Used to be that I dreaded the return to workday. Whether it was the Monday after a regular weekend or the Tuesday after a long one. The day before, right around 5PM or so, I’d get this cloud hanging over me, reminding me that the respite was over. It was time to lend my full attention to everything besides me.
And in the past few years, it really meant getting my mind right for the battles at work and then eventually later, providing some care and assistance (and entertainment) to my darling daughter. Interspersed with the requirements of having to remember to work out, eat, chat with the Mr, and catch up with some friends. I had it good. I could roll out of bed around 7 and that was considered my early rise. Then maybe flirt with the idea of getting to bed around 1 or 2 AM if the spirit inspired me.
- I wake up at 5:30 every morning and lay there for 5 minutes taking inventory of all the things that I have to get done by 8.
- Wake Athena and get her to clean up for school (but not before she convinces me to let her cuddle with me for a few minutes, during which I have to fight going back to sleep, as tempting as it is)
- Brave the terrors of my kitchen (read: see a random bug that will certainly have my skin crawling for the remainder of the morning)
- Determine what she wants for breakfast – be it cereal with warmed milk, hard-boiled eggs, or something else that may catch her fancy
- Brush my own teeth and tousle my hair to the desired level of public respectability
- Put on clothing that doesn’t make me look like I’m homeless
- Lay out Athena’s uniform
- Keep the time so that we’re out of the house by 7:10 AM – no later
- Check to make sure we collectively have everything – she has her tools for school, I have keys and what not so I can drive and get back in the house
- In the car by 7:10 AM and put on a stalwart face to withstand the deep intricacies of listening to Roblox or Minecraft tutorials narrated by my daughter for the next 20 minutes
- Arrive to the general area of her school and beginning to participate in what I call The Hunger Games of dropping off the kids on a two way street with one lane each way and bus service that turns down said street whilst parents double park to let their children out. It’s only worse on pick up at 3:00
- Navigate my way back home trying to lighten my mood with The Breakfast Club
- Get home, check on Earl; make sure he’s okay
- Shower, change to officially begin my day
- Try to log whether today is one of the days that I’ll have to move the car to alternate side before I get a ticket and which side is the “correct” side… and did I park the car there. Wait… where did I park the car?
- Log on to copious phone calls and meetings starting at 9:30 where it’s not even fully registered that I’m back… or what I’m back from.
- Juggle that with at least 3 different therapists/nurses that may visit with Earl for an hour at a time to provide some regenerative care
- At least a daily call with the Visiting Nurse Service of NY to find out where Earl’s speech therapist is
- Work out with Earl for one hour twice a day going through his regenerative exercises
- Make sure Earl has breakfast of some kind so that he doesn’t run out of energy
- Remind him regularly to drink water so he doesn’t get dehydration headaches
- Host conversations where I have to manage his frustrations and my own because his comm is stunted and I have been told not to “help him” with his words. Wish the damned speech therapist would come through
- Leave the house at about 2:30 PM to pick up Athena from The Hunger Games II: Monitored pickup
- Remember that once a week on Fridays that I have to leave at 12:30 because they’re half days
- Play “How Was Your Day at School Q&A” with the little one on the way home and try to absorb as much as I can and be genuinely interested and engaged
- Come back in time to be on one of two meetings during the week that start at 4:00 which give me indigestion
- Try hard to remember that 5:30 PM is Earl’s med dosage and we have to stay on time for it
- Sit and do homework with Athena and remember that she’s learning all new ways of doing the stuff I thought I swore I knew…
- Figure out dinner through the copious amounts of generous donations that may go bad if I don’t use them fast enough
- Cook. (or order if I can’t find the creativity)
- Serve food.
- Clean dishes, wash down the kitchen in prep for tomorrow.
- Gather and take garbage down (whilst dry heaving the whole time behind a mask) 3 times a week
- Juggling which day is actually recycling day so I can take those down too…
- Supervise Earl’s shower to make sure he doesn’t fall. Thankfully doing this one less…
- Get Athena to shower and prepare for bed.
- Pray with her and try to instill some sense of normalcy
- Try to reply to texts, FB messages, Voicemails and emails mostly all asking about Earl’s progress
- Once a week, writing a compelling update about his progress that is upbeat and hopeful
- Take my own shower and begin to forcibly power down around 10:00 PM.
- Spend all night half-awake tossing and worrying about Earl and the other half dreaming nightmare versions of all of the above.
- At 5:25 AM begin dreading the alarm that will surely go off in 5 minutes.
All of this in the shadow of every last iron I had in the fire prior to all of this having gone completely dead. Every. Single. One.
I really look forward to being able to look back at this time and have that “a-ha” moment where I’m like… SEEE??? NOW it makes sense.
Because right now? I can’t tell you what I think.