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The Most Wonderful Time of the Year, Redux

Posted by | December 15, 2010 | Uncategorized | 8 Comments

I was going to write a post about how I’m feeling right about now, but then I thought, “Wait a minute! Haven’t I already written that post?!” Sure enough, yes indeed, I’ve already written that post. So, I’ll just say this instead: DITTO TO EVERYTHING I WROTE HERE LAST YEAR RIGHT ABOUT NOW. I’ll only add this: Ugh. It just seems to happen every year, no matter how hard I try to keep it at bay, that flood of frantic frenzy that just overtakes me.

I was really doing well until Monday morning. And then it seemed to just come crashing down on me. Braydon had left before it was even light out to go to an early meeting (terrible timing, but he’s having to leave for work early every day this week, before the kids are even awake, which leaves me to do the whole morning routine solo during a week that I could really use my co-parenting partner). Anyway, things were under control, I had gotten them all up and going, finished making the boys’ lunches, fed them all breakfast, and had everyone bundled up to head out the door. We were about to leave to drop off the boys at school when the phone rang. It was Margie, saying she was sick and could not come in. I had to work hard to not have a panic attack. But I accepted my fate and desperately tried to wrap my mind around what this meant for my day and my week. Words cannot express. Ugh. Anyway, now late, I rushed the bambinos into the car and peeled out of our driveway like a bat out of heck. About three minutes down the road I was pulled over by a cop. Nice. He told me I wasn’t speeding but was “all over the road.” He gave me a verbal warning (no ticket, thank my lucky stars!), but when he told me to “remember” that I have “precious cargo on board” (i.e., my three kids in the back seat), I lost it. It was just the little shove that pushed me over the edge. It was going to happen, the only questions were: when? and what was going to set it off? So, there I was, crying my eyes out – a big ugly sobbing meltdown – right there on the side of the road. Owen kept saying, “Mommy, don’t worry! You’re not going to jail!” and Kyle was reaching forward from the backseat to rub my back, while Meera lost it crying, kicking, and screaming “Mommy! Mommy! WhatsamattaMommy?!!!!” and the nice policeman stood there stoically telling me to “calm down, just calm down ma’am” (nice… that’s just what a woman in that state needs: a man to tell her to “calm down”). I finally collected myself, and continued on to drop off K & O at school. I felt a little better after that (sometimes a good cry really does help). I just wish that I could have done it in the presence of Braydon, or my Mom, or Shalinee, instead of in front of my three young children and a cop. Anyway, it was what it was, and then it was over. And I have absolutely no problem letting my kids and the police see that I’m not made of steel and that I do have a breaking point.

There were about a million things leading up to that meltdown. One of the most notable is the following:

Friday I needed to go to my office to deal with something that could not wait until Monday. Fridays are usually my days with Meera, so it was unusual, but I took her with me to the office. I hadn’t brought her there in quite some time. As we entered my building and headed into the lobby area, Meera looked around the office and said to me, matter of factly, “This is Mommy’s office. This is where Mommy lives.” It was one of those moments where time stands still and you feel like you just swallowed your heart in one gulp and it is now sitting in your throat and you’re about to choke on it and die. Our department coordinator overheard it. I said to her, “It is pretty bad when your two year old thinks that you live at your office.” She –nicely— (she’s super nice) laughed and shrugged it off. She always makes me feel better. The truth is, I know that Meera doesn’t really think I live at the office; I know I have a relatively incredibly flexible and cushy job; I know that, all things considered, I’ve got it real good; I know that I should not complain. But Meera’s comment hit me like a ton of bricks. I took a deep breath and tried to tell myself what I know to be true: It is the end of the semester, the hardest time of year for me, and everyone is just tired, this always happens, and we’ll be alright once we get to the other side of this in a few days, right now we’re just seeing the wear and tear. I’m o.k., Meera’s o.k., we’re all o.k…. and we’ll be o.k…. but it will sure be nice when this week is over and we can move on from here.

