The Re-entry

July 30th, 2021

Breaking news! I finally finished the camp forms!

The very last one to put me completely over the edge was the packet for Camp W. They started pestering me with emails months ago threatening to ruin my life if I didn’t have all The Forms in by June 1st. But every time I opened the link and attempted to get started, I would feel so overwhelmed by their CIA-level paperwork that I would panic and shut it right down.

I had arranged for my daughters to attend five different camps this summer in my endless bid to patchwork together childcare so I can get my work done (and so they could, you know, do fun stuff). At one point I asked my friend Coco to help me by printing out all of the camp forms for me. We were in mid-move; my printer was boxed up for the foreseeable future. She graciously did, and even — when I could not manage to pick them up — brought the forms to me at my house. I still owe her a few reams of paper.

I thought that printing out the forms was the hurdle, but as it turns out, it was just the first.

Next, I enlisted my mom to help me sort through the packets. Judith got the forms in order and made some progress helping me to fill them out. Eventually — we’re talking weeks and weeks later — I got them all done… Except Camp W. That one languished, and languished, and languished.

After a recent mental breakdown at midnight over the camp forms and other stressors, my husband decided to take them on. He gallantly stayed up very, very late several nights in a row filling out every single freaking field with his messy, unintelligible script, which normally would make me twitchy, but in this case, gave me great pleasure, because that’s what you get, Camp W, when you lay this level of administrative bullshit on me just for a freaking week of day camp! Try to read my husband’s handwriting! Take that!

I know, I am being a little over the top. Possibly even a little bit of a spoiled brat. But seriously, camps. It’s not me, it’s you.

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This summer has been a lot. For one thing, having a job is really cramping my style. There are so many things I want to do — It’s summer! The pandemic is over! (It’s not) — but this pesky little thing called My Full-Time Job is getting in the way of all the fun.

“Mama, do you work every single day?” was a stab in the heart my daughter posed as a question the other day.

This forced me to ask myself a lot of questions. Why do I work every day — seven days a week? Is it because I have to? Or is it because I have been conditioned by my WASP genes and working-class work ethic to believe that if I’m not working 40 hours a week, I’m not really pulling my weight? Is it because I have been doing this freelance thing for nearly 15 years and have an established company with a healthy client base I can’t abandon? Or is it a scarcity mentality that keeps me driven and thirsty no matter how much — sorry — abundance I encounter? Is it because childcare got so whack during the pandemic that I had to piece it together any which way but loose? Or have I just gotten so used to that adrenaline-fueled lifestyle that now it seems disturbingly normal?

These questions set a chain of mental events in motion. The pandemic had thrown into high relief how completely bonkers this lifestyle is that I have been leading for years: working full-time running my own business, raising wild and crazy twins, sitting on a board here and a local publication there. Trying to squeeze in a garden and make memories with my family and read all the books and never, ever, ever exercise. 

It’s a lot. 

This morning, I found myself alone in my house. I was under a major time crunch to get a bunch of stuff done for work. We have visitors coming for the weekend — friends we haven’t seen in three years! I don’t have much time to hustle it all in.

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Somehow, for a solid hour, I found myself in a trance of houseplant care, transplanting my lollipop flower and my spiny zealous protuberer (I made that one up) into new ceramic pots, and soothing my fussy avocado tree with a dousing of distilled water and a sprinkling of fertilizer. (And watching this hilarious video from an avocado-tree  influencer, thanks Lynda.) I rearranged my plants to strike the right balance between the sunshine needs of my various plant babies and the visual balance of the bay window.

I feel better now. Forms, come at me.

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What I’m reading:

Drinking in America by Susan Cheever

The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben

What I’m listening to:

The New Brandi Carlile

What I’m watching:


What I’m working on:

Honestly? Working less.


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