When Quitting Isn’t An Option: Wine Works

From the newsletter

Everybody has a crappy week now and then. Your boss puts too many assignments on your desk. The car needs a new transmission. The world wants more, more, more, and your brain just can’t go another inch. Unless you are a prince, quitting isn’t really an option; you just have to muddle through.

It feels like everyone is having more crappy weeks than ever before, particularly young people, teachers, and parents. Because I write about schools, my morning twitterfeed and email box is piled with horror stories. (I’m not seeing things rebound in public education, by the way. I’m worried. You should be, too.) 

Raising a kid with special needs when schools shutdown wasn’t easy. Now he attends a program between 8 and 3 every day, but I would not describe his current situation as awesome. Schools are having trouble finding special ed staff. So, on top of supplementing and supporting at home, I have to sit in hours of meetings with school administrators, write eleven-page reports, consult with expensive lawyers, research alternative programs, and fill out more paperwork. At the same time, I’m filling out government paperwork to get Ian into “the system.” This paperwork is so complicated that I scheduled time with a government social worker to assist me this week. 

When I have weeks like this, I am not getting my own work done. I’m not writing articles or developing book ideas or managing the small business. None of those chores that I did this week “sparked joy” or even put an extra dollar in my bank account. Unlike a certain prince, I can’t quit when things are rough. 

I took Ian to the neurologist yesterday afternoon for a regular check up. I gave her the update on his bad transition program, and we set up an appointment in January for another weekend-long EEG to make sure that his invisible seizures have stopped happening every two minutes. 

Because we’ve been seeing her several times a year for 14 years, we also did a little chit-chat. I asked her how her daughters were doing. She said she was on pins and needles waiting for her daughter to get an acceptance letter to Brown University. Imagined her daughter on a beautiful campus with lots of loveliness all around, while my kid sits in a basement not getting any job skills as promised and just playing video games all day. I came home, threw dinner prep in the fridge, and told Steve to meet me at the local pub when he got off the train from work. 

Typically, when I have periods of intense caretaking responsibilities and get too many punches to the gut, I rely on some strategies for keeping my marbles. Two glasses of red wine and an arugula salad with steak definitely helps, too. We do have lots of nice plans coming up, including a trip to the ballet, weekend skiing in Vermont, and Christmas tree shopping with the College Boy, who comes home today. And with the government paperwork at the post office with 30 minutes to spare – thank you, Steve sweetie — I’m officially clocking out and visiting the estate sales to go buy books.

4 thoughts on “When Quitting Isn’t An Option: Wine Works

  1. I continue to appreciate your thoughtful coping strategies (not really the wine, though). I think everyone should make a custom list for themselves. Wonder if that could be expanded as a community version, with coping strategies + a mix and match list.

    I am sorry that the right fit hasn’t been found yet (and, are they literally playing video games in the basement?).

    Also, your doctor shouldn’t be waiting on pins and needles for an acceptance letter from Brown unless her daughter is a recruited athlete (and, even then, sometimes kids get the wrong idea). I know a kid who posted an athlete “commitment” at an Ivy publicly, only to be rejected. Most kids get rejected on ED day.


    1. bj said, “I know a kid who posted an athlete “commitment” at an Ivy publicly, only to be rejected.”



      1. He survived surprisingly well and then had a list of other top five schools to chose from, including the other Ivy he is at, so, we needn’t feel sorry for him.


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