In the morning it is always rushrushrush, around the house, out the door, to the school (schools). More often than not, I choose a little extra sleep instead of a shower. I dress in clothes without caring how they really look on me, because almost no one will see what I'm wearing, anyway, or at least no one I need to impress. The same jeans I've worn for the past three days, and this old ratty gray sweater? Sure. Why not?
Katie wakes up on her own, usually, and could get dressed by herself, but usually she begs for assistance, at least in helping choose the particular clothes that she'll wear today. Her school has a uniform policy - navy blue or khaki bottoms, white or navy or light blue tops - so only a very limited part of her wardrobe is eligible to get worn on any given school day. This morning I had to go down to the basement to bring up clean laundry so that she'd have the khaki pants that she's supposed to wear today for choir. She eats cinnamon waffles or yogurt for breakfast, plays with the kittens, watches a tv show. I have learned that socks and shoes or boots have to be located and put on well before it's time to leave, because you never know where we'll find them. While Katie is eating and dressing, I start preparing lunches. Today they both got thermos type containers full of leftover turkey and noodles.
Sometime after Katie and I have gotten up, but before Annabel is awake, Geoff leaves to teach his 8 a.m. class. Sometimes he has already let out the dog; sometimes he hasn't, and I do that, too. Annabel has to be woken up, every morning, almost without fail. I wake her and change her diaper and dress her in warm enough clothes. We come downstairs, and she drinks a little milk, eats a little waffle, lets me help her put on her socks, her boots, her jacket. Before I am really ready, it is time to leave. We grab lunches and Katie's backpack, and we zip up jackets and I get my purse. I hold Annabel's hand on the snowy front steps that we still haven't salted or shoveled, and we walk out to the car. Katie gets into her seat and buckles herself in; I put Annabel in her seat and buckle her in, too, and then we leave for Katie's school. I always feel like we're running late, and usually we are. After we drop Katie off at school, we drive the other way across town to Annabel's preschool. We get there too late for the regular drop off, so I have to park and take her into her classroom. She usually doesn't want me to go, despite the fact that five minutes before she had been clamoring to get to "my school" to see "my teacher." She clings to me, a little bit, and I tell her I love her, and most days she goes off with her teacher fairly contently, but occasionally she cries.
On the days that she cries I usually go out and get in the car and cry a little bit, too.
And when I drive away from her preschool, suddenly I have nowhere I have to be right away or at all, for hours, and the day stretches out ahead of me, empty. I float there, unimportant and unnecessary and uncertain.
Sometimes I just wander, looking for things to take photos of, and sometimes I do stop and pull out my camera. Sometimes I meet Geoff for breakfast, because usually neither of us has managed to eat anything before leaving home. Sometimes I go to the store, although I usually haven't managed to make or bring a list of what to buy, so the trip to the store, like everything else, feels disorganized and of limited use.
Today I have done dishes and vacuumed the downstairs and the upstairs and practiced playing the piano (for at least an hour) and drunk coffee with peppermint mocha creamer. I have browsed the internet and updated Facebook and picked up toys and folded laundry. I have sent some emails. Some days at this time I have done much more, and other days I have done less, and either way, it never feels like I have done enough. It never feels like there is time to do enough. Maybe if I could get by with less sleep.
I sat down to write this, and what really keeps popping into my head is "WHO AM I" and even though I guess I know the answer, I still wonder how it will be when I look back on my life and my children's childhoods. Will I be proud of who I was? Will I wish I had done it all differently? If I were to go back to lawyering, would I feel like I was making a bigger difference? Would I feel more important? Would I feel smarter and more stable? If I do not ever practice law again, but instead cobble together some sort of career from photography and/or writing and/or being a mother, will I miss the routine of an office job? Will I feel like I haven't done enough with my life? Or will I always be grateful that whatever time I have - though it may never feel like enough - is time that I can spend in ways of my own choosing, pursuing goals and tasks that matter to me, if not deeply, then at least truly and personally? I honestly do not know the answer.
And also, wow. Will I ever write anything that's not about the workings of my own mind? And if not, should I still write anyway?
*(Every time I hear or think the word "rudderless," I get the Lemonheads song of the same name going through my head.)