First of all, a big thank you to the internet. The nanny situation is on the cusp of being resolved, and for that I am grateful in no small part to the computer.
Nanny situation aside, there's so much going on right now that I don't even know where to begin.
The twins and I went to Kansas! How's that for a place to start! We were out there for five days, in Kansas City (well, we stayed in Leawood) to see my mom's side of the family. My cousins and their kids had not met Maddie and Riley, and while I'm sorry that it took four years for that to happen, I think it ended up taking place at the ideal age for M&R. We had a great trip. It was wonderful for me to reconnect with my aunts, uncles, and cousins and after not having traveled by plane for almost a year, it was a revelation to discover how much better Four travels than Three. Two thumbs up to the heartland!
Upon return, life descended into chaos. I found out that Maddie and Riley had been awarded spots in the public school Spanish immersion PreK program that is literally across the street from our house, which is by all measures awesome except for one very important measure: logistics. The twins' current private program is a morning program; the public school option is afternoon. I had been looking for an afternoon nanny; all of a sudden, I needed a morning nanny. Oh, and yeah, "afternoon" means noon 'til 3 p.m. So I also needed someone in the afternoon, just a small part of it, until I get home at 5:30 p.m. Oh, and yeah, the public school is, of course, free, but guess how much the private school is keeping for pulling the kids at the last minute? Yes, a month's worth of tuition we paid as a deposit plus the already-paid September tuition. Which is a lot of money. And I understand why. But. Still. It's a lot of money! ANNOYING!
Cry me a river, blah, blah, I KNOW.
I've had a week to revise my nanny search to a morning job, lean on the kindness of friends to take care of the twins between when PreK lets out and when I get of work, and, most exciting of all, apply to become a host family for an au pair! Yes, color me Even More Bourgeoise Than Previously Thought Possible, we're going to have live-in help! Turns out that the live-in help is less expensive than private preschool + afternoon nanny, so voilà! I feel so, uh, I don't really know. Spoiled? That's not it, exactly. I just know that in eight weeks or so, we'll welcome a live-in nanny to our home for a year and that she'll work 45 hours/week for us and OMG I'm not even sure what to do with that much child care but I think I'll figure it out. ULTIMATELY GREAT BUT CURRENTLY FRUSTRATING!
Meanwhile, my home computer has decided to die. Or at least suffer from a serious illness. I'm not sure yet. But something dire is happening, and I'm posting this from a work laptop. POORLY TIMED, COMPUTER (as if you had any control over the situation, inanimate as you are)!
And speaking of work, all hell has broken loose! Massive amounts of projects! Personnel issues! Apathy due to all the crap going on in my personal life! GLORIOUS!
For those of you thinking, "Childcare woes + a dead home computer are not enough to qualify as a personal crisis," let me assure you that I have the same Buck Up Already kind of attitude. But wait: there's more. Only I can't say much because I feel uncomfortable blogging about Family Crap. But there you have it: there's Family Crap, capital letters much deserved. Remember that conversation I had with a friend not too long ago about how it's not all about me? Yeah. I got to have that conversation again. With someone in my family. Only this time, it didn't feel cathartic or purposeful. It felt yucky and unresolved and messy and accusatory and one-sided. I'm still not sure where things stand. The family member involved seems to believe that I'm self-centered, without morals, and unworthy of trust. I'd be cavalier about this, but it's been a blow, and I'm hurt and angry with the anger winning most of the time. AWESOME!
I have been going to bed at 9 p.m. most nights, utterly spent by the overwhelming nature of it all. I'm getting tons of sleep, but I still find myself tired and short tempered. I'm not eating well. I'm not exercising as much as I want to or should. I remind myself constantly that the end result of the live-in nanny and the pass in to the public school language immersion program are worth all the short-term child-care headaches, that I'm not immune to technical difficulties because I have a busy life, that as a manager I will have to deal with personnel issues sometimes, that family relationships are difficult for almost everyone. I'm not precious. I'm just in a stressful time, like many people.
A theme from the conversation I had with my wounded family member was where the tipping point was between self-care and selfishness. I have never been as inattentive a friend as I have been since John died. I have to take care of Maddie, Riley, and myself, and there are times when I'm doing a poor job of just doing that. Even when I'm doing a good job at that, I'm usually not doing a great job of being a good friend/daughter/sister/etc. I'm finding that three years out, everyone seems frustrated by this. I'm annoyed that I can't find the time or motivation to do better. My friends and family are annoyed, too. When is taking care of myself—which includes M&R—selfish and when is it self-preservation? I don't know how to answer this, I truly don't. And now I find myself in a period of transition where I certainly won't be working on a better balance between take and give.
Au pair placement will take around eight weeks. Then we'll have a period of adjustment there. The transitions never end, although this is a particularly intense period. Back to school seems to be that way for many families. My eyes are on the prize. Halloween looks like a time when things might be getting back on track, a new track. Life: why must you be so relentless?