Today started out rather prosaically, when Ted took the car over to the shop to get it fixed. It’s been having transmission-related issues lately. Of course, when I talked to the guy working on the car, there were a number of other issues, including brake pads that needed replacing, a part for the overdrive that was failing, in addition to the general tune-up and oil change. That all ran in excess of $780, so we got to end the year on a cash-out sort of note rather than the reverse. But it’s a good car with a lot of life left in it, and we haven’t had to spend that much on maintenance in the past decade, so we have to count our blessings. Next, we need to take it to a body shop for repair post-accident, but at least the insurance company is going to pay for that.
Ted decided to nap during the kids’ nap, and I went downstairs for some alone time. Of course, for the second day in a row the twins woke up after only 40 minutes or so. I took them downstairs so Ted could nap a bit longer, and called my mom. We had a good, long talk. I’m really glad I can talk with my mom, that we can share an adult relationship where we can lend each other an ear, and give one another support and understanding in a context of good communication. She’s loved me since the day I was born, something I understand and appreciate these days on a whole new level now that I have my own children.
This afternoon we had a few hours of childcare, so a friend of mine came over while Ted went off for an appointment and then to pick the car up. My friend is living in NYC now. I love to hear about her new life. It’s so radically different from mine, and we’re at different life stages, but it’s easy for me to picture it. I can readily relate, perhaps partly because we’ve known each other for so long, since she was a kid and long before I had my babies. We laughed about the fact that the stereotype of young people working service jobs while they pursue opportunities in the arts is so grounded in reality. We talked about the difficulties of balancing a rent-paying job or three with the necessary expenditure of time and energy into the development of an artistic career. I admire her for her courage and initiative, going off to the big city to do what she wants while she’s young enough to make that more possible. I consider her a great role model, and plan to keep all this in mind when my kids are old enough to start taking bigger risks. I need to remember my admiration and appreciation of my friend, and replicate it in my interactions with my kids when they start scaring the crap out of me with their desires to be independent and movers of their own destinies.
I also admire the way in which my friend and her parents have negotiated her growing up and consequent detachment with grace, respect, and mutual support. I hope I can manage it too, as my three get older. Because it’s a bit too easy to get caught up in spending the majority of my time telling my kids what to do all day, I need to remember to focus on them as people separate from me, from being my children. Inspired by that idea, I told Hazel the other day that she has lots of good ideas. A friend posted this cartoon (number seven on the page) on Facebook a week or two ago. It has resonated, caused me to think about my interactions with Hazel ever since. (It says, “Honey, when you grow up I want you to be independent, assertive, and strong-willed. But while you’re a kid I want you to be passive, pliable, and obedient.”)
This evening we decided to get some Indian food to go as our New Year’s Eve celebration (I know, we live on the wild side). It’s a bit off-program for us, but not too far. It was a hit. We got Saag paneer, a veggie Korma, and a chicken Tikka masala. The babies loved it all. Hazel gobbled up a bunch of the saag and rice. Then it was bedtime, about 45 minutes later than usual. Joanna was asleep by the time I took her off my breast and laid her on the bed, and Emily went down without a peep after we did our usual singing and reading. Ted and I are going to go upstairs to crash in about five minutes. More living on the wild side. But that’s ok. That’s our current life stage, and I am fine with it. There will be other years for staying up late and ringing in the new year.
Besides, the Google Doodle has already changed (poor little crying 3). We’ll just pretend we’re on the east coast.
Happy New Year, all!