This month might actually kill me.
I thought this, driving through the rain on my way home from picking up the kids from co-op.
Our routine, thus far this year, has been to go to lunch at a little breakfast and lunch place on the corner by their classes. It was something that I thought would be nice for us, a time to break up the busyness of the week. A time to sit and enjoy each other, without school books or laptops or cell phones. Each time Alex orders something new. He asks what the soup of the day is, he wants to know if he can have a side of ice-cream-scoop shaped mashed potatoes and brown gravy, served in a dish with light pink flower trim, like we’re eating at someone’s grandmother’s kitchen. Each time, Evaline orders a hot dog and chips, but draws on her place mat instead and only acts interested in the food, right before the waitress comes to take her plate away.
Today, the diner didn’t happen.
We didn’t happen.
Today, I’m working on breathing techniques to get through the stress that’s eating my stomach.
Today, Evaline decided to forget that she has been 99% potty trained for over a week, and instead pooped in her underwear before we needed to leave for co-op. Less than two hours later, she peed her pants when we needed to go back and pick the kids up. I only noticed, when I buckled her into her car seat, and we were already running behind (thanks to me squeezing in work, and the boys squeezing in their third fight of the day.)
It was too late to go back and change her.
And. I. snapped.
I started speaking in tongues. Gibberish. I was the dad from A Christmas Story. I was muttering nonsense about diners not happening and why can’t everyone just work with me, not against me. And can’t I just go on vacation? Or lock myself in a room for days, just long enough to get my head back above water with my workload?
The kids all only heard “no diner” and the whole van broke out in whining and gnashing of teeth.
Happy Wednesday, everyone.
At a set of lights, we hit the eye of the storm for all of us. Everyone stopped the crying and complaining, and suddenly I could hear the rain falling, the squeaking of the windshield wipers, the song on the radio, that I hadn’t even realized was on.
Funky Cold Medina.
I sat and listened to the rhythm and remembered a lifetime ago, when everything was preamble, when rainy days meant sitting around in pajamas and watching movies with friends in dorm rooms, not scrambling to get an entire house out and crammed into a minivan for a days worth of must-do-nonsense.
I was in college and there was a radio station that was transitioning from country to rap. In an effort to ensure that there would be no lingering fans of twang and trucks, they played Funky Cold Medina (or was it Wild Thing? Tone Loc all sounds the same to me) on repeat. It lasted days. It sort of became an anthem, a rally cry. We’d turn on the radio and hold our breath for just a minute, hoping it was still there. It was a rhythm that started our days, that stayed with us on car rides to the beach, to coffee shops, and back again.
Insignificant as it was, no one wanted it to end.
It was an awful song, made amazing, simply because it kept. going. on.
And that’s sort of how my life feels, right now, in this moment. My life feels like an awful song, it’s a mess of gibberish and snipping at my kids. It’s me, fielding emails and texts and phone calls and shooting families and babies and weddings and filling my computer and my calendar with more, and more and more, and wondering if I have an ulcer, or if I just doubled over on my afternoon run, because I’m dehydrated.
But. It’s life. It’s the way life is.
It takes everything you have, but it can’t take more than what you have to give.
This rainy Wednesday will come and go. This stressful October will come and go. This whole season will come and go.
Eventually, I’ll hear the rhythm again, I’ll feel it beneath the chaos.
Because, it’s life.
And it keeps going on, making amazing out of ordinary.