Being That Girl—Plus Three

“Are we on vacation?” asked my 3 year old suddenly—and gleefully—during one of our many housebound days. I could have construed his question as a very sweet one. After all, the last two and a half months have been almost entirely devoted to playing Settlers of Catan and Ticket to Ride and card games, to building puzzles and baking muffins, to watching “Brave” on the couch and “Frozen” in the theater, and, once, to a short bout of sledding (after a long bout of wrapping ourselves in layers of winter gear). Then again, it could be construed as a delusional question as many questions of 3 year olds are (but five minutes earlier, he studied the Greek yogurt with honey I set before him and asked gravely, “Will it taste like shawarma?”).

Actually, the last ten weeks (but who’s counting?) of snow days, snow days, no power days, potential snow days, holidays, weekends (I know those pop up regularly, but they seemed to have popped up more often than usual recently), and illnesses ranging from vomiting to diarrhea to vomiting and diarrhea to colds with fever to ear infections, have been (in my less than sweet opinion) the antithesis of vacation. When I chose to parent my three kids alone for half a year, I hardly could have imagined what was to ensue. I thought I was staying stateside for a logical reason: my husband’s job in England began in January, and it seemed to make sense that the kids and me—as I teach–finish out our school year without disruption.

2 comments on “Being That Girl—Plus Three

  1. A G on

    I love the way you reflect on this. And at the safe distance of reading about this on the internet, it has been important to me that you did this. I think it’s wonderful for people to make choices that make family first, but thinking of your self (note the two words there) seems not just ideological but existential. If family choices never revolve around individual persons, then all anyone can develop is their joined self. But I want you to be able to iterate from you to family-you. Even if you decide that you could have achieved more, total, by making a different choice, I would not believe that choice as much if you went straight to it. And although we’re friends, my point is not that you should have my approval. I mean that I have genuinely derived meaning and pleasure from your choice. I believe it has cost you and I don’t mean to be glib. But many of our mutual friends seem to me always to have made the practical choice, the choice that acts, still, as if daycare has to be deducted from her income. I respect those choices one at a time, but they add up to something a little creepy for me, and I’ve loved seeing you at least delay that while you figure out what you most value. So I respect you and I also thank you if that’s not so selfish that it ends up disrespectful.

  2. Diana on

    Hi Karen, now I’m even sorrier I didn’t come out today to keep you company! But I’m also glad I didn’t give you my New York cough – California lungs are not up to this freezingness. Gee whiz, it is COLD!

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