Monday, July 29, 2013

The real reason why I haven't seen enough of you.

We are coming to the end of our summer in New England, a place that is filled with family, friends, and memories. It's a good thing I have the memories, because I will be damned if I created many new ones this summer. Don't get me wrong, I have had n amazing visit, and spent time with my beloveds - but not enough. Not nearly enough.

I am left wanting more, and feeling like I did not squeeze every bit of magic out of this visit as I could have.

As I should have.

But this is not a new problem. I always find myself wondering why I barely have time to see my  friends, but plenty of time to drive back and forth to Dunkin Donuts twice a day.

Why is it so difficult to make time for our family and friends? I am consistently baffled by the hurdles and scheduling challenges that present themselves in my day to day life. I spend all day busily getting absolutely nothing accomplished, and I still can't manage to see my neighbor more than a few times a month, despite living in a house that directly faces hers.

I drive by friends' houses and I see them, at home, standing in their kitchen trying to get a handle on whatever hell has just unleashed itself, and I think "I had better not bother them right now." And then I go home, alone, and stand in my own kitchen to deal with my own hell. At the very least we should be combining forces.

My friend Mai who lives 10 minutes away? I never drive by her house - which is why we can go months without seeing one another - through the kitchen window or otherwise, so difficult is it to coordinate our schedules.

(Note to self: close the curtains in the kitchen. Weirdos might be driving by looking in your windows.)

I don't think I am the only one in the world who feels like trying to fit everything - and everyone - into my extremely underwhelming life is damn near impossible. The reason I am so damn frustrated about it right this very minute is that the people I came all this way to see here in New England are important to me, and I want to spend more time with them. I am motivated, and more importantly I am HERE - which is a far cry from being 7,000 miles away on Maui.

So what the hell is my problem. Why did I spend 3 hours watching Pirates of the Caribbean today, instead of meeting friends to go for a swim/kayak/tea party/ice cream cone/crabbing session/cup of coffee?

Part of it is definitely the parenting factor.

I have a serious question for you: does being a parent actually force time to move more quickly?

Or is it just a giant black hole scenario where you have a baby and immediately get sucked into this vortex of servitude and exhaustion that is only marked by the ever-changing pencil lines showing your kids' heights - each line a milestone carefully recorded on the pantry door frame with names and dates to remind you not only of their actual names, but of how many children you have, and whether they are taller than you yet because we all know it's coming sooner or later. And then later on we look back at those markings and think "where did the time go?" I'll tell you whee it went - it went straight to the kitchen to prepare another round of snacks.

Do you know how much time I spend preparing food for these kids? I would say 25% of their waking hours are devoted to eating: planning to eat, asking when we are going to eat, deciding what to eat, and then actually consuming so much fucking food that I have to spend another 25% of my time figuring out how I am going to pay for all of it. And then there is the cleaning up. Not just the dishes - though that accounts for a lot of it. There is also picking up countless used paper products, broken crayons, Lego and Playmobile pieces, dirty clothes, clean clothes, wet towels, wet bathing suits, and scraps of cardboard/paper/plastic that seem to be scattered all over every surface.

That leaves me 25% to try to fit in laundry, driving to camp, driving from camp, more laundry, and Target. Target takes up a fair amount of my vacation time (and budget, but this is not the time for a Target confessional. We'll just say that Target is a total time suck, and leave it at that.

But the bottom line - the true bottom of the line - is that my summer is almost over, and there are a handful of people I haven't seen at all, another handful that I have seen once or maybe - if I was really lucky, twice - and it leaves me feeling frustrated. Tonight I wanted to go visit a friend and Lucy had a fever so I stayed home.

Was that the right thing to do? Is spending time with a good friend, talking about things that are going on - good, bad and ugly - is that really less important than doling out popsicles and cold compresses and refilling water bottles? Because I tell you what - I could have skipped playing nurse, but of course I still had the dinner dishes to do. And I guess I should figure out what they are eating for lunch tomorrow.

Oh fuck it. I'm switching to paper plates and delivery. Tomorrow I am going to roll out of bed, put on a bathing suit, and head for the beach. I'm not preparing any food, and the biggest responsibility I plan to take on is applying sunblock.

I sure hope some of my girlfriends come out and join me. It's time to take back the clock.
Father Time, I'm giving you the day off. And a Xanax.

1 comment:

Peach said...

Vacation/summer time DOES go at warp speed. You're not crazy. And with your kiddos and the number of family/friends you want to see? Be kind to yourself. And also - YOU traveled this far. THEY can make an effort, too. ;)