with Karli Larson
The transition from stay-at-home mom to divorced-and-working-full-time mom can be challenging, and sometimes very lonely. Throw in a few cats, an ancient dog and one very brave boyfriend, and life gets downright crazy. Join me as I talk through my thoughts and struggles, my miscalculations and my triumphs. We're in this together, you and I.
When I'm not writing here you can find me over at work on the TisBest Philanthropy blog.
I have a new part-time gig, doing some editing from home, for some lovely colleagues. It’s not full-time, but I am grateful for the work. The girls and I are always desperate for warm clothes and groceries and oil to heat the house as the weather grows chilly. Every fall, I wonder how we will squeak by, make it through another New England winter. Every dollar helps. Mucho.
But I am freaking out, certain I will somehow blow this good thing. I don’t feel lucky, as a rule. Grateful, yes, but rarely lucky anymore. I am always waiting for the other shoe to drop, for the next handbasket to hell to come trucking by with my name on it in blinking neon.
Be good, brain, I keep saying to myself. BE GOOD. LEARN THINGS. YOU CAN STILL DO IT.
Can I? it replies, concerned. You may have me confused with another brain.
You know, or you don’t: Some seriously terrifying stuff went down with my spongy gray matter over the last seven years. I still need certain meds to keep the Baddies in check. The meds, although they do their job well enough, have worn ragged holes into my memory. They compromise my ability to tackle new information the way my carefree whippersnapper self of youth once did.
I was a cocky smartypants for a long time, especially when it came to anything dealing with words, spelling, grammar or style rules. Words were a cinch for me, easy-peasy. It’s humbling now to find that there are massive gaps in my mind where beautiful expansion bridges of sparkling vocabulary once stood. Now, I have to swim across synapses, and the current is hard.
You’re fine, people tell me. It’s just part of the aging process. This is 40. This is just what happens when you have kids.
Maybe. I can’t say what’s what. But neither can anyone else. I’ve lived inside this head for 42 years, and I know what’s been gained and what’s been lost. I know that every learning curve is steep, now, far steeper than it used to be. I worry, sometimes.
So I am trying to simplify. I am trying to give my brain the fresh air and space it needs to rock this venture. I’d like to heal some of the frayed bits of my mind with this task. I’d like to remind myself that I can teach myself some new tricks, when it counts.
So I cleaned my blue desk. I hung up some pictures. I added plants to the room, a clearance lamp from Target, and a freshly laundered rug (upon which the elderly canine has already had an accident or two).
I am asking a lot of questions and scribbling a lot of notes. I am paying attention. I am motivated. And I like what I’m doing. That’s never a bad place to start…or start over.
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