A Grumpy Kind of Morning: #WorthRevisit

This is shaping up to be one of those days where things just don’t fall into place, where you have to push and shove and jam every puzzle piece and hope it will lock into the right spot–because if not, it’s locked into the wrong spot and God help you when you try to get it back out.

I’m going to need a little extra help today–not because anything big has gone wrong, but those little things are going to be the death of me. For example:

  • The Kid missed the bus. Again. I didn’t want to have to leave to drive him, because…
  • We have a contractor coming to do some repair work around here. He spoke to Hubs yesterday while I was not home. Hubs told me the contractor would be here today, but hadn’t asked the guy what time he’d be here. I don’t do uncertainty well in circumstances like this.
  • Middle Sister woke up and told me that the contractor had said he would not be here today but would start on Thursday.
  • I found this out just 10 minutes too late to be able to get to daily Mass (which, I’m sure we can all agree, I could have used).
  • I have to untangle some stupid prescription red tap regarding pen needles for The Kid’s insulin. I placed an order yesterday with our long-term prescription plan, who apparently contacted the endocrinologist for confirmation, who sent the renewed script to CVS, who cannot fill it because we have to use the long-term prescription source for stuff like this. I’m already 2 phone calls into the process. What’s the over/under on how many more I’ll need to make before it’s worked out?

All stupid little things, so why am I sitting here ready to break out in tears over them?

For this Worth Revisiting Wednesday, I’m looking back at another day 3 years ago

And the walls came tumbling down.

Not the walls of my home (thank God!) but the emotional walls that I use to hold everything in and keep it all together.  Sometimes there is just way too much for those walls to hold.  And usually it’s some stupid little thing that causes them to cave in.

Erasmus Quellinus II [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Erasmus Quellinus II [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Who’s the patron saint of people who sweat the small stuff? Maybe it’s Martha:

Martha, you are anxious about many things. –Luke 10:41

That’s me, in a nutshell.

Art: Erasmus Quellinus II [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

#Worth Revisit: Belonging Edition

Because I just can never shake that Square Peg In A Round Hole thing, I had to jump in on today’s #WorthRevisit linkup at Reconciled To You.

c4125-leaningtowerofbeveragesHere’s my contribution: You Just Never Know, recounting an afternoon when I was shaking in my boots, out of my element but doing something I loved.

I’m still pushing through those same feelings, and I’m always grateful when someone comes to the rescue–even (especially) when that’s entirely by accident.

It was a rough night last night at the Tech Week Dinners.  Nothing bad happened or anything, but through a perfect storm of my usually-barely-controlled social anxiety, a heavy introvert tendency, and my current hormonal state, I really wasn’t dealing with even a small disturbance in the force field I prefer to generate around myself at all times.

And that force field was breached when the sweet and energetic mom who coordinates these dinners asked me to bring the muffin trays to the table where some other moms were setting out bagels.  Instant Mom-timidation ensued.  I was wearing a red t-shirt, tan capris and running shoes (after all, I was carrying 5-gallon jugs of lemonade, mixing iced tea, and standing for three hours on end.  I was dressed for the job, apron and all.)  They were wearing fashionable wrap dresses, strappy sandals, and coordinating jewelry.  But that’s not all.  The Mom-timidators launched into complaints about a lack of tablecloths, centerpieces and matching balloons.  For a pancake-and-bacon dinner for 75 teenagers in a high-school cafeteria.  Then they started lining up the butter, syrup and jelly in perfectly straight lines.

To be fair, these moms did nothing and said nothing that should have bothered/upset/intimidated me.  Really, they didn’t.  I’m sure they’re perfectly lovely people, but I can’t know that because I couldn’t stay there.  As soon as I could, I got out of the Mom-timidation Sector and went to my Cozy Corner with the big stack-o-beverage coolers and got busy pouring lemonade and iced tea.  I vented a bit on Twitter, just to blow off a little steam.

A friend came over at one point to tell me some funny stories of things that had happened to her that day.  That was well-timed, though I’m sure she doesn’t know it.  (She may have seen those Tweets of Desperation, though).  It gave my brain a break from dwelling on my completely irrational response to the Mom-timidation that I was completely aware I was imagining, but couldn’t stop myself from feeling.

When dinner was over, I cleaned up the drink stuff and headed home.  It took a while to wind down from my strange emotional response, which I’m seriously hoping didn’t show on my face all evening.  And this morning, I got a quick email from the lovely Tech Week Dinner coordinator, thanking me for showing up, stepping up, and jumping in and getting things done.  She’s very faithful and very sincere about thanking people.  And boy, that 3-sentence email could not have come on a better day.

