Let Down

Last week was awesome. Last week was terrible. Last week was overwhelming. Last week was normal.

It was probably the busiest week we’ve had as a family of four. A glimpse into our future life when the boys are in elementary school and have activities all the time. The exam for my class happened on Tuesday, the whole weaning C thing, we had a make up speech therapy session for C, so a total of three for the week, Z had work stuff a couple of nights, Friday both Z and I were room/snack parents for C and T’s classes, we had a playdate after school, and a dinner with friends that night. I was piping decorations on cookies before 8am and used C’s naptime to make a key lime pie that day.

Life. Normal life. Stressful, but doable.

I mean, doable in that I did it. Doable in that I will have to do it a million more times during the boys’ childhoods.

And that should be the focus. I shouldn’t give the anxiety a voice. But she dogged me all week. She whispered in my ear that I was hurting my son by weaning him. She told me that the 86% I got in the exam was embarrassing and pathetic. That if I can’t get an A in this class that there is no way I will be admitted to grad school. She told me to just give up on school, get out of the way so the real academics can do their work. She told me while I was at it I should give up jogging as well. Because I suck ass. When I realized I bought the wrong kind of juice for the kids’ snack at school (supposed to be 100% juice, the stuff I got was half lemonade half juice) she asked how I could even show my face in the classroom. I had to blink back tears as I explained my mistake to T’s teacher, mortifying myself completely. I was miserable most of the morning I spent there, which is so unfair to T. I hated myself for making the mistake and then for making such a big deal about the mistake. I couldn’t make eye contact with anyone. Almost bowed out of T’s playdate. Almost didn’t go to the dinner with friends.

None of the shit I had my panties in a twist over was terribly important. It continues to be humiliating to find regular life so hard. But I have an anxiety disorder. Engaging in life will always be a fight. I can either wallow and let it defeat me or acknowledge it and attempt to live anyway.

I do a lot of the former, but I’m trying hard for the latter.

The important thing is I met my obligations. Until I didn’t.

We got a babysitter for Saturday night. Z was part of the band playing a show at a venue in town. He was thrilled to be playing live again. One number was going to be performed by the band on half a dozen canjos he’d made for the occasion. He was debuting a song he wrote for Thomas and playing on two of the beautiful ukuleles he crafted. The plan was for me to help the sitter get the boys to bed and head down for the second set. About an hour after he left my anxiety rose, clawed up from my belly till it had me by the throat. I could barely breathe when the panic was joined by a migraine.

Cancelled the sitter, called Z to let him know. He didn’t act surprised. I’ve let him down so many times over the years he must have been expecting it.

He is the person I am closest to in this world. Which makes him the safest person to disappoint. Yet he is also the most painful person to disappoint. He knows I don’t do it on purpose. The anxiety is real, the migraines are debilitating. But it doesn’t change the fact that I missed the show.

After a week of trying my damndest to engage in life I feel like that bitch anxiety finally won. She always wins. She puts me in my place. She reminds me that I’m unreliable and I hurt those closest to me. She croons in my ear that it is ok to wallow, to give up. She makes it feel impossible to dust myself off and try again. I hate her. I hate her. I hate her.

z preshow

As he was packing up for the show I snapped this. He made the uke he is holding. And the boat chair he is standing next to. He is one hell of an amazing person.


Cookies for Friday’s get together. Got to figure out how to give Ms. Pac Man eyelashes next time.


Happy Veterans Day, Grandpa. He was one of the most dignified and open people I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing.


6 thoughts on “Let Down

  1. You know… when you are thinking about how amazing Z is… do not forget that he picked you. Because you are amazing. Lose the battle, win the war… can’t win them all, not every day… but you keep fighting, god dammit. I think you’re fucking great. Winning or losing, I sure do.

  2. But your cookies, and his wood crafting, and your sons, and your life… really are all pretty beautiful. I know you know this already, but most people would be stressed by a week like you had, and most of us (definitely me) would have given ourselves permission to drop at least one ball. Maybe there’s some way to fill the blank space not seeing Z’s performance left behind… maybe you can find a quiet moment and he can play the song – a version he can perform alone – just for you?

  3. I think you are amazing also – you never give up the fight. Your kindness comes through your words. You inspire me to keep trying ( and to be kinder to myself – I feel empathy for you when I read about your struggles but often don’t extend it to myself either when I am in similar situations, if that makes any sense)
    I could relate to the juice mistake – we had a crazy week and I didn’t get the memo (literally) on a certain shirt colour my son was supposed to wear for a school concert. He was cool with it but I beat myself up for hours over it. I saw it as my failures on display – which I realize is ridiculous as I even type it. I did a hundred things right during my crazy week (as you did also I’m sure) so I need to try and let go of the mistakes I made also.
    Anyways the point of this rambly comment is – thanks again for a blog that is so honest 🙂

    • Oh man, your point about not extending empathy to yourself–yes, yes, a million times yes. I think so many of us are so much nastier and judgmental to ourselves than we would ever be to others. How to stop? That is the big question.

      I’m sorry about the shirt snafu. I’m glad your son was compassionate towards you about it. That says it all, doesn’t it? That you are raising a kind kid.

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