Wednesday, December 22, 2010

on reality, my mother and the black pants.

you know the slump.  it comes, it goes, but while it’s present you feel out of sorts, off balance, out of sync.  when it comes at christmas time, it feels extra heavy.  there is an ideal in my head.  the way christmas should be, the way I plan it as I lay in bed at night.  and then there is reality.  reality is such a pain sometimes.  differences of opinion, financial annoyances, compromises, schedules, you know… reality.  I am more impressed with my mother every year for the magic she managed to pull off every year when I was growing up.  I don’t know how she did it, really.  how did she get it all done?  she was the master of organization, that’s for sure.  the gifts, the experiences, the opportunities… it was all perfect and attempting to recreate it all is nearly impossible.  maybe she started in july.  I should try that. 

I don’t want to feel disappointed at christmas time.  I want to feel excited and great about what is going to happen at my house on that magical morning.  I want to be excited about what my children will receive.  I want it to be perfect. 

I read patria’s post today.  I wanted to climb into my own pants, hop on a plane and go crawl in bed with her.  we would probably cry our eyes out together and then laugh at how ridiculous we were.  because really, life is great, but there are slumps and I really don’t want to be in a grinchy slump.  read about the pants.  then tell me you have those days. 

from patria:

Tis the season for clever and beautiful Christmas cards bearing good tidings and lovely family pictures. We receive fewer and fewer of these cards as the years pass, perhaps as our address has changed or we're not good at keeping in touch. The only year we've pulled it together to do a holiday card ourselves was the first year we moved back to Hawaii. It seems totally overwhelming to get a picture taken, print up cards and round up addresses for friends near and far. I applaud anyone who does this. The most recent family photo we have is above. Special isn't it? That's us, home from 8 am church, posing on the dirty stairs.

As the cute cards trickle in and we are in the midst of the cheery holidays, I wouldn't be genuine if I left out how this last weekend played out for me. The typical work week this year is exhausting. I'm grateful for my work and I live in the best place to recharge my batteries, but this happens to be one of the most intense work periods of my life. Sometimes this manifests itself in what I refer to as "little crashes" or "hitting rock bottom" or "melting down" or "having a mental break." This is when I become kind of non-functional. I wander aimlessly around the house, overwhelmed with what I should focus on. I berate myself for not being a better mom, social worker, wife, LDS person, whatever. I am short tempered with my family. I can't even clean my room.

I can sometimes find humor in the unfortunate ways this plays out. On Friday I came home from work, showered and put on my favorite black, elastic waist comfy pants. I slept in those pants. I wore them on Saturday and I slept in them again. On Sunday morning as I was frantically grabbing things to teach Sunbeams at church, I wore the black pants again. To church. With a baggy shirt. I looked horrific and I felt even worse. It's just one of those special times when I want to crawl out of my skin, feel trapped by my life and wonder what the hell is wrong with me. On the way home, Mark looked at me and said "should we get some help?" Yep, low point. But the truth is, these little crashes just happen sometimes. I freak out, unravel for a few days and then pull it together in time to not scare my family too much. I crack a joke to Mark about how I could be an advertisement for these pants- "they'll take you from work, to home, to bed, and to church!" I pop a handful of my "free and easy" supplements to treat anxiety, prescribed by the naturopath, which I had stopped taking. Mark said "better double up on that dose."

As I sit here typing this, the kids are in bed and I am still wearing the black pants.
Don't worry, this doesn't happen all that often and this season really has been enjoyed with holiday music, treats, gifts, and pondering the innumerable blessings in our life. But you know when people's lives start to look glossy? That can be annoying. And I've got issues. I"m sure other people who look glossy have issues, even turning their issues into something glossy. The truth is, the deeper I get into life, the more I see that the only way we'll make it through this life in tact is with God. So I'd love to wrap this post up by expounding with some really feel good words about that, but it's not in me right now. I've got no gloss for the way this weekend played out. But I am definitely looking forward to this week. My kids remind me of everything that is good in the world. Recently Mark and I asked (out of pure curiosity, since they hadn't talked about it yet) "so what do you guys want Santa to bring you for Christmas?" Ruby excitedly said "Oh mommy, I would like anything that Santa brings me!" and Atticus said "me too mommy!" Cuteness. They still haven't asked for a thing. I honestly think they are happy with anything. I hope they can hang on to that as long as possible.


Misty said...

Oh I know that feeling, all too well. Most moms I know, no, most women I know would fess up to those days.

Not everyone's lives are glossy and if we could see the lead-up to the glossy picture, you would probably see dirty clothes shoved under the couch, a mother threatening her children within an inch of their lives to smiles, and the look of relief once it's over.

My comment to Patria is: "way too go! You went to church?! Who cares that you were in those black pants - the fact that you were still able to get yourself to go despite feeling how you felt is awesome."

Misty said...

And I can say Amberly that Christmas almost always comes with that little letdown. It's only become more common for me as I've grown up. As a wife and mother, I've learned to expect it and now I embrace it and it's not as bad.

The Silly Witch said...

Oh that made me laugh and cry. I'm so proud of myself and the days I keep it together because I have "black pants" days, too. I've been thinking about resolution for the New Year and I decided I wanted to figure out a way to be perfect in 365 days. And then I laugh at myself.

Ashlee said...

WE all have black pants days! Although mine are navy...but same difference! I just wanted to say I have enjoyed your posts and pics lately. :) Merry Christmas.

Patria said...

Oh Amberly, how I would love it if you could come out here for a visit! Thank you so much for "getting this." The expression of camaraderie means a lot to me, especially coming from you, who I totally admire for creating such a beautiful life for your busy family! (: Patria

Hel said...

Misty sent me a link to your post. I have black pants days. But mine are just called Greasy Hair days.