Receiving a call from your child’s teacher at 7:30 a.m. is rarely a good thing.
And learning that your six-year-old son won’t stop crying is not the kind of news any parent ever wants to hear.
But realizing that the reason he’s crying is because of me? That, my friends, is a game changer.
Yesterday (Halloween) morning Bucket Head arrived at school, mistakenly believing that he was not going to be able to go Trick-or-Treating, and it was all my fault.
At my request, his teacher put him on the phone.
“Honey, what’s wrong? Why are you crying?”
Sniff, sniff, sob…
“Is it because of Halloween?”
Sniff, sniff, whimper…
“Are you worried that you don’t have a costume yet?”
Sniff, sniff, “Yes,” he whispered.
“Don’t you worry buddy; Mommy’s going to get to the store today and get you something awesome! And when you get home from school we’ll paint our pumpkins and decorate the house, okay?!”
“Okay.” Sniff, sniff, snort.
Oh my heart! The heat traveled up my chest and neck, settling in my face. He put his teacher back on the phone.
“I’m so sorry, Mrs. Jones. I’m dreadfully behind this year and we haven’t settled on his costume yet. Let me know if he doesn’t pull it together and I’ll come get him.”
I was mortified. Bad parenting moments are hard enough without having witnesses!
He was that upset because of me… because of my inability to get my shit together and help him plan or pick a costume.
The kids had been asking me for weeks to get out the Halloween decorations, but I kept brushing them off, “Not today, Mommy’s working.” “Not now, Mommy’s packing for a business trip.” “I promise, as soon as this book signing party is behind us, we’ll get out the Halloween stuff.” “Let’s just get Bucket Head’s book report done first.” And then, “As soon as Mommy feels better, we’ll talk about Halloween, I promise.”
But that day never came.
The truth is, I’m in a depressive tailspin. It’s been building for a while… the cumulative product of burning my candle at both ends for far too long followed by a recent series of failures and disappointments.
I keep trying to write about it, and other things, but the words won’t come. The demons have set up camp in my head: “That’s stupid.” “OMG, you can’t say that out loud!” “That’s not funny.” “Nobody cares.” “Oh, boo-hoo for you. First world problems!” “Get over yourself.” “You should have listened to us.” “You reap what you sow, sister.” “Face it—you don’t have the right stuff.”
I haven’t been this low in a long time. Suddenly everything feels incredibly overwhelming to me. I can’t seem to make decisions, even the smallest ones. I look at a task and can’t determine the correct sequence of steps to complete it. I’m not sleeping or eating well. I’m crying a lot. I’m not exercising; I had to leave my yoga class a week ago because I couldn’t hold it together. Let me tell you something, nothing ruins the zen-like atmosphere of a good savasana like a crazy lady wracked with sobs on the next mat over.
So that’s why I haven’t been more present around these parts. I’m just trying to work through some stuff and wrastle my demons.
I know what I need to do to get better. It’s just going to take some time, and a shift in priorities.
But hearing my baby cry on the phone yesterday was just the wake-up call I needed to momentarily stop feeling so sorry for myself and focus on him instead.
I also came home from costume shopping to a very sweet gift on my front porch from a good friend. It was some homemade broth with a beautiful note that read,
“Hope you’re loving and honoring yourself while you’re searching for the meaning of life. Just thought I’d share some love and a reminder to do so—just in case you’re being too hard on yourself instead.”
She knows me well. It was exactly what the doctor ordered.
Well that, and probably some horse tranquilizers, but I’m having a hard time getting in touch with my dealer, so broth and friendship will have to do.
And then I set to work.
When Bucket Head got off the bus yesterday, there were cobwebs and skeletons as far as the eye could see. The kids didn’t get to carve pumpkins this year for the first time ever because there was not a single decent pumpkin to be found in all of North Georgia on October 31st, but we ate our weight in sugar and managed to have a good night anyhow.
In the end, Bucket Head was pretty excited about the Captain America costume I scored at Target (on sale for only $8.00), and Mini-Me threw together some stuff from her closet to come up with a darling Rosie the Riveter. So what if nobody under the age of 70 knew who she was. She looked amazing. So proud of that girl and her ingenuity. “We can do it!” Oh yes we can… (probably)(maybe someday)(meh).
So that’s the dealio. I’m sorry I’ve been such a stranger. Depression sucks.
I’m not sure what the future holds, I just know what I’m doing right now isn’t working for me or my family. Something’s gotta give. I’ve got some decisions to make and/or horse tranquilizers to score. Wish me luck, would ya?