“stop trying to do everything by yourself.”

I woke up last Friday to find that my seven year old’s cheek was the size of a golf ball. It was red, swollen and looking very very painful. I asked him if it hurt and he said, “No but it feels a little weird.” I swear to God if I’d never seen him react to a stubbed toe I would think his tolerance for pain was extraordinary.

Turns out the poor guy had an infected tooth. We got the medicine and I am happy to report that he is well on his way to healing.

The whole experience threw me for a loop. Hello, worst Mother of the year over here, what with allowing my kid’s cavity to get so bad it became infected. We have the appointment booked to get it fixed but not until early November.  Until then, I guess I just have to let this enveloping feeling of guilt peppered with a bit of failure consume me.

Uhh yes the dramatics, hop on board, I’m sure you’ll enjoy the ride.

But seriously, the anxiety as of late, is coming at me from every direction and I don’t know what else I can do to fend this bitch off.

I worry about Lars and his tooth, I worry about Sophie and this newfound teenage attitude she’s dowsing herself in. I worry about school and if I am doing enough to help them along in what is the most important endeavour of their young lives. I worry about the shop and how to bring more customers in. I worry about money. I worry about time, because there’s never enough of it. And each time I conquer a hurdle I am oh so fucking worried about another worry pops up from the shadows. It’s as though it was just waiting there, ready to pounce as soon as I let out the tiniest sigh of relief.

Yesterday I started crying, like, what else is new? I was crying because of this overwhelming quilt of stress that started asphyxiating me. I didn’t exactly know how to remedy it. So I figured after a good ole blubber sesh I’d be able to pull myself together and pretend to be a functioning adult.

Well, the plan would have worked if not for my meddling husband. He was all, “What’s wrong Hunny?” and, “How can I help you right now Lindsay?”  Which was totally sweet, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes a gal just needs to wallow for a little while to get her wits about her.

So with a wrinkled cry-face and on the verge of hyperventilating I told my husband what was wrong.

“I’m just so stressed out Jamie.” I said because I thought it may not be very clear at that point. “I feel like an awful mother. I’m always such a basket case of anxiety, I don’t think I’ve been spending enough time with the kids, I should be helping out more at the school and I just feel like I’m totally failing my family.” My words were barely comprehensible, but Jamie being the star he is, knew just what to say.

“Stop being so stupid.” Awe so sweet. “Stop trying to do everything by yourself. There are two of us you know.” He said grabbing my shoulders and looking into my soul as he does from time to time.

“But what about tomorrow?” I said, “Tomorrow I need to make a fruit platter for Sophie’s class, talk to the office about Lars’ medication, make Halloween treats for the shop, get the kids ready for the Halloween parade at school, AND OPEN THE STORE!” I’m not going to lie, I was hysterical by this time and unravelling more and more by the second.

He pulled me in close and hugged me hard, almost as though he knew that I may explode at any moment and he was merely trying to hold me together. It worked. Once again my brilliant husband held me together. Man, I love that guy.

“Lindsay, you do the things you need to do at the school tomorrow. I will open the store.” He said calmly – not to spook the monster that was retreating back into her hiding spot. “We are a team, we can do this.” He smiled at me, “I fucking love you.”

“I fucking love you too.” I said.

And with the help of my best friend I moved on to the next hurdle that needed slaying.

 

 

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I’m not saying I ‘hate’ Christmas concerts, but…

Dear over excited parents at the Christmas concert,

The spot lights shone brightly giving the holiday decor a magical twinkle upon the stage. I could see the excitement in my son Lars’ eyes as he silently went over his rehearsed songs of Yule tide merriment. And similar to every Christmas concert in the history of mankind the crowd was abuzz with anticipation.

Now I’m not going to come right out and say that I loathe these types of childlike concerts. I’m sure if I did I’d find an angry mob of all you Christmas do-gooders busting down my door at any given moment.  And beside the point, it’s not that I detest them or anything- I mean they have a few upsides I suppose.

I get to dress my kid up in a super awesome Christmas suit. So adorable.

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His excitement leading up to the event is irrefutably charming.

And not to mention I can secretly judge all of the other kids and come to the obvious conclusion that mine is probably the only one destined for stardom.

So yeah, they definitely have their up points…But unfortunately they have their downs too.

There I am 40 minutes early to the matinee showing (because that’s how big of a deal this thing is- it needs a matinee showing as well as an evening one). I walk into the gymnasium and to my utter surprise more than half of the chairs are already occupied. There goes my bright idea of arriving early to get a good seat. It makes me wonder what time you all arrived to get such good spots.

I peruse towards the nearest set of open seats. Back and back…And back some more.

By the time I find a seat I begin to wish I had thought to bring my fancy theater binoculars because where I sit I can’t see hide nor hair of my son. But thems just the ropes in the Christmas concert game I guess. After waiting an excruciatingly long time- for no reason whatsoever since I didn’t get a good seat anyways- the play had begun.

The only way I could determine this was by the horde of parents getting up out of their seats and into the aisle to engage in an impromptu photo shoot with their kid. Sophie had been sat in that very aisle as she couldn’t see her brothers performance anywhere else. I nearly lost her in the stampede of manic parents. Good thing I’m quick like a cat and nabbed the back of her coat to pull her out of the mob just in the nick of time. It was close though.

Don’t get me wrong I would have loved to get a picture of Lars singing his little heart out but seriously…When I saw the grown adults literally shoving/climbing/all out pushing past each other down the three foot wide aisle I decided to pass. I couldn’t risk a shanking now; they were just starting in on Jingle Bell Rock.

