Friday, July 2, 2010

Mixed emotions, roles, and motives

 Lately the emotions flowing around here are rather like the convergence of multiple rivers: everything gets dumped in together for one wild set of rapids. A social worker from Big Guy's school asked yesterday how we're doing, and I told her that our strategy has been that when we're feeling A, we ride that wave. When we're feeling B, we ride it. When we're feeling C, we focus on that. And when we're feeling A and B and C all at once, we breathe deeply and wait it out.

Sometimes there's no way to integrate feelings. Andrew's father died four days after Eldest was born. Andrew is an only child, and his dad was his only close blood relative. On the one hand was the overwhelming joy of being a new dad; on the other was the grief of losing his own father. It was impossible to hold both feelings in the same grasp. Sometimes all we could do was hold the baby, and cry.

*             *              *                 *              *

The past two days, with fewer kids in the house and school over, I've gotten a lot of work done. The breathing room has given me a chance to see how much there is on my to-do list. It's not that different than what I handle normally, but when I can sit down and work for a solid block of an hour or two at a time, I'm more aware of the volume. 

I lose a lot of energy lost switching from Mom-the-Editor to Mom-the-Teacher to Mom-the-Mom to Mom-the-Writer. I've discovered that it is far more efficient to hyperfocus than to multitask. My strategy is to concentrate a huge amount of attention on whatever's at hand. I handle distractions (because they do come, frequently), by allocating a small corner of my brain to act as a kind of receptionist. That lets my main concentration proceed mostly unimpeded. Lately the receptionist has been forgetting to hand me the little pink message slips, though, and I've been forgetting a lot of little tasks. Things like returning books to the library, filling out camp forms, and putting away already-read books are not getting done. I've chosen to shrug my shoulders rather than stress out about it. It's what I can do.

*             *              *                 *              *

It's very likely that Big Guy will be moved to a residential facility later this month. 

He is doing well at the moment, and yesterday ran a little business selling slices of watermelon at the playground. It's hard to integrate that with where we are, overall. It's kind of like looking at a pointillist painting up close, focusing only on a light patch. I am big on light -- that's where the hope lies, and we need hope -- but we have to make decisions based on the whole picture.

Charles Angrand, Le Pont de Pierre

Big Guy feels that if we really loved him we wouldn't send him away. I'm not sure that we are truly the ones making the decision -- the situation pretty much mandates it -- and I hope and pray Big Guy's heart is open, some day, to understanding the real reasons for what is happening. It's heartbreaking stuff. 



  1. That must be a horrible situation to be in. I know you're making the best decisions you can, and I hope that is enough to get you through this. My prayers are with you.