The Curse of Womanhood
Have you ever had one of those days where you want to go, just get in the car and keep driving?
An unfortunate series of events has befallen us at home, most of which I’m frankly too exhausted to rehash, and I just want out. What I realized, though, with kids, and positions of employment requiring signed contracts, there is no out.
I melted down yesterday. It wasn’t the first time, and surely won’t be the last. It was Father’s Day. A coincidence that, unfortunately, my emotions weren’t able to sidestep. I’ve always worn my heart on my sleeve, and, as hard as I’ve tried, I haven’t been able to cut off my sleeve.
The culmination of over a month of untoward occurrences, scary and expensive surprises, and overall unpleasantness finally got to me. And this is on top of the everyday bullet train that is my life: the husband’s unforgiving work schedule, three screaming toddlers, and an endless list of to-do’s. I was holding it down until my son, not the most dexterous of my clan, figured out how to take his dirty (as in dirty) diaper off and mate it with our new couch. That was about the straw that broke this camel’s back.
I collapsed into a heap, rather, under a heap, of phone calls, forms, bills, health concerns, needs, wants, obligations, laundry, and general (and specific) annoyances. I was finished. I needed to leave.
After my parents arrived for a special Father’s Day dinner, and my dad inadvertently poured watermelon juice all over my toddler’s freshly changed clothes, I decided it was best for everyone involved that I not be there, lest I maim someone with a kitchen utensil.
I drove to the beach. I sat, watching the waves slap against the rocks. But I didn’t feel better. The breeze blowing off the water was deceptively cold. I was uncomfortable, and hadn’t thought to bring a jacket. I had to leave. I sat in the car for a few moments, temporarily amused by something on the radio, and then drove off. I was shaking inside, and there was no relief in sight.
I continued back towards home where my stabbing headache originated. I was desperate. Should I keep driving? Check into a hotel? Disappear? Of course, guilt nudged me gently back home.
I returned and sat on my deck for a few minutes, at a table that had been several weeks’ worth of frustration to obtain, put together, and eventually have swapped out with a non-damaged one. My father came and sat beside me. I don’t even remember what he said. I couldn’t hear him through my all-consuming rage. I just remember getting up and fumbling my way inside, fighting back tears.
There was nowhere I could go. There was nowhere I could sit, could rest, that didn’t smack of the difficulties of the past month, that wasn’t mocking me. I didn’t want to talk to my parents, my husband, my kids. I wanted to dig a hole and climb in. But I couldn’t.
I wandered into the living room where my son was having a minor conniption fit, as the lacrosse stick he had been playing with had to be returned to the next door neighbors. I picked him up, and sat with him for a bit while he cried. I eventually bartered with him – a smile for two E.L. Fudge cookies and some milk. The deal worked.
I settled him at the table with his snack and returned to the living room. My younger son looked up at me, unaware of the turmoil that whirled painfully behind my eyes. He smiled. No, he beamed. And I felt my mood lighten.
But, unfortunately, it did not last. I painfully slogged my way through ‘special’ dinner and the subsequent cleaning up.
I was spent. I sat on the couch like a zombie, watching my twins burn off the remainder of the day’s energy, dreaming of a beach, a mountain, the woods. Just somewhere else. I tried to go back in my mind and stop everything that’s happened over the last few months from happening. I tried to go back and keep my husband from becoming frustrated by my melodrama. I tried to go back and unbuy this house and everything in it. I tried to go back to the honeymoon that was replaced with a surprise pregnancy. But nothing worked. Every time I opened my eyes, I was still here. I was still here.
And it helped me to realize that we spend so much time dreaming of being an adult, so much time daydreaming about a Utopian and flawless future, so much time making decisions and plans, and setting up for the greatness that will rain upon you like tropical shower, but no one, and I mean no one, prepares for those days where you just can’t hack it, where it takes every fiber of your being not to grab the bottle of wine out of the fridge and wander off into the woods, where it takes a concerted effort not to resent every choice you’ve ever made, your reflection, your life. No one imagines their future like that.
And then you come back. Logic returns. The tears dry up. And you resign yourself to the fact that you’re an adult, this is your life, and you must put your big girl panties on and deal with it all. No matter how you feel. Because the Universe does not grant you indulgences. Because the trash will pile up, and so will the bills, and you’ll have to deal with messes greater than the ones with which you’re currently dealing. Because your kids are depending on you. Because everyone’s depending on you. And you can’t break free.
You are all things to all people. You are a wife, a mother, a dishwasher, a counselor, a sanitation expert, and an executive assistant, and you can’t go home. You are home. Therefore, you must depend on the smiles and the bursts of laughter of those around you to float you through until your joie de vivre returns. And it will.
The trick is to follow the light. And it’s not always easy. Especially when you’ve got your head buried in your hands.
Posted on June 18, 2012, in Family, Life, Married Life, parenting, Women and tagged family, Father Day, life, maturity, motherhood, Mothers, navigating difficult times, parenthood, parenting, sacrifice, trials and tribulations, womanhood. Bookmark the permalink. 24 Comments.