Today was not a good day. Not even close to a good day.
I wish that I could say it started off with promise, but that’s not the case. We had a major plumbing malfunction. The shower handle broke off as my oldest went to turn it on, and water was spraying all over the bathroom. He stomped through the upstairs (twice!) looking for me, but I was downstairs getting ready for the housecleaners – you know we all do that, tidy up to make it easier and make ourselves feel better about how we live – I heard the stomping, but figured he was storming around looking for clothes, or a towel, or something he forgot. Never guessing it was an emergency.
I was wrong.
Don’t people usually yell, or call out for help in an emergency?
Nobody called me.
Obviously the shock of the situation caused him to go mute, because not once did he call out my name. I guess he was trying to conjure my appearance through mental telepathy?
By the time he came downstairs, he was a raving lunatic, wild eyed with panic, thinking he had been abandoned and was the last man on earth left to roam an empty house in the middle of a disaster.
I called the plumber, shut off the main water valve, and felt that the day could only get better.
I was wrong.
While my two teenage sons left to go to school, in their separate cars, they had a collision. In the driveway. The mute son backed into the pretty expressive son on this bitter cold day because his back window wasn’t completely defrosted. It was a slow bump, but expressive son loves his car more than anything in the world, so…it was a big deal.
Unbeknownst to me, they were now screaming at each other in the driveway, which lead to pushing, which ended with a punch in the face.
Nobody called for me. Nobody came back into the house to ask for help or a judgement for punishment.
Later, I got a call from my very upset expressive son who now had a bloody lip while driving himself to school. I told him to go to the nurse and no, he can’t come home from school. I will talk to the mute son at lunchtime. It will be better later.
I was wrong.
Inbetween this all, the plumber took four hours to show up, I missed my crossfit class, I had to cancel the cleaners, I still hadn’t been able to shower and I had to continue negotiating with my soon to be ex-husband through my attorney with the promise that “he is very motivated to get this done”. A phrase I’ve been hearing for the better part of the last four months. I could feel the wires in my brain beginning to smoke by 3pm.
The two boys came home later, the argument began again, this time with me in the middle to mediate and keep them from beating on each other. This lasted for over an hour.
Talking in circles, demanding apologies while deeming them unsatisfactory. Not taking responsibility for their actions, more screaming, more cussing, more angry tears.
Their frustration with each other isn’t just about the car, or the shower, or the insincere apologies. It isn’t really even with each other. It’s a build up of everything we’ve been through this year. The ups and downs, the promises and the loss of hope. The disappointments.
It’s watching me trying to keep it together, but seeing me fall apart sometimes. It’s scary. It’s upsetting. It’s all out of their control. They feel helpless.
And they each deal with it differently. My oldest is pulling away, protecting himself, putting up his guard with his “no more drama” attitude, putting his energy and attention into his friends and girlfriend. My younger one is holding on a bit tighter, worrying, protecting me. He’s the guard at the gate. He wants to know that we will still be a family, a team, a unit. That we still have each other. He’s scared he’s losing his older brother somehow, and he can’t lose someone else. He can’t take being abandoned by anyone else right now.
I get it. I understand them both, but it’s a tough line to walk somedays. I am trying to be strong, trying to shield them and show them only love, but sometimes I can’t keep it together. Sometimes I need them to push away, giving me the sense that they are as strong as I am supposed to be, and other times I need them to hold onto me a little bit tighter, need me a little bit more, so I feel their love surrounding me like bubble wrap.
It’s been a long year, a long struggle, that I thought would be over by now.
I was wrong.
It was not a good day. But it was only one day. There will be other days, good days, and hopefully we will be stringing them together more often in the coming year.