My life used to seem busy. After all, I had a full-time job. For awhile, I had another part-time job on top of that. I volunteered. I spent part of the week in one house and part in another. I had a large, close-knit family who were always doing something. I cooked dinner every night. I went for a walk every day.
Now I know I didn't know what being busy was. In the past twenty-four hours, I've served over 20 meals, changed about 15 diapers, and changed somebody's clothes 12 times. I've had an oil spill, two eruptions, and 345 instances of tears, many occuring concurrently. I've read or told at least six stories and washed or folded six loads of laundry. Someone is always moving, and as a general rule every person in the house and at least two appliances need attention at the exact same moment.
The month I spent traveling around the state promoting a new curriculum while studying for an unexpected bar exam seems serene and straightforward by contrast. The only job that I can imagine providing a similar sense of nonstop crisis would be managing an emergency response station during a natural disaster.
Sometimes I lay down to rest and find I can't because my mind is spinning, trying to process everything that has just happened and subconsciously convinced that someone, somewhere, has just gotten into my makeup drawer again. Even if everyone who might is temporarily immobilized.
I used to think that the comment "You'll have your hands full," was a figure of speech. Now I know that it is quite literal. I almost always have someone in at least one arm, often on both. I think of efficient things I should do--take this here, move that there--but I can't because my hands are full.
But I think I can feel my brain expanding to the new challenge. Eventually you learn to do more with your feet, your elbows, and your nose. Eventually your brain adapts to the constant adrenalin and indeed even thrives on it. I probably would go through withdrawal now at a lower level of adrenalin. That's probably what empty-nest syndrome is.
And to think, this is just with two.