Conventions, Family, and Making Choices

Shipping day, booth set up day, and post-con accounting day are when I discover which out of hundreds of things I failed to adequately track. That is the not fun part, when I realize that I’ve failed to do some simple thing and because of it life is more complicated. The problems are usually small and often easily resolved, but there is a voice in my head which berates me for failing to anticipate and prevent the problem. This is one of the reasons that I was glad that events conspired for me to take a break from being with Howard at major conventions. I had to figure out how to disconnect that angry voice in my head. Once the event is in motion it does not matter whose fault it is that we’re about to run out of tape. What matters is sending someone on a quick run to the store to buy more tape. Problem solved, on we go.

After I dropped Howard at the airport (he’s headed to GenCon) I came home and sat in my hammock to think. It was the first real pause I’d had all day. As part of our preparations for the three big conventions, we got to talking about the big events we have scheduled for next year. Worldcon will be in London next year, and the conversation made clear that Howard assumed I’d want to go. In my mind I’d been assuming that I would not be going. I’d love to go. We could come up with the money somehow, but childcare is the issue. One a daily basis I don’t have to seek out babysitters anymore, but if I’m going to be gone for a week or more, I have to make sure that my kids are cared for. There are three events in 2014 that I would like to be able to attend, I’m not certain which of them I’ll be able to manage. I thought about that as I swung in the hammock. And while I was thinking about the professional things I’m giving up in service to my ongoing parenting project, I also spent some time thinking about what family things I would have to give up in order to attend all the professional events that interest me. I have to choose. I am fortunate to be able to choose between things I want instead of having only bad options.

Howard is at GenCon where he will work hard, be with friends, feel exhausted, laugh loud, and come home with stories. I am a little sad that I am not there. I’m a little sad that it makes sense for me to be the one to stay home. I feel cliche about that sometimes. In two weeks Howard will be at WorldCon. Again he will be surrounded by friends and I will be home making sure the kids settle in to their school routines. I will be participating in the booth running for Salt Lake City Comic Con, but the exact schedule and extent of my participation has yet to be determined. I’ll get at least a partial professional event this fall.

On the other hand, I’ll be spending this final week before school with my kids. We’ll get to go on a final outing (if Gleek gets over her sore throat and fever). I’ll be here to sit with Kiki in church on the last Sunday before she departs for college. I’ll get to organize and clean, prepping back packs and school schedules. I wouldn’t want to miss any of that. There are so few days left. Part of me wants to slow down and savor. A larger part wants to jump ahead because things are going to change and we might as well get the change made so we can settle in.

I thought about all of this as I swayed gently in the warm evening. Then I thought of nothing much at all, because today began with a half day of shipping, was followed up by last minute convention-preparation, and then a 90 minute drive to drop Howard at the airport. I was tired. I am tired. Bedtime needs to be early tonight and all the rest of the decisions and things to do can wait until a different day.