Monday, May 18, 2015

Consider the Ladybugs on the Gear Shift

My coping mechanism is broken. My current circumstances are a little difficult, but no more so than they have always been. The biggest difference between now and before is that, in the past, I have always been able to have my little whine-fest (which is nothing like a wine-fest, in case you were wondering) and then put on my big girl panties and move on. Presently, I am stuck in whine-fest mode. Maybe permanently. I mean, I certainly hope not. But right now I can't even find my big girl panties, let alone pull those bad girls on. I think they are probably buried under toys, and textbooks, and dirty laundry. All I can figure is that my coping mechanism is busted. Malfunctioning. Kaput. Broke. 
Apparently IT is what has brought me through all of my challenges in the past. And I am kind of lost without it. I have no energy, no patience, no vitality, no strength, and barely a desire to keep going. Barely.

I don't like this new me. She's ornery. And miserable. And no fun to be around. Thank goodness she still mostly has her sense of humor or all would be lost. Lost, I say. 

My children are unfortunately bearing the brunt of this lovely new persona. I daresay they deserve it most days. But other days, I am sure they are quite blown away by the sheer Medusa-ness of it all. I know I am.

That being said. Since I am hyper-tense and impatient much of the time, I have also tried to be hyper-sensitive to the tender mercies that surround me. Because they are what get me through each day. And get me out of bed when I wake up every morning thinking: I-don't-wanna. Don't. Wanna.

Case in point, I was recently having (another) rough morning with my 5-year-old. Because he is 5. And he specializes in rough mornings. He had simply decided (once again) that he didn't want me to drop him off where I do every other day before work and wanted me to take him to his friend's house instead. Ya know, why not? "Hey, I know you've got 4 little kids of your own to deal with, why don't you take care of mine too. Thanks!" It was not even a little bit of a possibility. A total non-option, if you will. But that was pure logic and sense. Which has no place in the world of a 5 year old. And it did not stop him from throwing the fit-of-the-century. Or maybe fit-of-the-week. Cuz let's be honest, if those things only came around once every hundred years, it would be the miracle-of-the-century. 

This was, of course, just as we were about to load up into the car. 
And it was a doozy. Out of nowhere. A screaming, hitting, kicking, crying, full-out tantrum. Like the kind that was going to bring us both to our untimely deaths as we tumbled headlong down the cement front steps because he wouldn't let go of my leg. (Let me take this brief moment to wonder, once again, what our neighbors must think of us. Never mind. I don't wanna know.) I proceeded to calmly (seethingly, grinding-my-teethingly, and barely containing my own screams-ingly) get into the (too-small-for-our-family, sole running) car without him. He proceeded to act even more like a shrieking, raging, horror-movie style lunatic. Like something that comes from the dark reaches of the back of a closet or chases you through a forsaken forest on a moonless night. Let's just say if he had been Old Yeller, I would have had to put him down. For the safety of all involved.

I had just closed the door after getting into the car. Mostly to block out the unbearable wailing that, like Willy Wonka's psychedelic boat trip, was certainly not showing any signs that it was slowing. I took a deep breath and wondered how and when I was going to get to work and thought to myself, for probably the 17th time already that day: I can't do this anymore. Any of it. I just can't. 

And then I looked over to the gear shift. And saw a ladybug. I opened the door and shouted to my little man (monster) that there was a ladybug in the car. Tantrum: Terminated. Immediately. Like a switch. Off. He ran over to the car and hopped right in without even thinking. He told me to hurry up and shut the door so it wouldn't get away. What ensued on the way to drop him off was some distracted driving the likes of which would put texting-while-driving to shame, as I tried to capture the ladybug in an empty envelope without killing it. I was able to successfully capture the bugger, though, and arrive safely to drop them both off. Without so much as another word of complaint. I was late to work (again) of course. But I was able to get there without inflicting any bodily harm on anyone. Including the ladybug.

And don't think that the simple appearance of that ladybug at just the right time has gone by unnoticed by me. I see it exactly for what it is. A tiny miracle in an otherwise chaotic morning to let me know that my struggles are known. That I am not alone. And it is the moments like those that get me through. And keep me going.

Because it reminds me. That no matter how broke or exhausted or alone I am. No matter how inept or incapable or insufficient I feel: 

There will always be a ladybug on my gear shift. Just when I need it.

1 comment:

  1. This is so sweet and beautiful. Kudos to you for seeing such a tiny thing for the tender mercy that it was intended to be. If I could, I'd be a ladybug on your gear shift any old day of the week. Love you so much.