I got to thinking about a humorous story when the boys were young due to a recent note Coach Clawson's wife, Stephanie, sent to me. She got me to thinking about a moment I went thru and I thought I'd share it.
On a side note; don't you find it interesting what moments in time stick in your brain? Why is that? I mean, I can recall the day my father left for the hospital, it was the last time I saw him. I was seven and sitting outside on the front steps of our house and he came down the stairs with his small suitcase in his hand and told me he'd be back in a few days. I never saw him again until his wake. I also recall doing cartwheels on the front lawn when I was about eleven, over and over and over - thinking I was an amazing gymnast. How come I remember those things and not the hundreds of thousands of other events that were a part of my life? I'm sure you have plenty you could share too.
I've always been curious why it is that certain memories remain so vividly and so much other stuff from our day to day life just evaporates. How come we don't remember all of it? Or none of it?
Well anyway, Coach Clawson's wife, Stephanie, reminded me about a time in my life that was very vivid. They have a very young family.
She sent me a message the other day asking me about Chris when he was a kid. Now keep in mind I never met Stephanie until Chris passed. Why would we spend time together? I don't know any of the other teachers/coaches spouses.
Plus, I didn't even know Coach Clawson other than talking to Chris about him. Of course I knew who he was but I had no interaction with him. Why would I? Chris was 17 and able to discuss things with him directly. It's not like when Chris was 7 and needed me to run interference. So, I never had a direct conversation with Coach Clawson. I don't think he knew who I was until Chris passed.
Funny enough, I remember having conversations with Chris when he was home at night after football practice and I would wag my finger at him and say silly things like "Did you tell Coach you want to play Tight End! Does he KNOW you're too small to play line in college?!!!" To which Chris would look at me and say - with sincerity "Mom, I meant to but it just didn't come up"... I used to get my back up and that sweet kid just didn't get ruffled. He knew where his team needed him and where he meant the most. I got annoyed (not that I even knew what a tight end did, I just heard his father say it from time to time and so I opted to add fuel to the fire).
So anyway, Stephanie reminded me of this one day when I had just about had it with the kids. Mike was out of town working and I remember looking at the calendar being overwhelmed because I knew it was just me and the boys for four days. No in-laws coming to help me, no secured play dates; nothing. Just Jeremy, Chris and me.
It seemed the kids were on overload early in the evening, really early, like 4pm. I remember thinking to myself "how will I get thru the next few days? I'm going to flip out!.”To, paint the complete picture, Jeremy had to be five, as he was not yet in kindergarten which means Chris was two. So that means I was 30. Home alone, taking care of these feisty kids and two dogs by myself. Hmmmm.
So, the kids were acting up, Mike was away and I was mad. Very annoyed he was stress free and loving life in his quiet hotel room while all I did was entertain the boys. I was tired and annoyed. My patience was running thin and the kids grated on my nerves. All I wanted was some relief; a break so I could regroup and get back on track to being mom.
If only there was time for all that. I prayed and wished that my time "on duty" as mom was elongated. If I could have shorter spurts of it by myself I would have done so much better! My tolerance would be greater; I'd play more, be more joyful and be willing to teach them. But I recall looking at the calendar before Mike would go away and all I could think of was "oh my God, I have 90 straight hours of being the only one here for the boys!" I would get myself worked up and become mad and resentful.
So, this one day, during one of those terrible stretches of "aloneness" I had hit my melting point. I don't even know if the kids were all that naughty but I had hit my peak. I was done. Well done. Probably burnt. In a moment of exhaustion and frustration I had an epiphany. I would give myself a time out! Lord knows I gave the kids plenty of them and many times they were not effective. So I did a role reversal. I marched myself upstairs, walked away from the boys and locked myself in my room. I thought "I need to cool off!"
I had a mini meltdown, tears rolling down my cheeks, heavy heaving breaths, the whole nine yards. I was sitting on my bed attempting to pull it together and I heard Jeremy and Chris outside my door quietly talking.
Jeremy: "what do you think she's doing in there?"
Chris: "ma, you in there?"
Jeremy: "Don't talk to her she's mad at us!"
Chris: "Hey ma?"
Jeremy: "I think she's having a time out"
To, picture it, you need to think cat-like. Have you ever seen a cat try to put its paw under a door? You can see it beneath the door jamb. Well, that's how the kids were talking. Jeremy had his mouth up against the bottoms of the door as if he purposely wanted me to hear him. Chris being so small had no true idea of what was going on but wanted to be with his brother and sat right in the stairwell with him trying to figure it all out.
Needless to say, my meltdown went from tears to giggles. My frustration and fury turned to intrigue as I listened to the conversation unfold between the boys. It didn't take long before I gathered myself and opened the door to find these two adorable kids cross legged on the rug waiting for me.
I must have been a good playmate because they opted to wait it out til I was ready to rejoin the trio. I never forgot that little episode. It was very humorous as I ran the gamut of emotions from boiling over to laughing in a matter of minutes.
So, to Stephanie and Coach Clawson with their crew of youngsters, I say, embrace it all. When you don't know what you're doing who really cares? Do the best you can and try to make the best decisions at the moment. There isn't anyone who knows your kids better. They will push your buttons forever in one way or another. If you need a time out, take one. As long as they're safe when you do it go right ahead. It won't take long for you to pull yourself back together and get back in the game. No different than being exhausted in the football field. Sometimes you just need a little breather!
Thank you for reading.