What to do, what to do….

So, if you’ve been following along at home, you know a request for proposal for presentations at a conference on a topic I know something about came out. I thought of a way I could weave my current interests with my legal expertise. I quickly read a bunch of books and burned through JSTOR (thank you, public library). I felt motivated and excited and was enjoying research for the sake of research.

Then, while on an endless, completely unrelated conference call, stuck in my (home) office today (yes, today), I wondered…why?

I mean, really. Why? What’s the point? It’s not like I’d get paid for it.

This is interesting to me, and I’m enjoying the research, but is it going to turn into a job? No. The last time I volunteered any time for this organization I was treated like crap. Does my adding another little bullet point to my resume make me more employable? Um, probably not. I’m not likely to ever work in an academic setting, and litigators don’t care that I know esoterica about the early Republic. Heck, am I employable?

This year has been so insane, it’s gotten to the place where it’s like my natal family. If asked about how things are going (or what my childhood was like) I make a funny face and I open my mouth and…I don’t even know where to start. I don’t. My psychiatrist once asked me why I abruptly stopped when I was telling a story about my childhood. “Because I’m not sure which rabbit hole to go down next,” I said. “There are so many and they all require backstory.” I ended up giving him a list of options. He unhelpfully suggested that I choose which was most relevant to me.

Last year I decided I would do two things this year (I set a low bar, but I was in the middle of a three month migraine bender): I would write down something for which I was grateful every day, and I would practice German every day. I have! I also am good at writing down three things I plan to accomplish daily, and usually accomplishing them. I take my vitamins and (burp-less) fish oil and Vitamin D with German-like regularity. It’s not glamorous, but there you are.

I have not been good about playing the piano (or any other instrument), meditating (I’ve done it 75 times this year, total, according to Lift), or running. Oh, well. I have lost weight, because new food allergies are great for that.

I don’t even know where I’m going to live this time next year. The same city? The same country?

Most days involve teaching pH, and again, if you’ve been playing along, not by choice. They also involve museums, music lessons, swimming lessons, martial arts. I am grateful I can do these things. I am grateful I have the time with my daughter, except for the times when I am not because she is being very, very contrary. I am full of respect for women who are working office hours and schlepping kids to lessons and appointments, too. It is such a time suck that I honestly have no idea how to manage it. Every time I want to bitch about squeezing in writing around the margins, I remember how hard it was when I was litigating and I feel slightly less sorry for myself. (If you’re one of them, and if I were wealthy, I would give you all spa days because you’ve earned them.)

And recently pH has been difficult, and I have been frustrated–and while that’s probably normal, it makes me feel terrible. Guilty. (This is probably a holdover from childhood: my mother did not give a rat’s ass about my feelings–not that I was singled out; she didn’t care about anyone’s but her own.) I shouldn’t feel anything but joy and patience and love for the preemie, quirky, highly strung, bright, demanding kid who went to a sad Veterans’ Day parade today but loved every frozen minute of it (granted, she’s never seen a good parade, and I wasn’t going to rain on hers)* and who is over the moon that she just lost a tooth. And wants to show me the stump, although it is on the list of things about which I am squeamish…I managed it.

Somewhere, if he knew, my father is losing his shit at the idea of his grandchild wearing a 100-year-old heirloom/military antique to a public parade.

Somewhere, if he knew, my father would be losing his shit at the idea of his grandchild wearing a 100-year-old heirloom/military antique to a public parade.

[Since we’re in the middle of a crazy windstorm, I’m grateful we laid in a store of extra stuffed animals before her birthday. Given how well that went...]

So she lost her shit at OMSI when I didn’t rescue her. She pushes me (slowly, but not subtly) out of the way when we do Zumba on the Xbox. (KH: “I foresee separate Zumba training sessions.”) But…yet she knows all the minutia of Minecraft (has read books, watched videos) but doesn’t play it, because…I think she just wanted to know how it all worked? She doesn’t know how to start? Why isn’t she doing better at swimming? (This, apparently, was something that kH’s mother was baffled by with him: it took him a long time to be a good swimmer.)

This crap doesn’t matter, and yet in my little bubble world, it does. Who am I to judge? I’ve been trying to be a human shield between her and bat-shit-crazy; usually I succeeded, but not always. She’s honestly entitled to be neurotic.

For five years, my life has been about managing two people, as one became less functional and the other became more functional. I functioned…mostly. Usually. I took my vitamins and practiced my German and found things to be grateful for. I don’t get migraines every day. Yay?

So this existential crisis seems very selfish. I used to tell kH he needed to hurry up and get better so I could have a mental breakdown, but that joke only lasted until the point he reached bottom, and then it was–oh, crap. Do we get normal again? Well, we’re close to normal now, and now what? I don’t know. Most of it depends on whether kH stays where he is or if he gets a different position. There was a time in my life when that uncertainty would have driven me crazy, but ha-ha-ha, I have perspective now.

Ah, well. Maybe next time.

*There were no bagpipes, FFS. And I draw the line at throwing candy–how incredibly vulgar to throw candy at spectators. Has this been a thing for a while? I’m not a parade person, but I don’t remember it from childhood. For one, it ends up ON THE ROAD. For another, who are you, feudal lords dispensing largesse? It’s Veterans’ Day, not Mardi Gras. The Oregon Secretary of State nearly pelted pH in the head and you have no idea how hard it was not to chuck it back at her.