Sunday, January 8, 2012
Along the line I began saying that when I was able to--when the kids were older, when the youngest was weaned--I was going away, somewhere. Somewhere I'd sleep through the night without interruption and somebody else would cut the fruit. See, so much of the job of young children involves doing things for others with no benefit to yourself, such as cutting fruit you never even eat. Years ago my sister had the opportunity to attend SOAR, and when she returned, she told me, almost wonderingly, "I didn't cut fruit the entire time. Somebody else cut the fruit for me." So it's become a shorthand of sorts.
Four years ago, the nebulous somewhere of my dreams was given an identity: the Squam Art Workshops. The first one appeared, almost like magic, in 2008. It's so close--I can drive there in under four hours--but for so long it's been so far. In 2008 I was pregnant, delightedly pregnant with a long-yearned-for third child, determined that this last pregnancy would go full term. I wasn't in a place, physically or financially, to go to Squam. I watched. I read. In 2009, I was nursing that baby. In 2010, too. A year ago, I looked at the class and registration information and thought that even September 2011 would be cutting it close (I was right). But, my husband and I decided, 2012 was the year. We set aside the money. 2012. That's the year. (And that's motherhood, isn't it? You defer.)
2012 is this year. I signed up for email notification; I downloaded the registration form; but up until just a few days ago I wasn't even certain I'd send it in. And in my head I had September, but when I really looked at the class offerings, I realized June was calling me more. June is soon. June is this school year. It's within spitting distance. Whoa.
I have a million and one reasons I shouldn't go, you know. I can talk myself out of anything. It's not that I'll be going by myself, although the number of Ravelers and bloggers who are making plans to meet up with all their Squam friends did give me pause there. I took myself to Europe for a month at 21, because nobody else I knew had time, money, or inclination at the same time. That's no reason not to do something. No, I have other anxieties:
* I've never been away from my youngest overnight. I've only been away from her brothers when I was in the hospital after having babies. I know my husband is eminently capable of managing as well as I do when he's away. I don't have the added anxiety of whether they'll be well cared for while I'm gone. They'll probably have a blast. Just...I've never done it. (For the record, my husband says things like No matter what's going on here, I think you need to do this and, more simply, Go.)
* It feels a bit selfish to spend all this money; suppose I don't make the most of it? What would making the most of it entail? I'm not even sure.
* Suppose I get up there all by myself with no kids, not carrying around a bag that contains crackers and a change of clothes and a little portable toilet seat because public toilets are so big and wet wipes just in case (ok, maybe crackers; I get hungry too), and I realize I've become a dull person devoid of original creative thought? I'm almost never by myself anymore. I can't even go to the bathroom by myself; if I manage to sneak in and shut the door, invariably the youngest is waiting outside the door, chatting, when I'm done. I can't even string two thoughts together without interruption unless I'm awake at 3 am. Suppose I've forgotten how to be alone? (I used to love to be alone.)
* I'm worried about the food. You can check "gluten free" on the registration form, but is it celiac-level gluten free or just no gluten ingredients gluten free, for the folks who feel better without gluten but won't initiate an auto-immune cascade if they eat carrots that were chopped on a cutting board that once held bread? It's on a buffet line, too. Buffets are notorious for cross-contamination. Suppose I can't eat anything safely and have to spend five days eating the yogurt and apples I bring with me? Everyone says how wonderful the food is at Squam, too...
* And there is the nagging feeling that I'm just not cool/creative/artistic/something enough to hang out at Squam with all those amazing people.
* And finally, I'm worried that after waiting for so long, all the spots will be filled and I won't actually, really, truly get to go.
But still, there's the form, all ready to be mailed tomorrow, the first day it can be postmarked. I could drive it to Providence myself in 45 minutes, but I'll resist my obsessive tendencies and mail it from my local post office. It was a long time ago, but I'm pretty sure the idea of flying to Europe by myself was intimidating, too. Somewhere buried within the organized, capable Mother is still the girl who would leave her apartment with nothing but some cash, lip balm, and a blank book; who landed in Paris without knowing a soul there; who was happy to spend hours just sitting and people watching with a notebook. Who felt that anything was possible and adventures definitely were for her. I want to take that girl to the woods of New Hampshire in June. I want to let her loose.