I realize that between the fall fundraising frenzy and Dad's condition, I haven't written about the kids and back-to-school. Usually, anticipation of the change in routine (particularly with Quin moving to the high school this year) has me wound up for weeks ahead of time, but this year was singularly anticlimactic. Garrick sailed into his second year at the middle school with nary a hitch, along with a new-found desire to join some clubs and get involved with the theatre program (praise be!), while Quin adjusted to the high school quickly with only a few logistical stumbles regarding getting from point A to point B on time. He also is joining clubs, and I still harbor a longing to get him involved with one of the many singing groups. As long as I don't think about how soon he'll be legally allowed to drive, I'm happy...
The irony is that while they are both doing well, I'm seeing shockingly little of them. Initially, my new job was the culprit -- between longer work days and a much longer commute, I'd been getting home around 7:30 - 8 in the evenings with depressing regularity. Now that the job challenges are somewhat more controlled, I'm leaving the office earlier but stopping to visit with my dad (when he's up) and/or mom (when he isn't) in the evenings, so the result is the same. I try to carve out one-on-one time with each of them on the weekends, but it's difficult and when I let myself think about it, it pains me.
Unfortunately, Michael's and my time together is suffering the same syndrome. By the time I get home, he has walked the dog, cooked and served dinner, cleaned the kitchen, supervised lunch-making, and generally taken care of the business of life without me (and this having gotten up at an ungodly early hour), leaving him justifiably pooped. I come home around 7:30-8 (on a good night), unload my dirty coffee cup, kiss everyone, hear the day's headlines, and within an hour I'm in bed, staring glazedly at reruns of "Without a Trace" or whatever semi-watchable dreck happens to be on. It's a real thrill being married to me these days, is what I'm saying, and it's bound to get harder before it gets easier (that's what she said!), but luckily, by the 20th year of marriage, you develop a couple of coping skills as well as faith that things do get better.
All of the above has combined to create in me a sense of disconnect, which I cope with by becoming terribly practical. Is my Mom going to need powers of attorney to access the investment accounts? Under what circumstances would we allow Dad to be hospitalized again v. his staying relatively comfortable at home? Can we afford to convert the playroom to a TV/guest room? What about a location for a memorial service (church-less heathens that we are)? Isn't it lucky that my kidney function has stopped worsening so that Dad and I aren't both sick at the same time?
I'm going to try to combat the disconnect by writing more, even when I don't feel like it. I will try to avoid an endless parade of depressing my-dad-is-slowly-dying posts, but I make no promises.
Is anyone dressing up for Halloween? Discuss!