I am lying in bed trying to ignore the heaviness in my stomach. From stress. So much stress.
I’m rereading a book from The Baby-Sitters Club series. I had no idea growing up that there were 131 of them. I had a semi-random assortment of them, picked up at yard sales.
I know it’s in vogue these days among now-grown fans of the series to say which character you are, but I never really related to any of them. I more looked up to them. Felt like those girls who were better than me. The girls in the books were impossibly cool to me when I was a kid. They lived in Connecticut. And even though it was clear that they lived in a suburb, it still seemed impossibly more settled and big city than where I grew up in rural Maine. Their families seemed very well off and comfortable for the most part and stable. The drama within was mostly a result of their baby-sitting charges.
The books had been an escape when I was a kid. And I found myself reaching for them again the past few weeks, especially in that liminal part of the evening, when my brain is winding down but lacking distractions. The time when my brain can attack me.
It Will Get Better, I Promise
But even The Baby-Sitters Club isn’t doing the trick tonight. “I’m so stressed out,” I confess to you. And I finally tell you what I have been keeping from you for about three days, that I’m reading The Baby-Sitters Club. You laugh at this admission but pivot smoothly to comforting me.
“I’m stressed, too,” you commiserate.
“Will it ever get any better?” I ask.
“How can you know that?” I press you.
It’s funny. Because this morning I can’t remember what you said then, but I do know that it worked. It made sense to me. Because it wasn’t just an empty platitude, it was logical. And it got me out of my negative funk.
You’ve been stressed, too. For you, it manifests in weird little extra credit projects. You order strange organizational units and are tidying up whatever miniscule chaos still exists in our home — not very much since the great paring down and cross-country move of 2019.
But you subdivide a larger cabinet so that it has levels. And you organize the way that shower storage is laid out. You correct the tiniest of the tiny imperfections.
And once you’ve done this, you admire your work. The tidy result reassures you. Perhaps it says to you, “It will get better, I promise.”
But until it does, you’ll tidy every last inch of our home, and I’ll reread books I haven’t thought about in years.