I am trying hard to not have this post turn into a long, humorless, whiny rant. But it’s not easy. I think I may have failed in that. Forgive me.
I had another post scheduled for today, called “Just Say Yes” full of light and fluff and about the lovely serendipity you welcome into your life when you say “yes” to things. But today is not the day for that post. I’m sure it will surface soon. But not today, no. Today is all about the “no.”
I was in a bad, bad mood this morning, in a growly, snarly bear of a funk. And for no single specific or discernible reason. It was just the grains of sand filling up my jar; itchy, irritating, miserable, motherloving sand.
I know I wrote recently about the little things that lift me up. But today? This morning? The little things were squashing me down, dragging me under. I was in quicksand. Jacob waking up early in spite of it being a weekend; Ethan's homemade Halloween costume still only half made; a vital supplement of Jacob's delayed in delivery, the boys endless squabble over computer time... little, stupid, things; minor annoyances. But this morning? I was hell on wheels, sporting my own personal gloom and doom, like a cartoon character with a traveling rain-cloud overhead.
The biggest problem with me having a crabby, cranky, craptastic day is that my kids pay the price, and I hate that. I am not my kindest, gentlest mommy self. I’m her evil twin. Even when they're the ones torturing me, I still feel bad for not seeking the higher ground, putting on my happy face and acting “as if.” As if I were not bone weary and at my last nerve ending.
And we all know the real stressor was not all those little things, it is the way Autism clouds everything in life, and brings on the dread. My dreading that even still, after eight long years, everything with the kids, all day long, has to be planned, structured, negotiated, managed.
Today I dreaded having to figure out how to manage Jacob at the birthday party we were headed to this morning, how to manage leaving Jake home with his Daddy when I took Ethan out to his school's Halloween "Harvest Festival" this afternoon. I am dreading the thought of managing Jake while we are out trick-or-treating on Broadway tomorrow, worried about how to manage Jake at our building’s wonderful Halloween party tomorrow night. (And, for an autistic kid, Jake is not even that hard to manage.)
I just didn't want the job anymore, today; the mom job in general and the autism-mom-warrior job in particular. I wanted to go on strike. But the problem, the irony, the joke on me is: I am not just the worker bee, I am also... the management. And therefore I would be on strike against myself, never a good thing. I would be having to step over myself on the picket line, and go in to do the job anyway, so why bother with the fuss in the first place.
Yesterday I had finally input Jacobs schedule into my calendar for the whole year and that's when my heart jumped. Holy hell in a hand basket -- Jake has a two week spring vacation. Two (2!) whole motherloving weeks in April. When I will slowly be losing my mind. This is on top of both week-long winter AND mid-winter vacations.
I was hyperventilating as I input half-day after half-day, no-school-Friday after no-school-Friday. The month of June? Noooooooo! Jake's school ends a whole week earlier than Ethan's. And? That last week? Motherloving half-days. All. Of. Them.
And the hardest part? It was heartbreaking that I was dreading spending time with my son. I could feel bits of my heart splinter off and shatter because I wasn’t feeling: “Wow, how exciting, family time, look at all the wonderful things we can do that we never have time for during the busy school weeks.”
Instead I’m thinking: Holy fuckballs, how am I going to get Jacob through two unstructured weeks? How am I going to keep my kids happy and occupied when they can’t be in the same room with each other without war breaking out and threats of annihilation flying? Where are we going to go every day? What are we going to do when I can't take them out ANYWHERE together without the yelling? Ethan at Jake, me at Ethan, Jake just in general, getting louder and louder and more and more annoying as he doesn’t get what he wants from Ethan. Me wanting to just melt through the floor as I see myself becoming THAT mom.
You know THAT mom: the one with the out of control kids, yelling at them and looking to be at the end of her rope. The one the other moms swallow their lips and shake their heads over. I am tired of being the mom on the bus the old ladies give the evil eye to, while they loudly remark about my children’s loudness.
And none of this what I imagined when I told my husband on our first date, those many years ago: “I really want to have kids, and soon.” (And he didn't run screaming from the restaurant. Which is, I suppose, why we find ourselves here, today.)
OK, the ranty rant rant is done now. Temper tantrum over.
Time to finish up sewing Ethan’s Electabuzz costume -- an obscure Pokemon, don't ask! (And did I mention that Jacob ATE a piece of it while Ethan and I were out at the Harvest Festival and there were tears and high drama when we got back? And yet another trip out to Broadway for a replacement part purchase.)
Time to pour out Jacob’s vitamins supplements & medicines for the next three days: Pre-breakfast, Breakfast, Lunch, Mid-afternoon, and Dinnertime packets to be made.
Time to fire up the scanner; to look for old photos of Halloweens past for tomorrow’s post, marveling again at the incredible cuteness of my boys, remembering the fun we had, remembering why it’s all worth it, why I’ll wake up tomorrow with hugs and cuddles and smiles, and start it all again.