My MIL just posted something on Facebook this morning. It was one of those inspirational-type pictures with a message that read something to the effect of “You can’t calm the storm; you can only calm yourself and wait for it to pass.” Usually I’m not one for inspirational-type messages, but today I needed that.
Part of that was because of Facebook itself. Obviously today must be “post your favorite picture of dead/tortured animal day.” I guess I should be grateful for a break from the endless barrage of “Trump is a dick” messages. Not that I disagree. But shit, y’all. I’m sick of looking at it. I mean, yesterday in Girl Scouts I learned about the horrendous water crisis in Cape Town. A major city of 4 million people is weeks away from running out of water. I had not heard a peep about that. To be fair, that’s on me. My active avoidance of too much media is alive and well. But come on, Facebook. This not sexy and horrible enough for you to talk about? No one has any clever memes or gifs? No online petitions?
Anyway, yesterday was one of those days. It shouldn’t have been. It started peaceful. I made a good breakfast for the kids. It got eaten. Will took the kids to school and himself off to work and I got to feel that “Aaaaaaaaah!” moment, when the house suddenly and almost violently goes quiet. It’s very much like when you’ve had the worst day ever and you drink that first swallow of wine and you feel your shoulders spontaneously unknot a bit.
Then Felix’s teacher called. He had shat himself and would probably need a bath. Shit, indeed. I was on the couch in my PJs reading a report – the joys of telecommuting. I had to throw on clothes and some mascara and haul ass out the door, only to receive another call. She had somehow – bless her heart – managed to clean him up enough to stay at school. I didn’t have to pick up my kid, bring him home, bathe him, and take him back to school. Later I learned that he was crying so hard that the passing guidance counselor heard him and pulled him out. She took him for a walk in the garden, which I know he enjoyed. I know this because he told me about it roughly 6 times. He was unable to tell me why he was agitated in the first place. The best approximation I got was something about being “stuck in a chair and having to punch and kick myself until I was dead.” I think I have to call shenanigans on that explanation.
Stella was just bitchy. I swear, y’all, at 7 she’s acting hormonal. I know it’s just the oppositional/defiant component of her particular flavor of ADHD. But dammit. She showed her butt at Girl Scouts. She showed her butt during dinner. She showed her butt during homework. She showed her butt during snack time.
And this part is something I don’t talk about much, and I feel kinda like an asshole/whiner for doing it now: my husband is having a depressive episode (good old fashioned clinical depression – NOT bipolar) and that just makes things suck so much more. I feel almost like a Capri Sun juice pouch with about 6 straws in me. Everything sucks my energy completely away. And I feel guilty for complaining or feeling sad/resentful/insert-any-other-word-for-shitty about it, because I know he’s suffering and does not choose to have a brain that’s different like this. I’m sure he’d rather not come home from work and flop on the couch in front of his laptop, either unable or unwilling to wade into the grind of getting kids fed, bathed, homeworked, toothbrushed, storied, and tucked in. But this is also why I actually fell asleep in Felix’s bed for 45 minutes last night after reciting Wynken, Blynken, and Nod, and why despite his asking me to stay up with him past 10:30 or 11:00 at night to watch another episode of Jessica Jones I just can’t.
So today I’m looking for my calm. I’ve been doing some things to help myself. I’ve done a bunch of batch cooking lately. That helps with meals. It’s a silly little thing, but it takes planning, time, and energy, so goody for me that it’s done. I’ve made a decision to “consciously uncouple” myself from my dance with the Evil Villain. Sure, I glance at his behavior chart every day to see whether she’s awarded him yellow or red (apparently Felix will never see another rainbow or green day from this malevolent beast), but I don’t acknowledge this. I don’t initial each day like I’m supposed to. I don’t respond back to the notes, which surely is a relief to her, as the month of March is full, front and back. So sorry. Save it up for April. I’m not wasting energy on someone who simply refuses to try to understand what is a pretty obvious situation. And I’m trying not to waste energy worrying about Felix going to school and feeling henpecked every single day by this person – never hearing anything good or positive about himself. For starters, he does love his teacher (the real one), and he has other adults that do care about him at school. Secondly, Felix could quite frankly give zero F’s about this woman and what she says. He’s pretty unflappable that way.
Maybe I should just take my cue from my son. Only call for help if you see me starting to build a sonic elevator lawnmower out of pens, silly putty, MDF, and toothpicks at my desk. I may be taking the calm thing too far.
This is not the best picture quality, as it’s a screen grab from the kids’ Xmas program at school This was the moment Felix saw me sitting in the audience. This smile makes my heart feel full. I watch this video all the time.