This is the extent of my motivation today, freshly washed and folded baby blankets. A painting project almost finished (almost, almost!) and an itch to visit my favorite wool shop to stock up on soft yarns to knit a few toques for this baby to be.
I wish I could better articulate how it feels to have my interests narrow like this, a sort of all-consuming prenatal tunnel vision where all the world outside our home has fallen away and I don’t want to leave these four walls (ever), I just want to flit around inside preparing myself in dozens of small ways for the changes about to come.
(Is it some sort of psychological mind-game, this nesting? Do we really think that by having drawers perfectly organized, diapers neatly stacked, that we will be prepared in any way shape or form for the whirlwind that’s about to be unleashed?)
Of course I do have to leave these four walls for many reasons, not least of which is to go to work. This is becoming more and more of an exercise in foot-dragging with each day however, as I struggle to find the passion and ambition that propelled me into this field in the first place.
I work with teens in a drop-in centre. I love my job, I find it challenging and exhausting and exasperating and inspiring. Sometimes all within the same shift, sometimes the same hour. I feel incredibly fortunate to have forged strong relationships with many of the teens I have worked with over the past five years and there’s so much I’m going to miss about them and about the job itself – logically I know this.
Emotionally, however? Emotionally and irrationally (and perhaps hormonally, if I can play that card) I would be lying if I said I didn’t want to just walk out that door tomorrow and be done. It’s a weird sort of trick your mind plays when you have an end-date, a finish line. Getting there seems so much harder and that day, that “Last Day” seems to loom and stretch towards the horizon, never getting any closer although the calendar keeps flipping its pages.
This feeling of having one foot out the door is made all the worse on those off-days when work isn’t particularly inspiring or rewarding or fun. When I don’t feel like I’m actually helping anyone so much as banging my head repeatedly against a brick wall of teenage snark.
Yesterday was one of those days, it left me feeling drained and frustrated and idly researching how many vacation days I have accrued to see if I can start maternity leave early.
I ended up closing the centre a half hour early because I was so burnt out. Over the course of the night there were of course the regular issues of policing the kids and breaking up fights and mediating meal times, but there were other things too.
Someone pissed all over the youth bathroom, making the entire hallway reek like urine. At this age something like that isn’t an accident, it’s an angry middle finger thrust in your face. Someone else (I’m pretty sure the same someone) left a note in the anonymous question box, crumpled up. As I opened it I read the words “There’s jizz on this note.”
Aaaand that was that. I was done. I felt like bathing myself in disinfectant and/or screaming and/or crying. Stuff like this makes folding baby blankets that much more appealing, you know? Stuff like that makes it hard to wax nostalgic about missing the job, the kids, the work.
These sorts of incidents are few and far between – I can count them on one hand – and they in no way represent the majority of the teens, nor the bulk of the interactions I have with them. On the whole, the youth I work with are pleasant, hilarious, polite. They are kids I would love my son or daughter to turn out like.
But occasionally, sometimes, there are difficult cases, difficult kids. It’s all par for the course and I’m used to it by now, nothing much shocks me anymore. But nonetheless, incidents like this are lately serving to propel me ever quicker back to these four walls, these small preparations.
Today and tomorrow are my days off. Days I’m going to take to putter and futz and try and convince Adam to relinquish a corner of his man cave for a baby change area. With any luck I will (through divine intervention) be successful in this endeavor and have cute pictures to show for my efforts come Monday.
If not, I will be up again tonight, restless and itchy and contemplating moving (moving! at 7.5 months pregnant! When we’re planning to leave this town in a few months anyway! Hormones!) and googling “Nesting Rage”.