It was almost as though the pandemonium of the Kindergarten/Gr.1 concert turned some of my fellow parents into raving lunatics. At one point a kid made a (let’s face it) mediocre joke on stage- as an adult you do what’s right and give them a chuckle and a clap- that is all that is required. It’s cute; I’d even go as far to say endearing. What it is not, is hilarious. Especially not so hilarious that you should feel the need to reach over and grasp the shoulder of a complete stranger (this being my husbands said shoulder) and while red faced begin laughing hysterically and slapping your knee. It is inappropriate to touch an unfamiliar person in the best of circumstances, so this my friend was just plain weird. Take ‘er down a notch bud, you’re causing a scene.

I’m not really even sure what everyone was getting so up in arms about anyways- I couldn’t understand a damn word coming out of the kids mouths. Maybe they needed some more mic training or maybe it was a poor sound system. Or even more plausibly I just couldn’t understand them due to my crap-ass seat. In any case even if the jokes were knee slappin’ funny, I wouldn’t have heard them anyhow.

But still throughout the chaos and blatant confusion I managed to catch a few glimpses of Lars and from what I did see- he was fantastic. It was something I wouldn’t have missed for the world. However, it was also something I would never, ever in a million fiery years of hell volunteer to do if I absolutely didn’t have to. Call me cold, call me heartless, but I just couldn’t bring myself to join the multitude of parents afterwards crying over how ‘beautiful’ and ‘magical’ the spectacle had been. Yeah my kid was great- but I’m pretty sure every mother in the place was thinking that too about their own kid. In other words, “it was a performance that only a mother could love.”

As parents we do things that sometimes make us feel uncomfortable. And sometimes once we venture out of our little comfort bubble we discover that we can wholeheartedly enjoy the new adventures accompanied with parenting. For me, Christmas concerts will never be one of those special thought provoking moments. I can safely say I will strongly dislike the event for probably the entirety of my time on this earth.

So now that I’ve warned you- please don’t be offended when I respectfully decline the next invite you give me to your child’s Christmas concert.

Sorry, not sorry.

Love,

Grinchy Concert Parents Everywhere

 

Why it is best to keep those opinions to yourself

This last month, as the temperatures have dropped and the frigid wind chills have spiked, I’ve been getting early morning phone calls from my son’s teacher directing me not bring Lars to school because it is just too damn cold outside.

The first day it happened, I was understanding and actually a little grateful since I too wasn’t looking forward to venturing out in the frosty air. But the second time it happened I was a bit irked, in my opinion it was not even close to being cold enough to warrant school closures.

But instead of doing anything constructive with my peeved nature I got on the blower and proceeded to call my Mom and tell her how ‘pissed off’ I was that the school had called this cancellation. My Mother-in-law called a little later as Lars and Sophie sat at the kitchen table eating, and while I unloaded the dishwasher I also vented to her, about these feelings of piss-off-ery that stewed within my belly.

This all happened on a Friday.

The weekend proved to cheer me up, and although the temp was still cold, we managed to have a great weekend of frolicking and loveliness.

Monday morning came, as it always has, and Lars was chomping at the bit to get to school as today was the day that he was going to be the star of his class. It was his special day- a day where one child is selected to bring in a toy for show and tell, a parent/grandparent to share in this day as well as the prize of leading the entire class in their activities.

Oh how my son was excited!

But when I heard the phone ring, my heart dropped. No, this can’t be…There is no way this is happening!

But it was happening. Another day another class closure. I kept my cool on the phone as I spoke to his teacher, but upon hanging up I grabbed Jamie who had stayed home from work to ATTEND Lars’ special day with him, and dragged my husband into the next room.

“THEY DID IT AGAIN! No school today…” I hissed in muted tones, sadness for my son welling up in the form of water upon my tear ducts.

“WHAT THE HELL!” I could tell Jamie was feeling just a dejected for our boy as I was. “It’s okay I will still take him out today to do something special, just him and I. I’m sure he will forget all about school, if we do something fun.”

“Should we tell him?”

“No, I will tell him in the car once we get going. If he even asks that is.”

We most definitely underestimated our 5 year old son that day.

As Lars and Jamie were driving, Lars suddenly realized he did not have his backpack. He then took notice of them moving in the opposite direction of his school and finally he came to the conclusion that he didn’t even have a toy to show off for his special day.

“DAD! We have to go back, I don’t have my backpack for school! And I need to pick a toy.”

Jamie bit his upper lip in accordance with what he was about to tell his son. “Well Lars, actually your school has been closed today buddy…”

“NO! My friends are waiting there for me Dad!” The child’s voice was wavering and on the brink of total annihilation.

“No man, it was too cold for school today bud. The teachers couldn’t make it to school…But we are going to go do something fun, just you and me today!” Jamie attempts to put on his biggest smile as he drives down the icy roads. But Lars begins frantically looking out the back tinted windows, for what, we still aren’t completely sure.

The tears of lost anticipation are now running down his rosy cheeks in torrents and he is gasping for air. Meltdown mode has officially commenced. And how can anyone blame the kid, he was looking forward to this day for weeks.

He then looks Jamie directly in the eye through the vans rear-view mirror and says, “My teachers HAVE to go to school today…If they don’t my Mom is going to be so piss off!”

“What?! What did you say Lars?”

“If my teachers don’t go to school…Mom, said she is going to be SO piss off!”

Jamie, startled by the boy’s colorful language, realized this probably isn’t something he conjured up on his own so instead of scolding him, he stifled a chuckle and explained gently that he cannot use that kind of language…And, that Mom will get over it.

“Okay Dad,” Lars says, while beginning to calm himself down,  “we can go do something special just you and me…But I really hope Mom doesn’t get piss off about it.”