When You Feel Like A Punching Bag

As anniversaries go, it wasn’t our best.

And it should have been, because my parents had given us free babysitting for the night. But the work stress is sky high, and so when the result of an hour’s worth of restaurant research ended with us facing a closed restaurant instead of the upscale dinner we’d been anticipating, it was harder than it should have been to regroup.

We learned long ago that if we don’t go into a date night with a plan, we’ve got a 75% chance of being grumpy about it.

That night, we learned that having to dump a clear plan in response to forces beyond our control, when we’re carrying a lot of other stress, yields a 100% chance of being grumpy about it.

We went to watch Wonder Woman (the last people in the universe to do so, no doubt, but such has been our life in the year 2017), and salvaged the evening, went to bed and regrouped for the next day.

But the next day greeted us with a one-two punch. First was the email that made it clear that the permission slip fight we’d been praying had been averted most definitely had not been. As if we need another thing to deal with, but how can you not? Being caught between witnessing the faith you believe in and compromising for the sake of your child’s disappointment is a crappy position to be in. So we had to break the news to a child that he wasn’t going to get to go on the field trip he was looking forward to. Ten minutes later I went into his room to see how he was doing emotionally, and found him hiding under his bed, sneaking extra screen time.

We had planned to take the entire family to see Cars 3, which was back in theaters for a reprise and which we hadn’t yet seen (see: such has been our life in the year 2017), but clearly, that level of dishonesty can’t be allowed to pass without consequences.

I really do feel kind of like life’s punching bag right now. This whole year has felt this way, in fact. Which is ridiculous because my home isn’t threatened by wildfire or floods, my children are not in the hospital, and we are not facing job loss. All of which have been experienced quite recently by people we know.

But sometimes it’s not the big sucker punch that knocks you down—it’s the barrage of little things piling on you until you’re weighed down like that junk lady in the movie Labyrinth.

After writing that last paragraph, I put this away for a day, thinking I probably wouldn’t post it after all–only to have another occasion of child dishonesty pop up last night, just as I began the descent into a swollen, firey throat-head pressure kind of virus. Which, of course, is the icing on the poison ivy-on-my-scalp-where-I-can’t-get-at-it cake. And the sauce on top was the first rejection letter on my novel.* Fun day, yesterday.

This is the part where I’m supposed to draw some nugget of wisdom, some uplifting pearl, but the truth is, today I just kind of want to acknowledge that sometimes life is pretty crappy, even when it’s minor crap, and pray that I/we can hold on for better times ahead.

*Note: happier news on that front today.