09/13/2006 - 9:10 p.m.


I planned on being the princess. Instead, I'm either the lady-in-waiting or sleeping beauty, depending on how you look at it. Most of my life, other than at work, I'm not actually doing anything. I'm merely waiting to do something---usually for someone else. I thought the problem would get better as my kids got older but it has gotten worse. I live my real life in snatched-away time and cannot even decide if this situation is permanent or if having Day go off to college will be the kiss that wakes me up.

When the kids were little, I worked half time and later 70% time. I had outside-work days and no-outside-work days. When I went from 50% to 70% I simply added an additional outside-work day. The rhythm of those days was different from my days today. On outside-work days, I would work hard, come home and pick up the kids, and then run, run, run until bedtime. On non-work-days, particularly after the girls started school, time was freer and more flexible. I had errands. I had projects, some volunteer, that I had chosen. I lead girl scouts. I helped in classrooms. I was on school board and went to meetings. These projects involved all of me and took blocks of time. I knew when they came and I knew how they fit in.

Today, I work 75% time. At 75% time, I still could have four outside-work days and one no-outside-work day and I did this summer when the children are gone. But that schedule also means that all outside-work days are really long days. 75% is technically 30 hours a week but it really is a 75% caseload. A 75% caseload requires an average of 35-40 hours a week from me.

But four long days a week does not work with the demands of being a mother as I see that job. Although Day drives, she does not have a car and she does not have a parking space at the high school. When she is done at the same time as the school day, she takes the bus home. Days like today, when she has an activity after school, I need to be available to go get her (although she occasionally manages to find a ride.) She can walk but it is quite a hike and, with her busy schedule, she really does not have the time.

And so you get the type of waiting that happened today. When I arrived home from work, I wanted to work on sewing the homecoming dress I am making for Day. I was up to putting in the zipper. Putting in the zipper on somewhat unforgiving fabric is an exacting matter. Putting in the zipper correctly can make or break the look. I wanted to do it when I could do it from start to finish without interruption. I could not do it immediately because Day was going to need to be picked up but exactly when was not clear. I could not use the time to sew. Had I been reading a novel, I could have used the time to read but, currently, I am being nerdy and working on "A Brief History of Time." I find I cannot just pick that one up and put it down or I end up doing a considerable amount of re-reading.

Just writing this entry took me into the waiting zone. I started this one while waiting for Day to get out of school but did not get it finished then. After picking her up, I decided that I had a block of time and put in the zipper. After dinner and watching "Dancing with the Stars," I thought I would come back to this entry. I went over to use the computer and discovered Day's best friend was looking to IM with her. Day's best friend suddenly moved across the country into a different time zone during the summer and she and Day have had trouble finding time to chat. Day has missed her terribly. So, I did the good mom thing---and I waited. I was not sure how long I was waiting. I was not sure what I could start. I put on my PJs but they were not quite done. As I started to go downstairs to move a load of wash, the call came. The computer was free.

And so, I am waiting. If I'm waiting for Prince Charming, he's off running a stamp show. Then again, perhaps I'm simply waiting for Godot.

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