When Howard goes on a trip, packing is always a source of worry for him. This is not because packing is complicated. Packing just ends up as the focal point for all the various stresses ahead. When Howard gets within a day of departure and his bag is not yet packed, he gets anxious and cranky. He needs the physical representation of being prepared.
Last night I sat in my chair after writer’s group and stress descended upon me. Howard saw it and asked if I was all right.
“You know that feeling you have when you’re leaving on a trip and you’re not packed yet?” I answered. “I feel that right now and I think it is focused on the childcare situation.”
My statement was a tightly controlled response, deliberately calm in opposition to how I actually felt. Odd that I can feel that everything will be fine and also want to jitter in panic at the same time.
“Sounds like making childcare arrangements is first on tomorrow’s list.” Howard said.
And so it was. I now know where the kids will be while I am in California and Howard is at CONduit in Salt Lake. I have the framework upon which I can build meal plans and instructions for the kids. I will arrange things and then I will let go.
I am not the only one planning for this weekend. Several weeks ago we pondered the logistics of Howard managing a dealer’s table by himself and determined that he needed a minion. We mentioned the job to Kiki along with the possibility that this might be a paid gig. There was a road block in that she would have to miss school on Friday. I set the problem aside to think about a different day, but Kiki did not. She talked to all of her teachers. She made arrangements to take a final exam early and to turn in homework assignments. She calmly and responsibly cleared Friday from any conflicts. She is going to CONduit with Howard and is quite excited about it.
Working a table is not the only source of excitement for Kiki. She is also putting some of her work into the art show. Yesterday included a last-minute scramble to select pieces and matte them. There were difficulties, matting is a skill which neither Kiki nor I possess at expert levels. But the job got done and the show is prepared. Whether or not her pieces sell, the experience of preparing for a show is a good learning experience for her.
Other preparations for this weekend involve Patch and Gleek. I have been working with them so that they are more independent at bedtime. For years our bedtime routines have been heavily dependent upon me being present. The structures were rigid. First snack, then reading with snack, then reading in bed after snack, then talking with mom, then a dozen excuses and delays, eventually sleep. A week ago I declared that they needed to practice putting themselves to bed. It was their job to track the time and get everything done. The results have been mixed. I’m still heavily involved in keeping them focused, but bedtime has been more fluid and they are beginning to step up and take responsibility rather than shouting at me if I try to skip steps due to the late hour. I don’t know how well bedtime will go when I am removed from the equation, but they have better ground work for success than they did a week ago.
The preparations are coming together. The pieces are starting to line up. My clothes are not yet in a suitcase, but I am beginning to feel packed.