Monday, 7 February 2011
The work version, which turns up to work in her freshly ironed clothes and sees a bucketload of people, works hard and stumbles home. Body tired, brain all used up, and slightly scruffy around the edges. Wanting nothing more than the bliss of crawling into bed and a soft pillow undercheek. The one that misses her friends when she thinks of them, but mostly gets up, goes to work, comes home, occasionally eats and falls asleep. This version is also keeping her eye out for research projects and in all her spare time often opens an anatomy book so that she can keep up her skills ready for the next phase. This is the grown up version, and I am scared of her sometimes, because I don't really recognise her.
The family version rejoices on coming home to the noise and the chaos and delights in the fact that the Monkey can now write her name clearly. And that the Elfling got 10/10 for her spelling test. The family version comes home to the cheeky face of her Possum and is smothered in kisses and hugs that wrap around her knees from behind. The family version helps finish making dinner and getting the three musketeers in bed, reading Fairy Realm to the Elfling and the Hungry Caterpillar to the Possum. The family version is tired at 3am when she rolls out of bed to mix a bottle of formula, but does it anyway to calm the horrendous sobs coming from the cot. The family version wants to spend more time with Bingley but despairs at how mundane the time is, when the work version is desperately wanting to sleep.
Then there is the dreamer version, she drifts in and out, in between work and family and whispers that if you just escaped now, think how beautiful life would be. If only I didn't have to make school lunches in the morning. If only I didn't have to go to work. If only I could sit on a rock in the middle of the air and think only of the blue of the sky. The dreamer version composes half story ideas and then convinces herself that she could be a writer instead of a doctor. And in the dream version things like having to mop the floorboards never really feature. Nor do little things like if I didn't live with Bingley any more, that I would still need to do things like take the children to ballet class and would never be able to move from this city. That travel would be near impossible and the work version would be left weeping in a corner.
And I preside over all of them, feeling like I am herding cats as they all do what they please. No matter how often she's told to just switch off when she comes home from work, the adrenaline overlaps and often it takes hours to unwind. And the noise and the chaos can be so overwhelming for the family version that she hides behind the dreamer who won't restrain herself from living in fantasy no matter how many stern talks we've hd on the matter. And by this stage the family version is playing blocks with the Possum who is trying to stick them down her cleavage and wondering why she hasn't gone to bed.
I feel I am drifting at the moment, loose threads of me spreading out like oil on water. And I can't seem to reel them in again. Just as soon as I get a grip on one thread, and one part of my life seems to be doing what I want, the other parts make a run for it and I'm left tired and shaky in the middle just trying to hang on. I shall get through this, and I know the other side will be beautiful, but right now I feel swampy, and lost.