Evidently, my last post was created 17 months ago (that’s how we say it when we have kids. One thousand billion months). That’s about how long I’ve felt completely underwater. But you know what? More recently, I’ve been finding myself looking around suspiciously, wondering why I’m not anxious or stressed or frustrated. I think it’s because, after almost four years, I’m close to being out of the woods. I’m standing at the edge of the woods, sticking my arm out and gauging the weather on the other side. I have been so far from that for what feels like so long that I really have no idea if it’s raining or what over there (there’s no earthly way of knowing…which direction we are going…). I mean, I’m here, I can see you and you can see me, but I’m not really here.
That’s what it feels like. At least for me. Having kids really knocked me on my ass.
My kids are 3.66 and 1.83 (repeating of course). And I’ve finally made it to a point where I don’t feel desperately stressed, frustrated, and exhausted.
Not that it’s easy now or anything, especially because in some ways it’s like mo’ years, mo’ problems. We are now navigating the odyssey of preschool special education for my son and that has been difficult and uncertain. But we’re handling it.
I didn’t have a full night of sleep for 18 months. I was inhuman. My daughter was sleeping in our bed with us, not because we’re into cosleeping (because ostensibly we are not), but because we didn’t have a place for her to sleep other than that for a little while. And she was up allllll night every night. Now she has her own space and we sleep trained and she is sleeping through the night and I feel like the HILLS ARE ALIVE WITH THE SOUND OF MUSIC. And she probably feels that way too.
And this effing renovation that has been going on now actively for over a year, and conceptually for over two. We had to bug out and live with my in-laws for three months, which incidentally covered the two months leading up to and one following the election. Guess who they voted for. We had to live in the same house with them through all of that which had to have taken at least a year off of my life. Listening to Rush Limwhateverthefuck every day while my kids ate lunch. Meanwhile commuting an hour and a half for my son’s preschool. The only thing that kept me sane was what we were certain would happen on November 8. But then that didn’t happen. At the same time, how generous and welcoming they were to have taken us in. I don’t know what we would have done without them. Most of the time no one spoke of politics and it was ok. It was an interesting time.
I haven’t forgotten this blog.
I think of it often. I’ve been thinking of this particular post quite a bit. Because, how much is there to say after a year and a half of absence? I think about it every possible place and time that I am unable to actually write it.
I had two goals in 2016: 1. to complete a trail race series that took place over the course of the year and 2. to apply to doctoral programs.
Just those two goals for the entire year, but fit into spare minutes and half-hours here and there. You know there’s no time when you’re home with two kids under four. Yes you are at home, but no, you have no free time. It is a time prison. You are not necessarily busy when you have young kids? But you are completely blocked (blocked!) from doing anything at all other than fully engaging with them from wake-up to sleep. I had to manage my time differently, which meant I couldn’t really write here.
I worked my ass of last year. I worked harder on my applications to grad school than I think I’ve ever worked on anything in my life and it was still a leap- these programs are so competitive and we can’t move so the pool of programs I could apply to was very small. The odds were rough. I took the GRE (both subject and general) tests with the cumulative effect of over a year of not-enough sleep, I spent two hours awake in the middle of the night cleaning vomit out of my daughter’s hair and crib the night before the most important interview of my life. I ran the last race of the series with a healing sprained ankle and what was probably a respiratory infection. There is no getting upset about it or even spending any time thinking about it, this is just the way things are now. Conditions are never going to be optimal for me and I have recalibrated to that. And you know what? I feel like I am actually performing better in some ways. My focus is sharper, my determination is stronger, and the only person I am competing against is myself.
In the trail race series I finished second in my division, seventh overall woman. The first race of the 2017 season is in about six weeks.
I am starting a full-time doctoral program in September. I just found out that I received a fellowship.
I am clawing my way back.
Image credit: that’s me. that’s my new arm. I am a person again.