Sunday, July 19, 2009

Room 218 at the Spring Hill Suites

I checked online reservations – one night, $84 with an AAA discount and continental breakfast.

How long could I stay? One night? Two nights? Until they noticed I was gone? Until the money ran out of our checking account? Until I could walk back thru the front door?

The bleakness over the past 72 hours has made me seek shelter at a hotel. My husband has been gone to Youth Conference for three days, the children have declared all out warfare on each other, and I’ve turned into the crazy woman in the attic that Charlotte Bronte couldn’t even dream of writing.

I’ve come to the end of my rope (or any other appropriate cliché). I’ve lost all ability to mother. I’m nothing more than a cook, a launderer and maid. The clothes I wash, that I ask to be put away, get thrown under the bed. The food I cook gets sneered at and pushed away. The floors I mop, the toilets I clean, the sinks I scrub, the tables I dust, the rugs I vacuum, all are ceremoniously stomped, spit, or pee’d into or upon, and without thanks or recognition. My husband just received a promotion, and I realized no one will ever promote me to anything again. No employee of the month, no bonuses, no conference lectures. Nothing. Yes, I’m whining (you may start criticizing here), but I’m also trying to breathe, because I feel like I have kudzu growing over every internal organ I have and it’s choking me to death.

This has been brewing for months. In fact, I think my summer of “creativity” journey started as a way to push back at the impending doom I was feeling. “If I just keep myself busy, this will all go away” I thought to myself. “If I loose myself in things I want to learn about or create, I will feel better about all the things that are causing me to run far, far away.” The vases I’ve painted, the scarf that is being knit, the journal pages I’ve written, the miles that I’ve walked, they are all things I’m doing to keep myself from shattering.

I haven’t felt like this since the birth of my second son, and the post-partum depression that gripped me for months. After a particularly bad episode when he was two months old, I shoved him in my husband’s arms as soon as he returned from an opening night at the Theatre. He had screamed for nearly two hours. I was desperate. The only place I knew that was open that late was Barnes and Noble. I thought I could seek shelter from books. When I got there, I noticed B&N was particularly busy that night. And, why I wondered, was everyone dressed up? It was July, not October, and it looked like a Halloween party? In my delirium, I had failed to notice, until I’d walked thru the front door, that it was the release night of Harry Potter 5. Can you believe JK Rowling would have such bad timing? I would have to find another time and place for my break down.

This current episode was prompted by a pink lacrosse stick. One that my daughter wanted and my son had and decided to strike her with instead. My intervention turned ugly as I proceeded to grab the lacrosse stick and whack it against the table, just for drama, and hopefully, to get their attention. If that didn’t do it, it was my screaming, “Enough! I’m done!” I then went to the computer and logged on to the Marriott website, because if I didn’t, I was afraid something or someone would get harmed.

I called my husband at YC to warn him, “When you get home, I’m going to a hotel for the night. I have my bags packed. I just don’t want you to be surprised.” The clock never ticked so slowly. In an effort to bide my time until DH returned and to make some sort of peace with my children, I again sought refuge at B&N. That was until my 8 yr old from the back seat of the car, and in a totally perfect screechy voice complained, “Why are we going to the bookstore?” Ugh! I wheeled out of the parking lot so fast I’m surprised I didn’t hit something. So we went to the pool instead where I sat with my dark cloud over my head and my children frolicked as if nothing had happened. At least they appeared to have short term memories for mamma’s tantrums.


In the middle of this massive, personal collapse, I’m also dealing with a side battle with my 8 yr old daughter (the one who screeched from the back of the car). We too have had a silent combat brewing in recent months over her responsibilities at home. As a result, I’ve been harsh with her on multiple occasions recently, for which I feel horrible. In an attempt to step back from my selfish reaction to abandon the family ship, I decided, maybe this night at the hotel might be a good opportunity to have some mommy/daughter time. We will talk about or difficulties, try to reach some sort of understanding, in addition to getting pedicures, going shopping and eating dessert after dinner.

So, instead of going to the Spring Hill Suites alone…my daughter accompanied me on my camp out. We went to the craft store where we both bought paint-by-number sets, got pedicures (she has blue toes with white polka dots), shopping for a back-to-school out fit, dinner at her favorite restaurant, book buying at B&N (we made it back without complaint) and finally a double chocolate brownie at Starbucks. After we returned to the hotel, I read my book while she watched Hannah Montana and didn’t have to abide by a bed time.

Was this what I had in mind when I made my SOS reservation earlier in the day? No. Did it soften the impending doom that clouded my brain? Absolutely. Did I love spending time with my daughter? More than you know. Do I wish I still had a day in a hotel by myself? Yes, so I could read in their entirety all three books I had taken with me without the blare of The Disney Channel in the back ground; so I could have some private time to think through my troubles; and so I could sleep without being tapped on the shoulder at 7am and asked, “can we go down to breakfast now?”

I’m home this morning. The kudzu is still growing, but without the fertilizer of three days of mania. I have a Doctor’s appointment on Wednesday where I will talk about my issues and hope to find some answers (and maybe some meds). And if you want to throw things at me for my faults, I’ve already beaten myself up fairly effectively. And it did it with a pink lacrosse stick.