Thursday, February 18, 2010

Coming In For A Landing

It has been one of those weeks.  

It's school vacation week - didn't we just have school vacation?    We didn't have any grand plans - just a lot of unstructured time around the house bumping into each other.   Greta was really sick in the days before the break, and we were in and out of the doctor's office all week.  Just as she started to feel better, Finn got sick. And then I got sick.   Nothing serious - no fevers or anything - just a bad head cold and cough that has us moping around feeling icky.    Just sick enough that getting out to go do stuff feels like too much, but staying home feels antsy.    I feel like I've been staring at the interior of my messy house for ages.

My mind feels like a flock of birds zooming around looking for a place to land.   I have a lot I want to be doing - jewelry to make, writing to do, but each day - each hour- is a series of frustrating stops and starts.   It took fifteen minutes just to type these two paragraphs.

The mother-guilt creeps in, slowly suffocating me.   Too much television, too much computer time.  I can practically hear their little brains rotting away.   

It is so hard to just stop.    To hunker down, get over our colds, spend some down time together.   We crawled to the movies yesterday, and even that was exhausting.    This morning the kids and I colored pictures for a bit, and I tried to settle in, just be there, without a lot of success.  

My expectations and my reality keep colliding.    I'm struggling with a major case of the 'shoulds'.  We should have planned a vacation, I should be getting more done, we should be out doing educationally enriching things, I should be more organized.    The reality is that we can't afford a big vacation, we're sick, and we're doing all we can.   Why is that so hard to accept?     Life on life's freaking terms, and all that.

I have moments, though, of extreme gratitude.   Little things here and there that remind me that everything could be so much worse.    Sunday, before the sickies hit, my husband took the kids to his parents' house so I could get some alone time, check a few items off my to-do list.    That night I got in the car to go to a meeting, and the battery was dead.    I was stuck.   Immediately this thought flitted across my mind:   this would have been a major problem if I was still drinking.  If I was stuck home alone with no alcohol and no way of getting more.   Suddenly, instead of feeling stuck I felt really, really free.

This week, for all its frustration and inertia, was exactly the sort of situation that would have sent me spiraling, sent me straight to the bottle for relief from boredom, from resentment and anger.    It occurred to me this morning that I didn't think about drinking - not once - the whole week.    That is a miracle.

We'll get through.   The kids will go back to school next week and I will get my routine back.   Even though we're not getting a lot accomplished this week, I'm here.  I'm present.    And just writing all this, airing it all out, has given my mental flock of birds a place to land. 

It is, as they say, what it is.


  1. Well done Ellie. I too constantly feel guilty about not doing enough with the kids that is "quality". When I do those "quality" activities I get frustrated or disappointed that they didn't measure up.

    But the school breaks are just to be survived, in my opinion and you are doing that and more.

    We have an extra long one combined with Easter this year. So I'm anticipating the pain already!

  2. Excellent as always! I think it's good for the kids, us, to have down time with nothing to do. If I leave me kids alone and don't try to be Julie McCoy, Cruise Ship Director, they actually get pretty imaginative and keep themselves occupied for a bit. On another note...I think this is the stupidest vacation ever...we did just have one! Just sayin.

  3. I hate it when I get a case of the "should haves"... I can sympathize...

    Hang in there, you're doing GREAT!

  4. I know just how you feel! Hang in there; next week is almost here :)

  5. Ahhh the should haves...hang on, hang tight.


  6. I love the flock of birds analogy. That is SO my brain right now. Thank you for writing that so beautifully.

  7. I love the flock of birds analogy. That is SO my brain right now. Thank you for writing that so beautifully.