It is total insanity around here! We are preparing to take what Bridget Jones would call a mini-break. My husband is on the East Coast for business so I am flying solo, captain and co-captain as it were. I have been doing a pretty good job of it, but the crescendo has begun. He’s been gone for two weeks now, and we’ve another week to go. I have what feels like a million tasks on my To Do list, and my children have suddenly decided to stop behaving like stoic Swedes and indulge their other half–their father’s side…the fighting Irish.
My lovely accountant dropped by this afternoon in the middle of the mayhem to get our taxes underway. I took Grace and Milly to Costco and Target to pick up necessities and made bread to take along because we’re a household of Celiacs; I have to check the oil on the Mystery Machine, and I’m terrified of leaving something important behind like Grace’s Lithium or my migraine medication…or an Epi-Pen…or someone’s inhaler.
Every time I sit down to do anything like, say, pee someone stalks after me, and arguing has broken out amongst my daughters like a bad rash. Are they arguing about anything worthwhile like whether or not homework helps or hinders one’s education or the pros and cons of universal healthcare? Nope. Doireann decided to confront Grace on the ridiculousness of the possibility of a sasquatch living in St. Croix, WI at which point Grace’s claws came out. A cat fight ensued, and I had to metaphorically turn the hose on those two. In the middle of the Cryptid Kerfuffle, Grace hurt her hand on her own tooth (I have no idea how that happened) and, henceforth, needed a Band-Aid. I have come to the conclusion that a Band-Aid gnome lives in my house because as soon as I buy them, they disappear. The other Band-Aid gnome that I know for certain lives here goes by the nickname ‘Milly’. That kid steals Band-Aids particularly if they have characters on them. As soon as Grace sought out a bandage, she yelled out, “They’re gone! All the Muppet Band-Aids are gone!”
I sighed and quietly muttered, “Well, shit.” I took a deep breath and hunted down Milly who undoubtedly had all the Band-Aids. “I just wanted to make sure we had enough Band-Aids for our trip in case someone got hurt!” she explained as she handed me the contents of the entire box. Planning. She was planning ahead. That’s good. Grace quickly followed up that conversation with an announcement. “I’m hearing voices.” I sighed again. “Are you stressed or anxious about something?” She nodded. I heard Milly and Doireann arguing about something in the background. Eadaoin was suddenly playing Wii Fit. “The Wii says I’m fat! Can you believe this?” Eadaoin snapped. Doireann marched out, “Oh great. That’s all we need. A teenager obsessed with her weight! Come OOOOON!” (as if she’s not a teen herself). Eadaoin inhaled a breath and prepared to fire back, but Doireann continued, “Don’t even! You are so NOT fat! Did you make adjustments for height? Our culture is obsessed with youth and appearance, and there isn’t one image you see in a magazine or an ad that hasn’t been photoshopped. I don’t even want to hear you say the word ‘fat’ in this house. I’m not having it!” Eadaoin pointed her finger at Doireann and yelled, “I didn’t say I was fat! The game did! I know I’m not fat! Geez! Stop lecturing me!” Do all 16 year-olds and 14 year-olds argue like this? It’s like being back at my all-women’s college for Pete’s sake! The Theatre Geek vs.The Prep…I’m just waiting for Doireann to discover Naomi Wolf and begin quoting directly from The Beauty Myth. God save us all.
Once the Gruesome Twosome worked out their issues, I headed back into the kitchen to finish making the bread. The atmosphere in the house was decidedly stressful so I was practicing some deep breathing, and that’s when Grace found me in the kitchen. “That’s right, Mom. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. That helps with anger and stress. In through your nose…out through your mouth…” I just stared at her, my mouth agape. Grace was giving me tips for handling stress. It was ironically funny. Speaking of irony, she is now in the bathtub trying to relieve her own stress as she broke down not long after she found me in the kitchen. She appeared with tears streaming down her face, “I miss Dad!!!!” She’s not the only one.
I’m trying to tell myself that I can do this. I can drive up North and take care of everyone for another week. Alone. This is tough. I think I took my husband for granted. I won’t be doing that anymore. I think I believed that I was in this alone. It’s pretty clear to me now that I wasn’t…now that I am.
I think our mini-break will be good for us. Lake Superior and a log cabin. A fireplace, natural beauty, and, hopefully, a bit of peace. Plus, the time will go by, and he’ll be home all the faster.
Give your special someone a hug today. Let them know how much you love them. It’s important.