running on empty

Maybe it was the fact that I had to make coffee this morning.

Maybe it was Ryan asking me if I could please vacuum downstairs. Like it was just no big deal. It doesn't sound like a big deal. It's only 3 words: "please vacuum downstairs." You know what else is 3 words? "Please cure cancer." Also, "do the splits," and "break sound barrier," and "only eat salads." Are these things possible? Absolutely! Are they currently accessible to me? Mmmmmmmm.... notsomuch.

For me to accomplish vacuuming downstairs I have to go through at least 8 or 9 steps, with very specific timing to Chicken's naps and Buster's naps, because the vacuum cleaner lives in Chicken's closet, so I have to go in and get it while Chicken is awake, but is sufficiently engaged in an activity for long enough for me to leave him unattended. I then have to hide the vacuum until he goes to sleep because once he sees the vacuum he will start howling "HELPIN HELPIN HELPIN HELPIN" until I find some way for him to help. It's incredibly sweet but also makes everything longer and harder. Then I have to actually take the vacuum downstairs and vacuum, then I have to do the hide-vacuum-until-I-can-return-it-to-Chicken's-closet-after-he's-awake limbo.

Maybe it was the fact that the landlady is coming over today to trim the verge and sweep out the dead leaves from the walk and driveway, so again, Ryan mentioned to me, hey no big deal, can you just move the car out of the driveway by 12:15? To do that, I have to figure out where I can safely leave two unattended children inside my house for up to two minutes, which is an eternity in toddler time. Or I have to put them in their car seats for a 14 second drive out onto the street. In hindsight I should have asked Ryan to move the car before he left.

Maybe it was the sound of Chicken laughing maniacally in the backseat after I decided to make our 14-second drive a 20-minute drive and got him a juice box at the drive-thru Starbucks. I turned around to see that he'd squeezed, oh, about half of the juice box into his lap, and splashed apple juice spatter onto the floor, car windows, and the car books on the middle seat.

Maybe it was when I opened the glove box and discovered that I was out of napkins.

Maybe it's the twinges in my wrists from lifting a hefty baby. Maybe it's the nagging sharp ache in my back from wrestling Chicken into his car seat. He says he wants climb into his car seat himself but he's just trying to buy enough time to scramble into the driver's seat and pretend to drive the car.

Maybe it was breaking the mother fucking lightbulb as I tried to screw it into the base.

Whatever it was, it did the trick. I'm officially red-lining today.

I'm trying to remind myself of all that is good and right and beautiful in the world. I'm trying to maintain some perspective that all of these annoyances will be dust in the wind in a matter of days, gone from my memory forever. I should be grateful for my health and the health of my family, for the food on the table and the clean water in the tap. For a loving marriage and friends who don't need me to explain why, despite all these blessings, my world is a stressful, irritating place.

I am just having one of those mornings. I don't care about the bombings in Gaza. I don't care about how low I rank on the global scale of suffering. Today I'm selfish and impatient. I'm in a terrible fucking mood. All I want to do is get away from my children and eat my weight in lasagna, followed by all of the cake in the state of Washington.

I made a pact with myself when I took my blog public that I would only ever post when I had something to say that would mean something to people who read it. Blogging can so easily turn into wildly dull "me-me-me" indulgence, and I have no interest in wasting anyone else's time with my navel-gazing.

So why, you might be asking yourself, did I publish this post? For the same reason I always dance at weddings. Because I am not a great dancer. And if I get out on the floor and dance badly with great enthusiasm, that gives other people permission to do the same.

I don't ever want to give the impression from this blog or from my life that I have my shit together. I am a sloppy, cranky, underslept, flailing mess just as often as I am a patient, creative, community-minded passionate Aaron Sorkin enthusiast and mother of two.

I am not my best self today. And I'm writing this for the people who are reading this, feeling like they're not their best selves today either.

I'm not going to tell you to feel better. I think you have to feel like shit for a little while. Just sit with it. When you're ready, you'll come back. You always do.

This is what I'm going to do to find my way back:

1. Bake a frozen lasagna for lunch.
2. Write this blog post while Chicken watches the Dora Purple Planet episode three times in a row.
3. Do something kind for someone (this is not philanthropy. I need to feel like a good person again. I'm doing something kind purely to feel good about myself. I'm basically doing it so I can be like "hey everyone! Come and see how good and kind I am!" Anchorman-style.)
4. After Chicken goes down, I'm going to watch an episode of Veep and eat oh so much lasagna.

Godspeed. Catch you on the flip side.


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