Little and Big

June 24, 2008

Today a very little thing made me react in a very big way.

My laptop has eaten, as of today, three power cords. My kids play with my computer ALL the time, between Webkinz and Neopets and Pokemon and Cedar Point dot com (Rob’s personal fave) to Youtube to a horse game website (Abby), etc. and so on. And when they use my laptop, they take it with them to their rooms, to the family room, or in rare and rather disgusting cases, the bathroom.

Such movement is hard on a laptop cord, so the piece that plugs in directly to the computer gets jostled and loose a lot. And then it breaks. Let me preface this with the truth that I really don’t get freaked out over the spills and breakages inherent to childhood (Lost stuff, now that’s another matter — drives me crazy, but I digress) — I don’t yell when stuff gets knocked over or smashed or spilled upon, though my new family room couch has tested my self-control mettle, when one kid dropped an entire can of pop (thankfully not red — note — never bring red soda into this house, please) along the arm and cushion. Generally, though, I roll with these particular punches.

But today — and it doesn’t matter which kid, picked up the computer, dragging the cord a bit, which made the tip become stripped, kind of like a screw — felt like too, too much. I screamed at my kids. And then I sobbed in my room. My kids were, quite frankly, a bit freaked out by this out-of-control-not-seeming-so-sane side of their mom.

But like all little things, it’s not the thing itself, but all the emotion leading up to it. Right now, with summer vacation for the kids, I’m pressed for any, any, any emotional and psychological time to myself. So I’m not at my best. And for so many reasons that in and of themselves are not the best fodder for blogging, life has been hard. Marriage is hard. Parenting is hard, and with Abby we have adolescence looming awfully closely on the horizon. So far my biggest realization about my kids getting older: I can protect them from less and less pain and sometimes the world’s really, really painful.

And I think I’m having, oh gack I don’t even want to type the words because I sound so damned self indulgent — some kind of middle life crisis. I never said at the time, but turning forty hit me hard. Fundamentally, I would change very little in my life — I love God and I love the people in my life. We can all point to myriads of decisions that could have been better, but on the whole, this is the life I chose and this is the life I want…but I’m feeling so restless lately, so just-a-mom-and-wife (and I know, I know, I really know that there’s nothing “just” about either role, but feelings don’t always make perfect sense), so intellectually and artistically stultified. I am walking the path God would have me walk in terms of working in the church’s kids ministry — me, who honestly doesn’t like kids that much (except for my own) having God place them in my heart and mind all week long!  It must be God!  Seeing the kids each Sunday is a highlight. Lately I even feel like I’ve been getting glimpses of God’s dreams for these kids. And that’s so awesome.

But maybe there’s some other aspects of life that need to be figured out. Maybe it’s a part-time job when the school year starts — but I’ve felt like that has been the wrong decision up until now, so that I can be available to my parents, as they’ve needed a great deal of support this year. And how blessed I’ve been to be here in this city at this time, and to be available to them. Maybe it’s a reorganization of time this summer. Maybe it’s embracing this part of my life, realizing that you’re only as old as you feel, blah, blah blah. Or maybe it’s joining Weight Watchers again. Or…well, whatever.

And God, I re-read this and I sound self-centered. I know of several people in some utterly horrendous and/or challenging life situations right now, and my feelings might seem so little to them. But I’m going to go with God caring about the hairs on my head and all that, so I’m guessing He cares here too.

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Why haven’t I written in a while, one asks.  Okay, I get it, no one actually asked…

I love my kids.  But they are currently trying to find, amidst 4,524 stuffed animals, all of their pokemon stuffed animals.  For some reason.  I just know that it involves a lot of screeching.  “Mine!”  “No, MINE!”  “Where did you LEAVE whateverthehellcrazynamedpokemon?”  It also involves tearing apart closets and bins and beds.  And inexplicably scotch tape.  Which scares me.

If I were sending a telegram, it would read something like this:

Summer currently killing me STOP Kids destroying home Stop Going under for about the sixth time Stop Send vodka Stop Now Stop

Yours in abject terror and frustrated exhaustion Stop

Please, please STOP!