Thursday, March 24, 2016

A moment

Sometimes, in the midst of the turmoil... after a long day... way past regular bedtime... in the middle of a Peter Rabbit story... there comes a moment of pure contentment. When everything seems right in the world, and the most important things are all within your grasp.

I cherish those moments.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Large and Not so in Charge

One of the things that scared me most from the time of Tony's diagnosis was the idea of being a single parent. Of course, the loss of Tony impacts my life in a thousand ways... but I'm just going to focus on this one part right now.

Not too many people set out to become single parents, and it's usually an unpleasant situation that makes them one. I certainly know I am not alone, and I don't know anyone who would say that being a single parent is easy. Knowing that does make me feel a little better, but it doesn't make the job any easier.

Right now, I have a lot going on. I'm organizing for the Conway Cup, I'm helping organize an event at Louise's day care, I'm on a board... and maybe I got myself in over my head. But the thing that seems to wear me down the most is parenting. I love my girls more than anything, and I can't imagine what life would be without them... but sometimes the thought of a weekend when we have nothing planned scares the daylights out of me. How am I going to survive those two unstructured days?

They fight, they ask for things, they want to watch TV, they play nicely together, they want to watch TV, they are bored, they ask for things... and repeat, repeat, repeat. That just covers the first hour they are awake. I am thankful for every day that I have with them, but I feel like I need to go to bed about 15 minutes after they do. (If you try to call me after 8:30, you've probably called too late)

The future is a dim and murky place and when I think about wrestling two girls through adolescence by myself... urgh. I won't even go there. I suppose some things will get easier... I won't always have to make their breakfast and wonder what disaster they are creating when they get quiet. But, other things will get harder.

I know I'm lucky to have them. I know I'm lucky I don't have to work right now. I know I'm lucky they have good schools to go to. I know I'm lucky in so many ways... but I'm also tired, so tired... and I know I'm earning those grey hairs I'm starting to see. I guess you can be lucky and worn out at the same time, and that's me. I hope it's not this hard for 14 more years... one day at a time has gotten me this far though...

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Rat History

I filled out the paperwork and officially re-entered the working world this week. I am going to be a part-time tutor to cadet athletes (the fancy term) at VMI.

First year students are loving known as "rats" at VMI, and they are required to take two semesters of world history... which is known as "rat history."VMI is a school that focuses on engineering, and so apparently a lot of rats struggle in those classes. Now, I can swoop in to assist them!

I haven't actually tutored anyone yet, but after mid-term grades come in, there might be a few requests for my help. I'm really looking forward to it.

I was excited to claim that I was once again gainfully employed, and at first, I felt silly. It's just a part time job, after all, and one for which I should be very well qualified. But then I stopped to think about it for a minute. It is really a huge moment in my life. I've been unemployed for nearly three years.... three of the most important years of my life. First, it was thrilling to be hired in a job (someone actually wants me to work for them?). Second, this is a huge step for me, at least symbolically. I'm reclaiming a part of my identity... a part of me that is not a caregiver... a part of me that had to be put aside in the last years. I never understood work in that way until I gave it up, first to spend a year with Cora when she was a baby, and then to take care of Tony. Maybe it's just because teaching is such a special profession (in both good and bad ways), but it was a part of me that I missed when it was gone. Maybe I wouldn't feel the same way if I was a digger of ditches. Maybe I would still be damn proud of those ditches (look at those ditches I dug!)... I don't know.

Anyway, I am embracing this moment, and being damn proud of my part time job. It's a job, and it's a step toward the future. I never could have imagined I'd have a job at VMI... you just never know what the future holds.

Monday, March 7, 2016

The Conway Cup 2.1

The Conway Cup was probably Tony's favorite day of the year. The smile never left his face on that day, and he loved every minute of it. Even when it became hard for him, he wanted to be there all day. 

Last year, he died the day before the Cup was scheduled, but we had already made the decision to postpone due to looming weather. It snowed at least a foot that day. We rescheduled for April, but most of the original teams couldn't make it so it was a much smaller Cup. It was still a great day, though.

It's a lot of work to put together a soccer tournament for up to 50 teams, and although I have helped with it every year, I have always just been Tony's assistant. In preparation for the 2016 tournament, I have been working as hard as I can to get it right. I know I want it to go well for Tony, I want him to be proud of me for pulling it off. But I also want it to go well for the cause, celebrating Tony and raising money for ALS. 

We made a decision to hold the tournament in April this year, instead of late February. Presumably, the weather will be better, and I wanted to be away for the weekend Tony died, instead of hosting a soccer tournament. We knew it was a gamble on whether or not the teams would show up. 

So now, we are one month away from the tournament and we only have six teams registered. I'm starting to wonder if the Cup will happen at all. I have been stressing about it big time, but I had a moment of zen last week. If the Cup doesn't happen, I will be disappointed, but I will not be defeated. I cannot make 50 teams register by force of will alone. And we can try again next year (maybe in February). 

It's probably some part of the state I am in to focus (bordering on obsession) on an event like this. It represents Tony's legacy, but it isn't the only part of that legacy. I'm hoping more teams will roll in, and we'll have a great day in April. If not, I know I tried (really hard).