Yet another friend saw those Tweets of Desperation and tweeted me this morning to make sure I was OK.  (yes, and thanks!)

The moral of the story is:  you probably never know the effect you are going to have on people.  So if you have the chance to do so, have a good effect on someone.  Send them that quick “thank you” email.  Give that compliment.  Tell that funny story.  Especially if someone has that Deer-in-the-Headlights look, like I probably did yesterday.

To the folks who came to my rescue, intentionally or not:  thank you!  I love you!

Stop by the #WorthRevisit linkup and see what everyone else has shared!

Photo copyright Barb Szyszkiewicz 2012. All rights reserved.

Crying It Out

Those tears I should have cried 16 months ago are trying to leak out now, at the most inopportune moments.

Some of the stuff The Kid carries everyplace he goes. Because diabetes.
Some of the stuff The Kid carries everyplace he goes. Because diabetes.

I guess I’ve found the limit of how long I can pretend to be strong.

Ever since Saturday, I am struggling to keep the tears back. We spent much of the day at an event for families of diabetic children, sponsored by Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the JDRF. That event has outgrown its venue, which is good in one way because more people can learn important strategies to help their kids manage diabetes, but bad in another because it means that there are very, very many kids who have to learn to manage diabetes.

On Saturday morning, everyone at the conference was jam-packed into a hotel ballroom, where someone had played a game of “How Many Skinny, Uncomfortable Chairs Can You Pack Into One Conference Room” and each and every person in the audience was the loser. As it got more crowded, I got more tense and upset until I couldn’t stand being in there anymore. My heart was racing and my eyes were filling with tears and I felt like I couldn’t breathe in there. Well, hello, panic attack! How nice of you to come at such an inconvenient moment!

I missed most of the keynote address because I was hiding in the bathroom battling back the tears, then sipping a (decaf) mocha in the lobby, where the chairs were far away from each other. I managed to calm down enough to make it through the day, but I haven’t really decompressed completely since then, so I almost broke down this morning in the school parking lot, during Mass, and in ShopRite.

Besides the (very reasonable under the circumstances) claustrophobia, I think a lot of this is because I never did cry when The Kid was diagnosed with diabetes. I had to jump right into management mode, because there’s no luxury of time to do anything else. We went straight from diagnosis into a 3-day boot camp, then home to deal with it all on our own.

I’m pretty sure that’s part of the reason that every time we go to a Diabetes Convention, where the focus is All Diabetes, All The Time, I break down. Last year it wasn’t as bad; I just couldn’t manage sitting at the lunch table talking diabetes with other parents, so I wandered around the exhibit hall. That seemed to head it all off at the pass. I also don’t deal well when we go to things like cast parties or school events, where I freak out at all the unlabeled food, though we’ve done fairly well at counting carbs at such times.

I’ve been too busy being the mom and trying to stay competent and, you know, keep my kid alive. I haven’t had time to cry.

Also, if I let myself cry, does that mean that this has beaten me?

The thing is, I look around at the crosses all these other people are bearing, and I feel ashamed that I am being brought to my knees by what seems to be comparatively small stuff. I should just be able to roll with it and handle this, right?

Moved to Tears

The first- and second-grade classes are deep into rehearsals for this year’s Christmas play, a children’s musical with a “true meaning of Christmas theme.”

unplugged ChristmasOne child commented after a rehearsal, “This is a lot like A Charlie Brown Christmas.” Thematically, yes. We don’t have Snoopy, but yes.

There are a few songs they had to learn, plus a few traditional carols. The second-graders do a version of Silent Night complete with hand motions (based on sign language; we learned it from a YouTube video) and it’s impossibly sweet.

We’ve had our funny moments, like yesterday when a first-grade boy walked up to me and confided, “I’m not sure if I’m supposed to be a shepherd or a Wise Old Man.”

But today we ran the whole show for the first time. And as the Nativity tableau was complete, the Wise Men crossed in front of the stage area. I reminded them to walk slowly and hold their hands as if they were praying. Then the first Wise Man–the rough-and-tumble football-playing boy who gets that “make me” look on his face when he’s corrected–reached the place where the manger will be.

And, unprompted, he genuflected. The other two Wise Men did the same.

I can’t even stand it. I’m not going to make it through this show without tissues, and I defy any other adult in the room to manage that feat.


Shared in the Catholic Bloggers Network Advent Link-Up!

