Take chaos. Add insanity. Woo hoo!
There are only two words to describe the past few weeks:
Our new nanny started this week. Our kids are in transition again, clingy to me, liking her but not sure of the stability of their world.
That would normally be enough chaos for me to handle.
Also, we need to completely clean out our basement by this Tuesday, so the construction can begin on our new, renovated (and flood-free) basement.
I have opened and sorted through boxes that we moved from California and left to gather dust in our storage room. Old teaching binders (does anyone actually use binders to keep track of lessons anymore?). Old boxes of…just stuff. Packing peanuts. Closet organizers we used in California but have never used here.
In many ways it feels good to purge, but to have every last paint can, tile remnant left by previous owners, wrapping paper roll, memorabilia box gone by next Tuesday?
Oh, and this weekend is out of the question because we’ll be at the in-laws’ house overnight for Alan’s triathlon early on Sunday morning.
And then, in the whirlwind of Goodwill runs and recycling, I got a call for an interview on Tuesday. I interviewed Wednesday. I got a job offer today (Thursday) for a .6 position at a high school north of here, teaching 3 sections of English 9 Honors. Starting Tuesday.
In a very strange and perhaps Zen sort of way, all of this makes me actually calmer. There are simply not enough minutes in the day to get info on curriculum, draft a syllabus (by the way, Parents’ Night is next Wednesday), plan a few lessons, read my teaching contract and the construction contract, clear out all the rest of the furniture and odds and ends from the basement, sell our washer/dryer, and on and on.
In toddler news, two transitions that I dreaded have occurred without much fuss at all. One night Alan decided not to give Jamie his pacifier; Jamie never asked for it, and he has been binky-free with little effect on his sleeping. (One down, two binky-addicts to go.)
The other day, Theresa and Audrey expressed interest in the potty that has been sitting in the living room for two months, for them to get used to the idea. The fact that they had also expressed interest in their new water bottles and had consumed probably 12 ounces of water in an hour contributed to them both peeing on the potty. Actually peeing, the first time they sat on it without a diaper.
So potty training begins.
And yet…and yet. I feel so at peace with this new job. Confident in my professional skills and abilities. Excited about flexing those creative and collaborative muscles. Thrilled to be back in a classroom, doing what I love and know. Thrilled to be learning again, learning for me, that I may help others learn.
This poem by Marge Piercy came back to me as I lamented not finding a job (as of three days ago):
To Be of Use
The people I love the best
jump into work head first
without dallying in the shallows
and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.
They seem to become natives of that element,
the black sleek heads of seals
bouncing like half-submerged balls.
I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart,
who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience,
who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward,
who do what has to be done, again and again.
I want to be with people who submerge
in the task, who go into the fields to harvest
and work in a row and pass the bags along,
who are not parlor generals and field deserters
but move in a common rhythm
when the food must come in or the fire be put out.
The work of the world is common as mud.
Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust.
But the thing worth doing well done
has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident.
Greek amphoras for wine or oil,
Hopi vases that held corn, are put in museums
but you know they were made to be used.
The pitcher cries for water to carry
and a person for work that is real.
I love being a mama. And that work is real, and it is HARD. Still, a desire came back, through the post-partum stage and after the beginnings of toddlerhood. The desire to be of use to a wider community. To grow as a teacher. To do the work I have always found meaningful and good, even as I often found it stressful and exhausting.
It will be stressful and exhausting. It will take time to adapt, to figure out this new rhythm in our family, to meet basic needs, to juggle all these flaming torches.
Next week I fully merge the Old Professional Me with the New Mama Me.