the lows consisting of:
feeling stressed when I turned up, on time, to see my lovely counsellor (who is part of my safety net and has helped with The Lows a lot)…only to discover that I'd got the time wrong and was not supposed to be there for two hours.
feeling more stressed when I realised that in two hours I would be busy, and therefore I would miss out on chatting with her.
feeling even more stressed because I'd been feeling kind of overwhelmed recently (all right, fine, a LOT overwhelmed) with some Stuff and I suddenly thought, "How am I supposed to manage now?"
(I should mention that part of the reason I've been feeling overwhelmed is because we're going away, just my husband and I, for THREE WHOLE DAYS and THREE WHOLE NIGHTS. Without kids. And that had recently hit me, and suddenly I thought there were way too many WHOLE DAYS and WHOLE NIGHTS between seeing my kids and seeing my kids. I know lots of people do this, but THREE WHOLE DAYS AND NIGHTS is longer than I've ever been away from them. Panic!!
Plus there was a bunch of Messy Stuff connected to going away, both logistic and emotional, and for a second or two (or more) it looked like we might not even go. So by the time I rocked up to my lovely counsellor, I was ready to dump it all in her lap, sift through it for any nuggets of wisdom, and have a good cry.)
But today's low meant:
no counsellor, no dump, no cry.
I was all set to feel sorry for myself. You know that feeling? All ready to be, "This is too hard." "Stop, I want to get off." "Why me?" "This sucks." And, "Blah."
Before kids, and before responsibility, and before the life I have now, I would have happily settled into that feeling, that general unfocussed feeling of Blah, for a good day or week, or more.
I would have probably listened to Too Sad Music and done some mournful walking in a park or by the sea. I might have gone for a bike ride, and I might have watched really awful t.v. I might have wallowed and written some sad stuff in my diary. I might have sat in my room and howled.
I remember doing all these things, before kids, responsibility, before entering the Life that I have now (aka the Life that I Love).
But on this day, I had to be somewhere.
I had to go to today's Lego League meeting, where I would be helping with the group's big presentation. I was expected and I was needed. My son would already be there, and my daughter would be coming soon. I knew I couldn't walk in weepy or useless. I had to have my game face on.
I drove and leaked some tears, and drove some more and leaked some more.
I arrived. Took a deep breath.
And entered my Life.
I was greeted by bounding, bouncy kids, all saying, "Helena! You're here! You made it! You're just in time! We just finished the thing we didn't need you for and are about to start the thing we DO need you for! How did you know?"
I got hugs. I got talked to, laughed with; I got high fives. I got to help these awesome kids (young people) with their project. I got to play games with the group while eating popcorn in my friend's backyard. I got to listen to everyone's ideas and be excited for them. I got to put smiley faces on post-it notes and, with my fellow Fun Fairy, plaster them everywhere.
I was welcomed and then some.
It was warm. And kind. And real.
Then we went to Homeschool group, where more fun was had. Lovely women were there, and at one point I reminisced about how scary Homeschooling seemed in the beginning and did they remember that one day I was so overwhelmed by all the Government Jargon about Educational Outcomes that I took myself to bed for two hours? Yes, they remembered, and we all laughed.
It has become a funny memory now. It's amazing to think that more than a year has gone by since that moment. Amazing to think that homeschooling rarely scares me now. And how much more confident I feel about so many things.
It's also a reminder that things get better.
They get better.
This is the high. If you take all the highs that my day had,
you end up with this
one true thing.
The "one true thing" being my constant Life Lesson, the one I'm always learning, and relearning, and then learning again.
The lesson being…
that sometimes things are overwhelming.
Sometimes that's just how it is.
Sometimes it's so overwhelming that you take yourself to bed for two hours in the middle of the day. Sometimes it's so overwhelming that you leak tears (you don't howl, or wail, or sob—you simply leak) as you drive your car.
Sometimes it's so overwhelming and messy and tricky that sometimes you think, "How am I supposed to manage now?"
But then sometimes…
if you are lucky, or open, or brave, or
not brave at all and are—quite simply—just putting one foot in front of the other,
Life finds you.
It finds you keeping on.
And it finds you
being loved right back.
It finds you
being needed, and welcomed and found.
It finds you
dipping, and rising, dipping and rising.
Dipping and rising. Dipping and rising.