I lost it today.
It wasn't over anything big. Finn did something for the umpteen millionth time, and the umpteen millionth and first time, it turns out, was one time too many. I don't even want to get in to what he did, he was just doing what four and a half-year olds do, and besides what he did wasn't even the reason I lost it. Not really.
Like an earthquake deep on the sea floor that only causes a small swell in the middle of the ocean, but by the time it reaches shore it is a tidal wave - full of force and momentum and capable of massive destruction- my frustration, anger and resentments had been building and building, and I didn't even know it.
I saw that Finn had done this thing, again, and some switch flipped in my head. A deafening silence, and then a roar.
There I am, my rage like a tidal wave poised to crash ashore, inside it all the debris of the week roiling away: the countless snacks fetched, sibling fights refereed, messes cleaned. The momentum of it propelled by the force of the constant negotiations to do the simplest of things, the inconveniences, false starts, boredom and pressures of our daily lives. The constant-ness of it all built up inside me, and suddenly I couldn't take it for one. more. second.
There I am, consumed by pure, undiluted rage; it is burning in my head like a white hot coal. There is nothing else, only anger. I want to burst into a million pieces, I want to run away, I want to fling myself on the floor and wail for hours on end. I want to fall apart. Dammit, I just want to fall apart.
What I do is scream. I scream at, around and over Finn. I run downstairs and and burst into tears. The tidal wave has come ashore, and I'm held captive by its force. Nothing to do but wait, let the tears flow and flow.
Eventually, the tide of my anger recedes, and I'm left standing like a lone survivor, surveying the wreckage. Finn is upstairs lying on his bed, crying soft, hiccuping sobs. I'm spent, exhausted, my rage evaporated and a stone of guilt sits in my stomach.
I slowly make my way upstairs, as unsure of what to do as I've ever been. He is lying on his side, his blanket crammed in his mouth, his shoulders heaving. I have no words. I can't make the words come.
I rub his back until his breathing slows. He is asleep.
I have never known what to do with rage. When I drank, I had a built-in rip cord; if I got too close to any undiluted negative emotion, I'd have a drink, or think about the drink I'd have later, and I had my work-around.
I sit awhile, looking at Finn's sleeping face. I resist the urge to let the mother-guilt take the helm, the babbling voices that tell me: see? you're not cut out for this. Instead I force myself to look inside, at the ugly distorted troll of rage crouching within. I mentally reach out and shake its hand: so that's what you look like. Not so very nice to meet you. But I acknowledge that you are here. That you are a part of me. But you are not driving this bus, I am. I am good and patient and kind. I can make a mistake, and I can own it and move on.
So make yourself comfortable, but don't expect to have much to do.