My very first college professor liked to say, when her lectures on the history of England were going well, that she had everyone "in the boat, furiously paddling, in the same direction." She said it so often that by the end of the semester, all she had to say was "in the boat," and all 30 of us would chime in with the rest.
I'm the only one paddling my boat these days, and yet lately I've been having a hard time getting the oars lined up, never mind going in one direction. Something is always out of sync: when I've got things under control at work, the home situation is dire, and when all is well at home, work overwhelms me. I get up on Monday morning thinking I'm prepared for the week ahead, and then I discover that I forgot to buy some vital ingredient for G's lunch, or she has a day off I didn't know about. I'm constantly wondering what I've already missed, what I'm forgetting right now, or what is about to leap up and bite me in the butt. It's hard on the nerves, let me tell you.
So many well-meaning people have told me that P would be proud of the way I've handled things since he's been gone, but the truth is, P would not be proud at all. P had excruciatingly high standards for himself and everyone else, and every day of my life, I can see all the ways I'm falling short of them. I procrastinate too much. I don't do enough housework. I let things slip through the cracks. I don't discipline G as firmly as I should. I disappointed P often when he was alive, and even though I'm trying even harder now than I ever have before, I know I'm still failing -- always scrambling to catch up, always telling myself I'll do better next time. Yes, it's been a rough year, but I know what P would say: So, what, because I'm dead you're going to let things slide? You've got to step up, babe.
I want to step up and do everything right. I swear I do. I just get so tired of trying to paddle this effing boat on my own. I don't remember covering that in History of England.