“I’m not seeing an end in sight.” That was part of my text to a friend. A friend I’d recently left 1000 miles away. A friend I wouldn’t see for a bit. A friend I was especially missing that day. She’d asked how the transition was going and that was the honest to goodness truth.
It had been a normal morning. Current normal, that is. Living in a house under construction. Living in a house yet-to-be-unpacked. Living with a serious case of the Terrible Twos. Lots of stress. Lots of yelling. Lots of close calls (like my boys teaching their sister to lean over the wall that overlooks the room 15 feet below). Trying to take it one step at a time, whilst the littles undid last night’s “steps” in one fell swoop, dumping previously-sorted containers.
I hit send on my text, noticed the time and rushed for the door. I waved the swimsuits at my on-the-phone husband, hoping he’d interpret it as “don’t forget swim lessons in a half hour!”
I was thinking about six different things when I peeled out of the driveway. I was confused to hear a voice. “I can tell you’re still there, but I can’t hear you.” Confusion, followed by an aha. Hubby’s phone is the default bluetooth connection in the car. Until I got far enough from the house, his work call would be all commotion. I sped down the road til it disconnected.
Synapses began firing. Realization numero dos. I’d taken the car with the car seats. The car seats needed to get the littles to those swim lessons.
I caught my mistake in time to loop towards the house. It’s a low traffic road, so I wasn’t expecting to see a car on the incoming street. It was his right of way and my yield. I stopped in time to block the road and be that annoying driver. I hoped for sympathy as he was forced to stop while I moved out of his way. I raced back towards the house, thinking the odds of seeing that car again were slim to none.
Turns out, the odds were ever in my favor. The car belonged to my (new) next door neighbor. Sigh. More witnesses to my #lifefail of a day.
I blinked through tears to my appointment. Not because I was now super late, but because I was overwhelmed. House in chaos. Yelling at the kids. Mush-brain decisions. Missing a friend. Jumbling up others’ lives. Late. Stressed.
“I can tell you’re still there, but I can’t hear you.” The confused caller’s words came back to mind.
It was strange to be in on a call I hadn’t made. To be the only one the caller could hear. The only one hearing the caller. Unable to speak back. We couldn’t communicate and until I went a distance or shut the car off, no one else could, either.
The same thing was happening with my family. They could tell I was still there, but they couldn’t hear me. (I could tell I was still there, but I couldn’t hear me, either. In these moments, I wouldn’t recognize the person I am. I surely wouldn’t admit to knowing her.) Just like with the accidental-bluetooth-caller, I couldn’t communicate with them and they couldn’t communicate with me. We might as well have been speaking different languages. The signal was confused until I went a distance or shut off. I needed a reboot.
Reboot, as in, taking a minute. Realizing I was reacting impulsively to words, demands, emotions, decisions, scuffles, expectations.
Sometimes, that minute is found in another room with the door shut and locked. Other times, it’s just a dramatic head on the table, nobody-talk-to-me gesture. A chance to (silently or aloud) voice my failure, my frustration, my fears. Recognize I’m trying to be all to all and that’s just never going to work. A bit of a re-inviting God into my day.
The day didn’t magically get better. The kids/hubs and I still had tense moments. I was still late. I made various oversights. It was still one of those days.
But, I got curious about what was going on. I admitted aloud the things contributing to my fluster and fussing. I asked for help. I shared my struggle with the kids. I recognized I couldn’t be all things to all people. I brought God back into the picture. This stuff didn’t change my circumstances. It changed my experience. Made me aware and more engaged. Living life, not just reacting to it.
Well, horrible-terrible-no-good-very-bad days aren’t complete losses. At dinner, my picky eaters ALL decided to actually like sweet potatoes, after two, five and seven years, respectively. So, there’s that. Awareness with a side of sweet potatoes. #lifefail du jour.