This was one of my favorite books as a kid. As the picture implies, I should have never left my bed yesterday. It was one of those days that you just ask, "Why?!". As a kid I romanticized my adult life. There wouldn't be these bad days that occur that make you want to run away or question your fertility. It was all going to be lace curtains and peaches, us living in our pristine house with our pristine children, days just filled with beautiful moments and smiles. No one told me that those days occurred maybe 10 days a year, and yesterday was NOT one of those days.
My day started out waking up from a dream. In it, I was approached by a friend that was trim and fit and told me about this great diet and exercise program he joined. Then he served me baby animal meats, insisting they were the key to the weight loss. After quickly processing the amount of money of these meats in my head, and the fact that I just can't bring myself to eat veal and lamb, I declined the "diet", but woke up motivated to do something, anything, for exercise. This was an obsessive thought I couldn't get out of my head. I even went so far as to tell Curtis to take pictures of me before I started on this exercise routine. For the record, these are pictures that the public will NEVER see. I threw on my old maternity sweats ('cuz they are all I have in the way of exercising clothes...not that I exercised while I was pregnant), a t-shirt, and searched out the P90X program Curtis had downloaded to our computer.
Looks legit, right? Well, after killing myself with multiple sets of push ups and chin ups (that I did with a weak rubber band), I lost use of my arms. I couldn't hold a phone without shaking from exertion. My shoulders were killing me. My knees had rug burns from doing modified push ups (that I once swore I would never do after pridefully finishing Basic Training). I couldn't even lift my arms to wash my hair.
Which brings me to my next point. While I was painfully taking a 7 minute shower, my three year old was raiding my closet. He found great enjoyment in pulling down most of my clothes. This wasn't just letting them slip off the hanger. No. He was hanging on the shirts until the hanger snapped and the clothes ripped through hanger and came down with it. As I picked up my clothes to rehang them, I found one of my favorite shirts (ok, so what if it was 13 years old and a little out of shape?), impaled with a hanger through the shoulder. Destroyed. Ruined. Never to be worn again. On the bright side, it was one less shirt I had to hang up, seeing how it wasn't without excruciating pain hanging up each shirt.
I yelled at the kids about how not to disrespect other people's property. I yelled about the state of our house, which can never seem to stay clean longer than 30 minutes. I yelled about poop in the bathroom and poop on the baby. I yelled about how it seems everyone just lives in their own little world without regard for others, or their feelings. And then I sat down and cried. Cried over my shirt, over having to change the 4th poopy diaper that day, over my room being stinky from the diaper, over the pain in my now useless arms, and over having autistic children that I assumed because they are 12, 8, 6 or 3 should be acting like 12, 8, 6 or 3 year olds. In a moment of great maturity for him, Isaac, with a broken hand, did the dishes, cleaned up the upstairs, and then came and gave me a hug. Which started more crying for me. Then he reminded we had a doctor appointment for his hand. In two hours.
We struggled to get everyone out of the house. Shoes were missing, socks had vanished, clothes were mismatched. Ammon continued to scream over everything and anything. This was fantastic; I already knew how the appointment was going to go. Somehow we showed up 30 minutes early for the appointment. I turned around an looked at my 6 children taking over the waiting room. They have a turtle aquarium and a Lego play area. Oh no, I think, the Legos. This is going to be a fight.
Ammon finds a little Lego wagon and fills it up with about 10 Legos, and pulls them over to show me. He toddles back, seemingly in a really good mood. The other boys have encircled the Lego table that sports three individual sections, and a bucket that drops down in the center of the table for extra Legos. Ammon decides he needs ALL those Legos. He didn't touch any that were on the three stations, but the ones in the center was his and he was not going to be happy until his wagon was heaped. Complaints start coming in from the other kids. I try to reason with Ammon. I try to split them. I try to convince him he has enough in his wagon for a wonderful creation. No. Nooo. NOOO! NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!! And the screaming commences after that. I pick him up, carry him to the receptionist desk to try to tell her I will be right out front until he settles down. She can't hear me because of the screaming. No one else in the office can hear. I use hand gestures to tell her where I will be, muffle Ammon's cry into my very sore shoulder, and lug him outside.
We sit there for about 10 minutes until he gets himself under control. While I was trying to tune out the screaming, I note how perfect it feels outside. How perfect the mountains look. How beautiful all the flowers are. Then I look back to my screaming, tear stained, red faced child. I try to take pity on him by rubbing his back and am met with a punch than lands on my arm. OWWW!! I feel like crying again.
Finally, he stops and we go back in the office. I open the door and hear Joshua now screaming. Someone hit him in the eye. When everyone is quiet, I notice I'm now surrounded by all six of my kids in a little kiddie waiting area. Even when things are so bad that we want to all run away from each other, somehow they all gravitate towards me. I purposely avoid any eye contact with other patients in the waiting room. I sit in a kiddie chair, scrunched down behind the wall. "Please", I pray, "Please let this go fast." Then I text an SOS message to Curtis. Mostly to vent, half hoping he would be my knight in shining armor and arrive before the end of this appointment so I don't look like the lunatic with the 6 kids in the waiting room.
I get called back to see the PA that was treating Isaac. She looks at me and smiles. She shakes my hand. She sympathizes. "I hate going to the doctor when I have all my kids too". She said this as 3 of my kids rotate in and out of the room and Ammon stands like glue next to my leg with his flushed face and death grip on the Lego wagon heaped with Legos. When we finally left the building, my kids charged across the empty parking lot like a pack of ravenous wolves. And I lugged Ammon, who had started screaming again that he needed the Legos and wagon to live at home with him.
By the time Curtis was able to leave, it was too late for him to come to the rescue at the doctor. Curtis and I got home at the same time. Dinner was served to the kids that they didn't eat. Clothes were changed and socks found that they didn't want to wear. We piled in the van again. It was date night...for the first time in 6 months, Curtis and I were going on a date and the kids were going to be with a sitter.
One slight problem: it was Cinco de Mayo, and traffic was insane. Of the three hours we had for date night, 1 hour was spent just trying to drive 15 miles. Dinner was good and we decided to go to Thanksgiving Point to see the tulip festival. Half way there we both come down with a headache...mine reaching migraine status. I didn't care. We WERE going to do this date. I was not going to give up. So what if I can't move my arms or carry a set of car keys, I was going to see the flowers!
The park is lovely, and it is sunset, my favorite time of day. Curtis snaps pictures while I walk. I thought we should have been having some kind of deep, meaningful conversation, but I can't form any logical thoughts. My brain is fried. My body is tired. My spirit feels defeated. The headache grows worse. Too soon its time to go and pick up the kids.
When the kids fell into bed exhausted and done for the day by 9:30, it was like we were in the Twilight Zone. They hadn't gone down for us so easily in weeks. Maybe it was angels helping me out. Maybe it was God recognizing a weary mother close to running away from home that needed just a few minutes of ease. Whatever it was, it was needed. While I woke up with the same pesky migraine, the kids were good today. Ammon screamed most of the morning, but went down for a nap this afternoon. The other kids have obediently did chores, watched out for each other, patiently taken turns on computers and did their schoolwork, and generally been quiet. For today, I don't quite feel like the mother ready to plead insanity. For today, my kids are beautiful, helpful kids. For today, I had a good laugh with my husband and my own mother.
Maybe its after days like this that the saying, "Take one day at a time" was said.