Mid-December Anxieties

Photo: My friend gave me this for Christmas and I think it’s lovely. My knitting bag is just adorned with favorite pins and it’s just the best! She said she picked this out because it made her think of my Quiet Thoughts. I need these things today, especially that last line: “We will be okay.” Even if the boiler dies… we will be ok.


We’re getting to that time in this Christmas season when I’m starting to feel guilty about our purchases, and I feel like a horrible person. I know I’m not… but it all feels too much, you know? All of it. I feel like we spent too much, or the boys are getting too much, or we aren’t doing the right thing… I don’t know. I feel like I get overwhelmed with worry that we’ve somehow, someway, stepped over a line.

We’re fine. I know we are. I’m just ready to stop.

My sister put me in charge in getting Mom’s gift (she is getting my step-father’s gift). I have to go to Talbots and get an expensive gift card. It’s for mom and she deserves it and it’s fine… but I’m also sitting here like, “I really need to do a bunch of freelancing this week so I can feel less guilty.”

Then there is a voice in the back of my head that says, “you’ll never be able to do enough freelancing to catch up, you horrible consumer.”

I know I’m not the only person who has this anxiety.

It doesn’t help that the boiler is not doing well. We’re in the final stretch here. I am putting water in her almost twice a day now. It’s time to do the research and get the things lined up so we can pull the trigger when it finally dies. I really want to be angry, because this isn’t our fault. The previous homeowners purchased the boiler second-hand from somewhere, which is just… who does that? Maybe the inspection should have picked up on that? I’m sitting here wondering how we could have caught this and gotten the price for the house reduced. Then again, we probably did the best we could.

New roof and new boiler within 12 months. Mom keeps saying, “this is the last big thing. Roofs last for 30 years. Boilers last for 30 years. You’ve done all the big things.”

I guess that’s good, because we’ll be paying for these things until the boys go to college. Big things to bigger things. Always broke, never able to get ahead. Lordy.

I hear Grandy’s voice: “All young couples are worried about money. All parents lose sleep over money. You’ll be fine, baby. Just keep going.”

Okay… I’m trying. Forward. Onward. Keep reaching. Keep working.

I sure hope 2019 rolls in for more simple opportunities than challenges to turn into opportunities. Simple is good right now. Simple, I pray, is cheap and manageable. 2019, I pray, is the year we actually catch up on things and get to be real, responsible adults who are doing the right things.

I spent the day with Ursa Major in his classroom at school. The class is studying life “long ago” and they did an activity day. I got to sit with a bunch of 2nd graders and very blunt needles and whole-ply embroidery floss (friends who are crafters are probably smiling), trying to sew whip-stitch around the dolls. It was an interesting project. Major, having watched me work on many needle projects, was really earnest and excited to learn. One of the other boys at the table did about 5 stitches and then weaseled his way out of doing the rest. The other little boy actually gave it his best effort, loving and loathing it at different intervals.

I have to really commend Major’s second grade teacher. Patience is a virtue and she has it in spades. Teaching was hard for me and is hard for anyone. It’s a hard profession. As an urban teacher, I used to scoff at the imagined luxury that I thought suburban teachers experience. It’s not to say that there aren’t clear advantages to teaching out here versus in urban schools facing a myriad of real, sometimes insurmountable, challenges. I want to simply acknowledge that suburban teaching is still challenging teaching. Those kids are precious. They are needy. They have no problem looking you in the eye and saying without a care, “I have decided I’m no longer going to do that thing you told me to do.”

Anyway, that’s a long paragraph that can be summed up as simply: God bless teachers. Every single one. Past, present, and future.

It’s Monday. I’m starting my second week in the boot. There is a lot to do. I’m sure you’re busy, too. Good news? No Wednesday night obligations! I’m cruzin’ for a full week of posts this week! Woo hoo!

So until Wednesday, take are.


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