The throbbing in my head won’t let up. Partly, I’m experiencing ocean withdrawal. Partly, the teenage experience makes me want to flee from parenting in a way I haven’t felt since they were infants incessantly crying because teeth were coming in. Partly, I’m stunned that no matter how much I work, how much I make – so lucky in these times to be working at all – life insists on upping its costs. I’ve surfed once in two weeks, walked on the beach maybe twice. When I went outside to pull a weed that had smushed up against the window, I realized I haven’t been in my own lovely backyard in nearly a month. All this fine weather and I haven’t taken 10 minutes to sit on the deck with a glass of ice tea and marvel at all the world has provided me. Meanwhile arguing over chores and curfews keeps me so agitated I forget to do things like bring the new insurance card when I go to pick up insulin, fail to realize we’ve used up all the syringes. So fortunate to have insurance, but I fear (again) what that means for the diabetes coverage. Meanwhile the car desperately needs a tune-up from all the summer driving. It rattles as if it might fly apart when I hit one of the unavoidable potholes in Arcata. But I’m still recovering from all the expense of those summer travels – and random stupid costs like the bill I paid in cash, a rare occurrence, the one I can’t find the receipt for, also unusual, the one that of course now they’re saying they show no record of payment. So there’s another $100 evaporating into zilch. I add up everything that’s due, add up every scrap of income I can imagine after combing the shelves for books to sell, if we don’t have any extra expenses, we’ll possibly catch up. If I read enough parenting advise, meditate, remember my own tumultuous youth, I may find finally figure out how to channel that longed-for maternal grace. If I remember to kick myself away from the computer, breathe in the salt air at the side of the sea, haul myself out into the ocean more often, I may yet retain my sanity. If I don’t make any mistakes, if life doesn’t serve up any more surprises – ha! on both counts – it just might all work out.

Oh, it will all work out – I know it will. I think it will. But that sliver of belief missing between “know” and “think” is what makes relaxing about it all impossible.