It’s my party, and I’ll cry if I want to
Cry if I want to, cry if I want to
You would cry too if it happened to you
This phrase has been running though my head the last several days. For those of you who know me well, you know that I rarely have pity parties (although they seem to be more common lately). Saturday, well, I had a BIG party.Let me say, I love my job. I love everything about it. The challenges are just that, challenges. And I don’t take things personally. Kid are kids and they are SPED for a reason. My co-workers are great. I feel supported and wanted. But, my job is kicking my butt. I wasn’t prepared for the mental exhaustion that came with the job of being a teacher. As a paraprofessional, I was often physically exhausted. It was part of the job description. Working with kiddos with physical disabilities was tough. Teaching high school students with Mild/Moderate disabilities is harder than I imagined. The paperwork and the meetings are, at times, overwhelming. Writing lesson plans (not having anything to follow in the way of curriculum), grading papers and teaching on top of all that is energy draining. Of course, every morning I get up and drive to school and I am energized. But by the time I get home, I am pooped.
Then there is dinner and laundry and all the normal stuff at home. Chris is not feeling well and as a result, isn’t doing much to help out. That sounds meaner than I meant it to, and he will load the dishwasher and run it and other little things. My perception is that everything is falling on me. And coming crashing down around me.
The dishes are piling up, the laundry is also piling up. My papers and stuff are in huge piles. I can’t find my scrapbook table. The carpets need to be cleaned, the sheets changes, the floors washed and the bathrooms cleaned. I’m not sure where the kitchen table is because there is so much stuff on it and the kitchen floor has packages of stuff that I haven’t managed to place in the cabinets. Simply speaking, our place is a mess! I know that it didn’t get this way in a day and that I won’t be able to get it cleaned up in a day. But it seems that I’ve been working at it and not moving forward.
Friday night David and I went to Wal-Mart. We bought a ton of easy to make stuff. We spent more than we should, but my justification is that it is cheaper to buy that stuff than to get take-out. Much of what I bought the boys can start. I’ll need to round out the meals with salad and rolls (otherwise there won’t be enough for all of us), but that shouldn’t be too difficult.
After shopping on Friday, I got up on Saturday and the cleaning fairly hadn’t come. The place was still a mess. I unloaded the dishwasher and reloaded it. I moved the laundry along. I folded 4 loads of laundry. I colored my hair (I got it cut Friday and the grey was really showing through). I picked Michael up from his friend’s house and we went to Sprouts to buy fruit and veggies. We got home, I emptied the dishwasher and reloaded it, moved the laundry along, folded another basket made a salad for lunch and took a nap. When I got up from my nap, Chris had unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher. I moved the laundry along and folded another basket.
Then Michael had soccer. So, off we went. While driving, I told Michael that I didn’t see how we would be able to have him take a Snowboarding trip that he wanted to take. We have “daycare” money and that was not the issue. The issue was the logistics. Renting the snowboard and all the gear, getting him to the drop off point for the bus, picking him up after the trip and Chris and I both have to work that day. As much as I wanted to let him go (and told him last week that I thought he could), once I started trying to figure it all out in my head, it just wouldn’t work. Michael was mad. And disappointed, I suppose.
He wouldn’t talk to me. As much as I know that he had every right to be disappointed, I was hurt at his reaction. I am working my butt off trying to make sure that he gets to do as much as any other kid. His friend is coming over on Monday so I can take the boys shopping for their Science project. He is going to soccer and he will be playing outdoor soccer in a couple of weeks that will involve me driving home (past the field), getting Michael and driving back to the field. There is only so much that one person can do. And I am stretching myself thin.
I wish that Michael would put the blame where it belongs, on Chris’ cancer. Chris’ cancer has stolen so much from all of us. Chris is having radiation this week (2/22) on his brain and I’ll be teaching in the morning and then driving out to the hospital to relieve Mike, since Chris will be sedated and will need someone with him. I have Parent/Teacher Conferences this week from 4-7 pm. And I am tired.
