Who Is In Control Here?

Tuesday ended up being one of those days.  It started off per usual (fighting with Kid E over wearing a winter coat as he headed out the door into, um… what’s that word… WINTER!) and then I did a deceptive little workout called “Isometrix” (I felt almost nothing while I was doing it.  I didn’t even break a sweat, really.  Then, throughout the day and night, I started to totally feel very painful things in places that I forgot I had…).  By midday, I had done my chores, my workout, and I even showered and ran an errand.  I was just about to wonder “What will I do,” when I got an email regarding an urgent request to completely redo the program for a ballet that Kid A and Kid C are performing in this weekend.

It was just me and another mom who make up the Program Committee, so I spent the next few hours mocking up a new one, and then I edited and sent it out for review.  It was a crazy afternoon of paying attention to small details of the program, all while fielding questions about homework, whether so-and-so could come over to play or Kid D could go to his house, responding to requests to make snacks and what was for dinner, as well as getting Kid C to focus and get ready for ballet class on time (Kid A was driving her right after she got home from her tutoring job), and then driving Kid B to her boyfriend’s basketball game before picking Kid D up from his playdate (on time, because last time I almost left him over there…seriously).  Oh, and we were out of milk and stupid Aunt Flo just knocked on my door three days early.

When Sheepdog got home that night, my head was spinning.  He could tell just by looking at me.  I was speaking at high volume and with excessive speed.  I moved about the kitchen like I had eight arms.  I was still doing too many things at one time, mostly because I couldn’t figure out how to gear down.  I even predicted the full moon before the sun went down.  So Sheepdog reminded me to take some deep breaths… like a million of them.  I did, and I felt better.  The wine helped too.

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I had prepared a delicious dinner with my octopus arms and everybody who was home sat down to eat together.  During dinner I announced to everyone  – despite the craziness of the day – I felt like I passed the test.  It had been hard, and my body and mind ached all over, but I had kicked one of those days in its bootie.  Yay, me!  I won this day!  Yesterday was not so good, and who knows about tomorrow, but I felt like I won this day!  On this day, I was in control.

I woke up Wednesday morning feeling really strong after a great night’s sleep.  I got in another fantastic workout (this one was not sneaky at all… it was quite forthright in its delivery of pain and sweat), showered, and went over to my neighbor’s house to hear about her new business.  I met some interesting women over there, and I ended up having a really good time.  I came home, ate a healthy lunch, and soon the boys were bounding off of the school bus and into the house.

Kid D was sitting at the kitchen table doing homework, and Kid E was eating (something other than a peanut butter sandwich… Hallelujah! for another small victory in the food wars) when my cell phone rang.  Caller ID said it was one of my friends from the neighborhood.  Our daughters play soccer on the same team and we do a ton of carpooling and soccer travel together.

As soon as I answered I heard the fear and panic and tears in her voice.  She was driving home from work early because her house was on fire.  She had no idea what would be waiting for her when she arrived.  None of the people in her family were home at the time, but she didn’t think that they were able to get her two dogs out in time.

Oh my goodness.  What can I do?  What can I do?  What can I do?

I was scheduled to pick up the girls after high school soccer conditioning later that afternoon.  She asked me to give her some warning when we were on our way so she could prepare her teenage daughter for the devastating news.  Her boyfriend ended up coming to get her before practice ended because word of the fire had started to spread on social media and they didn’t want her to find out that way, but I, like so many people in our neighborhood and the surrounding communities, have spent the time since I heard the news praying for the family and wondering “what if…”

My head had gone right back to spinning.

Fully aware of my life-long fear about house fires, Sheepdog texted me the next morning and asked how well I had slept.

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That Sheepdog sure is a smart one.

So I’m taking deep breaths, and praying for my friends and about my fears, and I am (trying to) let it go.  And tonight at dinner – despite the craziness of the day or not – I am going to announce to everyone at the table that I am not in control, and that’s even better than what I said before.

Our amazing neighborhood has put together several ways to help our friends in their time of need.  Please pray for them, but you can also help in other ways if you are so inclined.  Email me for further information at tihidiblog@gmail.com.  Rest in peace Layla and Bella.

