How am I going to do this school thing, y’all? I’ve been lying there for an hour trying to figure and reconfigure and work out hours, how to fit it all into a week, and still have time for my child. The time I’m going to have to spend away from her is a looming mass of badness. Melissa, too, but Melissa and I have been together eight years (Happy Anniversary!) and can weather time apart. The fact of the matter is that Rocky is going to be three in April. Three. I’ve never seen that before. And I’ll never see it again. And I’m talking about spending Three away from her.
It has been so hard for me to work at all the past two years. And not because I’m a slacker – I need work, it would seem, to stay sane. I enjoy working. Yes, even housecleaning. For all my complaining, there are enjoyable things about working by myself, for myself, in people’s quiet homes. What has been hard, aside from the fact that I have to clean toilets, is that every part of me has ached to be at home with my baby. When I went back to work it was like physical pain. Part of that is because Rockster had the heart defect, and I was so afraid of losing her. Not that that makes the need to be with her less important – if anything, more so. Also, Melissa is pretty much a full-time parent. She doesn’t work many hours, and when she does work it’s in the house – so really, I haven’t had much one-on-one time with Rocky. Melissa is a wonderful parent, very involved, always there when Rocky has needed anything. She’s engaging and delightful to be around. She loves horsing around and doing things I would normally sit back and watch Rocky do. I usually would rather sit and read books with her, or make art projects, or bake – that kind of thing. So which do you think she’s going to choose? What happens, no one’s fault, is that I’ve spent a lot of time in my house, standing back, watching Mo raise Rocky. I also need more Me Time than Melissa. I’ve got that creative itch that requires my attention. Plus in order to make enough money to help support the family, I have to work longer hours, away from home. So what this boils down to is that the time I’ve spent with Rocky hasn’t felt like enough. If you compare me to other working moms, I would seem to have it made. But I’m not going by the conventional standard here (do I ever?). I’m going by what feels right. And it hasn’t felt right. I’ve spent a good chunk of the past two years heartbroken over having to leave, having to pry my crying daughter off my legs.
And now I’m sitting here, having successfully brought myself to tears, wondering how the hell I can make this work. I just don’t know if I can do it. But if not now, when? When Rocky goes to school? That is an option, but here’s the thing. We might home school her. My idea is to home school her for the first few years, at least. Then see where we go from there. Melissa has deep misgivings about this, so this is probably not the last time you’ll hear about it. If I’m not going to have time to make her breakfast in the morning before I head out to my day job (work and studying for school at a coffee shop), when the hell am I going to be a teacher?
OK. I stepped away and worked it out. I buy the cheap groceries (and hope that buying pesticide-and-hormone ridden food for one year won’t give us cancer), and we eat a lot of beans and rice, and I don’t do anything fun like travel or go out to eat ever, and I can find those pre-pregnancy naked-with-boots photos and make them into cards and sell them to lesbian college students. I personally had a whole wall full of those cards, the ones you used to be able to buy in shops in Northampton, P-Town and San Francisco. You can get young lesbians to buy anything, if you look at them the right way.
So after my tour of colleges, selling my wares, I’ll come back to Austin and marry a rich and senile old man who will give me money but not remember that he married me, and I won’t have to work at all. Just for good measure I’ll start looking into selling the body parts I don’t need, like my lungs.
Ok, y’all, our rent’s about to go up. We don’t know by how much. But that studio Harry the Landlord is building downstairs, for the massage business? That’s not going to be free. Whatever money I’m able to save by buying cheaper groceries and cutting out the travel budget is going to be swallowed up by that.
Which is all the more reason for me to go to school, to get a job where I’m making more money. Three times as much per hour, in fact. Because in the long run, with bills getting bigger, if I don’t get a new job I’m going to end up working longer hours than I do now.
At this point, 4:15 a.m., one Blue the Ox must go lie down in bed and do quieting-the-mind exercizes, and trust that there’s an answer, and that all will be well.