The afternoon was a whirlwind. Avery’s text came first, asking if she had to walk home because she had a headache. I was already on my way when I saw Nola had texted at the same time saying she had a headache and it would be great if I could pick them up. (Would be a nicer coincidence if aches weren’t part of it!)
So. Cold air, headaches, the threat of rain. Zane was at a conference but got home a lot earlier than he expected, which was nice. He tried to get the girls to help with a project, but everyone seemed annoyed with life. We waited to see if Avery’s last soccer practice would be affected by the rain, cold and daylight saving’s darkness. It wasn’t. She and Zane bundled up and went to a parent vs kid soccer practice to celebrate the end of an awesome season. I cooked dinner while Madden reminded me that I said we’d sort through the winter clothes bucket we brought up from the basement. (By the way, a “reminder” from a 4-year-old often involves yelling and tears- not going to divulge the individual(s) that were yelling or tearing up.)
Zane and Avery came home as Madden and I were in the kitchen cooking and dancing to his favorite song. It probably looked like a really awesome scene, but now I had a headache, Madden hadn’t gotten any of my help with the hats and gloves that exploded in our living room and Nola was mad that some of the food I made would be cold. I did what any parent would do and said “the only way to make sure all of the food is warm is if I cook so that everything is done at the exact same time and with your brother complaining and me being the only one cooking THAT ISN’T POSSIBLE. Sorry, not sorry.”
I was *thisclose* to going bonkers. It was when I started shoving plates at the girls to put on the table that I knew I needed space. I wasn’t feeling nice, and I knew it would be directed at people that weren’t really the problem. Zane told me to go take some time, take a shower.
In the past I would have been stubborn and stuck around, thinking I needed to be present, whether or not I was feeling pleasant. Instead, I went upstairs and was about to turn on the shower when I grabbed a notebook (yep, in the bathroom) and found a few blank pages and wrote. And wrote and wrote and wrote. I got in the shower and wondered if there was a way to put up some sort of waterproof dry-erase poster in the shower. I got out of the shower, wrote some more.
A day filled with people and no writing. I was a mess.
After I showered, I thanked Zane for anticipating the ugly scene that could follow my bad energy and took a deep breath. Wait. I didn’t feel guilty about not eating with everyone. I knew the timing had been just right to get out of the kitchen and be by myself. Myself- not my thoughts, not my ego, my whole “self”- knew exactly what to do and what I needed.
It’s easy to hear the internal dialogue and think that it knows best. No! If I have learned one thing so far this year is that I need to get out of my own way. Be the observer. Be quiet, be still, notice emotions that surface. It’s part of my emerging routine of self-care and therapy.