Wish me luck for tomorrow…

Are You There God? It’s Me, Crazy Lady.

I am suggesting a different type of prayer in the bathroom, but do whatever works for you

This morning started off swimmingly… I awoke with a start just after six a.m. as what I perceived to be Godzilla (turned out it was only Kid D) was stomping down my hallway, yelling at top volume about nothing in particular, turning on every light along his route and opening and closing every door “just because.”  Of course he woke his little brother, who was up too late last night and desperately needed to sleep in this morning.  Kid E came into my room in a foul, foul mood… extra whiny, croup-like coughing, hug-me-but-don’t-touch-me, “I gotta pee” and just plain miserable.  Kid C was upset that her hair wasn’t looking just right and wanted me to straighten it for her (she has been ten-years-old for about five minutes… no I am not using a heating appliance on her hair.  What is this?  Toddlers & Tiaras?).  Kid A was harboring residual teenage anger at me for not trying hard enough to rearrange the schedule for her to go in late to school yesterday or be able to see her boyfriend tonight, and somehow (and I DO NOT understand how), Kid B managed to sleep through all of this and almost miss her school bus, thus requiring me to drive her to school this morning.

It was too early (well, anything before ten a.m. is technically “too early” in my book).  I hadn’t even put my contacts in yet, let alone started my coffee i.v. and all of this was barreling down on me already.  Let me check the calendar – wasn’t Friday the 13th just last week?  And, dammit, when is Sheepdog coming home?  The “Yelling Mom” part of me wanted to shout from the rooftop for all of them to just shut the front door.  Sometimes you can stop the insanity by simply being so loud and insane yourself that your over-the-top meltdown trumps everything else and they all stop to watch your spiral into complete lunacy.  I’ve done that before and it can be effective.  Kid C was about two-years-old or so and having a nice screaming fit in the car seat behind Sheepdog, who was in the driver’s seat.  We hadn’t even pulled out of the driveway yet and I had had enough, so I turned around from the passenger seat and I looked at her and I just screamed at the top of my lungs.  Let’s just say that I caught everyone off guard and it’s probably a good thing that Kid C was still wearing diapers at that moment, but she stopped her fit.

So I’m lying in my bed this morning, having pulled all of the pillows over my head to pretend I am anywhere but there and chanting ever so softly, “Eff, eff, eff, eff, eff, eff me” and basically being the guest of honor at my own little pity party.  I was going over the planned events for the day and dreading all that I needed to accomplish was never going to have enough time for and basically setting a really bad tone for my day.  And I already knew that the kids were queering up the mojo this morning, so they wouldn’t be any help.  But then I stopped.  I mentally popped all of the black balloons at my pity party.  I remembered something that Sheepdog is teaching me, and I began to meditate.

Meditation for Moms is not easy.  True meditation calls for silence and a mental escape to your happy place.  How am I ever supposed to do that when I’m usually being beaten over the head (either literally with a toy or metaphorically with constant demands or questions or requests)?  I’ll let you in on a little secret.  Tell them all that you have to poop, then lock yourself in the bathroom.  It usually buys about two minutes of uninterrupted time, which is just enough for a quick request for peace, patience and clarity.  My family thinks that I poop all the time.  It is such a great plan that I don’t even care if they tell their friends.

Alone for just a few precious seconds, I quietly whisper, “Are you there God?  It’s me, Crazy Lady.”  And I ask for help and strength and patience and creative solutions and generosity of spirit, because all of those things are missing or almost depleted from my stockpiles.  I pray for the Kids and I pray for Sheepdog, especially if they are struggling.  And I also ask for thinner thighs, even though I’m not supposed to do that.  And then, if I have time, I pray for the people who I don’t really like, especially the idiots.  By then there has almost always been at least one knock on the bathroom door and I am pulled away from thoughts of warm sand between my toes.  But by then it is okay.  I take a deep breath as I flush the toilet for effect, ready to face what challenges lie ahead of me today.

Can I get an Amen?  And can Sheepdog please come home soon, because this single-parenting thing is definitely for the birds.

Wish me luck for tomorrow…