I guess we all have those days. You know the days I mean, the days where our best isn't even close to good, the ones where everything falls apart in our hands and it seems more like we are the ones shredding it instead of holding the pieces together. It all started the night, or more accurately early morning, before.
School is once again returning to my chaotic household which of course means the struggle to get the kids away from their summer schedule and back into functioning with the rest of the world. In retrospect the rest of the world might be doing it wrong but I will delve into that later. Back to the wee morning hours. My 14 and 11 year olds were wide awake at 3am . Not just wide awake but slamming cabinets, T.V. Blaring , stadium voice awake. Of course my 19 year old decided to stay home and subsequently had to be up for work at 4 am and their dad would need to be up by 6:30 for work. After the 10th warning since 11pm to get their buts to bed some kind of demon possessed my body.
Maybe it wasn't actually a demon but at the very least it was not a version of myself I can be proud of. Having disconnected the internet roughly around midnight I figured they would surrender to boredom and sleep. Oh no, not my kids. That apparently became a challenge to them. "Let's see how much we can pisss mom off to prove she should never disconnect us from our digital world." . I'm not really sure why I took this challenge so badly. Maybe the fact that for months sleep has been broken and disconnected due to severe physical pain, maybe because I was demonically possessed , maybe I just briefly lost myself, regardless I became the mom equivalent to a sailor somewhere around 3:30 am.
TV plugs went flying, obscenities spewed forth from my mouth to the likes of which I firmly believe might have become a new language in and of itself, they sulked off to bed. Unfortunately for them the possession had taken firm effect on me and I vowed they would never dare to challenge me again. What an idiot I can be.
Fast forward to the ripe time of 9am . Kids were rudely awakened from their beds as I barked at them, get your shoes on and your buts outside you have 5 minutes. Groggy, confused, and obviously shocked they arrive in the front yard in under 5 minutes. The torture begins. Being as life has brutalized us pretty consistently for a number of years now the stack of things needing attention and one day I will fix that is of course mountainous, today that was going to change. Mind you, I really do love my kids, I live for them, try to give them everything I can not to spoil them but to mold them into thinkers and doers, so eventually they may go out into the world and become the best part of it like they already are to me. But yesterday I showed them no mercy.
They began their morning stacking wood, a lot of wood. Then they cut weeds , monsterous, taller than me weeds, the way I was taught , with scissors and a meat cleaver. By this time the sun was high and hot , their faces red and tired. Progress said the demon. A break for lunch and water . Then back out the door to clean a shed, pick up trash, move the weeds they had cut to the burn pile. All in all they took it pretty well. For some reason this just made me madder at them. By this point I'm on my 5th cup of coffee and second round of meds just to be able to move, the pain is intense but The demon is channeling all the pain and exhaustion into teaching these dang kids what a hard days work is like.
Finally I Sucumb to my own need to just stop moving and send them on a walk. Give us all time to calm down and maybe they will appreciate not being locked in their rooms tethered to electronic devices for a change. Yet again, not my kids. No the oldest pitches a fit because apparently her cell phone ran out of time. Do your chores get cell time, I do your chores you get no cell time. Ok you little punks , says the demon, take the youngest's phone it's on a one year plan and is only usable for calling texting. Haha! Screams the demon you still get no internet! And then, "I haven't seen my phone for two weeks."
What?!!!youre telling me you don't even know where it is?! Why, just why, do you have to have these things and then don't even know where it is to use it because it's not a game or an app or a social media source?!!!!oh hello again my demonic friend. No I don't like the me I am right now. I'm mean and angry and have zero sympathy or compassion for two people who literally are my whole world. The oldest is at point break, "I had a nightmare I couldn't sleep without my boyfriend singing to me . I couldn't get over the nightmare about the house burning down." Again this me, zero compassion . We were all in the house when it burnt down it is no excuse for being tethered to the Internet 24/7 and then trying to prove why you're right when I disconnect it. Although I believe it actually came out as I don't give a shit. Of course then the youngest chimes in, "it's not her fault she burnt down the house you shouldn't have let her light the fire!" Demon possession now takes full force. I am gone. Monster me is evil and pissed. One I never to,d her to light the fire quite the opposite, two I told her on many occasions not to use accelerants to start a fire in the wood stove, three I gave up years of my life to buy and fill and take care of that home for you to burn it to the ground ,expect me to do it all over again, and now say it's my fault?!!!
Again did not say any of those things the demon instead jumps in my truck and backs it up to my camper. Fine. You want to do everything alone you ungrateful tots I'm out. Good luck. Mind you I have maybe 10 bucks in my pocket until payday but at this point I'm just done. I'm hooking up the camper , filling what little I have in this world in it and I'm out. And then the text. My oldest half way across the state at work by now " mom will you please put $5 in my account I didn't bring lunch and I have no money."