I do know that it is easier for Michael to be mad at me, then to be mad at Chris and something that Chris can’t control (the cancer), but it still hurts. A lot. He doesn’t seem to appreciate the efforts that I make on a daily basis to keep our lives as “normal” as possible. And that hurts too. I know that this is typical kid behavior, but I guess I hoped that I didn’t have a typical kid.
Anyway, Michael got out of the car and walked to the building. I could see he was sitting on the bench outside. And I was tired, hurt and overwhelmed. I felt guilty (I know I shouldn’t, but I do) and sad. I was angry and just damn tired of pretending every day that life is good. It isn’t. Life Sucks. And I started crying. Sobbing.
I hate crying. I hate the blotchy face that comes after crying. I hate that I feel like if I start, I won’t be able to stop. And that is what happened. I started and teared up for the rest of the night. I cried until I thought I wouldn’t be able to cry anymore. And then I cried some more.
Michael has been playing soccer 4 times a year for 4.5 years. I know a lot of soccer parents. One saw me and told me how much he liked my hair, gave me a hug and I almost lost my composure. His wife later asked if I was ok – I told her “no” and she gave me a hug. I sat through the game with another parent and heard how sorry she was for everything we were going through and she didn’t know how I did it every day. She is a truly caring person, but she only made things worse. At one point, I told her she was going to make me cry – and she apologized. She had good intentions. But, as I’ve written before, I don’t want to hear how amazing I am. It only highlights to me how many places I am failing (housekeeper, SuperMom, organizer of all things, having unlimited energy). I know, I’m not failing. But it often feels that way.
After the game, the kids were hanging out. One of the moms took a look at my face and asked me what was wrong. That was enough. She is an incredible person: she’s a single mom of triplet boys (they all play soccer with Michael), a firefighter and a ton of fun. I ended up sobbing in her arms. I know that I worried her. In the several years that I’ve known her, I’ve never cried. Teared up, yes. But cried, no. She told me that she would be happy to help me. She has a firefighter’s schedule with so many hours on and then 4 days off. As I told her that my job was kicking my butt and that the apartment was a HUGE mess, she told me she could easily come over and help me clean and do laundry. She said that she would be happy to get the boys to school and/or home from school or take Michael overnight. Of course, the offers of help and the understanding, made me cry even more. Then her mom introduced herself and gave me another hug.
I felt like such an idiot. Crying at the field house, mostly because I was tired and overwhelmed and Michael hurt my feelings. But once I let go, for just a minute, I couldn’t get myself back under control. In fact, less than 24 hours after my mini-meltdown, I am still tearing up.
The dishwasher is on its 7th load, but I found the sink. The laundry is mostly under control (a few more loads to finish). I made applesauce and will maybe make applesauce muffins. There is chicken in one crock pot and potatoes in another. It is 12:30 and Michael is still sleeping (partly because he stayed up too late and I would imagine, partly because he was tired – and since he was tired, he got mad at me more quickly). I think that I’m going to hop in the shower and get dressed and head to Best Buy – I need a new phone (dropped mine and the screen is all messed up) and thinking about getting a Kindle Fire. Then, I’ll head over to Target because even though I did a massive shopping trip, I forgot some stuff (dog food and milk).
After I get home, I’ll work on the carpet and the kitchen and the laundry. Maybe I can get some papers graded and start working on my room. I want to make a chore chart for all of us, so I don’t feel that everything is on my plate. Maybe if the guys see what needs to be done, they will be more cooperative in helping out. I’m not sure that it will make any difference, but it can’t hurt.
And tomorrow, Monday, is another day off. I have to take Michael and his friend to get the stuff for their project, but I should be able to get some lesson plans done and relax for a bit. I know that things probably won’t change much – there will still be chores and work, but . . . Tomorrow is another day. And while I know that it is possible for it to be worse than today, I choose to believe that it won’t.
You can hate me for my optimism, but I don’t know how else to get through my life right now.
Hear the music in the background?
The sun’ll come out
Bet your bottom dollar
There’ll be sun!
Just thinkin’ about
Clears away the cobwebs,
And the sorrow
‘Til there’s none!
When I’m stuck a day
I just stick out my chin
The sun’ll come out
So ya gotta hang on
Come what may
I love ya Tomorrow!