I am certain if I had time to take a nap, the alone and lost feelings would go away.
Consequently, when I am super duper tired, every emotion seems super duper intense. Do you ever feel this way? Crazed because you have not had enough sleep? It is awful. My thoughts are weak. My self-control is hard to access.
It does not have to be this way. I had a plan and the plan fell apart. I am too tired to put the pieces back together.
I know that if I do not have our family packed and ready to go, Dave will blow a gasket. I am talking about a real gasket, and it will explode right out of his head. Ew!
We are going on a backpacking trip. I am exhausted. I am terrified. Dave is asleep. I need a nap.
It was approximately 8:22 AM — two minutes later than usual. Eli’s school starts at 8:50 AM and he likes to be early. I had just sent Dave an angry email, followed by a “PS” email. My bedhead was screaming from the headrest as my oversized, grey and yellow-striped pajama bottoms Eli gave me for Christmas a few years back touched the car floor. There we sat, angry and frustrated. I saw his big middle school through the window. I insisted he stay.
“I need you to change your tone before you go.” I said.
I knew he was annoyed. I watched as he watched all of his friends pass by. He took a medium-sized breath and said he was sorry. Then he opened the door. I grabbed his hand for our usual hand squeeze, which we call a hand hug. Instead, he flopped his lifeless hand into mine.
“Really?” I said and followed with, “I need a hand hug.”
His hand clamped approximately 3 millimeters more. He said he was sorry again. As I looked into his angry eyes, I knew he was sorry. I grabbed his hand, squeezed it hard, and said,
“I love you, Eli.”
He opened the door and was gone.
I thought, “Oh Eli, I am sorry I was such a bitch this morning. I could be better, even when you are not. It is my job to model. I am the parent. I failed. I hope that somewhere in there was a lesson (for both of us). I know you get it. I know you get me. Thank you for that. Eli, you are awesome. Your heart is big. I love you!”
We leave this afternoon. Because I was working so hard yesterday to get us out the door on time today, my mother-in-law was convinced we were leaving today — at 4AM. What?
“Why would you think that?” I thought. “I need to be prepared.” I kept thinking. Then I did say,
“Do you know your son? He will lose it if we are not ready to go.”
She gave me a knowing glance and then I literally (yes, for real) thought,
“I wonder if she is thinking what I am thinking?”
I was thinking about Darryl, Dave’s Dad. I was thinking about the time he decided to take a shower while the rest of us waited in the car. It was June on a hot Maryland day. Dave and I were about to get married. Dave’s dad took a shower and decided he needed a snack.
Truth is, I do believe Dave’s family struggles with the space-time-continuum. Plans, letting others now there are changes in plans, being on time, and mostly, getting out of the house before most us are coming home, are all struggles. As such, Darryl’s shower on was as normal as the setting sun.
Dave fights this behavior in himself constantly. I am always impressed with his ability to get out the door on time. He is really good at it. I see him struggle to keep plans in order, and watch while he tries new ways to manage his time. Nevertheless, Dave’s scars run deep. I have paid the price for his displaced frustration. It is my job. I love my husband. He helps me heal. I want to do the same.
As such, when we travel, Dave loses it when we are not ready to go. I feel Dave’s anxiety profoundly (and probably irrationally). I literally lose my mind (and a lot of sleep) trying to manage (help him trust that I will not let him down). And folks, that is why I was busting my ass yesterday when all I wanted was a nap.
Last night I seriously considered packing a few things and checking myself into a hotel. I didn’t. Instead I grabbed two pillows, walked downstairs and turned on the television. I tried to lull myself to sleep with the sounds of a season finale. All I could hear were the very loud voices of my husband and his mom. Not a problem. She is visiting. They were laughing. I heard “frogs” and “Kyle.” And before Dave could finish his sentence, I knew what he was talking about the time we stayed with my friend, Alana, and her family in Hardwick, Vermont. Kyle and Eli didn’t want to leave. It was 2009. We traveled to Maine’s Acadia National Park. We traveled all over the North East. The friends we visited at Lake George in upstate New York are now divorced. In Burlington, Vermont Dave threatened to fly home — alone. I can still see him now. He was standing in front of that Courtyard by Marriott hotel declaring his frustration. I told him to get over it.
“We are in this together.” I exclaimed.
He stayed, and later that night it was my mom who told me that Michael Jackson was dead. I loved that trip. I love fighting for us.
I am tired.
Dave is asleep.
So is his mom.
“We are in this together.”
Those are the words I am thinking of today.
Thank God I can write. Thank God it took writing to remind me how good things really are. Eli and Kyle are awesome and Dave is now awake and downstairs getting things packed. Thank God I chose to write today. When I write, I re-set. I cannot forget this space. It is mine. And if I don’t take my space, I will lose myself. I will stop fighting. And if I stop fighting, I stop.