There is no rest in October. This is my student’s mom’s saying. She has obviously gotten it figured out after 18 years of no-rest Octobers.
Before I delve into this post, I have to be honest. What I’m about to write betrays some really touching moments that I’ve experienced since my last post.
Like this one
And this one
A parent’s day can be filled with the beauty, the juggle, and the spikes.One moment you’re dressed up and ready for the world, and the next you’re trying to convince your girl to please, please take the Tylenol.
There is a weird elixir coming off those falling leaves that’s making the no-rest October something removed from Halloween orange and on point with feeling midway. I may be grading essays (agh!) or washing dishes (agh!), but if you look closely, between the myriad, I’m kind of just blah. If you’ve seen HBO’s Westworld, my insides are the equivalent of that look the hosts have on their faces when their coders are talking to them. Blank, but hearing.
It’s my experience that my generation of women is always busy. Ladies, if you’re feeling this hybrid of to-do vacuums with this incomprehensible state of restlessness and inquiry, know that I’m right there with you. And if you’re a writer or have any type of creative spirit, this feeling is probably causing major daydreams. It’s the writer hormones going crazy. I’m having fantasies of throwing ungraded essays in a bonfire and spending a week fixing up my house in the mornings, writing all through the day, rocking on my porch in the early evenings, and watching movies like Say Anything at night. I know, I know. This sounds like the life of a retired school teacher. But, hey! It’s more accessible than the alternative side of this coin: running to the nearest travel agent—yes, I want the experience of doing that—and buying a ticket to Antibes, France so I can eat, experience, and repeat.
For the occasions I’ve actually traveled without my kids, I started a tradition of leaving treasure hunt notes for them. They get a series of notes for each day I’m gone, which gives them something for which to look forward. “Go to the place where Zade loves to play Legos,” and “Great job! You’ll find the next note at the place Layla keeps her erasers.” It gives me joy to imagine the kids running like squirrels to figure out and gather each clue. They go all over the house, trudging over toys and drawers filled with unfamiliar terrain. When the hunt is over, usually culminating at a bag of treats, I get a sense they feel pride but really that they prefer the journey.
Through inevitable terrain, I’ve hit some treasure in this no-rest October, some which reminded me of life years ago, and some that came in the form of advice.
After hearing about us apple picking, my mom’s friend, Shohreh, talked fondly of when she used to run around taking her kids, who are all college graduates now, to this party and that activity, to Disneyworld and Fall Festivals.
But then she said, “I get so frustrated because they don’t remember any of it. I have to remind them of stuff they once did.” This feeds at my worry since there are distinct times I feel we’re chasing memory-making, filling in slots with valuable activities too often. In my defense, our time with them in this way is short. Still, I worry my kids won’t remember or appreciate all the stretching and consideration that makes things happen for them. Even worse, I wonder if all this effort is pointless.
Shohreh saged me. We stood in my parent’s kitchen and she rounded out, “It’s okay. Maybe all those things still did something to change them and make them who they are even if they don’t remember it.” Simple, right? I’m ashamed to say that this line comforted me immensely. I know our goal is to expose them to as much as we can, but I guess I hadn’t put as much stock in the experience as a whole as I did the lasting effects of a memory.
We’ve taken our turns lingering on a nasty cold, and we’ve also managed to find spaces to make memories. I’m looking forward to no-rest October taking an Ambien and having some mercy on us. Until I regain my optimism, I’m going to remember this gesture.
On on a ragged mid-week day, my friend knocked at the door with a get-well basket with homemade soup, all the means and dressings included, and play stuff to get a little girl back on her feet. I was caught completely off guard, and I marvel at the surprise even as I type this. No-rest October, beware of beautiful friends helping to take us through to the next step even as their own backs need some rubbing. #womenrock