While they discussed options for celebrating Mother’s Day, I excused myself from the dinner table, retreated to my closet, and cried.
It was that kind of weekend. Preceded by that kind of week.
We had something every single day this week. Extracurriculars, meetings, appreciation dinners, commitments at our parish, a work thing for Superman, a performance, a game night and our weekly “junk night,” which both gave way to new plans for hanging out with both our parents. Full week.
Little Miss can be intense sometimes. She feels very deeply and can empathize with almost anyone. Her heart is full of compassion, which sometimes leads to worry of others. She’s also extremely hard on herself and the child can have a temper that you wouldn’t expect from someone so compassionate.
She’s gifted, which means her brain is wired differently. It also means her normal emotional scale is much higher than the average child her age. Add to that a week like the one described above, and it’s a recipe for disaster.
I am a planner. Superman can be a little more spontaneous, but he likes contingencies. Little Miss thrives when everything is planned and when things go according to said plan.
I’m pretty sure we were all sleep deprived this week. Superman and I had nearly no couple time together, as we fell asleep nearly immediately after getting home (late) and getting Little Miss to bed.
It was also Teacher Appreciation Week last week and we wanted to bring coffee and donuts and treats to the teachers in the morning, which meant leaving the house earlier to buy these things. Which meant waking up earlier.
By Friday, we were all a little spent.
Pumpkin Spice Latte Face
Rachel and I have a “PSL face” that we use when we see or hear something crazy. For Rachel, it’s almost involuntary. I love it. For both of us, we use little emojis to let one another know when we’re feeling a little PSL face-y via text. We tend to use an orange because the only pumpkin is a Jack-o-lantern.
Here’s my Friday evening text to Rachel:
We were supposed to have a family game night at home Friday night. We opted to hang out with my parents and brother for a little bit, came home to a mini junk night (with a glass of wine) and Barbie and the Secret Door. It’s one of my favorite Barbie movies. I fell asleep on the love seat with Little Miss in my arms. Not exactly the family time we’d planned for.
Saturday began blissfully, but by the end of it, the exhaustion set in in Little Miss. We got into tiny arguments over everything and I fell asleep before Superman came to bed. Rough afternoon and evening.
This day, too, began well. We were united in goal and mind. As the day unfolded, though, timelines began to shrink and change and the window of our usual Sunday movie and junk night grew smaller and smaller until it wasn’t a feasible option.
Little Miss didn’t react with her usual intensity. Instead she said just above a whisper, with tears in her eyes, “We didn’t get very much family time this weekend.”
My hear broke a little, but then we sat down to eat dinner and began discussing the week, including Mother’s Day. There I was, feeling like a failure as a mother (and, yeah, okay, also a wife) after hearing my daughter’s words about family time and she suggested to Superman that they give me some time by myself for Mother’s Day.
I broke. While they continued to discuss options for celebrating Mother’s Day, I excused myself from the dinner table, retreated to my closet, and cried.
There’s Beauty in the Breakdown
You know that Frou Frou song from Garden State, “Let Go?” Listen to it here if you don’t. There’s a line that says, “It’s alright, ’cause there’s beauty in the breakdown.”
As I sat in the dark of my closet, weeping, I was able to see clearly. This–this hectic, overscheduled, over-committed, bursting calendar family we’ve become–is not what I want for us.
Our Family Vision
Superman joined me in the closet and I expressed this to him. There, on the floor, in the dark, we redefined our family vision.
1. Our immediate family comes first. If we’ve committed to a family game night, nothing can supersede that.
2. Weekends are sacred. Obviously, we will attend Mass and Faith Formation on Sunday, but we will not schedule things that distract us from family time on the weekends.
3. Make time for play. Poor Little Miss. We have several parks nearby and the girl definitely had a good supply of playthings, but when we’re always running, it’s hard to squeeze that time in. Play time is going to take priority. She’s a child. She needs it. We do, too.