I’m a whirling dervish of futility lately.
My calendar looks like a pixelated Rorschach blot. If I went color blind from some sudden aphasia from the stroke (I’m fated to have if I keep up this pace) our whole world would fall apart.
So as I organized, color coded appointments once again to match the binders I keep for my kids with the ones on my phone’s calendar, sorted artwork for snapping photos of and “archiving” to recycling, set aside mail that made my pulse thump in my forehead…the thought came to me again. I stared down at the cracked skin of my hands where the skin had had separated into tiny papercuts from the abuse of being overworked. Who is this person I’ve become? HOW did this happen?
Owen just then walked up and stuck a finger through a hole in the knee of my yoga pants and laughed when I yelped at him removing a chunk of skin with his pinky nail. I reached for the fingernail clippers and he ran out of the room. It’s like rattling a can of pennies at a cat.
It was on a day like this one, but with far more trauma and stress involved, that I decided I wanted to run away. That I wanted to magically feel like my old self for just a few days and come back to my babies missing them.
It’s not that I miss my old life (at least not all the time), I just wanted to visit it and wear it for awhile. To feel clean, groomed, somewhat stylish, and cared for. It didn’t seem unreasonable but far-fetched given my life and circumstances at the moment with a newly ASD (autism) diagnosed son, an anxious traumatized daughter back at home from kindergarten, and the other demands of making a household and life run without being committed or incarcerated.
I need to get away.
I need to sleep until I wake on my own.
I need to remember what it’s like to order food without taking into consideration the cooking time and whether other people will be willing to eat it…I want to eat a warm meal.
To carry a purse with my belongings and not an arsenal of kid supplies.
To wear an outfit that’s flattering and not stain resistant/comfortable enough to sleep in.
To have a conversation without shouting as if I need to speak across a tarmac over a jet plane starting up.
All the self-help articles and well-intentioned memes in the world are ultimately full of shit in light of my situation. The words “self care” to me are tantamount to “try harder” when I need to Houdini my schedule to provide time for myself. It’s a guilt trip, it’s an admonishment to someone drowning in responsibility. What I really want to hear people say instead is, “Here, let me do that.” But, like a lot of moms, I’m reluctant to take help when it equals more effort or expense. Reticent to part with money that I know should be spent on therapy and medical assistance instead of something for myself.
But what am I teaching them?
How will they treat themselves when they’re my age?
When they’re older, will they be proud of me or pity me?
What if they end up in similar circumstances, I would want them to be happy and healthy no matter what. Am I?
Do I want them to have memories of having fun with me or remember me as frazzled, rushed, and stressed as I am lately?
Then I stopped myself, looked at my hands again and said, “This isn’t what I want. This isn’t living.”
Later that night, the thought came to me again at about 10 p.m. after being woken up yet again because I have to go to bed at 8 p.m. I messaged one of my dearest friends before the impulse passed. Before I talked myself out of the need to have something for myself once again.
“Crazy idea, (it came from my brain so, yes, I’m being redundant) do you want to do a mini road trip with me in January? I was thinking of revisiting old haunts… I still need to work out logistics but I wanted to throw that out there.”
So later this month, I’m doing something I haven’t done in almost ten years, I’m going on a road trip. That’s right! A fun filled week of no kids, no diaper changing, no cartoons, no whining unless it’s me, no yoga pants in public unless I want to, warm coffee, warm meals, cold drinks, music without references to “wheels” on “buses”, R movies, and cursing for fun and not in exclamation from pain. I might even (gasp!) get to use the bathroom without someone pounding on the door or asking me while pointing at my genitalia, “What ‘DAT?!”
You know what’s really exciting? I’ll get a chance to miss them and I know I will. Right after the first couple days…and a few nights of sleep…and – you get the idea. I’ll share my adventures and let you know what it feels like to drink coffee while it’s still hot and not leftover when I return.