I had an entire post planned about The Great Pop Tart Debacle. It happened this morning and it was… majestic. In the worst possible (yet quite amusing) way. I wanted to share it and the utter JOY that is the thought process of a child that renders one foil packet SUPERIOR to another–identical!–foil packet by virtue of… ummm… well, I hadn’t really worked that part out. But there was a fabulous insight in there, I’m sure.
But screw that. No quirky uplifting breakfast stories, today. Nope. Warm-n-fuzzy exasperation at 7:15 can turn to a not-altogether-unexpected but still heart-wrenching downward spiral by 7:45. Because when you’re a parent, the only things more intense than the highs of the Good Stuff are the feelings of failure and helplessness with the Bad Stuff.
So instead of the Tale of Two Pop Tarts, I could tell you about the ongoing saga of a beautiful and brilliant little girl who battles demons I can’t seem to keep away from her. I could tell you how ashamed I am of how often I lose my temper; how I never seem to have enough patience, and how just when I think it can’t get any worse, it always does.
I could tell you how many times this child has gotten in trouble at school in the last month. I could tell you all about how the medication that restored her from being a withdrawn shell of her former self, a year ago, has now apparently turned on her, urging her brain chemistry to forsake all boundaries, common sense, and empathy. How we have been working at this, so many of us, trying to untangle the mystery of what is happening and what has changed and where oh where has my sweet Chickadee gone.
I could try to analyze why this was the last straw or whether I should’ve known (I always think I should’ve known; a dear friend asked me tonight if I suppose I should be a god in these things and I said OF COURSE) and somehow fixed it earlier. I could tell you how after giggling to myself over breakfast politics I then ended up spending my entire morning on the phone. The school, her father, the doctor, the therapist. The school again. Back to the doctor’s office. Once again with her dad.
I could detail how I closed my office door, tried to stifle my sobs and pull myself together between each call. How I wrestled with a project between (and sometimes during) each conference and how the software I was using kept mysteriously vanishing huge, random chunks of my copy, until I didn’t know if I was crying about the continued sabotage of my work or the frustration of not being able to be the mother I want to be. How I worried through all of it that here I was screwing up the job I’d waited for so long, and now I was officially even a failure at the very thing that was (I was sure, for I am nothing if not a wiz with the self-guilt) both the trigger of the current crisis and the thing keeping me from handling it better.
But I don’t want to. I don’t need any help to dwell on that which will only make me crazy.
Instead, let me tell you the rest.
I want to tell you that my ex stepped up. That he’s getting it and working with me. That for the first time in a very long time I’m grateful to have him involved.
I want to tell you that my coworkers gave me clear berth until I had somewhat gathered myself and opened my door partway. And then I was gently checked on, given reassurances that I should go do what I needed to do and not worry, and generally shown a kindness and genuine concern that really touched me.
I want to tell you that the teacher who really has not been my favorite person gave me her entire free period to conference over the phone. That she assured me that she knows my daughter is a good and special child. That she told me not to cry because we will get this figured out.
I want to tell you that the doctor’s office bent over backwards for us today, and got us scheduled when there were “no openings.” That the doctor understood my despair. That she listened to both of us, and addressed all of my concerns, and explained what she was doing and why, and told me to not to forget to take care of myself.
I want to tell you that in the midst of all of this, the support just kept rolling in. To everyone who emailed, IMed, or called me today: thank you. I was a mess and you loved me anyway. And helped. And were kind enough not to point out what a mess I was being.
I want to tell you that by the time I got the kids into bed tonight, I felt like I’d been up for a week straight. That I came back downstairs, and before I could remember what I’d come down to do, I turned back around and went back up. I perched on the edge of Chickadee’s bed in the dark, and smoothed the stray hair back from her face.
“Do you know how much I love you?” I asked her.
“More than anything,” she answered. I exhaled the breath I didn’t know I’d been holding, and kissed her forehead. I bid her goodnight (again) and left her room.
I want to tell you that tomorrow is another day, and we’re starting a new med at breakfast. I want to tell you it’s going to get better. I want to believe it’s getting better.