Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Some kinda big doings

The weekend turned out to be tiring, but ultimately good and very eye-opening.

Munchkin and I left on Friday morning and didn't have any problems getting out there. The suddenness of my Aunt's death had everyone kind of a mess, and it was good to be able to be around during the grieving. There was a two session wake that we stayed for most of, and had dinner with a couple of our cousins in between. We stayed with BFFg (and her fiance that I introduced her to in their spectacular apartment...I digress) and it was really nice to see her! I still talk to her almost daily, but it has been entirely too long since I have actually seen her.

The funeral itself was actually really nice...my uncle (her brother) gave a really nice eulogy and a couple of other people said some brief things. We were all invited to speak if we wanted to, and there were things that I would have liked to say, but I didn't think I would get through it...and I really just wanted to sort of reflect quietly the whole time instead.

So...the eye-opening part. Actually had nothing to do with my Aunt or my family or anything else like that. It was all about Munchkin, and a stark realization that I have been a pretty bad mother lately. For her, at least.

She is wildly independent and incredibly mature and adjusted...but that is no excuse for me to shirk my responsibilities, and I have been doing that too much lately. I do it because it is easy to...she doesn't get in any trouble or act out or otherwise suffer outwardly if she doesn't get enough attention. Her grades remain impeccable, her social life is booming and she remains a complete joy to have around. It may not be obvious, but it matters to me, and it is unacceptable for me to let it happen.

Having children is not an excuse...you don't get to forget the older ones when you have new ones. My responsibilities to her haven't changed just because I have two kids now, and I am somewhat ashamed that I let it get to this point. Because it was my decision to stay in school the whole time and it was my decision to go back to work last fall, and that is where the problem lies.

What I realized is how nice it was to have three days with her non-stop...and sadly how removed I have become from her life. I won't go into the specifics (which are boring and probably not as alarming to you as they are to me) but I am far too distant. Not by sister standards...I am a lot more involved still than most anyone is with their sister...but by mother standards. And I have a moral (and, ahem, legal) obligation to her to be her guardian and her parent as well as her sister.

The net result is that I found it necessary to make a pretty big decision. Not one that I am really happy about, but one that I think I owe to Munchkin, whether she says so or not (she would never say it). The easy thing would be to quit working for the next four months until school was done...and that was my first thought.

But that is easier said than done. I would feel obligated to finish a project I have been working on, and at the very earliest that will wrap up in early March, and that kind of defeats the purpose. In addition, we are still planning on moving this spring or summer, and the plan for that involves my working until then...I don't want to put that off if we don't have to.

Add in my general frustration with school, and that becomes the thing that I want to cut out for now. In the interest of full disclosure, I sort of considered this a month ago, and I talked to the dean about the possibility before eventually deciding against it. So, I had already kind of figured out what I would need to do and how to go about it.

I still have a semester to go, and I am a little upset about not graduating with my classmates. But not really that broken up, at least not enough to re-think the decision. I also thought about maybe just taking a class or two this semester and another one or two in the Fall, but decided that I will benefit from the total break. I am simply taking a leave of absence for the Spring semester, and will go back full time in the Fall to bang out the last part of the degree, and have it done by next Christmas.

Ideal? No, but it is the best I have for now.


Our Happy Married Life... said...

whatever works for you is what is best! i've always felt like you had SO much going on...far more than most can handle. Good for you on making that decision...i'm sure it wasn't easy. :)

Kari said...

Great decision! You totally need a break. You weren't enjoying school and even though you are amazing...you have a lot on your plate. September is a great time to finish your degree as the "new school year" buzz is still in the air.
Enjoy the break!

Jen said...

It sounds like you are making the best decision for you and your family, so good for you! I think the break will do you good, and you can go back refreshed in the fall.

Anonymous said...

I think it is the right decision!
You have so much going on with the girls, Munchkin, work and school - and don't forget your husband! ;-)
It will be good for all of you, I am sure.

Thisisme said...

Wow! That's a pretty bold "mom" decision! Good for you!

Ys said...

I think it's a great decision. Only you know what your family needs and I think it's wonderful that you're able to step back and see what's needed to make everyone happy.

Irene said...

I was always wondering how you do it and thinking it sounds like a lot and WAY more than I could handle, so I think it is a good decision. I have some friends who work full-time I have heard a lot about how they miss seeing their kids grow up and missing important mile-stones and spending more time doing other stuff, most of them are really sad about it and would love to spend more time at home...I am glad we can afford it that I stay home with our two kids.

A said...

I know that I already told you this, but congrats once again. You can only fit so much on your plate. School isn't going anywhere. A little break will do all of you some good! :)