(Re-posting this ridiculous video because of high relevance to what I’m talking about below. Also because it’s ridiculous.)
OK, so Kendrick’s been an official full-time student for about three weeks now.
And while life hasn’t made a 180 or anything – things are more or less clicking along as usual – there are definitely some differences between what life was like Before Grad School and what life is like During.
Some of these differences are good, some are bad, some are a mix of the two. An example of one that falls into that third category: the fact that I’m alone – and dealing with all that stuff that Life comes along with alone – a decent percentage of the time. The thing is, we realized about 48 hours into Orientation Week that having Kendrick commute every day was crazy. Mostly because two hours (minimum) of driving every day was going to cut way too much into studying time…which in turn was going to cut way too much into family time. So what we ended up deciding to do was find a cheap room for Kendrick to rent so that he could crash in New Haven a couple of nights a week. His schedule is flexible enough that he’s back and forth a lot, but it’s still good to have the option to stay there if he needs to. And while this is clearly the best decision for us and also means that I get to do my best starfish impression while laying in bed at night, that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t also get a little lonely.
The first night that Kendrick was gone, I ate dinner with Indy and then set him down in front of Sesame Street while I went into the kitchen to clean up. I noticed it then, of course – the fact that it was just me loading the dishwasher, scrubbing the pots, wiping the sink, doing the things that Kendrick usually does either alongside me or on his own while I’m off doing other stuff…but then I looked down, and next to the garbage pail I saw a little fluff-thing.
I’m lazy about fluff-things. I rarely pick them up; I think they’re vaguely creepy (there is always the chance that a bug is in there somewhere), and I also sort of assume they’ll continue on their way and find another home eventually. They generally don’t, but I am excellent at ignoring that fact until someone else deals with it.
But the other night I looked at that fluff-thing sitting there next to the garbage can, and all of a sudden it hit me: if I did not pick it up, it would be there the next morning when I woke up. And then it’d be there the morning after that.
Nothing – not one single thing – will happen if I don’t make it so.
If I don’t let out the dogs, no one will hear them whine and open the door. If I don’t pick up the milk, no one will swing by the store on the way home. If I don’t kill that spricket, it is going to live in my house and have spricket babies that will terrorize me forever and ever.
Two mornings ago, I stepped out my back door and directly into a spiderweb the size of a hammock, presided over by a spider approximately the circumference of a very large walnut. And freaked the fuck out. And then dealt with it (while screaming, obviously).
Leaks in the bathroom, dings in the car, trips to Costco, taking the garbage out and bringing the dogs in and changing the bulbs and fixing the dishwasher and making the food and giving the baths and trying to create at least moderately educational experiences for my child and getting work done somewhere in between all this. Small things like the fact that I don’t like emptying the drain in the sink because it grosses me out, and big things like the fact that Indy hit his head last night and it bled and I wanted someone there with me while I called the pediatrician and applied pressure with a paper towel. It’s all relatively ordinary stuff, of course, and it’s stuff that I should be (and am) able to handle. But it’s also kind of a lot.
Last time I was doing everything myself, it was just “myself” I was doing it for. Now there are more of us, and there’s more stuff to do. And I guess it’s a little overwhelming…but it’s also teaching me to just get it done, whatever “it” may be. Even if it’s late. Even if I’m tired. Even if I just don’t want to: I’ve got to get it done, one way or another.
And so the other night, I picked up the fluff-thing. (With a paper towel. You know: just in case.) And guess what? Fluff-things? They’re just fluff. All the stuff that I worried about doing on my own…it’s not actually all that scary at all. It’s just stuff I’ve got to do. So I’ll do it.