August 20th, 2003

20 Aug 2003, by

I was late to work again today. Third time this week, and it’s coincidentally the third working day of the week. I’m not usually the sort of person who gets to places late, work included, although I do fudge the five minutes often enough (both getting to work and leaving, btw. When I’m in the middle of something I am in the middle of it and I can’t just stop because a clock says so). Today’s reason was that Sophia was inordinately clingy and I had to stay an extra ten minutes at daycare with her. Yesterday she had the walking out the door bowel movement. The day before that I stopped to talk to the office people about her new class. See, they graduated her to K2B from K2A. She’d not been in K2A more than a couple of months, either, but they were trying to make space. In general, I prefer their method of shuffling kids around to make space over the method most daycares use which is the seventy month waiting list. Still, they told my husband on Friday afternoon for Monday morning, which is rather less notice than I like to get. A week is more my style, so that both Sophia and I can get used to the idea. Of course, I had a bunch of questions, all of which were answered to my satisfaction, but nonetheless required asking at dropoff on Monday morning. And so, I arrive to work late. I don’t really mind being late, nor do I mind being early. Schedules are approximations for me, not rigid inflexible rules. I also tend toward taking 45 minute lunches when I’m entitled to an hour (though just as often, probably, I take 1 hour 10), skipping breaks unless I have an errand and taking 20 minutes instead of 15 when I do have an errand. Since I’m not covering a public space (like the reference desk), it really doesn’t matter that much exactly when I’m at my desk and when I’m not, so long as I do my work. This is more or less the view that my boss takes, much to my relief. Other people who work in my building, however, whose business when I come and go is not, view things differently. Often as I come into the basement and walk toward the chamber I get a stiff “Good Morning,” followed by a significant glance towards the clock. This is likely because I work in a building with many people who are not and have never been married and who do not and will never have kids. I don’t like to be exclusionary and to act like people who don’t have kids can’t possibly understand the people who do, but I have noticed that there’s a certain rigidity and lack of mercy about people who do not spend large amounts of time near very small children. Sophia doesn’t understand about being late. Schedules and working hours and tardiness are outside her comprehension and even directly contrary to her sense of immediacy. I prefer it this way, as she will be subjugated to these rules soon enough, without my having to drag her from place to place at top speed and frustration for schedules that are (as of yet) not even her own but merely to do with me and my work. I’m sure that there are people who would disagree with me, but when all is said in done I don’t think ten minutes is going to make the bottom line difference at work, whereas with my child, those extra ten minutes can mean the end to an outburst of tears, a clean diaper, peace of mind for a mother who must leave her child with others. I love my daycare and I feel they are both qualified and caring there and the staff there are extraordinarily kind to Sophia: always full of compliments about her behavior, her skills and her disposition. And even with all that, in the best of situations, it still is not easy to leave her every day. I don’t think someone that doesn’t leave a lover or a husband or a child every day can understand the daily heartbreak of it, and why often it can take a little more time than you had planned or meant for it to.

Ok, so Kurt has kindly typed in everything that I wrote in my paper journal, so that it can be pasted into a blog entry. I glanced at the file he typed and was overwhelmed by the number of typos in the first paragraph. I don’t know whether I am just so out of practice writing by hand that I can no longer spell while doing it, or whether Kurt introduced typos while transcribing it, or whether my handwriting is not nearly as legible as I have always believed it to be. Possibly some combination thereof. However, proofing it for public consumption is apparently going to take some work. Which is a shame because I had hoped to post it first and then continue where it left off and filling in the spaces I skipped over while I wrote in it as I had time in future blog posts. However, I’m going to just have to get in the bits I missed down as I recall them, and I may recall things that I already mentioned and you will eventually see again. All this to say that there may be plenty of duplication between now and then and I apologize. It will also seem, for now, as if I’m just skipping huge chunks of the story for no reason, but that’s because I’ve already written about them. In addition, I’m sure the journal will take on a moebius strip quality as, side by side, I discuss the current activities and happenings with the near (but growing more distant in memory and time every moment) past of the trip to Europe. Bear with me, if you can. I’m just trying to get all the little bits of colored memory down. I can’t promise a lovely mosaic when I’m done, but I have hope that something worthwhile will come of it.

Speaking of worthwhile, I have come to believe that blogs are, and more specifically that this blog is. When I lost yet another entry to Camino a couple of days ago, I was asking my friend and Mac guru (although I think the proper term is genius) for help in desperate tones and he told me in no uncertain terms that I was overreacting, that it was just a blog. I’ve been mulling that over for a couple of days, partly because it hurt my feelings and partly because I have always been uncertain about the whole value of blogging and blogdom. I think about things that hurt my feelings a lot, because I believe that things that hurt you often do so because they are somewhat true and should be examined for veracity before being consigned to oblivion. I was quite upset at the time, probably more than was warranted, but I reject the assertion that there’s no value in what I do. It may not have value for others, or for society at large, but for me it serves real concrete purposes : recording things I would otherwise forget, giving me near daily writing practice, flexing my creative muscle and pulling something semi-permanent out of the nothing that is my life and my daily drudgery and my dreams and the unfolding growth of my child, and motivating me to look at the world around me for interesting bits (not all, or even most of which, end up here). I mourn the vanished pieces like I sometimes mourn the stories I’ve thrown away in decades past. Not because they would have won me any awards, but because they were the work of my own hands, the sound of my mind.

We went out to the Reservoir for dinner tonight, with an old friend. It was quite enjoyable and Sophia was delighted by the water and the ducks. She kept squealing and shivering with excitement. She screamed “Hi ducks! Hi ducks! How are you doing?” They obligingly quacked back at her. I was worried she would fall in the whole time, but I don’t think she noticed that. We fed them cornbread and she would throw a piece into the water and then shout with eagerness when they dove forward to snap it up. We had to go back for more bread. I hope that we provide her many, many opportunities to interact with nature and animals as she grows, so that she feels she is part of the natural world and not separated from it.

Well, it’s about time for me to sleep now. Tomorrow : Florence!

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