saturday (tired)

It’s been two weeks since I was last here, and I didn’t even realize that I missed last Saturday. I worked for two weeks straight, including the holiday and the weekend. I must have just moved into auto-pilot mode for awhile, and kept most of the processing of things in my own headspace.

I’m in a much better place than I was two weeks ago. My parents returned from an overseas trip, and I was able to fill them in on things and talk it out a bit. I met a friend for a walk in the garden, and that helped even more. M sent me little notes and photos and posts of things of interest to distract me and energize me. I tried to eat more. And sleep more. I failed at both, but it was worth a shot.

In the meantime I finished a big project at work, and advanced another, while holding down the fort on a couple more. I planned and executed a tenth birthday party to the exacting standards of said ten-year-old, and I tucked four small exhausted children into bed at just after midnight last night. The fifth not-so-small teenager put herself to bed with the door firmly shut long before the little ones.

I balanced all of the things for all of the minutes of all of the days, and only dropped a few of them. My head is tired, and needs a break. I found some of that in running today, and then cleaning. A little more of it in reminiscing about other birthday weekends as I cleaned and talked to the girls. A Friday afternoon party is sort of a logistical nightmare for an overworked mama, but the weekend unfolded this morning in a deliciously unstructured way, so no complaints on the flip side of it.

The little one is mad about an eight o’clock bedtime, but I’m standing firm. Sleep is a present, she just doesn’t realize that yet. It’s a gift I’d like to register for, thank you. She was so miffed she said she didn’t want me to read to her, so I left her to her own reading. She’s calling me now with an apology, she’s changed her mind, she’d like me to come back up and snuggle in. She’s still my little one, sleepy and warm in the crook of my arm.

saturday (blues)

I finally kicked the poison oak (and the steroid habit), and thought I might settle back into a regular sleeping pattern again. The bags under my eyes are pretty rough looking, although I might be mitigating a bit of it by drinking my weight in water each day. I still don’t have much of an appetite, but I can trick myself into eating with good food, so that’s been my game plan of late.

I feel reluctant to be both vague and borderline melodramatic here, but it is Saturday, and I’ve pledged to sit down at some point every Saturday here and write about what’s on my mind, so that’s where I am.

I suppose the best way to be vague is to just go for it. An opportunity presented itself rather out of the blue on Sunday, we worked at a near frantic pace for three days to research, reach out, organize, and implement some sort of plan of action; only to find out that in the eleventh hour the rules had changed a bit, the time pressure was more intense, the opportunity for further reflection and negotiation was lost. And so we missed out on something that was never really guaranteed, but at least looked like a viable option for many of the hours leading up to the final call. I know, that’s about as vague as it gets.

So now I am sad. Not a spiraling sadness; not something that I can’t see a way out of. Just a gentle, nudging sadness, one that feels like it’s dulling my senses a bit, and pulling my shoulders down into a stoop.

Today has been the toughest. Likely because it’s the first day I’ve had the time to reflect on everything without the distractions of work days and evenings. It hit me like a punch in the gut as I was walking in the garden – somewhere in the middle of all of these blooming beauties. It hasn’t gone away yet – it almost feels like it’s growing. It leaves me feeling confused.

Maybe it’s not really sadness. Maybe it’s more like regret. I really don’t want it to be regret. I work hard to be decisive, to not linger over hard decisions, or second guess outcomes. Those are pet peeves of mine that I work hard to avoid in my life. It’s not working here.

I have big regrets, really big ones. I should have been able to make this work. Even in a short time. Even with stringent limitations. Even when it seemed like too much of a risk. And I’m realizing that I really, really despise the feeling of regret. It feels like too close a sibling to guilt – something I’ve been trying to ban completely from my life.

I feel like I’ve worked really hard to get to a point where I’m confident in my abilities to do hard things, important things, quick things, necessary things, occasionally spectacular things of epic proportions. I fail often, but my turnaround time is the quickest it’s ever been. I should have been able to make this work. I should have been able to craft a detailed plan, a creative strategy, a persuasive stance, a winner. And I didn’t. I couldn’t. Sometimes I can pull time out of thin air. Sometimes I pull out big ideas, crazy ideas. Sometimes they work. And this time, when I really wanted it to work, it didn’t.

This feeling is uncomfortable to sit with. I hope it fades soon, and doesn’t just settle in for the long run. There is so much to be grateful about and excited for. I just really, really wanted it to be this.

saturday (summer)

Yesterday marked the start of summer, and I’m just so ready. We’ve never gone on a summer vacation before summer actually starts, but we planned our California trip early so that we could miss the summer crowds at many of the places we were visiting. There was something sort of exciting about wrapping up school and hopping directly onto a plane. But it meant the pace of May was even more frenetic than normal – and when we returned we were already in the middle of June, and it took several days just to wrap our heads around that concept.

The girls have a slightly calmer summer schedule this year. They are getting older, and are more self-sufficient, and camps get so expensive and require a lot of shuttling. So June is a pretty quiet month before they both do a few favorite summer camps in July. They’ve refused to get back on any sort of regular sleep schedule post-vacation. They continue to operate on Pacific Standard Time – and a late version of PST at that. 

If we’re Instagram friends, then you know that I brought home a nice allergic reaction to Pacific Coastal Red Oak – and I’m almost through two weeks of oral steroids to deal with it. It made for a few uncomfortably itchy days, but the weirdest side effect for me was the inability to sleep while on the steroids. I slept less than fifteen hours total the first week I was on them, but as I’ve tapered down, the sleep is returning. The upside was that they made me very productive and focused at work, which was certainly helpful after being out of the office for two weeks. If given the choice between the pros and cons, I’ll take good sleep any day.

I finished sorting through all of our vacation photos last night, and I have a few mini-photo projects still to work on. So instead of posting more trip photos, I thought I’d post these recent garden photos of poppies. We saw so many poppies in California, and they are really one of my favorite flowers. Seeing these photos in my files when I returned brought back a little of that vacation feeling. I’m holding onto as much of it as possible.

We’ve had so much rain, and the rivers are so high and flooding. Even in the gray, drippy mornings, these flowers seem to sing. When I see them, it feels like taking a deep breath, re-centering once again, a pause to watch in wonder at the structure of each bloom.

They’ve been just what I’ve needed in these weeks with a high-running motor, and the missing of long outdoor vacation days stretching ahead of me. They’ve reminded me that I can fit in walking and hiking and running into any day at all, anywhere that I happen to be.