My desire to come write here again after a long break always begins with being annoyed. It’s something like trying to locate that hair inside your mouth. You absolutely can’t go on with your day until you get it, but no matter how much you fish around and gag and curse, it remains elusive. Ditto this experience. I can’t just sit down to write. First I have to torture myself with indecision about the topic I most want to discuss. Then I will finally sit down to write, but instead I will stare for half an hour at my list of half-finished posts (of which I always have between 15 & 20, it’s just how I keep track of interesting subjects), at which point I’ll have either run out of time or become so disgusted with myself that I rage-slam the laptop shut and go find something yummy from the pantry to soothe my aggravation.
But not today! Today, I finally have a chunk of time. I thought this hour was going to be filled with finishing a project for my microbiology class (my last nursing prerequisite, yay!), but because I ended up completing that task yesterday evening during the girls’ group violin class, I have a glorious unmarked hour in which to blab some things I’ve been pondering lately.
My quest to write this post started with this Instagram caption by Amanda Palmer:
amandapalmer: i carried the child for six hours on a big jet plane to the other side of the country, where he is going to spend the next few weeks meeting his extended west coast tribe. i am not working here. it is hard. when I delve into despair, remind me that it is fine that i’m not working or touring and that i am a fucking new mother who is allowed to take six months off to nurse and cuddle a baby. my good friend @andrewoneillcomedy once told me something about our mutual hero Henry Rollins. Henry, he said, takes an inhale year (reading, learning, traveling, absorbing) and then an exhale year (touring, working, speaking, art-assaulting). if I ask you, remind me. this is an inhale year. this is an inhale year. over and out.
Inhale years and exhale years. What a cool concept, right? Henry Rollins! Who knew. A few weeks after reading that quote and pondering it, I read this post by my friend Kristen about her word for the year and immediately knew mine would be Exhale. If I had to give an official start to my exhale ‘year’ (thank goodness I don’t), it would probably be November 16th, the day I started my job.
But before I tell you about the job, first I want to back up and tell a quick story about how weird and small the world is. The first mom I met when I introduced myself to other parents in Vivi’s class was our neighbor (I’ll call her “Sue”) who lives in the house behind ours. Sue’s daughter and Vivi hit it off right away and are now best beds, and as fate would have it, Sue’s career is in public health, so we hit it off too (I would say, “What are the odds?” but this is Decatur, Georgia. Between CDC and Emory University, it’s the public health capital of the world).
A month after I met Sue, she started a new job at the Task Force for Global Health, a nonprofit under Emory’s umbrella that is focused on eradicating diseases of poverty. When I would ask her for updates, Sue always told me how swamped she was and how she wished they would hire extra project management help temporarily. That general complaint became more focused as the weeks went on into how they should hire ME temporarily. She knew I didn’t want to work full time, certainly not in a permanent position, but she twisted my arm to apply for the job. And even though I told them I only wanted to work 30 hours a week, they hired me!
It’s been great being back in the working world. My house is a mess, but no one cares but me and Nate, so I can handle that. I won’t underestimate the kids’ sadness at not having Mommy give them her undivided attention full time, but to be honest, I needed a bit of a break so that I could appreciate how much I really enjoy taking care of them. And I do miss knowing as much as I used to about all the little minutiae of their days. It’s not like I can’t still ask them questions, but much more often these days I’m too tired to make dinner, let alone grill my kids about their social activities and composition of that day’s cafeteria lunch. For example, tonight’s dinner is comprised of spaghetti-o’s (might I add that they are leftover spaghetti-o’s?) and dried pears. Yum!
After the inhale year of getting ready for the move, the move, and recovering from the move, I am looking forward to doing some exhaling. I hope lots of that will happen here. And I hope there’s still at least one human out there listening! I promise I will try to listen as much as I talk. Even though I’m exhaling, I can still inhale too.