No national holidays occur on the first Tuesday of the month. This is because Tuesday has been given an early directive to never be unpredictable, especially good or especially bad. This is why people never say, "Tell me about your average Wednesday."Anything could happen on a Wednesday.
Here is my Tuesday:
9:00 wake up. Yes, I really do get to sleep until 9 a.m., because my older children make their own breakfast and go off to school without assistance. Once I'm dressed, I wake Olive.
Did she sleep in? I'm guessing yes. Teenagers like to sleep in.
10:00 -- 12:00 Let's say this is during one of Olive's 6 week intensive blocks. Sweeney School keeps us occurred for two hours, five days a week. Though I sit in and listen to every session, I also play a little Words with Friends. Maybe I get caught up on People. After all, I'm only auditing this class.
12:15 Stop at Starbucks. Olive has apple juice; I have coffee. We go home and Olive (not really a breakfast person) has leftover pasta or sometimes a can of Progresso soup.
On average, Beata picks Olive up at around 3:00 and brings her home at 7. Olive has dinner at Beata's house. Now let's make this Tuesday special: Beata is already in our driveway when we get home from Sweeney School (this has happened). Olive slips easily from my car to Beata's.
We know she was the favorite, but was she the favorite before Edward was born?
Now it's time to get reacquainted with my child who is mostly home-schooled. Oh, wait: I also dropped this child off at Japanese class before I took Olive to Sweeney, and I picked her up immediately afterwards.
OMG I am sooooo out of here.
Now we are alone and we talk about what she's working on this week: Great Expectations. She has three weeks to read the book and write the paper. European History: we use the textbook her high school uses. Read chapter that covers the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Reformation, the Interregnum, an extra bit about Henry VIII and an oddly placed painting of Erasmus in the space of 25 pages.
I assign short paragraphs for questions 1 through... no, number 3 and 7 are gimmes and 4 is just plain silly. (I think a bit and add two more questions of my own. Then I pat myself on the back for having had my child read The Agony and the Ecstasy, and Journal of the Plague Year so that said child could get a true sense of the power of the Papacy, and, well, the Plague.)
I'm not called upon to do much until LB comes home, followed shortly by Olive. Then dinner and occasionally help with homework, with the added bit of keeping Olive out of trouble. My home-schooled student is entirely self-motivated. Thank God for this: I do not have the energy for any other kind of student.
Whether you are a stay at home mom or work outside the home, my schedule looks ridiculously light to you. Sleep until 9? Many hours in which she can use the toilet alone? It is, on paper, as light a schedule as it can possibly be. The paper part has to say small, because the real version has obstacles that make the simplest tasks hard.
Let's break it down and pretend that this is your Tuesday.
It starts out fun...
9am wake up
10-12 Take a load off while someone else teaches my child. You are indeed seated, but you're reading People to keep yourself from jumping into the middle of the session. You have a dog in this fight. You have the only dog in this fight. You are also the promoter who's backing this fight, and you're nervous because the early bets look like you may not make bank on this one.
By the end of the two hours, your pulse rate has sped up and slowed down several times. You've been elated and disappointed. You've been embarrassed. You hated yourself for being embarrassed. You're sweaty and not the good kind of sweaty.
It's something you know you need to work on, something you pray will go away: your complete inability to take the broad view. How does one work on this anyways? The soaring and crashing: it is exhausting in every way and leaves nothing to show for itself. You tell yourself you might be getting slightly better about it but at least five people are in your head right now, reminding you that people don't change. You will never change.
12pm Since we made it a good Tuesday, you can relax now, right? and do all those little tasks we do, the scheduling of appointments. The waiting for the delivery guy. The dog walking. And yes, there is also time for knitting but you are needle-pointing instead. You turned back to needlepoint as soon as everything changed and you became a daily spectator in Olive's education. You should blog, you know. You should really blog. You always feel better after you've blogged. You consider it, but the idea of poking a needle through a canvas and then pulling the thread taut sounds like it's right in your current intellectual wheelhouse. Thank God they painted the canvas first so you do not even need to make a color choice.
It seems appropriate to do her last.
When LB comes home, tell him how Olive's school went that day. He's listening but he's not hanging on your every word because he's a Big Picture kind of guy. He sees the sense in not becoming overly invested in each possible development. He is capable of this. Also, Olive tends to be especially difficult in the evenings: this means LB does not see her at her best on a daily basis.
10ish: You and LB take turns putting Olive to bed. This consists of reading one's Kindle in the dark until Olive's breathing becomes regular. You could go to bed now... or not because you don't have to get up until 9am. Sometimes you stay up and needlepoint and get caught up on Scandal. But you could just go to bed.
I'll be honest with you, here, you aren't going to like the sleep part so much. You wake at midnight and think about Olive as an adult, Olive after you're dead. You think about the other five children, who is going through what, and then feel guilty about your non squeaky-wheel child.
Back to sleep until around 3am. Get ready, because falling asleep again will be difficult and you may be up awhile. You may be up from 3-5, or in that dreaded state of half-up. You think about inevitabilities that are just around the corner, like What will Olive be doing this Summer? How will we all live after my father in law retires? What will we do if they don't want to renew the lease? Oh, God. I cannot move again. In the background of all of these thoughts is the real one, the most difficult one.
Why aren't you writing fiction? You have time and on days you don't, you could make time. Sometimes people say this to you as an intended compliment, not even realizing it's an admonishment and a big one at that.
What do you mean, you're tired? Every night you tell yourself you will not ask yourself that rhetorical question, but you will. Every night, every day, you will question yourself on your right to feel tired.
People aren't asking themselves if that Jen Sullivan has a right to be tired. They aren't even asking themselves if Jen Sullivan has a right to be. They have their own tsuris and that is what they are thinking about: their own tsuris.
The only person asking this particular question is you.
And Catherine of Aragon. She was just that kind of gal.