Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Moving at the speed of life

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.


Jaclyn said...

I love how you put things! You verbalize what we all think in a very exact and humorous way! I think, as I look forward in my life, I am most "worried" about the stage of life you are living! Once the oldest child is 5 things seem to slow down a bit! But that is still 5 years.......

Rely on God's strength and thank HIM for HIS sense of humor in life and children!!!

Rose said...

Wow! That's a glimpse of a life beyond the pale...and I thought that learning to do everything one-handed was a stretch! Anyway, it helps clarify why the posts are fewer and farther between these days...but no less delightful when they do come. I've been wondering how things are going for you and wishing I lived near enough to bring you a meal. Consider happy thoughts to have been sent your way!

Anna Decker said...

*gasp!* Karen, you're scaring me! I feel overwhelmed now, just working full time, trying to keep house/cook/grocery shop, plus a few extra things here and there. I've been naively looking forward to slowing down once I have kids. :-)

I'm kind of a Realist (my husband calls it "Pessimist" from his lofty perch as one who is 150% an Optmist) so it feels better to be warned ahead of time of the possibilities and then be mentally prepared for the worst-case scenario, rather than be too hopeful and get let down later when things turn out to be more challenging than expected.

I always wonder how in the world moms who work full-time hold down the fort. I don't get it. Must interview a few of them.

the Joneses said...

It gets better when the kids are able to put on their own shoes, anyway. I count that as a major step of freedom for me. And in retrospect those harried, hurried early days do pass fairly quickly. It's just when you're in the middle of them that they last forever.

Take heart: my kids get into my makeup drawer, but only to play with their lip gloss (yes, yes, even Stuart). They leave all the rest alone. It will happen to you, too!

-- SJ

the Joneses said...

Great post. Thanks for taking the time, even when your hands are full.


Jeremy said...

I can't wait!

I worked until 6:30 AM yesterday, and 3:30 AM today. What do I have to show for it? Just some stuff checked off my work list.

You, on the other hand, have two of the most precious little-ones around.