i finally feel like i can write about it. last week i was in a bad place. in a deep dark, hate the world, woe is me, feeling sorry for myself bad place. this week i'm in a good place. an 'i got this' place. an 'i can do it, because i did it a million times before' place. so i can write about it now, and laugh at myself. last week there was no laughing. not any.
see, last week straight donkey punched me in the face. i'm not gonna lie.
after a wonderful 10 day vacation out east to see sean's family, and an awesome labor day camping weekend here with my family, 'real life' came crashing back upon us with a vengeance. maybe it was just a good old fashioned swift kick to the gut reality check. but it was hard. so hard.
on monday, the last sad day of labor day weekend, we drove home from camping dirty and smelly and packed to the gills with things that needed washing. we came to the realization that we had no daycare for the kids on tuesday. portland public schools started on wednesday. we'd known this for awhile, but i think we pushed it out of our minds and frankly i get SO tired of dealing with childcare and the logistics of our life that i ignored it. i ignored it until there was no time left. and then...
it was as if a semi truck came and settled itself on my shoulders. it was my month end close at work last week. and a quarter end! it's a week i cannot take time off under no circumstances and the days are long. LONG. and parents know, that getting our kids back to school is hard in itself. the school supplies, the backpacks, the having enough food in the house to put together a solid healthy lunch. the 'what bus are they riding and when?' and 'where will they go after school?' and oh hello folks! It's a new school for the kolmer family this year with new teachers, and new classrooms, and hopefully new friends! did i mention we have soccer practice on mondays? and tuesdays? and wednesdays? AND thursdays? no problem, right?
so what does this mom do? she freaks out.
what choice did i have but to work from home on tuesday the single busiest day of my work month. sean had done it 3 days himself the week before. it was so my turn. so i resorted to the fact we had no other options and silently talked to myself 'i can do it, right? oh, totally. i got this.
in the end, it was a 15 hour day with 30 minutes of work here, a 5 minute 'get a snack for the kids' break, followed by a 'plug in ANOTHER movie' for the kids break, followed by an hour of work and so on and so forth. let's not forget the breaking up of nearly 100 arguments over things as important as lint on the carpet and who got the bigger spoon and who is sitting too close to who on the couch and OMG kids fight over the stupidest stuff. i may or may not have said, 'get a real problem' a handful of times. and let's also not forget the trip to target, fred meyer's and office depot for pre-sharpened tichonderoga #2 pencils, a ream of paper, and zip lock bags. all items i forgot on on my original school supply run. and by run, i mean shopping extravaganza on amazon. delivered right to my door thanks to amazon prime.
anyway, it was long and hard and in the end i felt like a crappy employee and an absolutely crazy and frazzled mom who remembers snapping at the kids for flushing the toilet while I was on a phone call amongst MANY OTHER things that did not call for the wrath i put forth on them. please if anyone is reading, don't call the CSD. and if you work from home with kids on a regular basis, my hat's off to you. you know what? make it my shirt and my pants and my hat and my shoes. because i'd rather be naked in public then do that on a normal basis.
the fact is, the day pushed me further than i've been pushed in a long while. the amount of work i physically have to produce on this day of the month is staggering. when i'm AT work AT my desk withOUT getting up to pee or get a drink or lift my head to acknowledge the presence of another human it takes me 10-12 hours. so imagine, how productive i actually wasn't...considering.
wednesday came soon enough. literally 6 hours after i shut down my computer it was time to get up and get going again. it was the first day of school! i decided to hell with the 2nd busiest day of work, i'm taking my kids to their first day and will be in late. so sean and i together walked them in, took them to their classrooms and watched their eyes get bigger and glassier the closer to 8 it became. and when it was finally time to say goodbye alex said 'don't go mom' and her eyes welled up and i said (I ACTUALLY SAID) 'don't do this alex', because i had yet to go to ian's room and check on him. and her eyes welled up more. i told her she'd be fine which was bullshit because i wasn't fine. i couldn't wait to get out of this room and this school and cry all the way to work. i rubbed her arm, told her i couldn't wait to hear all about her day later that night (not knowing if i'd even be home to find out) and i left her there.
