An Aggregate Being

I am nominally studying for my microeconomics mid-term; my eyes gazing unblinking at the autumnal view.

I can’t cram another equation into my grey matter – operating at less than optimal capacity and fueled by too little sleep and too much stress, my brain is full.

So instead, I contemplate the silently falling leaves, and the sway of branches breathing.

I never imagined it would be this hard.

I’ve been studying part-time, continuously now for over 8 years. I’ve been working in the Canadian federal government for over 10. I’ve been a mother for over 2. My husband and I will soon have been together for over 12. All of these numbers combined total a sum greater than my lifetime. And I am living this total sum all at once.

I’m staring at my notes now, which describe aggregate demand and the marginal benefit of supplying one more unit. But I’m not thinking of rise over run or P times Q, but instead, adding demand upon demand, equaling years. And the cost looms much larger than any ephemeral benefit.

I’ve just come from a fascinating discussion of the blurring of private and public personas, and the subsequent implications for public administration. One of the students raised the sociologically-based theory that human beings are fundamentally uncomfortable with the idea of all of the different parts of their lives aggregating – we seek to keep separate the many selves we portray in different contexts, and when we can’t, we get frantic.

I’m not so sure.

Is it my inability to separate all the puzzle pieces of my life, or my inability to integrate my many selves into a cohesive whole that makes me feel so frantic? Either way, each piece demands too much from me at once.

Bonhomme has recently decided to solidly identify with the Terrible Twos. He has been experimenting with them for about a year already, but has now evidently decided to own this role thoroughly. A method actor, for sure.

Of course, what his little mind is really doing is developing a moral code, a sense of right and wrong, a system of measurement for acceptable and unacceptable behaviour. And watching Mommy and Daddy go nuts in the bargain.

It’s awfully hard to rationalize this at Oh-Dark-Hundred when gale-force shrieking rips through the house. A new record was set this morning for earliest time-out ever.

He too is trying to figure out his aggregate selves. So young it starts.

He is seeking stability, continuity, consistency, boundaries, support. And above all, the people he trusts most to hold him and tell him and show him he is loved, no matter what.

Would that I too could be so sure of that comfort.

The times I feel like screaming at the top of MY lungs are a bit too frequent these days. I guess there is some comfort in knowing that all my selves agree on this particular demand.

All of this has to add up to something.

And I think it just might be this:

“Momma, I’m gonna get bigger, and Bigger, and BIGGER so that I can study just like you! And I’m gonna get BIGGER so that I can do da drums! And I’m gonna do da fire and make crème boolay for YOU! And I’m gonna get bigger, and Bigger and BIGGER so that I can take my lunchbox, and an apple and a muffin, and put my backpack on, and go on da schoolbus! And then I’m gonna STUDY!!!”

I contemplate the loudly growing boy, and breathe in every sweet swaying breath.

The marginal benefit, I’ve come to realize, is my capacity to graph an aggregate dream curve – both demand, and supply.

And it’s not just me that I’m graphing it for.


1 comment so far

  1. Moosilaneous on

    Lovely. It does add up to something. Quite likely more than the sum of its parts.

    Glad to hear you are hanging in – no, living the dream. Way off the curve.

    Good on you

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