A very smart man once told me that. In life, there will be good and bad. Moments of triumph. Moments of hardship. Ebb and flow. Sometimes the ebb, however, is completely overwhelming.
I’ve gone through a lot since the end of 2013. Some super good (hey Locke!). Some super bad. I try to stay optimistic, because honestly, I can’t function when I feel sad. I literally do not like how it feels, so I choose to “snap” out of it. I mean, who am I kidding, some days are better than others, and some days snapping out of it takes a lot longer. I’ve tried to learn to be gentle with myself. I’ve gone through a lot. It’s okay to take time to process.
My social media looks like Disney World. I know. I purposely choose to only post the good and the funny. I don’t want to remember or reflect on the bad. And, I don’t want anyone else to ever judge or feel sorry for me. I’m fine. Someone once told me they liked the way I branded my family. Such a weird choice of words, but for someone in marketing like myself, very true. It made me feel guilty. I think about it a lot, actually. I chose carefully the pictures I would share publicly when Gavin was sick. I chose carefully the pictures I would share when Piper stopped walking for the fourth, and probably final, time. I chose the pictures of Locke smiling in most instances when him crying or screaming probably outnumber them. Carefully curated.
But, I don’t really do it because I want people to have a specific image of me or my kids or my life. I do it because out of all the millions of moments I am humbled to experience, those are the ones that stand out because they are beautiful. That smile when Locke saw his cake – even though he was grumpy and refused to eat it? That was real and brief and precious. That look when Piper saw the ocean again last weekend. Brief, beautiful and he stood. You don’t need to see the many, many times he fell before and after. The picture of Gavin playing his violin with such tenderness? You don’t need to see him getting super frustrated because “Popcorn and Candy and Popcorn and Candy” rhythm exercises are hard and he gets mad at himself. He’s learning. I choose to focus on the triumphs.
But, I’ll give you the behind the scenes of what life is like right now. Just this brief
glimpse. I’m tired. Gavin was awake half the night crying because he had a bad dream and desperately wanted to go to his Sue Sue’s house for a slumber party. Locke cries all.the.time. He is going through intense separation anxiety with me which means I can’t leave the room or the table without him or we have a full blown angry meltdown with throwing stuff, yelling, the works. Piper, my sweet love, is dying. We can see it in every step. We don’t know how long we have left with him, but no matter what, it will never be long enough. He mainly sleeps, but when he does get enough energy, he wobbles and falls before finally just giving up.
I feel guilty just about 95% of the time that I’m not doing enough. Not spending enough time being a wife. Not being present enough for the boys. What I do to myself when I am consumed with work, life, kids, balance, guilt, anxiety, is I let myself go. I don’t put on makeup. I don’t do my hair. I don’t take care of myself because that’s the easiest thing to let fall, in order to keep everything else in the air. I know I need to do better. Not just for my boys, friends, and family, but for me. I miss texts or I miss events or I back out of plans because I am too tired and can’t think about it. In the end, that lets everyone down. Someone is always disappointed.
Go easy on me, though. Ebb and flow. Ebb and flow.