This weekend I rested. I took your advice and my own, I listened to the aches in my back and to the soreness in my throat. Even all those nagging voices in my head were for once in agreement on what needed to be done next. Rest.
I slept. I ate. I did a crossword puzzle in pen out of a proper weekend newspaper. I spent long and unproductive mornings playing with my daughter. I went to bed early even when there was still laundry left to fold and I stayed in bed late even when daylight and chores nudged at me persistently from my window. I held my tiny newborn nephew and played with the older but newly local nephews (yes, the Spanos extended family is growing at breakneck speed these days). I did not unpack my son’s nursery, but I did spend time just sitting in there with my son.
And do you know what happened? Nothing. My world did not fall apart. My house did not collapse in the weight of crumpled toddler clothes. I did not get a call from the president of my college asking that I step down from my post. My back did continue to hurt, but this is probably due to too much time reclined and too few stretches for my midsection that seems to be expanding into infinity these days.
I rested, I relaxed, I read books. I retreated into my still unsettled house and walked through my still unknown neighborhood. I was tempted to use the long weekend for catching up on work, even planned on it several times as the concept of Monday morning transitioned from empty threat to immediate inevitability, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I monitored my emails for anything urgent and responded once to the one poor soul forced to work through the holiday, but otherwise I went dark for possibly the first time since starting my not really so new job last year. And I realized the reason I never actually let myself do this – once I stop, I don’t want to start again. I’m less than a month away from Christmas vacation and the last thing I want to do is go back to work.
This week I have multiple stressors scattered throughout my calendar. Budget battles to spin, staffing issues to address, political moves to maneuver. My most relaxing weekend in months has been doomed from the beginning to end in a fiery collision with my most stressful week perhaps of the year. Only time will tell whether approaching these challenges with a clear mind rather than a clean inbox will prove a successful strategy.
I’ve written time and again on this blog about my search for balance among parenting, life, and crazy career aspirations (so often that I flat out gave up writing this blog for a while to see if I could figure it out without blathering on all the time about it in such a public forum). I can’t say that I’ve ever quite gotten it right, but somewhere along the line I can say that I reached some version of equilibrium – it just took me a few years.
Now, here I am all over again, with a not particularly easy pregnancy and a not particularly stress-free move throwing everything right out of whack. If my life is again now something less than balanced, the world seems bound to be nothing but jagged hills and earthquake damaged roads as far as the eye can see once another child is thrown into the mix.
Or maybe not? Maybe I’ve learned a lesson or two while paving the way to where I am now, and this transitional time is nothing more than a hiccup. Or, more likely still, maybe my life won’t feel quite like gliding around atop a smooth frozen pond, but the joy of adding a new life with all its challenge and all its personality will be just enough to sustain me until everything evens out once again.
Or yeah, maybe it’ll all go to hell. And maybe that will be the fun of it.