and i went to ian's classroom where he was seated in the back of the class. SHIT! did i not tell the teacher he's deaf in one ear? do i say that now? 'hi, i'm carrie. ian's a new student can you please hold his hand all day and of the 30 kids in your class make sure he's emotionally coddled today? can you also position him closer to the front and on the left side of the room so he can hear?' do i say that? or do i leave with my face in my hands? and then he jumped from his chair and hung on my leg and cried silently not wanting the others to see and that's when my floodgates opened and i cursed the world. why couldn't i stick around just a bit longer like all the other parents standing around? why couldn't i be there RIGHT at 2:15 to pick them up and spend the afternoon with them. why couldn't I be one of the sahm mom's who could greet their kids off the bus in the afternoon. why couldn't i be one of the working mom's who took the day off to greet their kids off the bus in the afternoon and take them for rootbeers after to celebrate their day? WHY WHY WHY did i have to be this kind of mom that has to jet out after just telling your kid to 'hurry up and pull yourself together'? and then i did it again. yup. 'ian, don't do this. you're gonna have a great day'. and i looked to the boy (ethan) sitting next to ian and said 'you're gonna have a great day, right?' and he just looked at me like i was a crazy person.
and maybe i was.
i proceeded to drive to work, my eyelids blinking faster thru my tears than the windshield wipers ran to swipe the rain. feelings of self loathing and regret overwhelmed me. nobody will ever know how terrible i felt that day. how low, how angry, while at the same time working as fast as my brain and fingers would allow so i could hopefully just please god hopefully get me home by bedtime. i spoke to nobody. i responded to zero emails or texts. i hardly responded to people that would walk by and say, 'how are the kids getting on in their first week of school?'
because if i did, i broke my concentration and the floodgates that were hovering behind my eyelids all day long.
and at 6:30, i shut down my computer and raced home fully prepared to deal with two emotional wrecks (3 counting me) but what i came home to was two over the moon ecstatic kids who had 'the best day of school ever' and 'met new friends' and 'loved their new school'.
praise god. i almost fell down with relief.
the next two days although hard, felt like a breeze. i think because the emotional stress and worry of the kids sitting at a lunch table, alone, and standing around the playground with nobody to play with had lifted. it's a real eye opener when you clearly distinguish the difference between physical and emotional stress. i feel physical stress a lot. needing to be in two places at once, not feeling 'enough' in all these places in your life. wondering if i'm a good mom even though i work, wondering if i'm a good employee even though i have kids, wondering if i'm even a shell of the wife i used to be before life got bigger. the feeling of just not having enough to go around consumes me. never mind ever having the time or energy to give anything to yourself. add to that emotional duress, and it can take you down to your knees. i've been to this place before. where a loved one is ill. where a loved one is sick. where you are overcome with worry about a friend or family member as i was for my two kids. i know that pain. this week was not THAT pain. but it was pain regardless.
i haven't lost sight that things could have been worse. that nobody was sick. that nobody was in physical danger. i'm aware as over the course of the week i had people say i needed to 'keep perspective' and 'it could be worse' and another told me their current struggles in order to make me remember i wasn't alone. one friend said, 'at least your new house wasn't a former meth house' and thank god for that. as that is a true and real tragedy happening to someone we know. and i would remember these things, and talk to myself and recount my blessings and i have many. one, being a friend that knowing what i was going thru as so was she said, 'you are an amazing mom to care this much and worry so hard' knowing that was the only thing i actually needed to hear. sometimes all the little things piled high feel like way too much. i wouldn't trade all my little things for any others or one big one. they are mine, all mine and it's why they are so personal to me. i take my work, my kids, my family and my friends very serious. it's my everything. and by nature, i want to be caring for all of them well. it's who i am.
it's been exactly one week and it's almost funny to me how differently you can feel one week to the next. i was low last week. low low low. and this week, i feel good. i can now look back and although i didn't do it in all the best ways, and I didn't appear like superwoman flying around with a magical cape making it all happen...i did actually make it all happen. i got my work done. i saw the kids thru their first week of school, with smiles on their faces at the end of each day. they both got to their practices ON TIME, with everything they needed (all with sean's help of course) and we survived. we all survived.
and at the end of the day, that is something to be damn proud of.