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All the signs are here.
Snow has fallen, blanketing the ground in temporary white. The snow is likely to stick, but pollutants will soon turn it a sickly gray. I’ve already cleared the way from our door to the bus. I’ll probably do some more shoveling before I’m through, so I can get the van out of the driveway without packing the snow into the cement.
This is the week of finals for my own coursework, which means I’ll be spending the week in a desperate bid to articulate my thoughts on the subject matter I’ve covered over the last fourteen weeks of study. This, too, is a sign that winter is come.
Christmas lingers on the horizon. After finals, I’ll have to start my preparations. The end of this week will be a family Christmas gathering with my husband’s side. Later this month, I’ll be driving up to Milwaukee to pick my brother up from the airport. Right now, however, I’m in denial about how much there’s left to do. This is another sign that winter is come.
And Willy’s counting down the days. Whether he’s eager for winter break or dreading it varies with his moods, but he’s aware that winter break is coming and soon he’ll lose his routine. Meanwhile, Alex and Ben are focusing on Christmas carols and Christmas stories, so they too know the holiday upheaval is coming.
Winter is come and I’m not quite prepared. But it’s here, ready or not.
Continue reading Winter Is Come »
Alex bites his wrist. Ben throws tantrums of sudden rage—explosions of frustration like shaken soda pop. Willy bursts into tears.
This may be a sequence of events. Each event may happen in isolation. It’s just a taste of the ripples of anxiety that plague our house. The ripples seem to be getting bigger. Some days they seem more like waves—high and deep enough to drown us all in their wake.
Of course, that triggers the traumatic memory of a haunting article, written long ago now, where a mother’s murderous leap from a bridge with her autistic son was described as “an act of love.” I’m not that far gone. I’ll never be that far gone!
But I am frustrated. If anxiety were an earthquake our house would be shaking persistently. The few glass baubles I have left would topple from their perches and crash in a million pieces. Picture frames would rattle until they fell smashing to the floor. Considering the soundness of the structure, the whole house would probably topple in our heads.
The ground may not be shaking, but something inside of me is. Like a tuning fork. As many parents are I’m tuned to my children’s emotions, and right now the sound is bad.
I want a solution. I want an answer or at least an explanation. Hell, I’d take just about anything at this point. But I’ve tried everything I can think of and I’ve got nothing on this. The summer started with a state of upheaval and we’ve been heaving ever since.
I just want a day off. Not for me, but for my boys. I want one day where they’re all fine. Just so we can remember how it feels and maybe get back to it. But the ripples keep coming. The waves are knocking us down. So we swim. What else can we do?
Continue reading Ripples of Anxiety »