This weekend Monkey was a part of something that made me very disappointed in her. She and a friend wrote a snarky little note and gave it to a girl much younger than they at a birthday party.
When I found out about the note I came to Monkey and asked her if she and her friend had written it. She took responsibility for her share in the smallness and said yes.
Then I asked her to imagine being a little girl at a party. I asked her to imagine trying so hard to play with the bigger kids and being so excited when they gave you a note. Imagine clutching the note in your hands the whole way home, proud of it, excited to hear what it says. Maybe it’s your first note ever. Imagine handing it to your Daddy to finally learn what it says only to see his face fall as he reads it. Imagine learning it’s not nice.
Then Monkey did something that made me so proud of her. She teared up, jumped out of her seat, and said “I need to write her an apology right now.”
Monkey was very upset that she and her friend had hurt this little girl’s feelings and cried when she thought about how disappointed and upset she must have been to learn the cherished note had been a mean trick instead of a welcome.
We designed a nice homemade card, picked out some stickers to give the little girl, and Monkey wrote out a lovely apology in her own words, ending with “I hope you can forgive me because I would like to be your friend.” Then she and I had a good long talk about how everything we do has an affect on someone else. I told her that each decision we make can make someone else’s day better or worse and that the best thing you can do is just be kind to people.
I am so proud that my kiddo was able to put herself in this little girl’s shoes and genuinely feel for her. I am still upset that she chose to behave in such an ungenerous way but I am pleased she was so ready to do her best to fix it. It makes me feel as though we are on the right path.
Law school taught me to work weekends. It taught me to stay up late into the night, get up early in the morning, and work through lunch. It taught me that a weekend spent purely on play was a weekend wasted. The school lectured about work-life balance but the lectures fell on ears made deaf by too many tales of competition for the top of the class and the jobs available to those who made it. Those of us who treated school like a full time job resigned ourselves to feeling like slackers and missing out on the top 10%.
I wish I hadn’t drunk of that sweet mad potion. It’s insidious flavor grips me in my sleep, pulling me out of dreams and into the land of midnight research and complaint writing. It keeps me at the local coffee shop all night long typing away. It tells me I should spend one day of each weekend working and I have a hard time ignoring it’s siren call.
My new years resolution will be to spend the weekend playing. I plan to cage my work beast and let it out only when it’s appropriate. This working all the time thing is making me lose sight of my reasons for working in the first place.
Here I was, just working too much and running around like a crazy person, when this little baby girl I once knew grew forty feet, entered the third grade, joined the band and got GLASSES!! Now she is playing the flute, reading everything she can get her hands on, playing chess on the computer in her downtime and borrowing clothes from her Aunty Mop. (Granted my dear friend is a very small woman, but STILL!)
Between my contract position, my family, and my practice I have been averaging about 14 hours a day. I have been working on weekends. I have not touched a dish or the mop.
(I finally hired someone to take the housework burden off my husband, the dear man has had weeks of 14 hour days too what with all my slack lying around for him to pick up.)
I am struggling to decide if I should sign up for the next project. We are revelling in having enough money to go around for a change but I am losing my momentum, my sleep, and my mind. My son is miserable with me leaving for work everyday and has started crawling into my lap and crying “No work! No work!” when I get ready to leave in the morning. My daughter is acting out even more now that she is getting even less of my time and attention. I haven’t had a date with my spouse in weeks and I wouldn’t be able to stay awake for one even if I did.
On the other hand, the holidays are coming up and this is the first year in three when we have the opportunity to start the holiday season with surplus cash. We can get new loft beds for the kids room and open up more of their small space for play. We can get actual gifts for people this year instead of little tokens. We can travel to see family, splurge on a nice hayride or two, and enjoy a holiday season relieved of the stress of an extraordinarily tight budget.
All I have to do is continue with the work marathon and forgo many more weekends. I am not sure what I should do. On the one hand I am enjoying being a regular contributor to the family bank, on the other I miss slow days spent reading to my son and making pie with the kids. I miss my role as Mom more than I enjoy what I am doing but I am so tired of just not making it.
I wonder if I will feel like a complete failure if I walk away and go back to a paycheck to paycheck existence as I wait for my cases to close.
Managing life with chronic illness requires savvy spoons