I have a sudden respect for people with ADD/ADHD and people who suffer from panic attacks. There is so much to be done and I have lists written everywhere and before I can cross anything off, I'm adding half a dozen new things. I'll pick something up, see something else, go toward it, then remember something else I need to do and go off and start another task. I just can't keep a single thought in my head. And when the larger picture of what I'm trying to accomplish in the next 43 days becomes clear, I suddenly find my chest going tight and I feel like I can't breathe and the sound of my heart pounding is so loud in my ears that I'm certain everyone in the room can hear it.
I mention here on Boy Wonder how awesome my husband is all the time. And sometimes when I write it all down and shower him in praises, I think to myself, "what exactly do I do around here, if he's so great?" So I asked him to tell me what he'd say my biggest and best contributions to our family are. He had a lot of great things to say (thanks, Bean!), but I think the one I like most is that I'm the glue that keeps everything together. Whether it's our schedule, our belongings, our family, our friends, or our plans, I'm in the middle making sure everyone is on board and going in the same direction. Nothing and no one gets left behind or forgotten. We move a lot, yes. But you can ask our friends from six or seven moves ago and they will tell you that I work just as hard to remain friends with them now as I did when we all lived in the same town. And I think that's why we pick up so many extended family members... when I encounter someone who is alone and without a family unit, I make sure to absorb them into ours. Either permanently or for a season, no one gets left out in the cold.
But right now, my glue is sorta losing its stickiness. I just can't keep everything together, least of all myself. And of course, when I start to lose it, my boys start to lose it even worse. It's a vicious cycle. On Friday, Benjamin woke up crying. He cried from 6:30 a.m. until I dropped him off at school at 8:30. I picked him up at 3:30, and he resumed his tears, which continued until bedtime. He was crying about everything and nothing, slights real or imagined, injuries long since healed, the state of the weather, the day of the week, the tag in his tee, the fit of his shorts, the wind in his hair. By the time he was in bed, I was a frazzled mess. I know that this is Ben's way of saying "I'm nervous and worried about all the changes we are going through right now." But by the time I tucked him in and listened to his prayers, I felt like I had absolutely nothing to give him. I called my Mother-in-law at 10:00 p.m. and poured out my heart for an hour. Awesome people that they are, my in laws are going to take the boys on Monday for Memorial Day and shower them with love and fun things. I'll have a quiet day of doing what I need to do in complete solitude, picking up all the balls that I'm dropping and then stumbling on.
One of the balls that hasn't been dropped so much as carefully but regretfully put to the side, is giving time to my local friends and family members. Knowing that time is running out before we're gone for at least two years, I'm getting a deluge of invitations to get together with people. And I'm having to decline all of them. While I would love to see everyone just one last time, the truth is, I just can't. There are several people that I personally really want to see, and I'm terribly sad to find that we just can't make our schedules or geography work for one last goodbye. So it's not like I don't understand how my friends feel when I tell them I just can't see them. I always give them the option to come to my house (preferably with takeout) and help me pack, but for the most part they just get upset, thinking I'm not willing to see them. It's a terrible spot to be in for someone who works so hard every day to bring people together, to suddenly feel like I'm pushing them away. It makes me want to cry like Ben, from dawn to dusk. I wish I had unlimited time to splurge on pedicures with my girlfriends, movies with my college kid pals, and dinners out with our married friends. I wish I could give everyone the attention they desire and deserve. But you know what? I just can't. Feelings are getting hurt all over town, but I can't do it. It's tearing me up and adding to my stress by heaps and bounds, but I just can't. And that, my friends, sucks.