Friday, February 19, 2010
I've been a little raw over the past few days. In less than one month it will be the anniversary of my late mother's birthday. She would have been turning 59, just on the cusp of becoming a "little old lady" as she put it so many years ago. I often try to picture what she would be like in the present day. Whether she would be embracing the faded loveliness of her hair or still touching it up with the Clairol mixture she kept under the bathroom sink. If some semblance of today's fashions would be migrating into her closet or if she would be sweetly commenting that my outfit looked better when I wore the original version back in the 80's. And then I picture her with my kids - her grandbabies. The more I think about it lately, the harder it gets to let the dream go.
The connection might not make much sense to you, but this is how my mind functions in self-preservation mode. The month before the date I'm over analyzing, and the month after I agonize. Yet the date in question is usually endured with a minimal amount of pain or with no recollection at all (until I realize I missed it. Hence the post-agonizing.) Sometimes I feel like an emotional pressure cooker, leaking stress out in measured increments to ensure the lid never flies off the pot or the contents go boiling over the sides.
I bring this up because I find myself applying the same tactics to stressful dates with my kids. Allergist appointments or birthday parties with Scootch. Special events or milestones with Monkey. People tell me how great and pulled together I am when they see me, but they have no clue how much I fail to hold on to that composure pre and post game. Nerves, temper, anxiety, insomnia. And on top of that I wonder how well I succeed (or how badly I fail) in hiding these responses from my kids. They absorb so much by observation, and I'm afraid of what they see in me sometimes. Are they paying attention when I'm handling everything well, or are they taking notes when the cracks are visible on the surface? Some days its just so hard to remember how to breathe.
I went back to the doctor yesterday because I just feel like I need to make a choice. Pressure cooker or not, I decided there has to be some way to turn down the heat. Or somebody is bound to get burned.