While the boys are loving their new school, and absolutely thriving beyond all belief, Meera is suddenly feeling lonely and ready for more in her life. Kyle and Owen have a longer school day now, and Meera is on her own with Margie for most of the day. She tells me daily that she doesn’t want to stay at home, doesn’t want to be with Margie, and doesn’t want to have all of us leave her for school/work. I watch her carefully and I can see the shift in her. My heart tells me that she is not o.k. anymore just being at home while the rest of us go off. And if my gut wasn’t already making it clear, Meera said to me yesterday, point blank: “I want to go to my own school BY MYSELF.” She’s making it pretty dang clear: she, at least according to herself, is done with the staying-at-home-with-the-Nanny-routine. She wants more. She wants girlfriends to play with. She wants out of the house. And so, like every stage so far with Meera, she’s pushing the envelope long before we would choose for it to be pushed (can’t she just stay home happily until she starts kindergarten at age five?????). But this, after all, is how our girl rolls. She is sweet and gentle and quiet (at least relative to her brothers), but she has a good track record of letting her needs be known. And so, now, we’re waiting to see if this is just an end-of-the-semester-sick-of-everything-and-everyone phase (a phase that all five of us J-Ms know all too well), or if this is for real. If it is for real, there are all sorts of ramifications. For now, we’re trying to stay tuned in to our daughter, and just giving it a bit to see how it unfolds. Another UGH.

In the meantime, while the end-of-semester-and-creating-Christmas dust is swirling like crazy around us, and I –especially I—am just longing, and so looking forward to, the moment when that dust settles (cue Hallelujah Chorus), we continue to charge forward with valiant attempts to breathe deeply during this, The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year. Ugh.

P.S. One thing is for certain, I can easily keep it all in perspective by reminding myself that while this is a tough time it is waaaaay less tough than it was a few years ago when I needed to strap 18-month-old-K&O in their high chairs and feed them popsicles just in order to steal five minutes to get something – anything! – done. Wow, it is so much easier now!!!!!!!!!!!

winter pops


  • Ani says:

    Oh Heather, sending you good thoughts for a speedy completion of the school year and all the work related stuff so that you can enjoy the season with your 3 little angels.
    I have to admit though, that I laughed out loud at the story with the crying and the kids and the cop – just because I think most of us have been there at one time or another (maybe sans the cop, though!) and there’s really nothing else you can do but cry it out.
    Merry, happy, joyous holidays to you guys.

  • stacey says:

    HBJ – I get how your feeling….I really do….just hang in there – and remember as crazy crazy as it is – you wouldn’t change it for anything – its crazy because you are 5, not 2….and THAT makes the crazy, nutso world you live in – worth it every day……love you!

  • Amanda says:

    Ohhhh man, I feel you on this. Freak out all you need to – it’ll be over soon. We have three under three ourselves and I remember sobbing to a cop once (mostly because I was soooooo relieved not to have gotten a ticket for running a stopsign that I just didn’t see) with all three kids SCREAMING in the backseat and him going, “Ma’am, I have five kids at home. This is nothing.” Which, of course, made me CRACK UP (which was totally his intent). 😉

    Anywhoo, hang in there – Christmas is coming soon! What a happy end to a super stressful season, no?! 😉

  • Sarah says:

    Hang in there, Heather! May this stressful crazy time be over SOON!

  • Kate says:

    Sorry that this time of year is so stressful for you Heather, hopefully this can be a story to look back at and laugh about. Meera’s comment is hard hitting, but as you said Meera knows that’s it’s not true. All good wishes in your family’s journey whereever it may lead you!
    Happy holidays,

  • Amy says:

    Hugs! ((((Heather))))

  • Mary Pierznik says:

    Evander did the same thing – totally ready for school, totally NOT into staying at home full-time with the nanny, crying every morning as I went to work, daddy went to work and big brother went to school. So…we potty trained him in 2 days and sent him off. He LOVES his school. Finally understood what parents were talking about when they said that their kids were “ready” for something.
    Mornings around here are a disaster – getting two kids to school and two parents to work is a bummer. An extra 1/2 hr would make so much of a difference. When I go out for anything on the weekend kids ask “are you going to work now?” That’s what my work means to them – me leaving. So sad!

  • jess says:

    That cop was a JERK to kick you w the Mommy guilt when you’re down. Like you’re unaware of the preciousness of your kids?! Ass.

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