Tuesday, March 16, 2010

While I wait

I’ve been doing some interesting things lately to get my mind off the waiting game (waiting to hear from BYU, waiting to hear from agents). A few weeks ago, I went to Atlanta with hubby to hang out in a hotel while he attended an optometry convention. I usually greatly enjoy these trips because I love being alone and being lazy. I did plenty of lazing around this time, especially because it snowed there (dang! you leave SLC in February in the hopes of getting some sun and what does it to?), and since no one there knows what to do with snow, everything shut down. The buses stopped. The trains stopped. Our hotel was downtown, where there’s nowhere to eat but expensive, schmancy restaurants ($12 for a granola parfait for breakfast? really?), and those restaurants and our hotel were understaffed and opened late (or not at all) because their employees couldn’t get there.

So it was cold. So I mostly stayed inside. One morning I did make myself get out and I went to the Georgia Pacific Aquarium. It was great, as aquariums (aquaria?) go, but I found myself a little lost without a child accompanying me. It seems that all the joy of a place like that, for me, has been in pointing things out to my children. And then I got a little sad, because I realized that even if I had had my children with me (and I know they would have enjoyed it, at least the younger ones), they wouldn’t have been as thrilled as they once were. They’re getting older. Which led to a sort of mid-life crisis.

I’ve been on a low-level mid-life crisis for some time now (beginning, maybe, with my illness and the fear that it’s only downhill from here, physical-wise, and then taking a big blow with the whole BYU not-being-thrilled-at-the-prospect-of-having-me-attend thing), but it seems that things are coming to a head. I turn 40 in June. I haven’t minded getting older before, because it has taken so dang long for me to feel like a grownup anyway. But in the last few months I have been more aware of the things I’m leaving behind, irrevocably. I am not sentimentalizing those years with little kids in my house (as I promised myself I wouldn’t—it was hard, hard, hard), but I don’t like letting go of anything FOREVER (witness my inability to lose track of junior high school friends). It’s weird to think I will never give two little toddlers a bath again (well, OK, there’s grandparenting), never hear their little diapered bodies scampering down the hall to climb into bed with me in the morning, never point out the seahorses to them at the aquarium.

Yes, grandparenting. I begin to see its charm.

I’m not unaware of the affect that the BYU thing has had on all this. Because when my future is uncertain and not particularly exciting, I have only the past to look at with rosy glasses . . .

So, anyway, the trip to Atlanta was a little bit bittersweet. Add to that the problem with the food (too tired by the end of the day to want to spend a lot on a fancy dining experience, even though I usually like that kind of thing, left us hungry and wandering around too much) and the lack of an exciting project to work on in the hotel room, and this vacation was not as good for me as some have been.

Then, last week I took my three youngest, who are off-track, down to St. George to hang out at the grandparents’ condo. The actual time in St. G. was great (got another rejection while I was there but also another request for a full . . . ) and I enjoyed hanging with my kids. But getting down and back was quite an adventure. First, on the way down, I was directed off of the freeway just outside of Cedar City and had to take a long detour through the mountains which made me very nervous and cranky. (All that went away, though, when I heard the reason for the freeway’s being shut down: the 20-car pile-up you may have heard about in which the girl who was on her way to her wedding was killed. Oh, man.) Then, on the way back, I hit a snowstorm so bad I had to get off the freeway and get a motel room in Fillmore. Other than the hours of white-knuckle driving that day and the next, that part of the trip turned out to be kind of a highlight, because my kids and I had such a relaxing, fun time at the hotel that night.

Finally, we hosted a reunion party at our house for our Berkeley friends who are back in Utah now. It’s strange how much those people feel like family. I have a hard time imagining who and where we’d be now if it hadn’t been for our Berkeley experience. In many ways I hardly know those people, but they are very dear to me.

So now here I am with three more weeks of off-track time to get through. I’m trying to tell myself to enjoy it; I always regret it if I just count the days. My kids get more and more fun as they get older (hey—can I try to remember that when I’m missing the toddlers?) and if I can just make myself plan time with them, these will be fun days.

But . . . still waiting on BYU and those dang agents . . . (BTW, did I mention that I found out that I am the ONLY alternate on their list? So odds are pretty good, I guess . . . )


Anonymous said...

Now that Roger pointed out that I comment on your blog more than anyone else, I don't know whether to back off or just embrace my role as Chief Commenter. I guess for today I'm embracing it.

I've had a blog post percolating for a long time about loss, memory, nostalgia, etc. And, since mostly I don't really write thoughtful or serious posts at my blog, the imaginary version of the post is getting more and more unwieldy.

Anyway, a lot of what you said here resonated with me. I've never had an aversion to the idea of getting old and dying in theory, but I do hate the narrowing of opportunities and abilities. I'm also very change-averse, so I'm capable of shedding tears over the thought of my babies growing up even while the current demands of caring for them are nearly overwhelming.

I have a friend in my ward whose youngest kids are in college and whose older kids have children, and she says that grandparenting is extremely rewarding, and that she's able to enjoy it in some ways that she could never quite enjoy her own children. I do want to enjoy what's good about the still very-intense parenting stage I'm in, but I like hearing others' perspectives that make me think there's still a lot to look forward to.

If you're the only alternate for the BYU program,that surely seems to show they did want you, no? Unless the ones who were selected are less than spectacular. So I guess you still don't have the data to know whether they love or hate you. It seems like being the sole alternate is a good thing, though--unless no one drops out.

Snow in Atlanta does seem unfair. And I totally relate to going hungry on principle when food just shouldn't cost that much, even when I can afford it.

Kristi Stevens said...

You spent the night in Fillmore and I didn't see you! I'm glad you had a nice night in the hotel. But if you're ever stuck again in my general area, please, please call you are always welcome to stay here.

It sounds like we are going through many of the same emotions as the same time. Except the waiting part. I've not submitted to anyone else and am giving myself a needed break from writing. It's been very good for me.

I do so enjoy reading about your journey. You write with such honesty.

Keep in touch.