My hands are shaking and I’m out of breath. It’s taking everything in me to calm down. Who do I get like this? What is wrong with me? Why can’t I just make it through a day the way everyone else can?
I woke up at 3:30 am. Yo ho, yo ho, a baker’s life for me. I went to work and had an amazing day there. Meaning; I didn’t break anything and all of my dough turned into bread. Major victory for me.
Then I showered and got the kids ready and went to my friend Jess’ house to hang out with her. Total safe person. Totally safe place.
It was about 12:30. Nap time. I was awake for about 9 hours already. And then I did it. I went to the store.
I had Kohl’s cash and I needed to use it before it expired. So we piled into the car, and then back out again. Maybe a little hungry. Definitely a little tired. I made about 10 little decisions that each slowly sucked the life out of me. “What size is Lila now?” “Should I buy Daniel’s clothes to fit now or prepare for some unforeseen growth spurt?” “What is 40% off 18.99?” “How much money have I spent so far?” “Should Lila dress like a baby or a big girl?” “Math.”
At the checkout, there was nail polish and granola. There was a lot of discussion. Lila doesn’t beg. She proposes, rationalizes and presents. She’s so charming and sweet and very convincing. She is so much like her Daddy, and equally hard to resist. I managed the questions, asked Daniel to sit down…again, and kept an eye on the increasing price of our purchase. My math was a little off. Shocker.
I approached the exit, took a deep breath, and announced to the kids that we had one more stop. We dropped our bag off in the car and walked next door to get two things from the grocery store. Two things. But it felt like a daunting task. I had more choices to make, and there were more little questions going on in the background like the soundtrack in a movie that’s playing too loud to hear the actual movie, my phone was ringing and there was more math in the midst of it all. “I’m out of dry shampoo. This is totally the brand I’ve been wanting to try. I should grab it.” But I don’t. I walk away because all of a sudden, I can’t even take another minute in there and I have to leave.
By the time we made it back to the car, I had to take some serious deep breaths and close my eyes. Out of curiosity, I checked my heart rate; 103. We should go home. “Ok! Ready team?!” I said with fake cheer in my voice, “Let’s go home!” They seem convinced and in minutes we are home and they are fighting off sleep. Don’t worry, they won. There will be no nap and we have dance in two hours. I try to make an emergency salad. That is a thing. It’s when you are panic hungry and maybe have a bad ratio of coffee: water: food: time.
My thoughts are swirling in my head and I don’t know what to do besides let them out on this blank screen.
I love my life, I love my kids, I love my role, I even love nail polish, and new summer clothes for my kids, and the can of dry shampoo at the other end of the grocery store. It’s not that. It’s just me. It’s just the fluorescent lights and the sounds and the feeling that my clothes won’t just stay put. It’s the people and the 5 point safety harnesses. It’s the hungry and tired and thirsty all at once. But it’s really just me. Because looking around, I was the only one fighting through each intensely mediocre yet cripplingly overwhelming moment. It’s just the perfect combination of anxiety and shame.
Moments and words later and my heart rate is back to normal, my breathing has slowed, my salad is eaten and my kids are back to their natural habitat and habits. I’m fine, I’m just annoyed at how little it takes to make me not fine.