I spent almost three minutes sitting in front of a blank screen just now, trying to figure out what to write this morning. I’ve been tired and anxious this week, focused on all the wrong things. Life is really pretty good, but when there’s uncertainty about something you’ve poured yourself into it’s easy for your whole emotional state to revolve around that to the exclusion of all other things.
All other things, such as: We’ve had a very good first half of Advent. (If you’re a regular reader, that was probably already clear.) This week was probably the peak of the excitement, what with Trans Siberian Orchestra and Christmas tree and Santa visit and ringing the Salvation Army bell. It was also the peak of the fatigue for all of us…at least I hope! The kids were up late three school nights in a row this week.
Nicholas in particular had been reacting very well to Advent. Quite suddenly one day late last week, the head-butting between the two of us eased. I knew we’d had one amazingly good day, in which he was delightful and cooperative, but it didn’t totally process until the next morning while he was helping me make eggs. Michael did something that earned a parental snap, and when I turned around Nicholas had done something with the breakfast that needed redirection–I don’t remember now what it was. There was an edge to my voice as I did so, and I had a pang of conscience, because I knew he hadn’t done anything wrong. So I took a deep breath and put my arm around him and said, “I’m sorry. I’m not mad at you. I was just frustrated with Michael. You didn’t do anything wrong.”
His face broke into a radiant smile and he laughed giddily. “I thought I was in trouble,” he said, leaning into my hug. It was a very enlightening moment, to say the least.
Nicholas’ angelic behavior continued for three or four days. I was beginning to hold my breath that we might have crossed out of that preschool testing stage and into full upper-childhood. But we had a bad regression yesterday evening. It involved me telling him no, you may not have a THIRD snack between lunch and dinner, and him hitting me on the head. Yes, I did say hitting me on the head. I’m going to hope and pray that was an aberration based on not enough sleep this week. Last night we had our normal routine. We should be past the late nights now.
I’m trying very hard not to write about writing, but it is weighing heavily on my mind. I have sent three queries on my novel to test the waters, and the first two came back unsuccessful. It’s not enough to know that something is wrong with the submission package, but the mind goes there anyway. I’ve spent a lot of emotional energy the last two weeks fretting about whether I need more feedback, more input, more opinions, so I don’t burn through agents.
I set a goal this year not to have any deadlines during Advent. This is our sixth year doing Advent calendar activities, and I’ve learned that it’s better not to have extra “must do”‘s. The season has enough of those already; organizing them was the point of the calendar in the first place. But factors outside my control intervened. I have two projects due around the holidays: Liguori asked me to write an examination of conscience booklet for children, which I just sent off yesterday. The other project is still underway. I hope to finish before the kids get out of school next week.
I am tremendously grateful to my aunt, who asked me if she could keep Michael with her a couple mornings a week while everyone else is at school. That unexpected help has allowed me to have a few really focused mornings of work. It’s made a huge difference! That examination of conscience wouldn’t be finished without her. I will say it is really weird to have no one in the house at all. Might have to explore that topic at a later date.
Happy Third Advent!
When I read about your trials with Nicholas I identify so well because Vincent seems to be similar in disposition and relationship to me. Vincent hits!!! None of my kids ever hit (although Helen was a biter) before! I am truly suffering through terrible-2’s this time around. Goodness! That is so cool though that you apologized and made him feel good and know he wasn’t in trouble. I have fine that when one kid is the source if my frustration but I take it out on another–I try to go back and say “I’m sorry” when I recognize it.
I have *done that…
I think it’s really important to model “I’m sorry.” It’s hard enough to learn to say it, y’know? A lot of adults can’t, or won’t.
Sorry, but Nicholas’ regression made me laugh. It was attention getting.
Waiting to hear back on queries IS nerve-wracking. The only cure I’ve found is starting another writing project in the meantime.
I should do that…right now I’m trying to tie up all kinds of other loose ends, although I know what my next project will be.