Luckily, Petunia didn't seem too bothered by the fuss, and still had a happy time blowing out her candles. I was struggling to hold it together, though.
Things eased up a bit on Wednesday, as problems started to resolve at work and Pumpkin's school routine returned to normal. But it was Back to School night, which necessitated both me and Mr. Snarky leaving early and rushing home to get the kids settled in with my sister (who also had to leave work a little early to come babysit). We enjoyed meeting Pumpkin's teacher, who seems very nice and good. She told us after her group presentation that Pumpkin is well-behaved but really anxious at school. I had hoped to hear Pumpkin was happier at school than she made out to be at home, but that was not the case. She is doing excellent work, but is clearly stressed out by school right now. And that gives me a bit of a knot in my stomach.
I also didn't enjoy the polite but pointed call for additional volunteers from the two "room parents." They are both really nice women, and I know they are sacrificing a lot to come and volunteer- they kept emphasizing how they are taking their vacation days and lunch hours to do it. But... how could we explain that the problem for us wasn't getting the right to take the time off, but rather that our work would still need to be done whether we took the time off or not? We both have very flexible jobs, and could arrange to take the time to volunteer without having to resort to taking our vacation time. But we are also both in massive crunch times. I will still need to guide my projects to completion even if I disappear for a few hours to go do an art activity with Pumpkin's class. I will still need to get my 2013 group goals and budget written even if I take a vacation day. Taking some vacation time will not relieve Mr. Snarky of the responsibility of guiding the software he is technical lead on to its first production release. Taking the time right now will just push work even further into our evenings and weekends, and neither of us feels that is a smart thing to do right now. So we said that we couldn't help during the day at this time, but might be able to do so in January. We took the list of supplies the classroom needs and we'll bring some of those things in next week. We've also already given a fairly large amount to the school's annual donation drive.
As much as I believe the world (and our school) needs both people who will give time and people who will give money, it is hard to hold that line in the face of obvious disapproval- or maybe just disappointment? I couldn't tell- from these moms, particularly since one is the mother of the little girl Pumpkin identifies as her "bestest friend." But I can't add more to my schedule right now, so here I am, holding that line.
Still, today, I can feel the storm fading away. We solved the remaining technical issues at work. I had to stay late to do it, and then I went out to celebrate a little with the vendor and my team- not a required thing, but something that experience tells me it is best to do. Mr. Snarky graciously agreed to pick up the girls, and they were fed and happy when I came home. Petunia was playing with the train set she got for her birthday and Pumpkin was working on her homework. Petunia's sharing her new toys with Pumpkin, who has gotten over the fact that she didn't get any new toys of her own. Pumpkin reported a much better day at school. And I'm actually feel like I have a few minutes to relax before jumping into my next task- which is preparing for Petunia's birthday party with her day care friends on Sunday.
|Tail end of a cyclone. It blew through the night before our wedding. Really.|
I think the same is true of being a two-career family with kids. Is there really any other way to be a family that is safe from stress and worry? I don't think so. And the joys of the good times make up for the hassle and stress of times like the last few weeks. We're surviving on our emergency kit of routines and processes right now, but before we know it, we'll be able to take the storm shutters off and we'll clean up the debris in our yard and get back to enjoying the awesome view. We may wish our society would shell out for better seawalls- perhaps, for instance, funding our schools such that they didn't need to rely on parent volunteers for so much- but we don't want to move inland. We'll just weather the storm, and then try to build our house a little stronger for the next one.