A Life in Fifths

It appears that Harper Rose will be embarking on a kindergarten adventure one week from today. I’m not going to be one of those lachrymose moms who puts her hand on her bosom and sings minor-keyed songs about saving time in a bottle and is this the little girl I carried and something about the moon and how I hope you dance. I’m not. However, I *have* been thinking about time and what this whole Starting Kindergarten thing means to me. (Never mind what it means to Harper, right? This is MY personal blog! Introspection!)

For the past eight years, I have devoted my entire life to pregnancy, nursing, (knitting), diapering, and general baby/little people maintenance. Eight years. That’s one fifth of my life.

When it occurred to me that one fifth of my existence has been devoted to the girls, I starting thinking about my other fifths. (I once shared a fifth of Southern Comfort with a friend of mine. That was not a good night, for it also included my very first (and final) fraternity party. No. I do NOT want to dance with you. However, Southern Comfort!)

The first fifth of my life (Years 1-8) was devoted to little things like walking, talking, losing most of my teeth, learning multiplication tables, and figuring out that it’s quite alright to become friends with people who don’t necessarily share your love for Jan and Dean.

The second fifth (Years 9-16) was spent studying the mathematics behind Bach inventions, figuring out where to purchase the “correct” rainbow sweatshirts, learning how to stroll with my head down without running into a wall, and creating a list of excuses involving me, the gymnasium, and why I wouldn’t be able to exercise on that particular day. It was a very socially awkward and physically clumsy existence. Also, for whatever reason, I often wore fake reading glasses, which really did nothing to boost my status.

The third fifth (Years 17-24) included my time spent at the university. It was there where I discovered that I love hanging out with musicians and crappy poets and that it’s alright to spend several months searching for The Perfect Club Sandwich. I read books with Sad Artist margin notes written by a few of my Sad Artist friends. I drank coffee on the roof of my house and in the basement of a local church. (Does The Chez still exist?) I eventually graduated and spent nearly twelve months giving baths to the comatose and putting dead people in bags. It was during the final year of my third fifth that I scored my first (terrible) full-time job which involved me moving back home and sitting in a gray cube where I spent my day fighting for companies so their ex-employees would not receive unemployment benefits. I wore awkward business suits that were too big for me, and I started buying books that asked questions like “What Color is Your Parachute?”

The fourth fifth (Years 25-32) saw me being rescued from my terrible job and delivered to my first publishing gig. (It also included the years spent at my second and third publishing gigs! Desultory?! Yes!) I met Jeff during my fourth fifth, I bought a bunch of skirts, moved to Nashville, spent a few years seeing shows and eating sweet potato pancakes, I wore entirely too much dark lipstick, I got married, moved back to St. Louis, decided I couldn’t handle another office job, went to London, started a family (aka Got Pregnant), moved into a house, and met Meredith.

Fifth fifth? Hanging out with Meredith, pregnancy with Harper, meeting Harper, nursing, hanging out, carting the girls back and forth to doctor appointments and doughnut joints, getting Meredith ready for pre-school, patching, more pre-school, celebrating milestones, getting Harper geared for pre-school as Meredith started kindergarten, running back and forth to school for drop-offs and pick-ups, kicking off first grade for Meredith as Harper started pre-K, drop off, drop off, pick up, and Summer.

And here we are. As of next Monday, both girls will spend more awake time at school than they spend at home. And that will never be reversed, which is a crazy thought. And I know they’re totally ready for second grade and kindergarten, but I must ask myself “What’s Next for Me?” (Me!)

So now I’m faced with my sixth fifth. (I know. You don’t have to call me on it.) And I can’t really think in terms of years at the moment, so I’m focusing more on the next eight months. While Harper is in kindergarten and Meredith is in the second grade, I’m going to be doing the freelance editing thing. (I’ve already scheduled a few projects through the end of September, and that’s nothing but good.) I’m going to try to volunteer at the school. I’m going to get our house in shape so we can try to sell it in 2012.

Most importantly, I’m going to learn how to make cake pops.
I’m going to have a Laughing Cow in my side bar for six months, and you know what that means. I’m giving money away! Come over here, tell me a funny workout story, and you could win $150! ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

14 thoughts on “A Life in Fifths”

  1. Good luck to you! I am starting a new job tomorrow and will be putting my smallest in preschool for a couple of half days a week….oh no, tears are falling. ( can u sing that one?) Enjoy yourself!!!

  2. I really like your blog. (And I’m still laughing about the musical unicorn.)

  3. As somebody who is teetering on the brink of leaving her sixth fifth, I can only advise that it will only be what you make it, which, you being you, will of course be amazing. Lots of luck to Harper, too!

  4. In college, I remember getting drunk on (and happily vomiting up) the vile mixture of Tab and Southern Comfort.

    good luck on the next fifth. The teen years are – well, you’ll find out.

  5. You like crappy poetry and I’m a crappy poet! That must be our common ground! Yay!

    I’ve always heard that the 6th 5th is the best 5th.

    So is Harper in full day?? Or half? Because full day – well, I think that means a STL bloggers lunch is in order. I’m serious, too.

    ps my little one did kindygarten last year, but this is her first year in full-day. So it’s a bit of a threshold for me too – no more kids at home, all of them in full-day school or grown up and moved out…

  6. Angela, this post was wonderful! My fifths (or roughly that, as I’m a smidge younger) would look very different, but sure like the idea of figuring them out. Thanks for the inspiration!

  7. It sounds like the fourth and fifth fifths were the reward for enduring the earlier fifth. I’m sure all future fractions resulting in answers greater than 1 will be equally satisfying.

  8. i love it! i am currently in my fifth seventh, if i am doing my math right (which i am probably not). BUT i TOTALLY have half the ingredients for cake pops in my cupboards waiting for my next trip to michael’s. you will have to let us know how yours turn out!

  9. What a great post! And what a great way to look at what comes next. Sounds like you have the perfect plan for the next fifth — onward and upward!

  10. I love this post. Such a great perspective. Thank you!

    I too am 40 and have 2 daughters, ages 7 and 5, so my last fifth is very similar to yours.

    Thinking about what life will be like this fall when they will both be in school all day has been a scary, yet exciting thing.

    I look forward to seeing where your next fifth goes, as well as mine.

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