It used to be that the church Halloween carnival was the biggest event of the year for my kids. It was planned for and anticipated. This year Patch decided he didn’t care to go. Link has opted out for the last several years. Kiki is off at college. Howard is up against a deadline. That left Gleek and I. She dressed up and spent all her energy to run games for younger kids. This is Gleek in her element. It had been my intention to dress up. Last year I’d decided I was tired of being the boring Mom, so I acquired pieces to make a costume.
Yet when this week arrived, I didn’t have the energy to care about being boring. I spent all of my energy helping Patch troubleshoot his stress and Link troubleshoot his only marginally functional homework system. Both were problems this week. We think we’ve figured them out, but the solutions for Patch require ongoing work from me in the form of enforced bedtimes and additional meals. (He grew half an inch in the last two weeks. Four inches since February. He’s stressed because his body is using all of his resources to add height.) The solutions for Link may involve the acquisition of a cell phone for him. This requires much thinking and budget calculation. There was also the issue of replacement coats before the freeze which is due this weekend. Library materials needed to be returned. Packages needed to be mailed. Basically I spent half the day driving from place to place in my car and making decisions at every stop, until my brain ran out of decision-making energy.
I sometimes teach a class on structuring life to support creativity and one of the points I always make is that changes work best, and are most likely to stick, when they are made only one or two at a time. On one level I’m applying that. I’m only making one or two changes for each kid, but the cumulative effect for me is a pile of things that I have to remember and haven’t yet turned into habits. When I was a kid I remember life having long stretches of sameness and I longed for something different to arrive. These days I just wish that life would hold onto a pattern long enough for me to become accustomed to it.