Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

This Too

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.


RL said...

Aww, you have a lot on your plate and are working through it. You're entitled to a bad day.

BTW, if the P.D. harasses you about the van again, just tell them that you're just visiting from Chillicothe and they should be grateful the car isn't sitting on blocks on the front lawn. They'll cede point and leave you alone.

mrsdarwin said...

RL, this neighborhood is trying to re-gentrify, so if I said I was from Chillicothe, I might get hauled off to the slammer. :)

Jamie said...

We spent six weeks apart from my husband in '05, after he took the job he has now. I was about 6.5 months pregnant with #4 when he started, and I thought I would lose my mind.

Prayers and sympathy.

PS Is it partially the time of year? Being so much farther north = less light in the gloomy season? November always leaves me weeping about the stupidest things.

bearing said...

Good to know I am not the only one who reacts to strings of husband-business-trips with awe at the inner strength of the spouses of active military service members.

ekbell said...

I remember packing up our house and dealing with moving details with four children (youngest four mths) while my husband started work half-way across the continent.

Over two months of being a single mother in a stressful situation certainly confirmed my awe for all moms who deal with this on a regular basis!

My prayers are with you

Barb said...

Is there anything I can do to help you out?

Christina said...

I second what Jamie says. For a while I worked a night shift in the middle of winter and I almost never saw daylight. I ended up weeping like a baby IN FRONT OF MY BOSS.

After that I realized that I had always had a mild depression (and continual low grade cold) in the winter. Now, once it's too cold to get adequate sunlight, I take large amounts of Vitamin D (~4000+ IU/day more if I feel a little sick). With this my energy level and mood improve drastically.

Dorian Speed said...

I hope everything settles down for you soon. It's really hard to remain sane when you're trying to Be The Mom but are not in your own house, not to mention all of the other stresses on your family right now.

Skywalker said...

The kids and I stayed with my parents while our family was moving, which meant that we only got to see my husband on the weekends. My oldest was terrible during that time which confused me a lot because I thought kids would only act out when their parents were fighting or upset, which we weren't. I finally realised that he just was reacting badly to change. Thank goodness it doesn't last forever. I'll be praying for you!

Rebekka said...

I remember (very vaguely) my dad moving ahead to start work when I was about 5, and my mom had to sell, pack up the house, and drive us all to northern California while she was pregnant with my youngest sister. We finally moved in with my dad in this horrible, temporary, tiny apartment where my sister and I slept on the floor in the living room and a week later there was a rainstorm and the creek in the backyard flooded the whole place. Ack.

Also, I second (third?) the whole autumn stress disorder thing. I moved to Denmark in October and started crying more or less immediately. It was like SAD and culture shock and stress and everything all in one and I actually ended up on anti-depressants. So remember to take care of mom!

I will be praying for you guys, that things resolve quickly with the moving around and housing, that the kids are little angels until Dad gets home, and that all of you are able to stay on an even keel.

Banshee said...

Get some plantlights or some red- and some blue-tinted white lights for your house. That will help with the lack of sunlight.

Vitamin D, B vitamins (especially B-12), Vitamin A, Vitamin C -- all very good for winter. And iron.

Eat some braunschweiger with mustard on rye, you'll feel better. You're in the right place to find feel-good German food. :)

Julia said...

Praying for you.

BettyDuffy said...

I freak out all the time when my husband's traveling, and take it out on my blog. Thank God for the New Media!

Anonymous said...

Be a little gentle with yourself, Mrs Darwin. Remember that we are instructed to love one another as we love ourselves - I take this to mean that you should be no less (if no more) kind to yourself than you think you should be to other people.

If you expect from yourself what you would expect from someone else in your circumstances, you'll probably be a lot kinder than you're being at the moment.

Many years ago, I stayed in our old house to sell it while my husband moved 1000 miles away for a new job. Finished wallpapering and painting; sold the house; organised movers; packed everything into tea-chests; moved into my mother's for a week; dealt with an infestation of head lice on the children's last day of school; packed them into the car (four, aged between 3 and 10); drove 1000 miles; unpacked; got them started in their new school and kindergarten. Then, a week after we arrived, I collapsed and was taken to hospital with mysterious physical symptoms that turned out to be nervous collapse brought on by trying to be superwoman. Lesson learned? Not likely - but God is good about letting you repeat the lessons you don't get the first time.

Emily J. said...

Sometimes it just gets ugly. Thank goodness for the capacity of the mind to block bad memories.

Calah said...

When my husband and I moved to Las Vegas three years ago with one toddler and a baby on the way, I felt just the same as you. I didn't even have a husband gone most of the time; he was only gone about eight hours a day, but those eight hours were torture and my daughter began to develop the ability to quote episodes of Kipper the Dog from memory.

I wish I could tell you that it gets better right away, but it took me years to make even a few friends. However, it was my first move away from family and we knew no one here. You seem to have a little better handle on the situation.

All that to say, I don't really have anything to tell you that will help, or that you don't already know, but I feel your pain (as trite as that expression may be). Sometimes no amount of B vitamins in the world can make pseudo-single parenthood easier. I'll keep you and your family in my prayers.