My dad arrives today for a week-long visit. Why did he choose a random week in rainy and cold November to come see the grandchildren (one of whom he'll be meeting for the first time)? Well, it's because Ted is working in Canada for two weeks, you see. He's been gone for eight days now, and his absence has made me realize how spoiled I am by being married to a man who believes so heartily in the sharing of all household responsibilities. Since every last one of them has fallen on me in the last week, I've gotten...frayed around the edges.
I didn't get around to taking out the garbage this week (it was Halloween night and who has time?). I only managed one simple hairstyle for Beti for the whole week. I snapped at the kids more than usual. When the kids were in school, I was 100% of the time at the office trying to squeeze in work. I haven't slept enough (I could relate to so much in this article).
Friday morning at work, the art lesson was to draw/paint your home in Africa (the art teacher was absent, and this is what I came up with on my own). One of our newer seniors, a woman from Somalia, started telling me about her family and her home. It was bright pink and had a coconut tree beside it that they would use in most of their cooking. Then I asked about her children, and I always forget what a painful question this can be for our seniors.
She told me that when fighting broke out in Mogadishu when her nine children were all at home, she only had time to grab and gather to her the youngest five. The four oldest, all teenage boys, she had to leave to fend for themselves, hoping they were meet up later in a safe place. They were capable and strong, and it was the choice she had to make in that moment.
She hasn't seen them since then.
Four of her children now live in Minnesota, but she chooses to live in Oregon because she can't stand the cold over there. She sees them regularly though. She has a Somali roommate she takes care of. She works at a hotel, cleaning the rooms. She comes to our art classes and creates beautiful pictures. She wears gorgeous robes, sometimes with sequins in intricate designs. It's easy to make her laugh. I love having her in the program.
I still feel a bit ragged. As I write this, it's Saturday morning, and my kids didn't really take too much to heed my directive last night, "Tomorrow is Saturday, so when you wake up, close your eyes and go back to sleep." They both woke me up way too early (as in, school-day early!) despite being allowed to stay up last night to watch a movie from start to finish. It's only 9am, and I've already felt frazzled by their neediness.
So really what I think is that I need to get over myself. My kids are here with me, alive and strong, and what do I really have to complain about. Nothing.