The demon is screaming what?!!! Do you know how many days I went without eating at work? You have a job, you have a budget, you blow your budget you go hungry. Trapped somewhere inside the real me is going you can't let the kid starve. Somewhere between all this the youngest two had finally headed to the park , I believe about the time my head rotated 360 degrees on its own. Disconnect the truck, pick up the youngest two, which reminds me I really need to have that stranger talk with them again, and head to the bank. Mind you, I had $10 to my name, I deposit $5 into his account and turn my eternally on the danger low fuel truck back to home. Perhaps it's exhaustion, perhaps it's simply because I really do love my kids , but at some point on that short drive real me started to think.
Back in the driveway they sprint from the truck like they're being shot at and dive into their rooms. Considering less than 6 months ago we were all sharing a one room cabin and sifting through the ashes of our home , they relish their own private spaces. I stay outside for a bit arguing with the demon. Torture them, teach them, torture them, teach them, back and forth we argued. Finally an idea, both that will maybe just work. On a sidebar about the real me, I love taking things and making them something else. I had an idea for a fountain out of stuff laying around the yard but couldn't carry the stones because of my injury so it has just lingered, today would be different.
Yet again I pry them out of their self imposed prison cells or the sanctity of their private space and out into the light of day all the while quietly astonished they have not yet spontaneously burst into flames . We set to work. They load the stones, cut an old tire , line the ground , lay the stones, and finally fill the tire, and set the old pump into the fountain. They look up at me expectantly. Finally I look at them as me, ok I want you guys to take a good look at that. 30 minutes ago that was a mud hole , now it is something beautiful. You made that. You are capable of doing amazing things if you just unplug and walk outside. Tired and sweaty we go in to get ready for supper and rehearsals. If I had known how much life was going to change that day I would've let them sleep all day,talk to their friends online, eat cereal at 2am.
My phone rang. My husbands mother frantic on the other end her mom was being rushed to ER they had started CpR but it didn't look good. That drive we have all made, the one we all hate, weaving in and out of traffic praying you make it in time but knowing no matter how fast you get there you are helpless. We beat the ambulance, got a quick time frame from the desk, and start calling family. Get here now. The ambulance comes through. The tubes, the compressions, the tears, the why. She was old yes but not frail. Why?
The doctor, the finality. The while I try to be there for my husband, for his mom. I feel useless and out of place. I'm a fixer, a doer, I don't do well with just existing or even with just being there. I do what I can , which never feels enough. My relationship with my husband and his family has been strained for along time, I try hard to find the strength to give them comfort. Demon me has finally grown silent. Physically, emotionally, mentally exhausted I give as much assistance as I can to calling and transporting family members, tying up loose ends, making sure my husband doesn't lose his mom from the stress of her losing hers. The kids say their goodbyes and fight through anger, sorrow, anguish. I try to hold them help them remember everything that made her such an amazing person in their lives. Somehow it just seems surreal. No amount of hugs can heal the pain of a person taken from life suddenly.
By the time we finally cross back through our door the sun has long set. Everyone is hungry, tired beyond comprehension , and emotionally trashed. We now have my mother in law and her two dogs in tow as well because we are worried about her being alone in such a difficult time. My youngest wanders up the hallway to retrieve his tablet from my room and the scream rises.
Laying in the grip of the cat which up to this point had never even looked crossed eyed at a mouse that ravaged our pantry was my sons pet hamster. His best buddies best buddy. My kids have been raised to love animals, to cherish them, to honor their place in our lives as our friends. Here, in one of the hardest days of his life so far, his buddy lay dead in the arms of an animal he had cared for, the ultimate betrayal . I saw the demon cross his face, pure anguish, hate, rage. I wrapped him in my arms as tightly as I could and let him scream out his anger. Hate can not fix what has been lost it will only cause more loss.
When he calmed we placed splinter into a box and prepared him for today's farewell. The cat was given to a shelter something I loathe to do but in this situation had no other course. We were all up again well past 3am. The Internet didn't get unplugged. The kids video chatted with friends both near and far. My family remembered the many wonderful times we had with his late grandma and recanted stories that brought us all smiles and comfort.
When I finally laid my weary body in bed again I really hated myself. I hate that yesterday I was the toxic person in my kids lives. I hate that I had lost my compassion, my love for life, my love for my family. I hate that as hard as I try to be a good person I wasn't . I'm not sure what my kids will take out of yesterday or the day their mom was replaced by the devil. I'm fairly certain instead of saving for college I should've started a therapy fund at birth for each of them. During the end of this my mom began messaging me. It's weird how she always just knows.
At the end of that long day, I hated myself but I hugged my kids a little tighter. I remembered to tell my mom I love her. Most of all I remembered I have the power to choose who I am, the responsibility to always be the best version of me , the privilege to live life to its fullest , and the reality it will all end someday when we least expect it. Some days I won't even like myself and that's ok.