When I was 20 something, I started getting migraines. I may have had the first one in middle school, but despite writhing in pain, the waves of nausea and hiding under blankets for hours, my pediatrician father was not impressed enough to pursue any kind of diagnosis other than a bad headache. I have countless stories about my doctor dad ignoring my own, my sister’s and my brother’s ailments as children, sometimes quite serious ones, and I’ve shared my tales with other children of doctors who have been equally neglected. As a result of this conditioning, I don’t pay attention to my own aches and pains, and I am quick to dismiss my own children’s complaints. Luckily, our resident Italian mother worries enough for all of us.
The migraines didn’t really kick in on a regular basis until my mid-20s. I remember lying down in my office with the lights off and the blinds drawn and keeping completely motionless after instructing coworkers that I just needed an hour or two. I couldn’t imagine moving from that floor let alone getting up to go home.
Then there was the time when those auras started to float in front of my eyes alerting me to a migraine attack just as I was leaving to get a leg & bikini wax. The rings of light distorting my vision warned me to cancel all plans and get to a bed. You know what I did? I went for the wax. I figured I could be flat on my back at home or flat on back at the salon getting rid of the groin jungle (or grungle between us friends) that had sprouted between my legs. You know what happened? When that strip of hot wax tore each hair follicle from my delicate inner thigh, the migraine vanished. The concentrated, searing pain of grungle rippage trumped the brain twisting agony of the migraine. And at the end of the wax, I had a freshly groomed crotch region and no headache. Who knew?
After I was pregnant the first time, the migraines mostly stopped. Occasionally, I get the auras that indicate that a daylong, low-grade headache is on its way, but it doesn’t paralyze me anymore. That’s not to say that I don’t suffer. I am Jewish after all, and we know how to do suffering right!
If only a bikini wax could take away all other pains and discomforts. I’d book an appointment every week to take care of all my twinges and woes. I’d go for a Hollywood just to alleviate all the back to school stress that has worn me down and left me whimpering in a corner after only one week.
I had many first days of school this year.
Levi started Kindergarten and took the school bus without his big brother or camp counselor to assist him. Asher started 3rd grade at a new school. I started co-teaching at a preschool 3 mornings a week in a classroom of 2 year olds. And then I started assisting in an enrichment class 2 afternoons a week at a different preschool. And then I decided to get in way over my head and teach 4th grade Hebrew school to students who likely know more than I do one afternoon and one Sunday morning a week.
Now, there are those who work many more hours than I do per week and still manage to maintain an orderly home – feeding, clothing and bathing children while supervising homework and driving this and way and that to after school activities. I bow to you. I would bow to you, that is, if I could get up out of bed.
Now I’m sick with a cold that has lingered for days. “Get used to it,” the preschool teachers tell me. “Those kids are walking petri dishes all year round.”
Note to self: Stock tissue!
I bow to all you teachers, working parents whom I’ve always respected and admired but whom I now worship.
In my first week of school, I have changed diapers, cleaned up spills, washed and dried little hands, cuddled tearful tots and dug paint out from under my fingernails and from in between the links of my watch. I have memorized what must be hundreds of names of children, parents, nannies and coworkers (ok, maybe not quite hundreds). I have hoisted rugs, moved furniture, decorated walls and schlepped files and books and lessons from place to place – always a nurturing, teacher smile on my face. Can they tell that I am shvitzing?
I have dashed from one school to the next and from school to the bus stop to school again – swapping hats from teacher to mom to teacher again well avoiding hat head give the high frequency of changes.
I have fed the kids and kept them in clean clothes and bathed them (now and then) and tried my best to get them through homework without losing my patience. My nurturing teacher smile has dissipated long before I’ve picked up the kids from the bus stop, sadly for them.
This is not a kvetch post rather an explanation to friends and family who might feel ignored for a while – or all year. I have yet to find the rhythm or even comfort with the multi-tasking I have brought on to myself. I’d like to believe I can do this because there is so much about what I’m doing that I enjoy, and I certainly don’t mind the pay check. But this is all new for me – this part-time working and full-time parenting gig, and I’m hoping I can do half the job that so many of my talented friends do.
So, wish me luck! All advice welcome. I have much to learn and no time for bikini waxes.
|First day of school. Happy kids, happy Mom.|