A Tale of Two Mommies

…because more seems excessive…

Life as Pictures…busy…busy…

I started helping an out-of-state nonprofit with reentry programming. It’s a good experience, as I haven’t had a lot of exposure with reentry program development. It’s a good amount of work, and some of the content is a challenge, but I enjoy having it on my plate. Some of what I’m doing is reformatting their current content into something more structured…something that would be similarly presented regardless of the facilitator. Other things I’m creating are for data collection and to help characterize and fulfil a grant that they were awarded, so it’s been a fun thing for me.

I’ve been phonebanking for the last month or so. I have an additional two campaigns I’m looking forward to volunteering for when the time comes. I don’t really understand election timelines, so I’m just going with it. I think I’ve settled on maintaining three campaigns at any given time. That should work for me. That’s about 150 calls a week, and if the phonebanking can’t be actualized; sometimes it can’t, then my second choice is textbanking.

I was just lamenting the other day that I miss postcarding. I used to attend a couple of groups, and they were such a good time. That seems like ions ago, well over a year. When I was sick, but didn’t know it was COVID, I was laying low anyway. Even if my kids are okay to go to school, I try to not expose my yucks to other people…good thing too, it seems. I have a couple friends I had canceled with during that time. I thought it was a nothing cold, but postponed outings anyway…they are still thanking me for that. I think back to the irresponsibility of the past administration. Them lying about the prevalence in the country could have harmed others. I didn’t feel all that sick. The subsequent pulmonary embolism out of nowhere…what a difference a year makes…

I attended a training of sorts. I’ve been wanting to take part with this prison correspondence thing with another nonprofit, but was confused about some of the mechanisms for doing so. I have an account for communication through someone else that is funded through a grant, so it was just confusing. The orientation cleared that right up; I love it when my barriers are solved with almost zero effort on my part! I have to write my mentee after a recent letter that was delivered. In the coming weeks I need to get more serious about the other correspondence nonprofit. Their work a way to provide feedback to incarcerated writers, so that their writing is seen as a kind of living connection to humanity. Additionally there might be a way to assist them with some program development as well. Not really sure about it, but maybe they might even fund some of my solitary confinement work. They are associated through a university, and since I’m an individual and can’t get funding myself, it’s good to be affiliated through other entities. It also helps for networking. I have no idea if any of that will amount to anything, but while I’m stranded from my in-person classes until at least the spring (maybe even longer than that), it’s good to have some things to work toward, as nebulous as they might be.

I’ve always been oddly crafty…not having crafty enough impulses to have an assortment of eclectic harborings in the house, but enough to use it as a default when I’m trying to think of something to do with my kids. I’m also a massive procrastinator, so there is a certain celebratory delight in finally managing to get shit to do with my kids. I’ve been ruminating for months over this funky crayon project thing a friend told me about. I now have the materials handy for when the gumption to make it happen arises…probably a time just short of all of us simultaneously losing our sanity, and me wanting to trek out into the cold never to be heard from again. The rest of the craft store order was replenishing my stock of blank story books that are usually a profound success in our parts, and I stumbled upon blank puzzles. The puzzles have odd results, but it intermittently keeps Warrior Queen busy, so I won’t complain. All the more delight is that they managed to restock a couple of the sock yarn I’d wanted. When I get around to it, I have my next knitting project set…another pair of ankle socks…huzzah!

It was one of those weeks when I was feeling down. I was struggling to get Little Man to complete his school work. My struggle isn’t because he’s difficult about it; he isn’t…not any remote iota of a challenge in that regard. I have trouble organizing my head sometimes, and heap loads upon loads of mom guilt on myself. Usually he manages to do his assignments. Usually he doesn’t do the preferred commitment for the computer programs that are paced weekly. This particular week was especially hard, and I’m not sure why. I think there was a snow day and it just threw me, even though it didn’t impact my day or schedule. My son came home from the bus on Friday showing me something he made during his computer elective, and it was everything I needed to see. Little Man has the most profoundly amazing timing more often than not. I might have teared up, and he was so proud. I’m in blue. Little Man regularly points out when something is blue because it’s my favorite color.

I love it when my son wants me to play with him. I love it more for the snuggles than the play itself. Little Man is affectionate, but it’s oddly delivered. When he’s playing or showing me his Lego especially, he leans up against me and kind of snuggles into me. I love the weight of him, and he gives me much less resistance with hugging in those moments. My son will hug me, certainly, but it’s not as sustained. I don’t know if it’s just him or his almost seven-year-old age, but he’s not always in the snuggly mood. If I’m honest, I’m not really sure how to play with my kids. Fortunately they don’t seem to mind. It’s enough for them that I’m on the floor in some kind of contact with them. When I throw together random Lego bricks into haphazard structures, Little Man is delighted. These times are worth the sore back from sitting for extended periods of time on the floor.

