Tuesday, March 30, 2010

the list

Sometimes, when I'm too overwhelmed to cope, I make a list. Could be written, could be in my head, could be talking out loud. Somehow, listing every single thing that's making me crazy helps me get back to a more grounded place. Very often the list is a "whine" list and Jon is the poor soul who has to listen. Sometimes it's a "whine" roundtable, for when everyone's feeling particularly snarky—we go around, each taking a complain turn. I can't think of a single instance that I didn't have the most items.

Today I've got a list that probably out-lists any list I've ever had. And it's not just that I'm whiny. I'm sort of past whiny at the moment. I'm empty. Tired. Burnt-out. Used up. Depleted. Of course, I've already been to the accountant in somewhat of a monsoon, got my parents out the door, have 5 loads of laundry to do, 3 people to pack up for Florida tomorrow, kids to feed, force into showers, mediate between, invoices to send . . . it's not a down day in any way.

I'll start with the fact that Iz and Jack, who yesterday had a complete and total love-fest, are now back to arguing, sniping, lobbing boiling oil at each other. In the past 15 minutes we've all been in tears, accusations circling the room. Jack told me if only I'd concentrate on being a good parent as much as I do on being an author, perhaps I'd do a better job. It's the honest opinion of a soon to be 9 year old. And it's like being stabbed with a burning hot knife. In my heart I don't feel like I'm doing anything particularly well.

Let's start my list there. Last night, as we were falling asleep, Jon berated me for not making sure we saw the seder through until the very end. Of course, there were 5 adults besides me, none of them making a move to crack the hagadah back open, but, in the end, it was my fault. The melting kids today? Inevitable. But I don't have the patience or even desire to smooth things out for them. I'm past caring at the moment.

I worked my butt off for days getting ready for Passover and half the guests didn't show. There is so much food leftover it's almost scary. Plus, some of the no-shows were not feeling well and there's that to deal with too. Some sort term, some long term. Sigh.

In the past 3 weeks? I've been on national TV twice, been interviewed 4 times, did my first college lecture. I've had extreme ups and downs with people associated with FLOW.

I've moved towards taking over (with someone else) a middle school PTA. Next month its official. There have been countless emails, phone calls, meetings to move it forward.

I chaired a 6th grade dance. Pulled together an auction project for Jack's 3rd grade class. Single parented parent teacher conferences. Taxes. Put together a new computer system while trouble shooting one that didn't work anymore.

Jon was away for 5 days so I was completely on my own for everything. Baseball practice, birthday parties, playdates, afterschool, making school lunches, getting everyone where they needed to be on time (not that I already don't handle most of that).

There were a couple of design jobs (thank god) to the mix. My parents arrived to sleep in the living room for the past 3 nights. And the seder to shop, plan, clean and cook for with the inevitable endless clean up that's not done yet.

I hurt my wrist so practicing yoga at this point is painful. I have to take a break for awhile, which both mentally and physically is really hard for me. I pulled something in the middle of my back that sometimes completely freezes me and I can't move. I've been fighting a sinus infection for weeks. And the arthritis that I've had for awhile in the joint of one finger is now in several places on both hands.

I'm worried about my mom, my brother, my father, my son. Some people I love dearly are struggling right now and there's nothing I can do to help.

I'm heading to Florida tomorrow and at the very last moment it turns out Jon can't go, so I'm single parenting for another 5 nights, after I just finished 4.

I want off this ride. At least for a little while.

I want to process all I've been going through. The absolute highs. The soul-wrenching lows. The moments of bliss. The depths of despair. I want to heal, to rest, to relax, to shut down.

But Jack needs lunch and Iz can't find anything to eat.


LPC said...

I'd only say that Jack, like smart kids do, find what will bug you to say, not necessarily what is true. Also, I was never so unhappy as when I was involved in administrative matters at my kids' school. FWIW. Hope tomorrow is better.

Elissa Stein said...

A very smart friend told me I'm taking on the PTA to avoid other things I need to do. Like start my next book. Sadly, I think he's right. It's exhausting.

Anonymous said...

I have been asked to be PTA president on 3 different occasions. My mom was the one who said "don't do it Janie, you care way too much about what people think about you". She was right. My siter, on the other hand, has done it many times and has done it well but does not care at least outwardly as much about other peoples feelings towards her or because of her. I envy that.

I am now the co-chair of Relay for Life in my town. I thought it would all be sunshine and roses. It is not. When people are involved - there will be politics! Stepping on toes, feelings hurt, differing opinions, strong personalities all for a good cause- thank God- or I would walk away.

I wish you luck in Fl- It should be beautiful so I hope it is fun!

I feel your pain from your sons words. Been there done that.

I look forward to seeing you next week when we can "whine" and "wine" and dine together!!! Janie