Is feeling like one hasn’t done enough when what wasn’t done doesn’t matter uniquely a female thing? I wondered about this driving home from dropping off 150 “period packs” at a community event for homeless people. I should’ve put more tampons/pads in each pack. I should’ve included pantiliners. I should’ve put in more wipes. Like a little jingle…..you should’ve, you should’ve…other people would’ve, they would’ve. This, after spending three hours ripping open boxes and counting out pads and cutting my finger and worrying that it would, for heaven’s sake, bleed on the menstrual products. Jesus, Jan, give it a rest is what I said to myself and then I drove to McDonald’s and got a large order of fries and then pulled over to the side of the road and ate them all.
I’m happy about fall and winter but dread the holidays. Days without big expectations are my favorites, like this morning, for instance, when we took a detour on our drive to the dog park to get coffee and a donut from Dunkin’ (which apparently has forsaken its surname). A donut can be a holiday celebration itself when you don’t have one every day and you can avoid pesky things like pies that pitch themselves out of the oven on to the floor and dull carving knives that precipitate a life and death struggle with sinewy drumsticks on a turkey the meat of which you thought was falling off the bone. Take me for a donut and a dog walk on Thanksgiving (and Christmas and all the rest) and I’ll be happy.
We are contemplating getting a second dog. It would be another retired sled dog from the same kennel in the U.P. where our current dog, Swirl, lived before becoming a city slicker. We’ve gone back and forth about this – considering such things as how one person could handle two big dogs, say, if the other person dropped dead or something, and how we would survive double dog coat blow which may, actually, be the more pressing question. Coat blow is when a northern breed dog pretty much gets rid of his coat. It’s a seasonal thing, probably a holdover of some kind of ancient animal worship. But no two dogs are necessarily on the same clock so we could be coat blown year around. Still, that doesn’t seem like a reason not to do it.
My new life goal is not to be a screw-up Nana. I had two grandmothers, one much more present than the other and she didn’t do much more than wear an apron and breathe. I was intensely loyal to that grandmother, over-the-top loyal, and I often wonder if that’s just what grandmothers get – intense loyalty unless they’re really awful. My biggest problem is being a consistent presence since inconsistency is almost a reflex for me which is why I can’t seem to get in a routine of watering my plants for more than a couple weeks at a time. But I’m working on my grandmother badge by showing up which is an important foundation. I breathe but I have no apron.
I worry that I will never again write a decent word all the time. Well, not exactly all the time, because every couple of days I manage to find something to say. It isn’t a torment. It doesn’t drive me to drink (not any more than anything else anyway). It just preys on my mind that maybe I’ve already said the last worthwhile thing I’m going to say and then I think, so what?