I got invited to the Cayman Islands to run with Team Diabetes. I raised over $7000 this year, and that put enough in my “bank” to earn me a trip. I’ll be running the half marathon on December 4. It feels like a crazy time of year to go on a trip, but how I could I say no? It also feels kind of like a once in a lifetime opportunity – or at least an experience I’ll never forget. Steve signed up for the race, too and we plan on buying one of a packages that will let him come along with me.
As we talked about saving for this trip, one big expense that came into question was daycare. The girls stayed in daycare all summer last year, because they had to in order to save their spot for September. This September we’ll be switching programs, into one that is closer to us and more importantly, has an after school program that is on Leila’s bus route. I’ve been doing some work on the side for some profs, but it’s definitely nothing that warrants three days a week at preschool.
Part of me wants to pull them out. Things are going to change for us in September. Our lazy mornings and spur of the moment sleep overs at Nan’s are done – at least for five days a week. And I’m ready for all of this and happy about it, but it leaves me with this mild ache in my heart that tells me to hold them as close as I can until then.
On the other hand, without daycare – or some sort of child-care situation in place, I say goodbye to my long runs and workouts at the gym (no childcare program at the gym I use). We have a 14 year old babysitter who lives next door and comes over every four or six weeks while Steve and I get out to the movies and I thought about asking her to come over three mornings a week. Steve is uncomfortable with that. She’s so young and it seems to be asking a lot of her. Maybe it seems like a selfish reason to keep them in, but I can’t give up my alone time. Not completely anyway. I’ve been picking them up by two thirty or three o’clock for a few weeks now, and we come home and play in the backyard or the living room.
My best friend said to me, So if you keep them home for the summer, you go crazy and then Steve gets to take a vacation? Maybe I’m oversimplifying but it doesn’t add up to me. And yes, I guess in a way she was oversimplifying but also? It’s kind of true.
I – we – get so caught up in this cycle of making it work and putting everyone before ourselves and it’s hard to see that it can cost us more than it’s worth.
Balancing the girls’ needs and Steve’s needs and our bank accounts can be hard. Some days I want to tune out and I can’t because the kids are home and the laundry needs to be washed and the groceries need to be bought and no one’s going to do it but me – certainly not Steve who works 11 hour days. And that’s ok because this is actually the way I want my life, but that doesn’t mean it’s not hard sometimes.
That’s why friends are so important though, because in an oversimplifying statement they can alter your perspective just enough to make you see that it doesn’t always have to be you that gives or sacrifices. Friends are smart enough to gently remind you of what you deserve.
I thought about it long and hard, about what I want and what’s best for the kids and what will keep us all the happiest and I’m going to cut them back to two days a week in two weeks. And then at the end of July, I’ll probably cut them back to once a week. It will give me more time with them, but it will also leave me a couple days to spend some time alone.
I don’t know that it will ever get easier, though, this web I spin. Organizing everyone’s life and schedule, figuring out what I want and where I want to be and balancing that against my kids and marriage.