The girls were so excited to go back to school this week. "I can't wait for school to start!" Anna especially had been bouncing off the walls the entire week before in anticipation. "Mama, did we buy everything on the list? Oh, no! I need pecil-top erasers!"
They are not attending the same school as they had been for the last three years. Since we're back at Rambling Farmhouse, they are back in the district where they attended kindergarten (both of them) and first grade (Anna). Although they hadn't been here for four years, each of them has found a couple of kids whom they knew before, and the space is comfortingly familiar. I've told the teachers and administrators about Adam's death but asked them not to share this information with the other students and parents, so for the first time in two months, the girls can feel like just normal kids.
As their excitement built, so did my trepidation. I had promised myself that when the kids went back to school, I would get back to work on my research, and my best frolleague Erin had agreed to start checking in with me after Labor Day. In the last week of August, I tidied my physical and virtual desktops, excavated pertinent books from boxes, and made lists of things to do. I felt ready, but at the same time intimidated by my own work.
On Tuesday when I sat in front of the computer, each step toward getting started needed to be followed by a break: Locate file. Knit two rows. Open file. Hang the laundry on the line outside. Read first page. Make more tea. Wednesday was better. I made actual progress on a project with an upcoming deadline, made some notes about what to do next, and set it on the back burner to percolate. Thursday started off well. I was reading for a different project, and I was seeing connections between this reading and other sources I've looked at. It felt good, like my brain was starting to work again.
After lunch, though, I had my e-mail open because I was working on correspondence and up popped an e-mail from the county prosecutor's office asking to meet with me.* My momentum ground to a halt as a solid ball of tension formed behind my sternum. I am not doing as well as I thought, I thought. Scheduling the meeting took about fifteen minutes of e-mailing with the secretary and a friend who will go with me.
I closed up the book I had been reading and walked away from the desk, knowing that I would not accomplish any more research that day. With another cup of tea and my knitting, I retreated to the armchair hoping to calm down. Eventually I did, and I was able to accomplish some of the house things on my list for this week, so the afternoon was not a total loss. And in the evening, I made brownies.
While I recognize that my emotional and physical response to the prosecutor's message yesterday was reasonable, it was far from convenient, and it came close to ruining my day. The other people in this complex situation have incredible power to ambush me and demand my attention. And that is so very frustrating.
I'd been thinking about this post all week, but the draft in my head was quite different from this. This week has been a lesson in living the wilderness between end and beginning.
*They want to discuss the charges they plan to file against the teenage driver in Adam's case. I'm to write down my questions and bring them. That's all I know for now, so please don't ask me anything. I'll tell you more when I can.