How We Manage

HydrangeaI’m thinking today about how we hold it all together. How we wake up each morning and do it all again. How we show up every day at work, at school, or at home with a patched together kind of good cheer. How we really don’t want to go to the party, but we pull on our high heeled boots and step out the door when the ghost of our longing gets to sit on the couch snuggling with Netflix and a pint of Ben & Jerry’s. How even when we’re in a terrible mood we still manage to say something so funny, so well timed, that we surprise ourselves. How we remember–as our friend talks, cries, laments–that advice is not what she wants. Listening is. How we try so hard to hear her problem, her story, without telling her we know exactly how she’s feeling, because we don’t.

I’m wondering how we managed those years of sleep deprivation. Those nights of maybe one solid hour of sleep. Those delirious mornings when the baby woke the sun and one eye began to twitch from fatigue. I’m wondering how, then, we survived being in that state and venturing to the nearby preschool which wanted to interview our 3-year-old to see if she was a good fit for the school. And somehow, when our daughter began to cry because the drink in her sippy cup was water and not cranberry juice, we didn’t whisper into her ear, “If you can just keep it together for the next ten minutes, I’ll buy you an ice cream cone.”

How do we manage? How do we show up? How do we kiss our children goodbye when we know that the door of the school is unlocked? When we know that our child’s classroom, the first door on the left, would be the most logical place to strike first? How do we ever let them go? It’s unfathomable. And there is no answer, really. We just do. We manage. We show up. We laugh. We haven’t showered sometimes. We forget the bottle of Zin on the kitchen counter. The shoes come untied, and the water’s not juice. But somehow, despite it all, we manage.

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juliebarton

I'm a writer and mom living in Northern California, author of the New York Times Bestselling memoir, Dog Medicine, How My Dog Saved Me From Myself

One thought on “How We Manage

  1. I love to read your posts and get a sense of your mind at the time you send your words into the blogosphere. My life as a “mature women is so different now. My worries are about my grandkids and their families, and my dog bored in the below zero temps – and they appear as I manage the furballs in the corners and the frozen meat I forgot to thaw. Nothing, happily, is really consequential at this particular point in my day. And that is of great comfort. ( :

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