I’m missing the kids, too. We pick them up tomorrow morning, and not a moment too soon, because Chickadee is having a little too much fun tormenting me. She’s at that age, you know, when she’s not only figured out the difference between harmless and truly obnoxious ways to push my buttons, but she just finds it hilarious.
The kids call every day. Monkey’s conversation is always the same, you know: Something along the lines of, “Well, hi Mama, I’m being a good boy, and I love you, and I miss you, and I’ll talk to you tomorrow night! Okay! Bye!” If I ask him a specific question (if I can get a word in edgewise), he’ll answer it, sure. But he doesn’t really feel the need to “report” much.
Chickadee, on the other hand, is having wayyyyyyyy too much fun yanking my chain.
I mean, I figured out a long time ago to not ask questions to which I don’t want to know the answers. Needless to say, the kids’ dad and I have different philosophies on many things. So I’ve adopted a don’t-ask policy, which worked really well while the kids recognized that their corresponding role was to DON’T TELL. But now Chickadee is positively GLEEFUL to tell me anything she thinks might cause my head to explode.
“Hey Mom,” she started out the other day, on the phone. “Do you think that four cups of lemonade in a day is too many?”
I sighed. “Gosh, honey,” I said, “I have no idea. What did you do today? Did you go anywhere?”
“Well,” she responded, “I was just WONDERING what you thought. Because that’s what I had. Today. FOUR ENTIRE CUPS OF LEMONADE. Full of SUGAR.”
I studied the ceiling and shifted the phone to my other ear. “Wow,” I said, keeping my voice as flat as possible. “That’s something. Anyway—”
“No milk,” she added, barely keeping the giggle out of her voice. “No water. Just lemonade. FOUR CUPS.”
“So, can I talk to Monkey?” I said.
“No,” she answered. And then laughed. Somewhat demonically, I’m afraid.
And then another day, this:
“Mom, remember how I was worried that Daddy wouldn’t know what to feed me now that I’m a vegetarian?”
“Yes…?” I was a little worried about where this was going.
“Well it’s FINE, because I’ve been having cheesy scrambled eggs!”
“Oh, well those are a good choice once in a while,” I answered, walking STRAIGHT INTO HER TRAP.
“Yes! Every day! SOMETIMES TWICE!” She laughed merrily, and I tried to redirect the conversation. After we got off the phone, I asked Otto if they do angioplasty on 10-year-olds.
But it’s fine. It’s all fine. Tomorrow we’ll be back together again, we’ll head to my folks’ and the second (and final) leg of our trip, and soon I’ll be back home. To my house, my bed, my stuff, my children back on their routines, our diets back to normal, and (hopefully) back to good health and a sense of control.
I’m sure this is all just control-freak me feeling out-of-balance because being on the road means being at everyone else’s mercy (no matter how gracious) all the time. Still. I’m sort of looking forward to being extra mean to whip the kids back into shape next week.
In my head I just said “No lemonade for you!” in my best Soup Nazi voice, and it cheered me up immensely. So, you know, there’s hope. Onward and upward.