Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Over Booked and Under Motivated

I decided to keep track of something yesterday. Seventeen. That’s the number of times I decided I just wanted to give up and start bawling like a stupid, whiny cry baby. And that’s not a good look for me. I have the general physique of a very large baby anyway (big ass, prominent belly, etc.) so adding in the red face and puffy eyes and loud sobbing does not help my battered self- esteem and ongoing commitment to vanity. Or the fact that I’m trying to hold it together and present a somewhat composed and grown-up front for my kids.
This attitude is totally contrary to what I’m about. I feel very strongly that occasional whining is fine. Let’s call it “venting” and agree that it’s a healthy coping mechanism. And honestly? Sustained pity parties for no good reason are just a colossal waste of time and energy. I usually limit myself to 24-hours of “poor me” and then I force myself to find something funny about the situation, plant a seed, grow a pear (pardon the spelling, it’s a homonym) and move on. But I can’t seem to do it right now.  I am too busy frenetically flapping around.

I have no idea why I’ve spent the past week struggling. But everything seems to require more effort than I can muster right now. Every project and requirement on my plate seems like a marathon. Each deadline feels like a finish line that keeps inching forward. I continue to tell myself that I only have one more mile to go, and I can’t give up now. And so I keep running. And I run until my legs are numb and my lungs are burning and when I look up – the finish line is still a mile away. And I want to stop but I tell myself I can’t give up now. Rinse and repeat. That is my current mental state. Except add rabid pit bulls adorned with balsam wreaths snipping at my heels.

I need to try harder at home. My house is disgusting, and I have discovered that I hate cooking (yet cruelly and ironically still love eating, but that’s another story). And this is my job, and I fail at it so badly that I should be fired. I also suck yak-hemorrhoid at parenting. I never remember library day and I always forget to sew patches on the Brownie vest.

The reason for this, I suspect, is that my two-year-old has become the smiling inspiration for Firestarter II. Just keeping my lil’ cupcake from hurting herself, causing serious property damage, or triggering another North Korean incident requires four pairs of hands and three sets of eyes. In addition to a lack of basic English competency, she still doesn’t sleep through the night - so neither do I. And I am so desperate for a break from these responsibilities that I have contemplated faking my own kidnapping by Libyan terrorists. But the idea is derivative of Back to the Future and the notion of being away from my kids fills me with such panic that I run from the idea of leaving them, even for a weekend.
And then there’s Christmas. Why do I feel like the Death Spiral has already crushed me? At this point, the holiday checklist that Kate developed for me is now completely useless. You know what I’m talking about right? The thing she created so that the last days leading up the celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior would not be characterized by me screaming the F-word and flailing around wrapping gifts with newspaper and a glue stick and writing Christmas cards while drunk at 3am? Seems a bit inappropriate for the occasion. Well, any occasion, but especially the big one on the religious holiday dance card.

And aside from that - worse than that – this season makes me unable to ignore the memories of all those people I love who should be here this time of year, but instead are gone. And every year, there is someone else to cry for at Christmas.

And I have houseguests coming for ten murtherfurkin’ days. These guests are my 20-year-old sister Lucy (who’s not really a guest) and her fiancé whom I have never met. Yes I said FIANCE. The one she’s living with while they don’t go to college. That should be fun.

There’s also The 30 Day Shred. And my big, fat ass. And my reflection every time I look in the mirror. Or in the refrigerator. SHUT UP, JILLIAN. Shut your whore mouth. Cheese for dinner is fine if you occasionally eat it on an apple (and ignore the imagery of the apple lodged in your mouth like a roasting suckling pig at a banquet).

And since I’m already on an angry tear, I’m going to do a broadside vent. The kind that covers the waterfront, yet makes only one person feel better . . . me. Which makes me feel even worse. You see, I’m also resentful that everyone seems to think that because I stay at home, I am free to pick up their slack and spend my time taking care of crap that is really not my responsibility. It feels deep down that I am not respected, my time is not valued and my only purpose in life is to serve others. Like I’m friggin’ Dobby the house-elf, but without Harry Potter’s sock. [And that would make me the evil Lucius Malfoy. -Kate]

And I know that’s true. Because taking care of everyone else is my job.  And not long ago, I worked full-time and I would look at the stay-at-homer’s and be like “Seriously? You can’t buy the teacher gift for the class? You can’t take an hour out of your day and run to the mall? Because you’re so busy carpooling in yoga pants?” But I see now that I was a jackhole. This time of year, I want to go around wearing a shirt that says “There is a limit to the number of unpaid jobs I am willing to do. So please SUCK IT SUCK IT SUCK IT.”
Yes, my heart truly holds the magic of the holiday spirit.

Just when I was terrified that I had permanently lost the part of me that can always find the funny and laugh at the schmidt and the absurdities and steaming piles of crap that define my life, I got a reminder. I know how lucky I am. I have healthy children and a loving husband and a warm bed and I know where our next meal is coming from. I have friends who love me. I have nothing to complain about.

Reaching into my purse while driving, I pulled out my sunglasses. Only they weren’t my sunglasses. They were Marybeth’s glasses. Marybeth was my beloved stepmother. Marybeth was Lucy’s mom. Marybeth died of breast cancer almost three years ago. I kept her glasses in my purse in the secret pocket because that’s where I put them the last time we took her to the hospital. And what was I supposed to do with them? Throw them away? My throat suddenly stopped working. You see, this was the same trip to the hospital where I simultaneously broke my leg and had a seven-week-old Mini-mini-me in my belly. We’re still here and fine, yet she died painfully that day.

I pulled in the driveway and saw something sitting my porch. It was a present from Kate. The note on the bag said: “To Lydia, who I love more than shoes. Just not *these* shoes. xoxo, Kate”

I really didn't need the shoes.  I just needed to be reminded of what was important. I'm fine and I'm no longer whining. I have my perspective back. And I am so grateful. For everything.

xo, Lydia

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2010

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