Fresh Start

My cooking energy evaporated yesterday after our trip to CHOP for an afternoon of diabetes education. dexcom g4This is not an iPod; it’s a continuous glucose monitor that tests Little Brother’s blood sugar every 5 minutes. He’s been using one for several weeks, and we had the chance to ask questions and learn interpretation techniques yesterday.

But when I came back, I was tired. And Hubs had to go pick up Middle Sister, who was at the shore for a few days. There was a series of 3 car snafus involved in that pickup–culminating in a flat tire that he had about 20 miles from home. In the rain. On the interstate.

He just got new tires 2 weeks ago.

The refrigerator that Hubs and the kids picked up at his mom’s house on Friday is still on the back porch–dead center, not neatly parked in the corner where it will live. That’s because the old refrigerator is still in the corner, still full of food. That’s because we didn’t have the part for the “new” one until Tuesday. That means we’re going to have a fridge transfer in the middle of today’s cooking frenzy, and I’m probably going to have to flip out before someone finds a place to stow the old one, because you can’t just put these things on the curb the night before a party.

And there are 90+ people coming here tomorrow and I’m hoping the weather clears up as promised because my house cannot hold that many people. I certainly don’t want the little kids in here playing on the Wii when there’s a perfectly good pool outside for them to swim in. Double that if the little kids are wet from the pool and decide they want to come in.

I was absently scratching my left arm last night when I realized I had hives. Well, more accurately, hive. When I’m stressed, I get one hive.

That’s when I bailed. I washed the last few dishes in the sink and just gave up. My list for today is ready. It’s a new day and I’m about to hit the ground running.

Balancing It Out

I woke up today in one of those moods. You know the ones:  they come on for no good reason and they poison your whole day.

I have been trying very hard not to let that mood poison my day. I’m not succeeding. So I thought I’d try writing a bit and see if I can derail these negative emotions.

Bad:  I found a bunch of dishes I still had to dry this morning, because Middle Sister doesn’t turn things upside-down when she puts them on the drying rack.
Good:  Middle Sister did the dishes last night.

Bad:  I had to take out a bag of stinky kitchen trash because Little Brother put me off with “I’ll do it later” when he was told to take it out. Later never came around.
Good:  I’ve got nothing.

Bad:  Hubs’ car is still in the shop (it’s been 2 weeks now. How long does it take to rebuild a transmission?) so he has my car.
Good:  I’m a whole lot more productive at home when I don’t have a car to distract me with the possibility of errands.

Bad:  My car is about to turn 100,000 miles and I was afraid I wouldn’t get to see it happen. (OK, so I’m a geek. What of it?)
Good:  Hubs texted me this morning to let me know he thinks it won’t turn over until after he gets home tonight so I may still get to see this happen.

Bad:  The curtain rod I installed yesterday was 2 feet too short, and I extended it with a dowel, but there weren’t enough rod brackets and the weight of the window treatments made the rod sag. I walked to Target this morning to look for extra brackets but they don’t sell that type of hardware.
wpid-0506140920.jpgGood:  I remembered that I have a small box of curtain hardware in the garage, and I found the exact 2 brackets I needed, plus screws that fit. In ten minutes I’d finished the installation of the window treatments.

Also good:  While I was in Target, I remembered to look for Hubs’ favorite coffee, because he ran out of it the other day. AND it was on sale:  buy 3, get 1 free.

Even more good:  After Target, I walked to Dunkin’ Donuts and got a completely FREE latte with my Dunkin’ Rewards coupon.

And more good on top of that:  The school called to ask me to substitute tomorrow and 3 days next week.

Best of all:  I think this helped!

Small Success Thursday: Lent Begins


I have the feeling that this Lent is going to be all about letting go of–giving up–the control I want to have over the hours in my day.

Resistance is futile, but acceptance is going to be hard-won, as evidenced by the mini-breakdown I experienced in the school parking lot earlier today.

1. As Sherry Antonetti and Lisa Hess both mentioned, there’s a “40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge” going on. I’m piggybacking my plan to declutter my home into this challenge. It’s a good thing.

2. I sat down and mended my husband’s pants, which is a job I really hate to do, but I got that pair done that has been sitting on top of the dryer for 2 weeks. animalLucky me–there’s another pair ready to mend now that I fixed those.

3.  It’s Little Brother’s birthday, and I worked it out so that his favorite Muppet could wish him a happy birthday in the local newspaper. Check it out!
Pretty cool, isn’t it?

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