Warrior never liked puzzles other than haunting her big brother while he would work on them. Fast forward who knows how long, and Little Man has almost no interest in them, and the almost five-year-old is all about the puzzles. I don’t see her making quite the same gains as my son did when he was younger, but she is good at them. She’s so proud too…putting together her 100-piece ones over and over again. I have yet to find others that she will like. One-hundred seems too easy for her, but I don’t think we have anything else around. I keep telling myself that I need to go online and explore, but I never get around to it.

I love to see my daughter delighted by things. I snort horribly when I’m in the throws of a really intense laugh, which is not infrequent. My husband says it’s horrible, but it’s his fault. He’s hilarious. I don’t know that people realize how funny he is, but our seventeen years together has been filled with laughter above all else. I say my snorting laughter makes me quirky…or something else that makes me quirky. Warrior Queen now snorts all the time when she laughs. Sometimes it seems really forced, but I guess she wants to be just like Mommy…with the obnoxious laugh that can’t be helped. I was just telling a friend that my kids have a way of seeing my worst qualities and reimagining them into something kinda nice. Snort laughing might be one of those things. There really isn’t anything lovely about the way I laugh when I get into it, but my fierce girl sees something in me when I’m laughing at such a level, and she wants to be that way too. Nothing bad I can say about that.

I’ve successfully botched this blanket. It’s completely pleated at the ends, and I’m hoping I’ll be able to fix it. A friend mentioned stitch reductions, so that’s what I’ve been doing…after I had to unravel a massive row-and-a-half of yarn. Interestingly it isn’t that frustrating now that the rows are gone. I’d been increasing my row at the time, or I would have just left it as it was and continued to make the problem worse. I’m thinking this is a forgiving yarn; it’s soft and pliant, so maybe it will work out. It would be such a bitch to be this far into my afghan project and have it be completely ruined. I went into this with such high ideals, but working in the round on this scale is no joke. The perspective is completely skewed and hard to gauge…which is probably another fiber ware life lesson. But, I’m not ready to bail on this yet, so I’ll try for the decreases and see if I can fix this in a few rows…that will take for-ever. It wasn’t always the case, but I enjoy just having something to pull onto my lap and work on. I think part of the problem is that I just like sitting sometimes and keeping my hands busy. I hadn’t noticed, and I guess didn’t care that, big picture, it wasn’t looking right…maybe another fiber life lesson as well.

I think these things also have a way of revealing something about who we are as people, which sounds so serious for yarn and a hook. I’m really a pretty tenacious person…maybe to ridiculous proportions. As a kid school wasn’t easy…people weren’t easy…a lot wasn’t easy. I was taught and just had to embrace that the direct way to do things wasn’t the only way. In my life I seldom achieve in a direct way. I’ve had to buckle down and keep working at what I want until I achieve them, or finally have to give up when every outlet is exhausted. But, even then, much of the time the task is postponed until another avenue opens to me. Me attempting to fix my mess after neglecting the problems with it for so long is a sort of example of my predisposition for how I manage my time. This will be such a pain in the ass to fix. Part of me is leaning into just giving up on it and squirreling it away for whatever. I’m not sure what I’d do with it because it’s so large at this point. But, if I just gave up on it, I wouldn’t be me. I’m annoyed all the time by things not working out how I wanted them to, but I keep at it because I apparently can’t help myself. I may very well ultimately fail with this blanket. I’ve failed at a ton of things. On the other hand, maybe I’ll fix this…save this project. I’m enjoying the process, and if there were ever the components for something to be salvaged, it will be this.

The thing is I have a home I want this project to go to. They don’t know it yet, but I’m pretty sure they would love this piece living with them. Whenever I start a project I say to myself that this will be the one I keep for myself, but something about the process speaks, and I know it would be wrong for the project to belong to me. This one already belongs to someone else…if I can fix it…I have to fix it…I hope I do. They really will love it when it’s finished…I think they will. If I kept it for myself, I’d miss all of these thoughts of the comfort this project could provide. Maybe that’s the ultimate point of it all…another life lesson found in stitching. Investing in the comfort and happiness of others in the smallest of ways make ruin worth saving.

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