The human factor

Realizing that conditions have changed around here since Stubb’s last really significant absence, in 2009.  (Yes, he was away for September and October of this year, but he was less than three hours away and came home pretty much every week, or we went to see him.)  The big difference is that the Snork Maiden was nine and a half then and she’s thirteen now.  Living alone with an eighth grader is different from living alone with a fourth grader.  She so clearly has her own priorities and schedule–it’s much more likely that she wakes up in the morning and asks herself, “What will I do today?” rather than that she asks me, “Mom, what are we doing today?”  I still impose some of the schedule on her–you have to wash your hair today, please sort the laundry, we’re leaving at 1–but she wants to manage most of it herself.  And there’s pushback–for example, she is allowed to use the stove and oven when I am out, but yesterday I told her I didn’t want her to cook soup while I was at the community service event (I mean cooking a batch of soup, not heating up a can), and she argued with me–“I’m not going to spill boiling water on myself!”–and eventually capitulated in a huff.

Yes, it’s different.  It’s easier in some ways, but more challenging, of course, in others.  She has a lot of socializing going on Saturday, which will give us a break from each other, and then on Sunday we are both looking forward to hanging out with FLS for a few hours.  I have definitely lost the manic urge to get a whole bunch of stuff done over the Thanksgiving break, and I think part of it is that we’re both still adjusting to Stubb’s being away.

Another thing that has changed since 2009 is that now we all have laptops with cameras, and we can all Skype, so we’ve been doing that.  It’s not the same as being there, but it’s a great tool.


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