Something to Chew On

I am here writing for a few reasons, but the foremost one is to distract myself from eating a second croissant because obviously the first one was so good.

But more so I’m here to iron things out. There is a decision I need to make and neither choice is ideal or easy. Hence the croissant.

Last night was the first night in a few days that Rory went to bed fever-free. I let it slip that I was looking forward to sleeping through the night. Rory thought this was silly because despite the fever, he’d slept fine the night before. So I was honest and told him I’d been awake wondering how he was but not wanting to wake him. William overheard this and just said, ‘wow, you’re the best mom.’ He went on to explain that it’s just really nice to hear how much I care. My heart is still slightly skipping a beat when I remember my almost 14 year old saying this to me. Rory, only 11, still thought I was silly.

I jump around, I find it tricky to stick with things. I grew up with a mom who suffered from extreme mental illness and rode her emotions daily. Her good days were mine, etc. It’s kind of the same now, and it is with most parents, however extreme their kids high or lows are, you go up and down with them. What I’m getting at is that I have found it tricky over the years to find a lot of consistency in my own endeavors, especially writing. I got a job teaching grade 6/7 straight out of OISE, I was 24. I wore overalls and braided pigtails the week before school started when I was in my own classroom painting bookshelves. I got yelled at for trespassing by a teacher who I’d yet to meet. There was a money pool that I’d never last the year. I did. I taught that class and special ed for the next 8 years, with one mat leave when William was born.

I did one more year and got pregnant with Rory when Scott got a job at UW, so we moved. Things for teaching had changed quickly and in order to go back after another mat leave I would have had to start at the bottom and work my way back up. I didn’t, I happily stayed home until Rory was in kindergarten. We spent our days in the library down the street and after a year volunteering some nights a week, they hired me to work circulation.

It was a mat leave that I was covering but before it ended I managed to get hired permanently in the same role but another position. I loved those years and some of my best friends today are those women I worked with. I moved to another branch when I got a job as a Children’s Programmer, the hours were doubled. It was a huge change to our family life but I loved it until things got to be hard at about a year’s mark when William got sick. I can tell you the date and the time (I’m not kidding, it hit him that hard and that fast) when life completely turned upside down – that hour of space marking Before and After. He was in grade 5 and my side of the story to tell here is that I quit my job by the end of the week. He was home for a few months. I didn’t do this alone, Scott took off every minute, and day and week he could, it was a two person job. After six months the library (who is wonderful and so supportive) offered me a part time position in the Children’s department and on the Info desk upstairs in the Adult department. I did that happily (albeit more than not I was coming into work pretending the world wasn’t still falling apart, but who doesn’t do that from time to time?) until this past October when things took another turn. Things are good (and so good) and not good everyday. Mostly, they are just still so very unpredictable.

The kids start grade 7 and 9 this fall, I can barely believe it. New schools for both. Obviously, it’s going to be hard. So it doesn’t take a genius to guess what my decision is, with my going back to work date looming for next month.

I started this post wanting to write less about the specifics and more about how reading has been the most consistent thing in my life for as long as I can remember and how grateful I am for that (reading the Ferrante series when I quit my job three years ago was the best reading experience I’d ever had). But then I ate a croissant and my mind decided to go another way.

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