While reveling in the knowledge that Hope is coming to visit in a month, Grammy triggered a meltdown. This sandwich generation stuff is some mess; I’ll tell you that.
I sent off a happy email to my immediate family about Hope being in town for Thanksgiving. I knew Grammy would hit the roof since she’s traveling to see my younger sister, Sister M, for the holiday. She called and wailed about how she was going to miss it, and she wanted to come on this day and that day and she could stay three days and do stuff and on and on and blah and blah and blah!
Whoooooooaaaaa! Stop Grammy. Slow your roll.
All I could think of was No. No. No. No. No. No. Did I say no? Did you hear me say no? No, you can’t stay 3 days, and heck no you can’t stay here.
And then the tears started on both sides. I was so overwhelmed. She was firing off questions that I either didn’t have an answer for or didn’t want to answer, and she just was out of control. And my inability and unwillingness to answer some questions somehow got twisted around to make me feel like an inadequate mom.
Then she announced that I had two people to consider: the tween and the senior.
I grew a small backbone and replied, no I only have to look out for the tween; she is the highest priority. Grammy, you are not the priority. You are not a priority right now. I love you but you are not the priority. You are grown and can take care of yourself.
Sobbing. Gnashing of teeth.
Grammy is so excited, so excited. I’m so excited that she’s excited. But I need a chill pill. In the middle of the busy workday I was clearing my schedule for a two week vacation that will be great, but will not be restful, fielding text messages about a bridesmaid’s dress that I didn’t know about but that I need to go order in two weeks, feeling like crap because this week is turning out to be not dissertation productive, having a consulting opportunity fall in my lap that I know I can’t take because I’m stretched too thin as it is, scheduling painting quotes, and responding to sweet emails from friends and family who want to know what to get Hope as welcome gift… Grammy’s hissy fit about not being welcome to visit Hope in the first 24 hours of her arrival was too damn much for me to deal with.
And the answer was still no.
The security shields went up, and I got snappy. Then I felt guilty. Then I apologized, because well, Grammy is my mom. I adore my mom; I can’t disrespect my mom. I want her to be excited, but I need someone to actually care about me at this very moment.
I am falling apart. This week I feel like I’m barely functioning. My emotions can run the gamut in the span of about 15 minutes. I’m exhausted. I’m getting over a sinus infection. I feel like I can’t seem to do anything right and in the midst of all the joy, all the happiness, all the hulabaloo, only a handful of people are asking me how I’m doing, I mean, really doing and managing and coping. The truth is that this week is not so great. People care and want to be so helpful, but I’m feeling like very few folks are looking past all the excitement and seeing me in what is really feeling like an incredibly fragile state.
Much like Hope, the emotion that I feel at the center of all of this is anger. I’m angry about melting down. I’m angry about not being productive. I’m angry that this sinus infection is still bugging me. I’m angry that I keep forgetting to schedule my mammogram. I’m angry that The Furry One still needs a bath and I can’t manage to muster the energy to do it. I’m angry that as a fixer I can’t fix one damn thing that’s going on right now. I’m angry that Hope’s angry (that’s a doozy right there). I’m angry that work is so demanding at the moment. I’m angry that my dissertation director hasn’t emailed me back about the 10 pages I sent him nearly 3 weeks ago. I’m angry that one of my dissertation subjects now thinks we’re buddies and keeps calling me on my cell phone. I’m angry that the paint quotes are all pushing $600 for one measly room. I’m angry that the stress has triggered a physical pain response that exhausts me more than all the other crap in this stupid paragraph.
I feel like the most productive thing I’ve managed to do this week is cry for about 2-3 minutes of every hour that I’m awake. Yeah, I’ve got the controlled cry (feel it, cry it out, wipe tears, get back to the grind) down to a science. I have no idea why I even bother with makeup in the morning. I do at least wear waterproof mascara.
It is one of the happiest times of my life, and I am literally furious 98% of the time. Oh there’s a bunch of other emotions in there too, but if I had to characterize the emotions by color, I’m seeing shades of red most of the time. It almost feels primal.
After the second Grammy/ABM meltdown of the day, I told my mom, I don’t need Grammy right now. I need my mommy. I need a hug. A there, there it’s going to be ok. I need a chicken casserole, and a pedicure. I need a day without questions that ultimately make me feel like an invisible, but somehow still schnitty, new parent. I need a day to watch Netflix and drink cocoa in my PJs. I need some nurturing. I need someone to plan things for me for the next couple of weeks so I can collect myself. I need someone to ask me how I’m doing and really, really mean it and not judge me when I say I’m really, really not doing ok.
Maybe she heard me. Probably not. My attitude and outlook is not the best this week.
Time for a controlled cry break, a shower and some coffee. Time to get this hump day going.