Yesterday, as I carried a bag of kitchen trash out to my dumpster, I saw a vulture circling overhead and wondered if maybe he could smell that someone in my house was about to go down. That someone was me.
Last week was a rough one, not in any extraordinary way, but just wrong enough to beat a mommy down. The whole family got sick, and, being cooped up in the house, the kids were fractious with each other, clingy, and extra needy. My first grader stayed home from school for a couple of days, feeling well enough to run around the house and fight with her sister, but not well enough to pick up after herself or come up with anything fun or productive to do on her own. My normally sweet three year old has hit a new irrational tantrum phase, and can now tenaciously insists that we meet impossible needs. She's also developed a new habit of jumping up and down on my toes.
I write this blog from my own personal fish bowl. Yesterday a crew of workmen tore down my back fence, and so far have replaced only the posts at each corner. I have no curtains on my kitchen windows, so here I sit in my mismatched pajamas for all my neighborhood to see. The crew will soon be back with their power tools and their hip hop music, to stand in my back yard all day and observe my every move.
But this is the least way in which I feel overexposed this week. My mommy friends know me as someone who is not afraid to "be real" and share my struggles openly (hence, the blogging). I have no problem letting people in on my imperfections. But I like to do it on my own terms, after I've come to terms with my weaknesses myself, and recount them in a wise, witty, and self-deprecating way. I can be real, but I like to do it with a little spin.
In the past few days, I've been real in ways I do not enjoy, at times when I was not in control.
Like the time when Livie threw a ten-minute tantrum in front of Marshall's because I wouldn't drive home to get her milk sippy cup.
On Saturday, Liv attached herself to my ankle while I was carrying $50 worth of groceries, because I couldn't (she thought wouldn't) pick her up. Finally, Jeff had to hold her down while I ran for it.
Yesterday morning while dropping Sophia off at school, Liv, with her rain-soaked, grass covered shoes, again decided to jump up and down on my shoes (my new gold ballet flats!), and shrieked when I wouldn't let her.
By the time I made it to a MOPS meeting yesterday morning, I was fried, having coped with lots of other small, normal, and infuriating mother tasks on the way there. My dear friend immediately took me outside for a good cry on the playground, a hug, and a prayer.
The other women around me had picked up on my thinly veiled distress, too. When I came to pick Sophia up from school that afternoon, a mother I don't even know well came and put her arm around me and said she and another mom were going to take my kids on Wednesday afternoon because I obviously needed a break.
This morning I can feel grateful for all the moms that reached out to me yesterday. But at the moment, I just felt ashamed of myself. Like I said, no great catastrophe had befallen me, just a build up of small and large irritants, a virus, poor sleep, and a little chaos. I wish I were stronger. I wish I didn't need help. But I do, friends, I do.
There's a quotation by Anton Chekov that I love: "Any idiot can handle a crisis. It's the day to day things that get you down." Too true. There's a lesson in these last 10 days somewhere. Here's what I think it is: When God tells us in the Bible that his mercies are new every morning, and that we are to ask for our daily bread, it's because we need mercy and sustenance daily, just to handle the stuff of life. I need a daily word from God. I need sleep. I need good food (did I mention that last week we were are also overly sugared from Halloween candy?). I need fresh air. I need a chat with a good girlfriend. I need 10 minutes alone. And I need help.
So, I'm not vowing to be better, stronger, more put together. I'm going to send the kids off with those mommies from my school. I'm going to take a nap. And I'll take any prayers that are offered for me. Because the vultures are circling, and I don't want to go down.