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Derailed

Oh, isn't that just the way? 

And I was being told that this would happen, but I wasn't listening.  Silly me.

After I brought Julia to school and ran a couple of quick errands, I planned, originally, to work on some posts or do something else creative.  No laundry, no housework, no nothing.  At least, not until it was time to get the kids from school and get them ready for their afternoon/evening activities.

I was really looking forward to that time.  Alone.  I need it.  There is a very ME part of me that NEEDS solitude on a regular basis.  I don't know how to explain that to someone who doesn't have that same need.  It comes across sounding oh, selfish, or self-centered, or lazy or antisocial or something.  So if you don't have this same thing within you, I'm sorry, I can't explain it.  And if you do understand…well, then, you understand, and I don't have to explain.

Anyway, yesterday Alex was home with a stomach bug or something.  And he's such a peach of a kid, it's not a great test of my mothering abilities, even when he's feeling miserable.  So it wasn't him, per se.  It was – and always is – me.  I start feeling…bound.  I was also probably over tired.  I was up at about one in the morning.  Typing stuff.  I got a lot done, at least.

So today, Alex was MUCH better, and off to school he went.  I did some laundry, finished up the twd post, read a few other blogs and the news and so on, made a batch of goat's milk ricotta, and took Julia to school.  And all morning I was…I don't know.  That bound feeling again.  But I figured that would go away once I sat down at my little work table (I'd decided on either jewelry or sewing) and started making something.

But I also needed to have the kids' ski clothes ready for their lesson tonight.  And naturally Julia's thermal underwear had been in the hamper in the bathroom all this time, so I had to get that washed and dried…wondered where Alex's was, but since it wasn't in that hamper it must be in a laundry basket somewhere.  Now, I think realizing Julia's thermals weren't washed was the first little hint from the universe, but it wasn't a big enough hint for me to pick up on.  All I interpreted from that was that I'd been a slug about laundry and hopefully there was no mold growing in and among anything else in that hamper. 

So, since I wasn't listening, I got another hint.  Only one of her ski socks was there.  Only one.  She only has one pair of ski socks.  She really only needs one – she's not hitting the slopes every day.  And there was one…and where was the other?  It was like my whole world tilted violently to one side at that moment, and the only way to get it righted was to find that other sock.

I dragged everything back out of the washing machine and started shaking things out, just in case that other sock was in there, stuck to an apron or the clothes Julia had worn OVER the thermals, or…or…somewhere.  And it wasn't.  I went through EVERY SINGLE ITEM.  TWICE.  I wanted to scream.  Great.  This was JUST GREAT.  I can't find the other sock.  It is my JOB to find the other sock, because I am the parent who is HOME, who is HERE, the parent IN CHARGE OF THE SOCKS, dammit, and the universe will explode if I don't find it.

I told you – whole world tilted violently to one side.  Yes.  Cuckoo.

Anyway, I thought maybe it's upstairs in the living room…or stuck in her ski boot…so I threw everything back in the washer, added soap, spun the dial, slammed the lid, and stomped up the stairs.  Muttering.  Lots of muttering.  And the occasional IRATE TALKING OUT LOUD as well.  I checked her boots before I went upstairs, by the way.  No sock.  Of course. 

Up in the living room, I stood still for a moment, hoping the sock would pop out from its hiding place and wave a toe at me or something.

It didn't.  So I started heaving furniture around so I could look behind it and under it and around it and just about through it.  I found all sorts of other stuff, which I wildly tossed into the center of the room, but no sock. 

No sock.  No sock. 

A tiny little rational voice was whispering "It's really not a big deal, sweetie, just let her wear Alex's and he can wear an extra adult pair.  It'll be okay.  Really." 

So, fine, while I was at it I should make sure his socks were both around somewhere. 

They were.  In two separate laundry baskets – and yes, you're absolutely right about that, I SHOULD put the laundry away.  Well, it's done now, so you don't need to worry about it.  Oh, yes, I put away laundry WITH A VENGEANCE.  Because, you know.  A bit off-kilter today.

Oh, and still, no other sock for Julia.  Just muttering.

I figured I'd clean the living room while I was at it, so I got a broom and basically swept ALL the toys and dust bunnies and cat toys and junk into the center of the room.  I gathered up a few things to throw in the garbage, came into the kitchen, and was immediately distracted by the big bin of paper next to the garbage can.

Paper to be recycled.  Paper for me to use in making clever little papery goodies to sell (or not sell) on Etsy.  Yeah.  A huge Rubbermaid tote.  Full.  More than full.  And what have I done with any of that lately?  Nothing.  It mocked me.

