Unfortunately it's not an En Vogue kind of breakdown. And yes, that dates me but I'm all right with that. I have this theory that the months that are supposed to be the most fun/cherished/highly anticipated are actually the most frantic/over-scheduled/Lordpleasegivemethestrengthtomakeitthrough kind of months. December and May I'm looking at you. December gets billed as the time for family togetherness and holiday cheer. And I DO find those things every year, it's just that I usually find them after I've had a nervous breakdown over the shopping, baking, wrapping, and partying that has to be done first. So then there's May. Supposedly a time of great weather, the end of school, beginning of summer, graduations, Mother's Day (my birthday as well as approximately half of my mother's family), Memorial Day bbqs, May is also a time of severe storms, writing finals, allergy flares, the end of a regular schedule for school-age children and their parents, grading, packing up classrooms, and buying gifts/food for parties/celebrations for graduates/mothers/Blackwoods. It can be exhausting. And I'm exhausted.
I know I'm not alone. Many of the blogs I read are singing from the same hymnal on this one and a glimpse at facebook will tell the same story. We are all tired. We all need a break. Or some of us need to have a breakdown (that's me). I could tell you all the things that happened to bring me to the edge of sanity, but they can all mostly be summed up in a few bullet points.
*My husband is deployed. That is a difficult situation for a marriage and a family.
*My children are young. They require constant care and I am currently the only person here to do so.
*There are times when it seems that all things decide to break. I have in the past three weeks addressed the following; garage door (twice), garbage disposal, lawnmower, the damage to the car where someone hit it in a parking lot, the screw in the car's tire, the broken windshield on the car, Oreo's back (for the third time), Tricare's billing practices, the vacuum cleaner, Sweet Girl's car seat (from the flu incident), the DVD player, the various things that can go wrong/need to be done to sell a house when you are hundreds of miles away from said house.
OK, so it looks like I did list everything instead of summarizing. But I promise I spared you some of the very whiny details.
Anywaaaaaaaayyyy.....I'm exhausted. This exhaustion led to poor decision-making on my part this morning. This poor decision-making led to Little Man being locked in the car-with the keys in his hand- in the Ft Campbell mini-mall this morning. Let me just give you a minute to revel in that awesome parenting. My 14 month-old son was locked in our car for about 40 minutes this morning while I stood outside of it crying. There is nothing as effective in crystallizing all of your parenting insecurities and doubts as the click of a car door lock. Nothing. In the space of that click, I went from getting things done to negligent mother. That click can bring you low like nothing else.
We were on post to get the tire looked at and to get a new sticker for the car. Because the windshield is being replaced, we will need to have a new sticker so that we can have access to post without a search every time we go through the gate. I thought I was being proactive by getting this done before the new windshield was actually on the car (saving me a search on the way to vehicle registration with the new and consequently naked windshield). The office was amazingly empty and the service was efficient and courteous. They gave me a razor blade to scrape off the old sticker before they gave me a new one, so I gathered up Little Man who was flirting with a female soldier and headed out to the parking lot. At first I put Little Man at my feet, but he didn't want to cling to my leg like I thought he should in a busy parking lot. I picked him up and he grabbed the car keys from my hand. I thought nothing of it as I let him shake the keys all the time while he's in some cart or another when we run errands. Also I always have a spare key in my purse, so it's no big deal if he pushes the buttons on the keyless entry. I quickly put him in the driver's seat (it was closest) and shut the door so I could finish scraping off the sticker. Razor blade to glass and click. He found the keyless entry buttons.
Disbelief at the situation is the first thing that popped up. And then, "Oh yeah, spare key!" Except, thanks to the dog going after the emergency stash of kid snacks (My purse was on the floor because Little Man had a diaper explosion as we were headed out the door to drop Sweet Girl off at school. In my haste to get her there on time I left my purse on the floor while I used eleventy fifty thousand wipes to clean up Little Man. Oreo likes Frito's and has an excellent nose.) I had accidentally dumped the spare key out of my purse in the world's fastest purse clean-up. Now I start to ask Little Man to "hit the button" from the other side of the glass. He's having a great time: knocking on the glass window, shaking the keys, pushing buttons just never the right button. I feel like vomiting (this car has the effect on people) but call for roadside assistance instead. The very nice woman on the other end of the phone informs me that it will be faster for her to call the fire department rather than one of the response vehicles they use. Fine. The fire department informs me they will have to break a window. Fine. Whatever it takes to get Little Man out of the car and in my arms.
This all transpires in about 25 minutes. At one point I look around and realize that I'm in the company of fire fighters who are working hard to figure out a way to not cause me added expense while still getting me my son and my keys, as well as a chaplain who just happened to be in the parking lot and saw a crazy woman in distress. He was putting his phone up to the window to entertain Little Man with his parrot app, while the chaplain's assistant had run back to his car thrown his dry cleaning off its wire hanger and was attempting to unlock the car from the outside. Little Man thought this was all great. So many people watching him! So many people playing "Knock, Knock" on the window with him! Look at that parrot! And that guy, with the wire thing he wants me to grab! Then one of the fire fighters points out that it's not hot out today and Little Man is just fine...was I sure I didn't want to call a locksmith? He promised they'd stay there until Little Man was out so if it looked like something was going awry on the inside they'd break the window they had taped. I indicated that was fine with me if it was fine with him that I was choosing to save money over expediency. He didn't seem to think that was a problem.
I ran back into the vehicle registration office. I returned the razor blade and through more tears explained to the nice woman what was happening. She recommended a lock smith that was nearby, gave me the phone number, and gave me my new sticker. Oh yeah, that's why we were here in the first place. I called the locksmith. The woman on the other end cut me off when she heard the words "my son" and got on their radio system. Turns out there was someone already at a call on post. He'd be there in 5-10 minutes. Tony pulls up with his van of tricks and his ZZ Top beard, and pops the passenger side door lock in 5 minutes. The car alarm goes off and I nearly tackled a fire fighter opening the driver side door. It is at that moment Little Man decides to cry. Join the club, buddy.
So 40 minutes, 40 dollars, a million " thankyouthankyouthankyous", and a new sticker later, Little Man and I are on our way home. The drive from post to our house - about 20 minutes - is filled with sobbing. This was too much. It's all coming out. I called Amy because the poor girl always has to hear me cry over the phone. I'm incredibly disappointed in myself and that upsets me. But I don't think I was crying because I was cursing our bad luck. I'm pretty sure I was crying because we have been so incredibly lucky and I'm scared of what happens with that luck runs out. When our car was hit, no one was hurt. The guy came in the restaurant to find me instead of driving away. Oreo's fine now. All the things around the house were relatively easy to fix or call someone to have come fix. The screw in the tire was discovered at a time and place where it can be fixed rather than having it combust while I'm driving my two small children somewhere on the interstate. We have a house to sell. Little Man was in a car in Tennessee in mid-May and the skies were overcast and the weather was cool. Through the kindness of strangers he had the best 40 minutes of his day. We get to hear from Sean more than most people. He is tired and misses us, but he is ok. We are tired and exhausted, but we are blessed and we are lucky. And that's what I'm trying to focus on. Click.