I try really hard not to think about it.
I try not to think about the fact that I don’t cook as well or nutritiously as I should. I joke about it, but I don’t think about it.
I try not to think about all the times my kids wanted to sit on my lap but I put them off. “Let me finish my e-mail. I’ll be right there.”
I try not to think about the fact that I have very few real life friends. Pretty much, if I don’t see people in the lunch room everyday, I’m off people’s radar, and they’re off mine. “I’ll call such and such when I’m done with the book/soccer season/ the school year/ et.”
I try not to think about the fact that the book shelf in the kids’ room self-destructed last month and I haven’t fixed it and they’ve been playing in the living room.
I try not to think about the fact that they sleep in my bed every night because SOMETHING needs to be done with their room in general, and I have not gotten to it.
I try not to think about the fact that time is passing, and I spend a lot of it immersed in things/people/events that are not real.
I TRIED really hard not to think about my grandmother who lives laughably close to me (one of two!) and whom I’ve visited maybe twice in the last five months.
But she is sick tonight, and maybe won’t make it, and now I guess I need to tell the dragon to piss off and to actually THINK about the time that I sacrifice to it. Because every time I passed that corner on the way home with the children, I would think about Grandma Flossie–who has been a good sort of grandma, and who gave me Christmas presents from the time I was eight years old even though I was her daughter’s boyfriend’s kid and she (and Grandpa Harold) didn’t know how long that would last. (They were pleased when it lasted pretty much forever.) Every time I passed the corner, I thought, “God–but I’m so tired. I’m dragging three kids–and I’ve got an hour before I’ve got to be/do/drive somewhere.” And the tired thing would probably always be there and so would the hour before I’ve got to be/do/drive somewhere, but let’s face it–it wouldn’t have been so bad, so pressing, so all-inclusive, if I hadn’t been feeding the dragon.
My step-mom (who is an awesome person) told me “She’s all about her ‘kids’ and her mom and dad, and Dad. Come by if you like, but know that it’s for you and not really for her.”
Well, I came by, because I’m the one who felt like shit, right? I’m the one who kept passing her care home and thinking, “Next week, I’m really going to do that, but right now, I’m exhausted and I’m cranky and my house is a disaster and if I’m lucky I can sneak in some time to sit on the chair and doze with kids on my lap.”
She knew who I was–which is more than I was expecting. She asked why I didn’t bring the little kids–and I told her truthfully that they’re not that well behaved in the best of times and they’d be causing unholy hell in the unit. She told me to give them hugs, to thank Chicken for the call and the card, and to tell Mate hello. Then she said something I couldn’t hear–she had an oxygen mask, it was tough–and then she said “…time. An hour, or two, or three.” And she was probably talking about when she’s going into surgery or when my uncles were coming back to visit or something else, but all I’ve heard all night, looking at my crappy house and my tired kids is, “…time. An hour or two or three…”
And I have to wonder–I’ve ALWAYS wondered–how much the dragon eats. Some nights it seems that fucker devours far too much.