Friday, August 6, 2010

summer of sick

Whereas my husband and I took turns writing and being with our daughter, Lilly, last year, it's been me all summer while he's submitting job applications and working on his thesis that's due November 15. Starting out, I was so excited to have full days with her again and not just a couple of mornings (with one of those at the library for a lap-sit class, the other alternately at yoga or watching my friend's daughter while my friend went to yoga) and three afternoons (mostly filled wit me attempting to help her nap, then recovering from that, were she to nap, before making dinner). I pictured more time in the garden, playing around in the yard, and hanging out on our porch, going to the beach at the various city lakes, swimming at the pool, attending a music and movement class for my daughter, BBQs with friends, etc.

We've had quite a bit of time in the garden, more so before it got so buggy. And after she stopped running out into the street or our neighbor's yard all the time, that got to be pretty good. Except for that stretch of time when she would gleefully pick stuff that wasn't meant to be picked (we're still working on that one, but it's getting better).

And we've definitely spent more time on the porch, except when it's too hot and muggy (still need to pick up a good vent to circulate the air). But when it's nice out, it's my favorite place to hang.

We did go to the Byllesby beach in Cannon Falls one day late June, but it was already green with alga.

When the timing finally seemed right (or pressing, the way summer's flying by), Lilly fell asleep just as we pulled into Excelsior on Lake Minnetonka. Since napping is still something she benefits from, but often refuses to do, I turned around for the hour-long drive back home, so she could nap.

That day didn't turn out so bad, because after nap, we went to the local pool, which has been a really good place to hang for us this summer. I'm only bummed we haven't been able to go more, either because of the weather being either too cold (June) or too hot and muggy (a lot of July), or because of summer colds. Of which there's turning out to be many.

Today we missed another fun toddler morning at the pool, while I took Lilly to the doctor. It was reassuring on two levels: it's probably just viral (though her cough sounds like an old smoker's gags), and the doctor said he's seen a lot of viral infections like that lately. We're not the only ones!!

That last part in particular helped to boost my mood; because though we have, truthfully, been able to do a lot of fun summer things that we don't typically get to do during the rest of the year, I feel like there are so many fun things we've had to cancel lately. BBQ invitations. Pool dates. Park concerts. Play-dates. My bi-weekly yoga class. Evening walks with my neighbor.

This isn't all because of illness; because Lilly now more often than not, will not nap, she and I are both so tired by dinner time, that I don't feel much like leaving the house. While Lilly might get wired up again for a party or a concert (though rest would benefit her too), I just feel like hunkering down at the house. And this is probably what I'm the most depressed about; that I'm not like so many of my mama-friends who seem to have an abundance of energy, or even if not; the will and ambition to push through with a plan. To face late afternoon traffic for a visit to Como park and zoo in Saint Paul, an hour away. Plan fun excursions and then have the energy to go do something before dinner. Work out in the evening. Go to a baseball game, a concert, the pool during dusk. Even get some writing done.

I know, I know, comparing myself with others will not get me anywhere but down the hill.

I guess my problem is that I'm kind of ambitious myself. I was the one who completed completed my Ph.D. and had a tenure track position at 27. As an academic, I worked on average 70 hours a week, cranking out papers, developing new courses, devoting hours to committee work and student advising. And I found time to exercise, and party. With that as my track record, I figured I could easily be a full time mom and get lots of writing done while still get exercise and time with friends.

Not true. There are so many sacrifices. You choose one thing, you loose another. And that's a really hard lesson to learn. I may find comfort in a book that lays it out, like The Mask of Motherhood. But it's a constant lesson to learn for me. This time it was the words of a friend, and the doctor's comment, that helped me regain perspective and let go of the struggle to "do it all," at least for now.

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