It feels like yesterday. Maybe, it was yesterday. I don’t know. I can’t see through the mascara I just cried into my eyeballs. I guess I am still winding down. I feel better. I really do. The barista at Starbucks is probably less sure of that than I am, but I have been through far worse and I will be just fine. I just thought it might be worth detailing what happens on a day when I totally fall apart.
The day began like any other. The alarm didn’t go off or we slept through or we forgot to set it or it fell under the bed when I threw it under there as it was going off. You know, the typical stuff. So, up I go to get dressed and skip my shower and breakfast so I can get the kids out the door and myself to work. I’m a teacher so being late is not an option. Children tend not to wait the way paperwork does.
Upon arriving at work I find that my computer is not working. Now, I am the first to admit that we are far too dependent on technology, but the facts are these: I NEED MY COMPUTER! So, I started to panic and attempted to teach archaically with pencil and paper and by the time dismissal rolled around we were all ready for bed.
Next, it is time to register my youngest, my baby, my tiny blonde tornado for Kindergarten. I start filling out forms and with every question my heart drops.
Conditions Where Therapies Are Needed?
I write it three times in the space of one page.
Autism, autism, autism.
It hurts to write because they won’t know what is behind that word. They will read it and place her immediately into a category and she will be, to them, whatever they have decided autism is. Maybe anti-social or defiant or just one more things for them to deal with. It hurts me because she is never a chore or a burden or a problem but I am a teacher, too, and I know how overwhelming one more diagnosis in your classroom can be.
So, I cried on the forms and threw them in the recycle bin and walked out and decided she wasn’t going to school because it hurts and it’s scary and I can’t cope.
Then I drove home in total denial of how ridiculous my new resolve is and I cried some more because now I have to explain to my husband why I spilled a six dollar pumpkin spiced latte on the carpets of our new van.
I drive to retrieve the kids from daycare. They cheer me with their carefree attitudes and I begin to turn it around.
When I arrive home, he is already there. He’s had a bad day at work. He is feeling down. I can’t tell him now. I know what he’ll say: “School is the best place for her. She is so social. She’ll be fine.” I hate that he is right and I love that he is right.
My day continues to fall apart as I forget about the cooking rice until it becomes one with the pot and my eldest is not impressed with her non-existent supper.
My littlest is doing laps around me and I can hear my husband faintly in the background talking about the bills that have piled up. He wants to sit down and prioritize them. That makes my head ache. There is smoke in the kitchen from the burned rice. I pretend that is why my eyes are filling with water.
I go to the bathroom and sit on the edge of the tub. I will not to lose it. There are far worse things than failed technology, burned supper, unpaid bills and the dreaded kindergarten registration. Why am I so fragile today?
I stand up. I apply a little make-up and then quickly remove it because that would be a dead giveaway. I haven’t worn makeup since I gave birth.
I walk out into the kitchen prepared to suck it up and move on. I see all three of them nestled safely into their screens. I don’t mind. I will give me a chance to clean up the mess and organize my thoughts.
Then I hear it.
“Hey Babe, how did Kindergarten registration go today?”
And then I wept. I wept like I was burying a beloved pet. I wept like I watched my house burn to the ground. I wept like a maniac on the kitchen floor and I scared my children and my husband and still I wept.
He offered hugs and chocolate and naps and then finally, wine. I was too far gone. I retreated to my bedroom. I released two and half years of anxiety and fear into my pillow and then I slept. And when I woke up at just before midnight and the house was quiet and calm, I got up and wept some more.
I guess I needed it.
I have no words of wisdom. I have no advice for avoiding parental meltdowns like this. I am simply admitting that there are days when I completely fall apart and that just has to be okay.