I've always had this image of myself, and I think it's pretty much borne out by reality, of being rational and level-headed and overall a clear thinker. I don't have a reputation for being high-maintenance. And I thought I was pretty equal to most situations. And maybe I still am, but this move is testing the limits of my emotional equilibrium.
I don't often write about being in a bad mood or feeling out-of-control, because I know that what's written is written, even when the moment passes, as it inevitably does. But lately, I live on the edge. It's been about eight weeks since we left Texas, and each week has been more difficult than the last. Perhaps that's to be expected: we're finally coming up on making an offer on a house in Columbus, with all the stress that entails; we're encountering frustrating delays with the relocation company regarding our house in Texas; we only see Darwin on the weekends (and the baby is four months old, with all the cyclical unpredictableness that entails); and the kids are unsettled and acting out. But I don't like my metamorphosis into some who's often on the verge of tears all day. I don't like the shaky panic I feel in my stomach when it's 3:00 or 4:00 in the afternoon and I remember that Daddy's not coming home tonight. And I don't like the increasing frequency with which I take all this out on the kids, who in turn have discovered that Mommy will allow them to watch hours of old cartoons after lunch so that she can just get some peace and quiet.
All this culminated this morning in my bursting into tears while bargaining with a policeman I discovered attempting to tow my van for having expired Texas plates. (And I'm delighted to discover that profiling is not practiced in the state of Ohio, since the cop solemnly declared of my four-year-old minivan bursting with children's paraphernalia, "Sometimes drug dealers use cars with expired plates and park 'em on the side streets here.") He magnanimously desisted after my strangled yelp in response to his suggestion that since I didn't have a permanent Ohio address, I could get temporary tags in my dad's address and bring them to the impound lot, but I was left with a citation and my dad's uniquely unparkable garage in which to house the minivan that dare not show its plates. This was compounded by the oddly out-of-body experience of weeping maudlin thanks to the sympathetic neighbor -- me! crying in public! To a person I've only ever nodded at! MrsDarwin, I hardly knew ye.
I know that this is not the end of the world, or even all that horrible a problem. People around the world are starving, are ill, are being abused or wondering if that dreaded knock on the door will come today, and my big issue is how to register a van in a new state before I fly to Texas tomorrow night. My life is not that bad, but it is wildly chaotic, and I'm dismayed to find that I can't handle it like I thought I could.
Today is Veterans' Day, and I salute all the military wives and mothers who hold up their families and our country. You're braver than I can be.