I am so tired tonight I can hardly keep my eyes open. Ol was up at 4am with a nightmare, and I was never able to get back to sleep. I spent the day at school taking photographs of students new and old, some nervous, some utterly at home, some keen on talking, some inward and unsure as we all have been some or many times. Some of these bright faces I've known for up to six years; some of those are like my own nieces and nephews. When I interact with these children, I feel lucky that my own boys get to learn and spend time with them.
I didn't bother counting how many of the same routes I drove on repeat today. I was just happy I could keep the windows rolled down, a fall breeze gusting through as (mostly) good music played.
Sometime, ages ago, I made it to yoga. I had to leave early to be at school, but the 65 minutes I spent centered on my mat were tremendous. And I don't mean that in any way but literal. The woman next to me twice dropped bagged crystals from her cleavage -I am not kidding- and finally laid them all on her blanket. Beyond that momentary distraction (and, admittedly, the time I spent periodically throughout today pondering substantially-sized crystals housed in billowy mesh bags of various pastel hues tucked in a lycra yoga tank and yet still tumbling forth), I was so grateful for the quiet time in which I was to focus on me. My breath. My practice. My strength. My connection with all around me. Yoga. From the Sanskrit "yug" meaning to join, unite, yoke.
There's also an element of subjugation in that Sanskrit meaning, but I'm not going there. Except in the ways it makes me consider how often I do subjugate my needs to those of the loved ones I tend and the issues I care about and advocate for. Which are decisions I want to make. But still. It is essential to step back sometimes, and yet, despite decades of practice, I continue to find doing so a challenge.
Tom hugged me last night, and half-jokingly quoted from Good Will Hunting: "It's not your fault, it's not your fault."
"It is!" I replied. "I never say 'no."
"No, honey, I know that. I mean, it's not your fault if another volunteer doesn't step up. That doesn't mean you have to fill in."
Food for thought. But I am getting better.
The boys have had a marvelous first week of school. Their school. That dreamy, exceptional place whose cost makes me quiver but which always seems worth it. And god are we forever so damn fortunate to be able to do this. Truly. I think about the rather lousy education I had access to growing up, how flummoxed by everything I was when I got to college, how desperately I had to work to catch up. I learned so much during the catch up, but it was a bear of a challenge, would have been easier to build along the way instead of tacking up a foundation, shell, necessities, and an addition all on short notice. But alas. My lucky boys.
Today during my pictorial tour of the student body I happened across Ol's class. He didn't see me at first but I saw him. Racing across the playground, sweaty and mussed, eyes flashing with joy, voice without a care in the world calling out to old friends and brand new ones. He spotted me and ran over, draping himself atop and across me. "Oh, mama, I love to see you at school. I love you! Can I help you?"
Did I ever feel that gleeful and free in third grade? In second? In fourth? I am nearly certain I didn't. What about the glee I felt today in Ol's embrace? And in Jack's when I picked him up? Hard to articulate that, really.
And yet in this soft, fuzzy skein of love also threads a few strands of overwhelm, a chokehold that I thought would have loosened by now. No one tells you motherhood doesn't get easier. I mean, it does in some ways, but in others, no dice.
We desperately needed to go to the grocery store this afternoon, after I'd left the lower school, raced to the middle school to get Jack, raced back to the lower school to get Ol. I had been gone from home since 8:30am and was sweaty and beat. And the thought of taking both kids with me to the market just before the 5pm crowd descended was not something that made me enthused. It made me feel yoked and overwhelmed and pissy about being out of milk.
The kids were not badly behaved, but let's just say they weren't calm, either. We left with milk but also three pints of ice cream and the most bizarre assortment of items for "picnic dinner." And my head was spinning. I felt like one of those malfunctioning Fembots in Austin Powers, all blowing gaskets and puffs of smoke and lolling eyes.
I don't have any words of wisdom to tidy this post up with. I feel rusty and dry here which vexes me to no end. But I made it to yoga, and I saw my boys in their elements today, and I helped out and met some new people and hugged lots of old friends and the greatest teachers who guided my children and are now friends, and I still managed to cook us all dinner and tuck my boys in. And there is a lot of love swirling around. Lots of memory of this day sixteen years ago when I lived in New York and a dark plume of smelly smoke and ash and char and destruction blew up the avenues towards my apartment.
Out of darkness most always comes light, even when you can't see it for a bit. I see it today but boy am I tired. Hope y'all are well.