We all have off days. Days when things just aren’t going as planned. You go to bed glad its over and looking forward to a new day in the morning. These kind of days are not pleasant but they happen. Then there really bad days. Not catastrophic bad. No one receives life changing news or is hit by a car. A few notches below that. Days when one thing after another happens and you find yourself a crying blubbering mess. Days when you don’t dare say, “This day couldn’t get any worse” because yes, indeed it can. I recently had one of those days. I think I’ve recovered and am ready to share.
It was a Tuesday. Our fifth day in a row to be home. Winter weather had caused school to be closed the previous Friday and into the following the week. So not only was it our fifth day home but it was also our third snow day. Parents know what happens to kids on consecutive snow days with very little outside time. I’m setting the scene for you. Craziness was already in place. A neighborhood friend called and invited my youngest son to their house to play for the day (yes, one down.) However, my oldest son started complaining that he NEVER has friends over and life is incredibly unfair and boring. So, being an amazing mom, I call a friend of ours, whom I was pretty sure had to take their child to work with him due to school being out, and asked if his son could come over. He was more than happy to bring his son over. (I have now done two good deeds.)
It took about an hour for me to get my child to play with his friend. They could not agree on what to play and my (autistic) child simply doesn’t mind to continue to do what he wants regardless of what his friend would like to do. My frustration level is rising. An hour of coaching and mediating and finally we agree on a Wii game with science experiments to follow. Then comes lunch for two incredibly picky boys. Bread and cheese for one. PB&J for the other. My patience is beginning to thin.
I think we have a flow going and the mom from a few houses down calls. She first says, “Everything is okay.” Which totally means something happened and no one his hurt but everything really isn’t OK. The friend has a bunk bed and the boys were jumping off the top bunk onto the bottom bunk. She had told them several times to stop. She then heard a loud crash. They had broken the bottom bunk off the frame. Needless to say, she was angry and they got in trouble. She was fine with him staying but apparently once he got in trouble he just wanted to come home.
I knew him coming home would throw a kink in my oldest son’s day. Brother would try to be in the middle of it all and this was going to frustrate my oldest. I was also mad at my child for not behaving at his friend’s house (double whammy). Now I had three boys all wound up. Soon the battling would begin. I was in my room folding clothes (hiding out) when I could hear the ruckus getting louder. I went into the living room and told the boys no wrestling, sword fighting or boxing (hulk gloves). I gave them a few options of what they could do. Things seemed to simmer down so I went back to folding (hiding). Suddenly loud high screeching comes from the living room. As I round the corner I see my oldest throw his hulk glove at his brother. Then the little brother begins to claw and pound big brother in the back (all the boys are shirtless at this point). I am running down the hall screaming at everyone to stop. My oldest runs behind me. The youngest knows what’s coming and tries to dodge the hand that is aimed at his backside. I swing and miss, and hit the corner of the hall archway. I scream out of pain and my youngest grabs his butt unsure if he’s been swatted or not.
I’m seeing red. I know instantly my pinky finger is broke. I know this because I have brittle bones and have broken nearly all my fingers, some of them twice (true story). I send my child to my room to wait for me. In the meantime, the friend that is at our house to play is following me with a cup asking for milk. My response to him, “Seriously, right now you want me to get you some milk? If you would go put your cup on the counter I will get your milk when I am done settling this.” He mumbled something which I know was going to be about milk. I gave him a look and he turned to go put his cup on the kitchen counter. I go “deal” with my youngest child. Go get milk for our friend and put everyone in separate places on the couch to watch TV, aka quiet time.
The afternoon is wearing on and I know it’s getting close to time for guitar lessons for my oldest. I also know that means another melt down from my oldest because he wants to quit guitar and we, to this point in time, wouldn’t let him. It was getting to be more and more of a struggle every week and he was cooperating less and less for his teacher. The struggle ensues. I get all three boys in the car and go to take our friend back to his dads work. After I drop him off my son is in an all out crying meltdown. I’m done. Defeated. I have a short conversation with my son about stopping the lessons and decide I am done with this fight.
Still in the car, in the parking lot of our friends store I call the guitar teacher, Ed. I explain to Ed that I really appreciate his patience with my son but we aren’t going to continue to push him without him showing more of an interest. Ed’s response was kind and stabbing at the same time. He said he enjoyed having my son and felt bad that he wasn’t able to do more for him. I assured Ed that he wasn’t the issue at all. He then said, “Gabe is just locked up in himself. I really thought I could break through. I tried, but I just couldn’t in. I’ll continue to pray for you and your family.” I thanked him through tears and hang up.
Now I’m sitting in the car, still in the parking lot of our friends meat market, with both my boys in the back seat and I am sobbing. I drive to my husbands store (which is just a few yards away). He comes to the car and sees I’m a mess and of course wants to know what’s wrong. Through my crying I hold up my hand and say I broke my finger, then I point to the guitar and tell him we quit lessons and I can’t even get out what Ed said that pushed me over the edge into free fall. Still looking confused all he can say is, “What do you want me to?” He doesn’t know I’m not done. I also blurt out that we had our friend over and my son took forever to engage with him and that our other son went to his friend’s house and broke a bed and got in trouble. I then tell him I’m not cooking dinner and need to go Wal-Mart to get a finger a splint.
He takes our youngest son with him. My oldest son and I go to Wal-Mart. I’m trying to wipe my eyes and clear the red blotchiness before we get out of the car. As we are walking in my sweet son holds my hand and tells me he’s sorry I broke my finger. He broke his finger and knows how bad it hurts and he really doesn’t want to see me cry. It was a really bad day and I was really upset and I know few people are able to “get in” with my son, but I am so blessed to be part of the very select group who has.