Two or three times a year, I get stuck in a funk. It’s usually around March. (Heck, it usually IS all of March.) September isn’t my standard time for murky thoughts — I like it too much. But I’m in a sort of gap at work (our new organizational structure gets announced Friday — my projects are going without much intervention, it makes no sense for me to ask my old boss for work and my new boss is too busy to delegate until I actually report to them). I hate being bored at work. Hate it. I complain about it when I’m working hard and barely have time to check my email, never mind craft long-winded blog posts on long-winded books. But I actually greatly prefer that to “looking busy”. I hate looking busy. I like BEING busy, as long as I get to go home at the end of the day.
Anyway, that’s the only external factor to my funkosity. (Well, that and the small hurts of life that young boys accumulate. Thane currently has a heck of a shiner, and Grey has a minor issue that I’m not going into on the internet.) Life as a young parent is hard. I’m sure it’s always been hard. Every time I go to complain, I read the Economist about childhood malnutrition rates, or catch the news about the violence happening 10 miles south of here, or read Herodotus with all the uncertainty and violence they experienced. I’m never unaware of how extremely and supremely lucky I am — joyfully married, two fantastic and healthy kids, two great jobs, a house with minute but existing positive equity that we really like, great neighbors, and excellent church that isn’t doing the horrible political blowups you sometimes witness, good health. Really. I know I have it all. (And I’ve read enough medieval literature to know that when you’re at the top of the Wheel of Fate, there’s only one direction to go. Fortunately, I’m not King yet.) But it’s still hard sometimes. (And yes, mom, I am getting exercise. I ran two miles yesterday and worked out on Monday too. So I’m bummed AND sore.)
A similar parent on my blog roll was writing this week about the tradeoffs of being a working parent, and it’s true. There’s a constant negotiation. There’s a constant option to feel like you are shortchanging someone. Most of the time I keep my balance, like a woodsman balancing on a log in the water, constantly running to stand still. Every once in a while I miss my footing, fall in, and have to climb back out again. I say this as a statement of fact. Not as a plea for help, or an excuse. That’s just where I am and what it feels like. I don’t know yet if it gets easier when you (they) get older. I’ve heard it doesn’t — that you trade food-throwing and tantrums for soccer practice and tantrums. I prefer not accept the conventional wisdom on older children. My husband and I were both pretty good teens (I’d say very good but there were about 6 months of my youth that were a touch rocky). Why should we necessarily assume our kids will be tougher than we were? Both our sets of parents either have amnesia, or seemed to rather enjoy being our parents. We can hope the same will be true for us.
Anyway, to sum up, I’m blue. I anticipate ceasing being blue next week, when I will resume being busy.
To get you out of the depressive slump I’ve just put you in, I offer Camp Gramp portraits! The pictures this year were done by the talented Coelynn McIninch. I’d like to commend her work and professionalism. She did a great job with the kids (no easy task) including the two big kids who are really hard to get to sit down for pictures (yes, I am speaking of my parents). If you’re in Massachusetts, I’d wholeheartedly recommend her for your portrait/wedding/baby needs!