We are renovating the House of Penii. There were some minor cosmetic flaws that weren't fixed in a timely fashion, and now they've become full-fledged structural issues.
You know that over the past month or so I've been Deep Thinking. I am 47. My primary job is Mother. My second job is Writer, and my part-time job is Wife. I would also add Taxi Driver, but I think it's included in my "Motherhood: A Binding Agreement" under "Supplemental Duties." There's a lot of fine print in that contract, and I'm sure I missed a few key points.
All of my jobs keep me mentally and physically busy. So much so, I am often paralyzed by the daunting pace, the sheer busy-ness of it all. Which means I end up sucking at all of it. So, I gave myself a year-end job review, and decided change was needed. Thus, The Year of Vigilance. The idea is that our focus, as a family, will be on individual and collective success.
We have several areas in which to work to achieve our goals.
Right now, One is legally considered an adult, but could never survive on his own. I am overdue in taking the necessary steps to ensure his safety and independence.
Two is failing classes, and digging a GPA hole that he will be lucky to claw out of before he must apply to colleges. He has no time management skills, and a distorted interpretation of reality that is the purview of all teenagers.
Three is perfectly content with his sub-par grades, because he has never worked to his potential. He will be eaten alive next year in his regional high school of 1600 students. The teachers will barely notice him, or care if he is struggling.
Four has had great success at his school. He is working on recognizing what frustrates him, and learning to recover his day if he hits a bad patch. But he is still most content watching television or playing video games. He is overweight, and will negotiate for snacks all day. Luckily, he'll eat a lot of fruit, but those are still carbs, baby.
Five is...Five. His previous issues with anxiety seem to have abated, and he's really enjoying second grade. I have to work on his need to buy everything in the LEGO catalog, but he's the youngest, so theoretically he should be the easiest to re-train. Ha!
Speaking of buying everything--I have to stop. I could make a lot of excuses for my Target, Costco, and Walmart bills (it's food/clothing/most of it's not for me...) but the truth is, I'm the one holding the credit card. I have to be the one to say "No." This will also be a good lesson for my children, two of whom went with me to Target the other night. Three was shocked at the total bill and looked at me like, "Um, are you going to be able to pay that?" And that cart really was just food and two pairs of jeans. Oh wait, and slippers and collectible baseball cards for his birthday. See what I mean?
We're all out of shape. The Captain and I spend half our lives in chairs. This is not healthy. Our children would lie around in front of screens all day long if we let them. And I've let them, because I don't always notice, or I ignore it because I'm busy.
But I haven't been busy writing. Mostly I've been reading. I scan and read blogs, I write my own every now and then, but I haven't been working on the book. I can't claim to be even a part-time Writer if I don't write. So I have made a realistic promise of one hour a day writing only "Big Sky".
As you can see, there are a lot of areas to spruce up. I wanted to demolish some, but the Captain suggested that I bite off only what I can chew (hmmm-an idea for my eating habits!), so as to avoid large-scale rioting. My kids have Airsoft guns and they're not afraid to use them, so it seemed prudent to ease into some of the changes. There's already been push-back, which is tiring but expected.
Today, as the Captain was leaving I was screaming at one of the teens to hurry up.
"They're killing me," I said.
"Don't let them," he answered. "You're ten times stronger than they are. Just revert back to your teenage self and you'll win."
It's true. I was a challenging, defiant, stubborn pain in the ass, all the way into my twenties. After that, I was a gem. (Yes, Mom and Captain, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.) I can tap into that again.