The twins have been home from school for 12 of the last 13 days. The baby is on his second cold in the last month (though this one seems quite minor, but still). I am behind in almost every conceivable way. Willow is also behind, so the idea of one of us throwing another a lifeline feels impossible too. We are simply not set up to do full-time childcare for three and maintain full-time (or even part-time jobs.
So at the moment, I have a batch of undergraduate response papers to grade, all of the material for my grad class to prep for tomorrow (three plays by Pirandello), a stack of PhD applications to read, and on the horizon, another batch of response papers and two sets of midterms.
And at the moment, instead of doing any of these things, I am blogging. Sitting in front of the magic happy light box (which isn't at the moment, working wonders), listening to Junebug cry while somehow not managing to cry himself to sleep.
Paul Atreides, of Frank Herbert's Dune series, uses the mantra, "Fear is the mind killer," but frankly, I am not so much afraid of everything as simply buried and therefore rendered completely inert. And my mind is dead. I am unexcited by my objectively exciting classes, unwilling to crack the top of that stack of response papers, even blase about going up to soothe the baby (bad daddy).
If the sun doesn't come out soon (tomorrow is, after all, always a day away), I'm going to burst. If I have to wear my goddamn winter boots to walk to campus another day, I'm gonna scream. If it doesn't stop snowing soon so I can send the twins back to school, I'm going to curl up in a little ball and weep. None of which will help anything at all.
Ash Wednesday is the inauguration of Lent, a period of doing without. In Christian terms, it's a self-shriving to prepare for the grace of Easter, but on a broader, pan-spiritual level, it's seemingly related to the necessary practice of stretching the remaining provisions through the winter. Willow and I are responding to both terms this year by forgoing meat. It's an environmental decision first, with elements of finances and spirituality mixed in. And it's a test run for perhaps a more permanent solution down the road.
I wonder what the connection between these Lenten sacrifices and winter malaise might have to do with one another, and whether the discipline involved in going without might also be related to the discipline of muddling through.
For now though, the happy light box has finished its cycle, the baby has finally fallen asleep, and I think I'll read a play. We'll see whether the winter malaise has faded any by then.