Well, I was not up for mockery right then.

So I got the shredder from the other room, set it up on the counter, and started shredding the mocking junk mail and envelopes and assorted stuff RIGHT UP.  Who's mocking who NOW?

I threw several bags full (paper bags) of shredded paper into our recycle bin and was just about to empty the shredder one more time when the phone rang.

It was the kids' school.  Julia was in the office, not feeling well, and she wanted her Mommy.

Thud.

That was the other shoe, dropping.

Whooshhhhhhhh…ping!

That was the earth, righting itself, because that's what happens, you know.  You are running about like a wacko, spiraling out of control and laughing cruelly at the electric bill as it is pulled through the shredder, and then…and then…you wake up.

I got my coat on and dashed over to get Julia – apparently she'd been crying.  "I just wanted you, and I was crying and crying and crying and I couldn't stop!"  Gulp.  I got her into the truck and we came home, and I sat her down on the couch, ignoring the enormous mess in the center of the room, and the needles from the Christmas tree that are still showing up, and I tried to find out why she was crying.  It's hard to get information out of a five-year-old sometimes.  I asked if her tummy hurt (thinking – did she catch what Alex had?) or did her whole body hurt, or her head…????  "I just WANTED you!"

Okay, enough grilling.  I brought her downstairs and put in a movie, and while she sat there I figured I'd tidy up a bit down there, and oh, yeah, move the laundry along.  Because if she wasn't sick, then she could go to her ski class, right? 

I started pulling things from the washing machine, moving them over to the top of the dryer (and then I'd move the sliding doors that we MUST get rid of soon, go over to the dryer side, and load the dryer with the stuff on top.  Anyway, I pull out her long johns, and I see, through the white waffle-weave of the fabric, something red and black and all in a bunch near the bottom of one leg.

I would SWEAR to you, on a stack of all my cookbooks, that it hadn't been there earlier.

"Mommy, will you snuggle with me?"

I sat with her for a bit, and told her we'd have to go get Alex soon.  And then she said "It feels like there's something stuck in my ear."

Aha.

She's not going to ski class tonight.  She's got an ear infection.

And sure enough, she does.  We went after Bill and Alex had hit the road, and we were in and out of the doctor's office faster than the time it took to get her prescription filled.

And now we're home.  And I think the message of the sock was that there was no need to bother with laundry because Julia wasn't going to ski class.  And that may sound crazy, but so be it.  It restored the balance in my head and in my day.  I stopped worrying about ME time, even though I desperately need a bit of it.  It was not meant to be today.  I had other things to attend to.

The living room is put to rights, and Julia is taking a bath.

Bill and Alex will be home soon, so it's time for me to heat up some food for them.

I'll see you tomorrow.

Hopefully it will be a day free of muttering.  🙂

5 thoughts on “Derailed

  1. you really are wonderful, you always describe the way that I feel… it makes me feel so much better that I am not alone, does it help you to know that we Others are all out here cheering with you?

    I do hope so.

    and I hope that the babies will both feel better soon, and you will get your silent time.

    I also want to tell you that you are the most wonderful mother. I am still struggling through therapy due to my mother never ever dropping what she was doing to help me comfort myself. Your babies will never have these emotional problems, you will have provided them with everything they need for their own stability.

  2. You have just described the entire year we were living in Memphis, come to think of it my kids were the same age as yours at the time. I think a lot of full time Moms go through this. Maybe we should have jackets or at least pins. My boss says because I spent 15+ years as a stay at home mom before returning to the working word, it has made me more compassionate to the employees who have children. I tend to let them leave work for the tiniest little thing to see about the kiddies or have an emotional day themselves. If they don’t have kids… they have nothing to whine about and are sent back to work.

  3. I think what Judith said is right, but you don’t have to be a mom to feel this way. I’m childless as of yet, and unemployed, so when I have a day that nothing goes right, and the place is a disaster, food isn’t ready on time, and it looks like I did squat all day, but really I was just concentrating really hard on cleaning the little spots of shampoo off the shower walls…or something went wrong, and I got all up in my head. I feel kinda like I failed a bit, since I don’t have a job that pays me, my job is this home, and keeping it looking and smelling nice, keeping all the animals, and my man alive and happy.

  4. I am amazed at how you are able to put things into words. I’ve had days like that many times, and it’s so frustrasting! I hope that Julia is feeling better now, and that life has calmed down a bit. =)

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