I don’t believe in writer’s block. I probably did at one time (I believed all kinds of crazy bullshit before I had children) but not now. Having said that, I have no idea where to start.
Let’s start with what I haven’t been doing. I haven’t been blogging; I haven’t been working on my novel. What the hell have I been doing?
Well, I’ve never lacked for hobbies. I’m brewing beer; I’m bottling my first batch of apple wine. It will be ready in a year – you can all come over. It started a few weeks ago when I complained loudly to my husband, “We used to MAKE things!!! Now we just take care of the girls, and when we’re not, drink wine and beer and watch Anthony Bourdain. Well, that was big a wake up call. Now we MAKE wine and beer and watch Anthony Bourdain. There’s a huge difference…
Aside from rocking out on hops and pectic enzyme, I’ve been working, transitioning, and thinking things over.
Last night, I was having a talk with Mumu about how her day went: if anyone guessed what we’d put in the mystery bag, what the boys who make bad choices called her on the bus, hot lunch entrees, and her least favorite subjects. She blew the mystery bag thing by confessing “velvet” to her bestie in the ladies room right before circle, the boys called her butt cheek (super rude, but I suspect it was in response to one of her haughty lectures), chicken patties (score!), and math.
I said – I know it’s hard, but I think you’re going to be really good at math. She scrunched up her face. My husband overheard us, and then at dinner, he tried a different tack. He said – You know, Mumu, I’ve heard that people who are good at math make more money and live in nicer houses.
Without missing a beat, my daughter looked around us and said, “Oh, I guess you’re not good at math…” (not snarky, totally earnest) and I just about spit out my home-brewed IPA while my husband (the scientist) sputtered…what! I’m very good at math!! But perhaps not as good at logic, being schooled by a 5 year old…
We are striving to be more realistic in our expectations. My husband and I are lucky; we both have jobs we enjoy. We get frustrated, we get tired, we whine in secret, we want for more, but at the end of the day, we are doing what we want to be doing. We just happen to be doing it from a rented duplex, with a 70s kitchen, that will probably never live up to Mumu’s exacting standards. We love the town we live in; it’s perfect; so perfect, that we will never be able to afford a house here.
There may be people out there who have it all, but we will never be among them. No injustice, just choices. I love the field I’ve in; I’ve loved it since I was a kid. My education, my experiences, my life, has been built around it, but too be honest, I made more money, and had better benefits for far less work when I worked in an office. Certainly, I could do it again… I don’t want to. My husband is the same. Academia is not where the money is, but it’s where he wants to be, it’s what he finds rewarding.
I read somewhere that there is a motto among the super geniuses of Silicon Valley. First make meaning, then money. We’re realistic enough to know that even if we accomplish the first, chances are, the second will not follow. Now I’m a reluctant adult, but I do have my moments. Who knows what the future will bring, but if I can, at least occasionally, make both meaning and alcohol, I will be content with that… at least for now.
P.S. A big thank you to Sadia, who is beautiful inside and out, for coaxing me out of blog retirement with her encouragement, and to those wonderful ladies who wrote nice things to me. I didn’t write back (I’m a butt cheek, sorry…) but I heard you, I still hear you, and it means everything to me.