Monday, March 28, 2016

Refreshing and Regrouping

Nerves, frazzled. Lower back pain, incredible. Sleep, disrupted. Yes, this is how I felt several times this weekend. Caught up in the frenzy of food preparation, I obsessed while at work, and even in my dreams. You see, I'm an Italian, and this is how we roll. It's never enough. No matter how many gnocchi I made, as I looked at them on the wooden cutting board in my kitchen, I felt there should be more.

The Honeybaked Ham I'd purchased all of a sudden seemed so tiny, never enough to feed a hungry crowd. And what of side dishes? Were there plenty to go around?

My work week had also been daunting. With my new position as office manager, I've had to put out several fires, you see. When a phone call comes in from a patient who just doesn't understand why there was a specific charge on their bill, I must now deal with this, taking the time to pull apart their account until I find the issue. Or an irate patient who has a complaint. I've had to put on a good face, take the brunt of their anger, diffusing the ticking time bomb.

My mother's memory was rough this weekend too. Her dementia seemed to be worsening. I found myself snapping at her, caught up in how hard I've been working. Usually when she asks the same questions twelve or fourteen times, I'm able to answer them with poise and grace. Sometimes changing my answer ever so slightly, or chuckling a bit with her about it. But when your last nerve is frayed beyond repair, it isn't easy to continue to be kind.

My husband has added to the list as well. I love him, but let's just say, when he's around a little more than usual,( and trust me, he deserves the days off), I have no time to write, no time to myself. Since he puts in so many hours, he misses me, and feels we should spend every waking moment together.

I wanted to scream. I wanted to run far, far away and not stop until I was someplace where nobody would find me. Well, at least for a few hours or a day.

Today is that day.

When my kids were little, we had friends that gave their children "Mental Health Days." They knew when their child was stressed beyond measure, and would offer them a respite from school, keeping them home for just one day. It would work, because little junior would bounce to school the next day, all refreshed and regrouped, ready to face whatever challenges the day brought.

This morning I decided on such a time. No phone calls. No television, well, except for the blissful hour that I watch an episode of a favorite show. No changing out of my bummy sleep clothes: the too big t-shirt, well- worn from years of washings, and the sweat pants that are miles too long. Hair disheveled, face, unwashed. I am on strike, picketing in the quiet confines of my own home. I will take time to write at least a thousand words in the book I'm currently working on. I will eat something totally bad, perhaps a bowl of ice cream, and I will forgive myself for it. I will not have any deadlines today, think about anything that needs to be done. And work, what's that? For there is not one thing I will clean today.

We all need such a day from time to time. A mental regrouping of sorts. Young mothers are stressed beyond measure; single moms especially who have no respite or a moment to themselves. Others who are continuous caregivers for a sick loved one. They, too, are human, and in need of a break. Perhaps we can be the one to give them a few hours rest.

I don't think it's a reason for guilt or shame. I think it's a necessary gift we must give ourselves from time to time. And if like me, today is that day for you, I hope you enjoy the solitude, the refreshment that a time like this can bring.

Oh, the phone just rang. And it was hubby asking if I could look something up about his new phone. My answer: Sorry honey, but not today. Ahhh, the bliss.

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