Yesterday we went to a park where a brass band played in the rotunda and great big dahlias overbalanced in a single bed. It was sunny and cold and reminded me of what winter will be.
It was good to be out of the house after a week of illness. I was down with 'a virus' (thanks $70 doctor visit) with complimentary bacterial throat infection (oh, another $70?, well, sure); Al had the classic tonsillitis, which feels rather less childish than its ice cream and jelly connotations suggest. The girls have been low grade sick for weeks.
The last days have been horrible. It's hard when one party is sick; it's impossible when both parents are down with no-one to step in (my brains dribbled out of my ears after the fourth hour of children's television). But mostly, being ill threw into relief how utterly unhappy we are in our lives at the moment. The girls remain ... oh, difficult. We have almost no money. We can't find cash for a new pair of shoes for Al, let alone to send our kids to a school we feel good about. I work long hours on a professional wage, pay awe inspiring amounts in tax, and yet I have one pair of jeans and they cost $7, and I can't afford to get my hair cut. All the things I love - eating out, yoga, theatre, new books - have gone. It's hardly the underclass and we're not near to eviction or starvation - and I still have my painting - but our buffer has gone. As I've written about before, I've been frugal as a choice but now it's enforced and as much as I wish I could say otherwise, it sucks. It's grinding and boring and worrying.
When we decided to have kids we decided that one of us would stay home with them. We realised we would be taking a financial hit through this choice but that was okay because I really believed that for our family this was the best way, the path to a measured and free childhood for the girls, and a happy and relaxed family for us all. It seems those best laid plans are algey, and we're enduring the annoyances and rather larger sacrifices for not much at all. The girls are patently not happy and nor are we.
At dinner the other night Lucy said, "No-one likes your soup, Mum". I cried. It summed up how everything I've been trying for seems so irrelevant to my kids (yeah, I know, welcome to parenthood); Lucy doesn't want a slow childhood, she wants a pony and swimming lessons and as many dinosaur books and movies as I can fit in her bedroom (Nell, I don't know - she really like tofu and dogs). I feel like a loser: I'm a breadwinner who can't make enough money for my family to live on, a mother whose kids hate her meals, a hippy who wants to buy shoes, and my waist measurement puts me in the high risk category for diabetes.
I'm forgetting what we're trying to do here. ...