Friday, February 27, 2009

My Triannual Emotional Meltdown

True confessions time: Yesterday I was trying to cornrow Anna's hair, which still takes me too long and frustrates me too much because I'm just getting the hang of it, and the movie of choice was not holding her attention. As she started to wander off in the middle of a row again, I yanked her back toward me hard as I barked "Sit down NOW!" loud and mean enough to scare us both to tears.

PARENTING FAIL.

And that was the good day this week.

Okay, I exaggerate; it hasn't been that bad. But it has been a long week.

Last weekend we had a lot of fun time with friends, but it was busy. Saturday we re-perfected the house for the house listing photo shoot. Then I tried to work at the pizza place--hey, it's not bad, it has an ocean view--and a freaking Miley Cyrus birthday party broke out. Nothing nurtures productive concentration like seven-year-old girls prancing around with fake microphones shrieking "I wanna be a rock star!" They are lucky the pinata they smacked five feet away from me did not resemble Ms. Miley herself, or I would have beat the snot out of it myself. Needless to say, I did not get as much done as I'd hoped, and I went into the week tired.

Sunday we had Frontline. Monday we had Young Life. Starting Tuesday Aaron had a problem with his blood thinners, apparently, that had him anxiously waiting to get in for a test and wondering if he should cancel a youth event. And since just the thought of blood and doctors is enough to make me woozy, I was anxious too. I've realized I've been tense and clenching my jaw enough to give me the splitting headache I had Tuesday.

And so it was that on Tuesday, February 24, 2009, 'round about suppertime, I had my Triannual Emotional Meltdown. I am usually quite even-keeled, but at a certain point I break and go batsnot insane. My husband is fortunate that it does not happen more frequently, because it is not pretty. It is almost as ugly as my Semi-Annual Murderous Anger Explosion of Doom.

The EmoMelt consists of a tsunami of tears occurring in unpredictable rise and retreat cycles. Since the tsunami is triggered below the surface of the unstable female, few signs and warnings indicate to the hapless husband that he should shut the heck up and, if possible, retreat to higher ground. The aftershocks may last as few as fifteen minutes or as long as 36 hours. Fortunately, occasional occurrences over the last twelve years have led my husband to develop a fairly sophisticated warning system, leading him to flee the kitchen area with little one in tow, saving him from almost certain death divorce.

The good news is that I did feel better after my EmoMelt, my later hair outburst notwithstanding. But these days are still busy, busy, busy and the future very uncertain, and I sometimes catch myself clenching my jaw or losing my patience or blinking for upwards of five seconds while reading, and I know I'm not yet winning the war for a balanced life and a peaceful soul.

But recognizing an emotional meltdown for what it is and learning to let it come and let it go--knowing that sometimes you'll feel better if you just have that cry instead of trying to hold it all together--for me, sometimes that is half the battle.

The other half is not causing too much collateral damage to unsuspecting family members along the way. I'm thankful I have a husband who gives me plenty of grace (and a wide berth) when I am overwhelmed and a daughter who swiftly demonstrates forgiveness through hugs and kisses and an insistent tug on the finger to go jump on the bed again.

As Lent began this week, I saw again how far removed I am from who I'm supposed to be. But I'm hoping to gain a little ground each day, even if only three steps forward, two steps back.

And I hereby declare: I'm giving up emotional freak-outs for Lent.

Jesus and my husband will be so pleased.

4 comments:

Pulaski said...

I'm giving up fasting for Lent.

Amy said...

With all that you're dealing with in the near future and a huge move with toddler in tow, you deserve an EmoMelt. In fact, I wouldn't have given it up for Lent... you may need another one before the 40 days are up!

habeshachild said...

I have to say, I love this post. We have all been there with the parenting fails!! Just ask Elsa about the hair sessions around here - if one of isn't crying, the other one usually is. :-)

realmama said...

Hey, everyone deserves an EmoMelt every now and then. Not like you don't have enough plates to keep spinning! I've had some pretty major parenting fails, so you're not alone!