And Then You Hit the Wall…

Photo by Lemuel Butler on Unsplash

Despite all the craziness of the past couple of weeks, I’ve been handling everything pretty well….

Or so I thought.

Then, tonight, after another exhausting 3+ hours on the road, 45 minutes running in 80 degree heat with 70% humidity, an IRB delay for one of my students, and both my children being tired and grumpy, I locked myself out of my work e-mail.

And that’s when I hit the wall.

I literally just wanted to break down crying and start throwing things.  Over a freaking e-mail password.  A password that I will be able to change when the IT desk opens tomorrow morning.  Being away from my e-mail for 12 hours will not kill me. (In fact, at this point, it’s probably better that I step away from responding to e-mail for awhile.) Unlike my 2-year old for whom something relatively small means a complete meltdown complete with throwing herself down on the floor and kicking and screaming, I realize my reaction is not developmentally appropriate.  I get it.  I know this all intellectually.

But, I am exhausted.

And despite all of the love shown to me and the exhortations that I take time for self-care, I just haven’t, and I’m wiped out.

So, I’m sitting next to my daughter’s crib, as she’s throwing a huge fit over not getting to watch one more video before bed. I text a very close friend, who gets me, about how terrible (idiotic, like a failure, etc.) I am feeling. I walk out for a moment to compose myself and regroup, but I am just feeling defeated. My friend gets it. She doesn’t try to make it better.  She just says that she’s been there too.

I walk back in, and I look at my girl who has stopped crying for a video and is now crying for Mommy.  She asks for Papa, but as I’m on my way to get him, she changes her mind and calls me back.  I stop by the side of her crib and gently stroke her hair and her back.  I get how she is feeling because I am feeling that way too.  I would also like to throw a complete fit about not getting what I want.  I am also exhausted beyond belief. I also am expressing my frustrations in ways that are less than productive sometimes.

But, she is not doing that anymore.  She is silent.  She is looking at me.  She is smiling.  She even giggles a bit as I pretend to catch her fingers through the side of her crib.

In 5 minutes, she is asleep.  I’m calmer too.

I hug my (previously) grumpy, sleepy 11-year old on the couch, and he wakes up to say “I love you so much, mommy.”

I know that what we resist persists.  I resist my humanity all too often.

But, my humanity is my hope.  It brings me closer to understanding others because we all have those moments, days, weeks where we hit the wall.  Tonight was my turn, but tomorrow I will rise again, try again, and hope that I can access my e-mail…and my humanity.

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