I’ve been here before, holding my young son tight while he grieves for a friend moved away. I’ve done it for both of my sons. The parallels are hard to ignore. They each gained a friend as a toddler. Both friends were red-headed. Both friends lived only a house or two away from ours. Then around the time the boys turned 9 or 10, the friend moved away. If I had a third son, I might be inclined to be wary. The pattern is illusory, a coincidence. This week it is Patch’s turn to grieve. The grief is compounded because this close friend is the third of Patch’s friends to move away recently. All I can do is hold him and agree that this is hard. I’ll also make arrangements for the friend to come visit, but it is not the same as when he lived next door. Patch needs to grieve. I just have to hold on to him while he does.
We rearranged Link’s class schedule yesterday. He had reached the point of despair. He’d done fine in debate class while the focus was on public speaking practice, but the class was poised to squash him with practiced orations, impromptu speeches, and competitive debates. The first section was good for him, but it was time to get him out. Fortunately we have a good advocate at the school who made this process simple for us. Link feels tons lighter and is ready to pull up all his grades which had been slipping due to stress. I have my own sorting to do. I was the one who put him into the debate class. It really felt like the right decision at the time. I told Link that I think putting him in was right and that now taking him out is right. But there is a quiet voice in my head which wonders if I’m telling this story because it casts my decisions in a good light. It is possible that I was just wrong. I’m afraid of that possibility because so many of the parenting decisions I make are based on informed instinct. I guess I just have to get it wrong and move on.
The book isn’t done yet. I intended for it to be done by now. My mind can trace back to decisions a week ago, two weeks ago, when I did not work as hard as I could have. I was not pushing then. Then all sorts of urgencies converged into the same two weeks: the last mad scramble to prepare everything for LunaCon, Howard’s birthday sale and accompanying shipping days, the final stages of book editing, the final stages of art for the Schlock board game, two family birthdays, and three out of four kids having valid emotional issues which needed immediate attention in order to avoid crisis. Events descended on me in a pack. I still haven’t sorted it all out and most of it is in various stages of incompleteness. Then threaded through it all is the feeling that there are other things which I was supposed to be starting right now. There are creative tasks which I should have already begun in order to have them done before the time runs out.
I’m doing what I can. I haven’t actually failed at any of it yet. But it feels like I have and that is murking up my thinking spaces. The way out is through, so I’m focusing on the things right in front of me. I do quick checks to make sure that I don’t get ambushed by deadlines, but mostly I just do the work at hand. If I keep doing that, then sometime next week I’ll discover that I’ve emerged into my life with more quiet spaces in it.
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