This weekend brought an unanticipated (and desperately needed) visit from my friend Sarah--everyone should have a friend as devoted, intelligent, and generous as she. (Though if you take a walk with her you do need to bring a broom along to sweep up the bodies of prone men--it's worth it.)
Sarah caught me at a very very low point. I am a tough little animal, it's true, and can handle nearly anything, but lack of sleep is my Achilles' heel. Lately---what with cranky toddlers and maladapted kindergarteners and teeny spaces and midterms---I'm lucky if I get 5 hours. I'm a ten-hours-a-night kind of girl---wish I were kidding---and the upshot of this sleep starvation diet has been a general slow-motion implosion of my entire life. I become the mother who shrieks in the scary voice at 8 am "LEAVE ME ALONE! MAKE YOUR OWN @#$@ BREAKFAST! IF I DON'T GET BACK TO SLEEP WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE." Again--wish I were kidding. I look like a poochy eighty-year-old. I drop/forget/lose things. I get myself into situations where my toddler is standing on the kitchen table peeing on my laptop. True story.
Enter Sarah, haloed by SoCal sunshine on her trusty bike steed. While Anainn (belatedly swaddled in a diaper) threw things around and shrieked in striking imitation of his mother, Sarah sat crosslegged on my red futon and earnestly took in everything I said, asked questions, gave thoughtful responses, and worked out solutions. We wandered over for tea at my new favorite place and she handled Anainn's dish-breaking food-throwing propensities with grace, somehow making me feel throughout that not only was she having fun anyway, but that I was a great mother despite obvious physical evidence to the contrary. All while maintaining that stimulating let's-solve-your-life-problems conversation. Have I mentioned I adore her?
And, here, thanks to Sarah, is my newfound understanding of my life:
I am due for a change. When I am sure of what I want---not what others might want for me--- it behooves me to examine EVERY POSSIBLE METHOD of achieving it. The solution is there somewhere, and it is not necessary for me to compromise myself morally to get what I want (assassination was bandied about for a bit, but ultimately discarded, as a possible tactic).
In a wonderful example of synchronicity, this evening's psych class centered on problem solving methods. I'm going to do a work-up of the particularly intransigent problem I face---the custody thing---using every blessed technique in the textbook.
We also got our midterms back. Before handing them out, the professor asked us what professions we might associate with intelligence; how an archetypal "intelligent" person would look. We generated a picture of a 40-something male Asian astrophysicist in eyeglasses.
Then he wrote the current definition of intelligence on the board. This is amazing. Intelligence, according to the experts in the field, is:
1) skill at absorbing/processing information
2) strong and rapid problem-solving
3) ability to adapt to new or changing environments
Now this looks an awful lot like a skills list for motherhood, by my lights.
And it must be, because his next announcement was that the highest score on the midterm had not been earned by an astrophysicist or even an Asian. It had been earned by a part-time art teacher with two kids.
(p.s. I'm awfully low on practical intelligence though. As evidenced by the fact that I drank a huge cup of coffee just before class and now, when I could be SLEEPING or studying for the midterm I have tomorrow, I am busily crowing here.)