Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Back-to-School Pants and priorities

So far, I've bought four new back-to-school items, one of which is a pair of shoes (if a pair can be considered "one"!) The least expensive item in the bunch, though, might be the one that's making me happiest: these sunny Broken-In Strwight Khakis from The Gap. Gap calls them Ghanaian Yellow; they're mustardy sunshine, just enough edge to the gold that I'm already imagining all kinds of combos to take them right through the fall. I never get to wear yellow near my face and it's always seemed too much investment to do the "pop of colour" thing with it. But in pants? In this slightly off-yellow yellow? Love!

I ended up partial-tucking this navy top in for a bit more structure. But guess where I took the whole outfit. . . After receiving an emotional email from my new-mama daughter, I cancelled today's hair appointment (I am going to be such a mess by the next available appointment, mid-September!), begging off two important term start-up meetings on Thursday, and I took the first ferry I could manage on Tuesday morning, drove straight over to little Frankie's new home, stopping only to pick up a few groceries on the way. The smile (and wan relief?) on my daughter's face when I arrived at her door told me I'd made the right move. Her partner is doing an amazing job of holding the fort, but given that all R can do is nurse the baby and (barely) get herself from bed to couch to bathroom, it's really too much for one person.

I feel anxious about missing so much of the preparation for the new term. While the administrative details and the meetings can be a nuisance, they also generally help me switch gears from summer's relaxed schedule back to "real life." And I will even admit that I was looking a forward to catching up with my colleagues and to hearing new department and faculty plans for the upcoming academic year. When I get back, time at our sole faculty photocopier will be even more at a premium, and I wonder if I'm missing the deadline for sending my course outlines to the printshop.

But when my anxiety over missing these elements of my academic life mounts, I just remind myself that yesterday afternoon, I held a newborn for almost three hours while her parents caught up on their sleep. A gift for me, a gift for them.

There will be more meetings. I'm doing much of my prep in the evenings here and keeping up with all the admin emails on my iPad mini. Somehow, at the beginning of next month, I'll get up in front of each of my three classes and the teaching and learning will happen all over again. I will hand out course outlines, even if I have to print and collate and staple-sort them ever so slowly on my little printer at home. I've been reading all summer toward these lectures, and I know my material well enough to engage, and I'm good at facilitating lively discussions about the readings. Deep down, I do know this, and the knowledge helps to balance, if not alleviate, my anxiety.

But I will only have one chance to help this little family on their way. Wearing my new pants. Baby Frankie is "wearing" her new baby blanket, knit by Nana. Tomorrow I'll show you how she styles it (hint: closed eyes are an important accessory.

Before I head back to Baby Duty (best duty ever when it's a Nana gig!), thanks again for all your lovely comments. I read every one of them, but I'm going to temporarily give myself permission not to answer them all as quickly as I generally try to. Hope you understand.

 

15 comments:

  1. In the right place, wearin g the right trousers and doing what I frankly envy. Baby duty is always the right thing in these early days. I hope the arty and insouciante trousers help.

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    1. Aren't they great trousers?! Thanks for the adjectives. And the validation!

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  2. The new family is very, very lucky! You really did make the right call.

    I love those Gap broken-in khakis - I have 3 pairs already. While I like the yellow, I've just discovered autumn rose online - unfortunately my size isn't available.

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    1. They're so comfortable, without being sloppy. Have you checked your local Gap to see if they have a pair of your size Autumn Rose there?

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  3. I like that colour of pants. They're bright and cheerful. The family is lucky to have a devoted Nana.

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  4. Can't wait to see Frankie "accessorize"!

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  5. Best choice. Looking forward to seeing Frankie's half closed eyes.

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    1. This is what I tell myself... Although not so aphoristically. Thank you!

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  7. The right decision, absolutely. All the stolid business of academe will be there tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow. Chances to cuddle, rescue, support, encourage, snuggle - well, they are like dandelion fluff. You can't chase after them. You just have to be there.

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    1. I love the way you put this. Thank you.

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  8. Love the khakis and the post. Even with all the prep in the world, every year... for all 28 of them....I arrived at school on the first day..wailing..."I'm not ready!" Then I'd stand in front of a class...and it would all come back. Kind of nostalgic for that (a bit) actually.

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    1. It's true! I don't have many colleagues who don't still have anxiety dreams before the first class of a new term. . . .Enjoy your nostalgia from the lovely distance you've arrived at . . . ;-)

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  9. I so agree with pondside. We teach every year, but how often can you rescue a new mom and snuggle a baby? We are all anxious before classes get underway (if I could ever produce a mistake free syllabus...), but the students don't know it nor do they care. I think it's important to model "good" behavior for our students and that includes setting the right priorities. Sometimes family should come first!
    Lynn

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    1. I love this perspective and absolutely agree with it -- it's one of the things I do think I can offer my students besides my scholarship is a certain sense of priorities based on a lifetime's experience.

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I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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