First of all, for those who read my last post about the baby squirrel we found in our back yard, I have good news. Chopper, as he has been christened by the woman who has been taking care of him, is alive and well and thriving, as you can see in the video below. I've actually been a little surprised at the number of our friends who have been asking about him (thanks to Facebook, pretty much everyone we know seems to have taken notice). It's nice to know that even grownups have a soft spot in their hearts for a little beady-eyed fuzzy. (Except of course, for one college friend, who has a long-standing loathing of squirrels. I suspect he understands the rescue but the multiple pictures of Chopper that keep showing up in my Facebook feed courtesy of Chopper's new mama are probably giving him a twitch.)
Secondly, I have not been trapped under anything heavy. I have not fled the country. I have not even locked myself in the bathroom with a bottle of vodka and a straw, even after having to coax Son #2 through finishing not one, but two projects this week that would have been a piece of cake had he not procrastinated on them. (There are days I wonder if he's conducting a scientific experiment to see if he can literally make my head pop off just by raising my blood pressure. He came close this week.)
Instead, I've been muddling along in a fog as my family's routine slowly settles into place for the fall. We did, in fact, end up with a soccer practice every single day of the week, and between that, religious school, Son #1's therapies, Son #2's play, and Son #3's theater class, we're running quite a bit of the time. I've gone in to volunteer in Son #3's classroom and in the school office a few times. I've made a couple of half-hearted attempts to work on the garage, though the weather is still so hot that it is hard to be in there for very long. My dad is having so much fun giving me crap about it, though, that I almost hate to clean it up now. (And that is officially the excuse I will be using for my slow progress until further notice.)
I couldn't quite put into words why I was feeling so aimless until I was talking to my friend L today.* She was complaining that she felt like there was something she was supposed to be doing, but she couldn't put her finger on what it was. For the last two years she was the treasurer of the booster club while I was the president, and she got to deal with all kinds of fun stuff (such as submitting all the required documentation necessary to get the state of California to un-suspend our nonprofit status). I told her I didn't actually think that she was forgetting anything--it was just that she was used to being so swamped with things to do for the booster club that it was like she had phantom limb syndrome now, her brain insisting that there was a to-do list there, where in fact there was none.
If I had been a clearer-minded thinker, I could have applied this diagnosis to myself a couple of weeks ago. And no, I don't have any good answers for her. I suspect the feeling will fade away, given time and some distance from the things that used to be our responsibilities. One of my friends, whose son is in kindergarten with Son #3 and who manages the wrapping paper fundraiser for the booster club, told me that our numbers were up this year. And even as I congratulated her I realized, I don't need to worry about this. It is no longer my responsibility if the numbers for the wrapping paper sales are good or bad. We have a very capable president this year who can handle that responsibility, and all the others that go with being president, without me hovering.
I've also been talking to my sister-in-law, who is still a member of the co-op preschool Son #3 attended last year. I've been pumping her for details on what is going on there this year, even though with 2/3rds of the members graduating in Son #3's class last year, the co-op is now mostly full of people I don't know. A lot of my time last year was also taken up with my duties there, volunteering once a week and being the treasurer. I even miss some parts of it, though not the long meetings or the plethora of information-free reply-to-all emails. I feel the lack of that responsibility in my life too.
Don't miss this part. Not even a little bit.
So now I have to get used to a new normal in my life, one that does not involve simply lining up to-do list items as if they are hurdles to fling myself over one at a time until the school year is over and I get the summer to pause, catch my breath, and prepare to do it all again. I do have time to write (however meanderingly or badly), time to maybe go get a cup of coffee with a friend and talk about something other than school fundraising strategies, time to rediscover old hobbies, time to clean my house. And even time to still help at school, because now that I feel that it isn't consuming my life, I'm actually starting to remember why I liked volunteering in the first place. The trick will be not filling up my schedule with things that seem critical to distract myself from the frenetic tedium of everyday life, and depriving myself of the time to do things I like.
So now that I've gotten over the delusion that I need to be brilliant to be on the internet (doesn't stop anyone else), I'll be trying to write regularly again and to ignore the phantom limb of last year's to-do list. And if you see me trying to volunteer for something new, tackle me, please!
*Since "my friend who took the batteries to the household hazardous waste recycling" is a mouthful, I'm going to use her first initial, L, to identify her from here on out.