So is the question of how fast Dan's mother's newly diagnosed brain cancer is going to progress. But since there's almost nothing we can do to influence that, I'm resisting thinking about it. I love my mother-in-law. We disagree about a lot of things, which is part of the job of being an anything-in-law, but we're very fond of each other. Dan's taking the news hard, of course. I expect we'll be spending a lot of weekends driving down to see her while we still can.
It was a very circle-of-life run of winter holidays. After weeks of intermittent false labor, my sister gave birth to her second child a couple of days after Christmas. Little Zoe arrived in the world by way of the kind of birth I had expected for Gareth: four hours of contractions, half an hour of pushing, and voila, healthy baby, three weeks ahead of her due date. Ah, well. If someone other than me is going to have it easy, I'm glad it's my sister. I had a dreadful cold and didn't want to risk giving it to Zoe, so I didn't get to see much of my new niece. At least I'll be back down there a lot this winter.
Dan and I had been planning to drive the ten hours from my parents' house in Maryland to visit my father's extended family in Rochester for New Year's. My grandmother is old, ill, and widowed fairly recently, and was about to undergo a risky surgery. It was important to us that she get to meet Gareth before she headed for the hospital. But then we got more details about Dan's mother's prognosis, and Dan needed to be in Maryland with his folks. Though we worried about how the baby would do on such a long trip with nobody in the backseat for company, we concluded that we had to split up for a few days to do right by our families and ourselves. I caravaned north with my father, and after showing Gareth off to the Rochester relatives, had to drive the seven hours (which, with feeding and diapering stops, is now more like ten hours) home to Jersey without help.
I can get home from Rochester with a clean, well-fed baby and most of my equanimity. I can juggle the expectations of my parents, my in-laws, my soon-to-be-motherless husband, and my infant son. I can keep a Solstice vigil with my coven and still join my family for their holiday traditions. I can do all the Christmas shopping for my household while sick with the head cold from hell, and nurse my baby through the head cold from hell while three states away from his pediatrician.
What can't I do? Apparently, I can't free my hands from baby care and driving for long enough to do anything online--or anything on a computer at all--for more than fifteen minutes at a time, more than a couple of times a week, even when I have relatives around to help out.
Missing the writing is starting to make me itchy. I'm ready to get back to work. It'll be interesting to see how I pull that off.