Let's back up a little bit. My whirlwind actually started a little over a week ago. We were on the tail end of the first week of school, and I was feeling pretty good about how things were going. You know those weeks when you feel like you're on top of your game, you get places on time, your kids are listening and cooperating, your house is clean, laundry is done, and dinner is on the table every night? It doesn't happen very often, but I was feeling pretty good about our first week of school, and I may have even been patting myself on the back a bit. My children were precious, and all was right in the world.
The first hiccup came on Wednesday afternoon...1.5 hours of homework for my third grader. WHAT?!?!? This was NOT on the agenda. After the little snafu, we regrouped and got back into our groove. I thought to myself, we've got this, not a big deal, we just need to put on our game faces every day after school and get this done.
The next day, I was still on my high horse preparing food for our first Wake Forest football tailgate. I made these Mini Tomato Tarts and Ham Party Rolls. It was a lot of work, but I was prepared and had "used my time wisely." My oldest was hard at work on his second night of homework at the kitchen table, and we were right on track to get everything done just in time for me to shower, get everyone changed, and get to the tailgate on time to help set up. I had just packaged up the ham rolls and had pulled the last of the tomato tarts out of the oven, when I heard a blood curdling cry. I ran over to the stairs, and there was my middle child holding his head that was dripping blood. All he kept asking was, "Am I bleeding? Am I bleeding?." As I was assuring him that it wasn't that bad, my oldest child saw him, and with a look of horror on his face started hysterically crying. That sent everyone into a tail spin...all three children were screaming crying, and I couldn't get us out of there fast enough.
We got my child all stitched up, and, in the meantime, a good friend came by and grabbed the food for the tailgate. When we got home, I finally got my shower, got my kids changed, and my husband got home earlier than anticipated and was able to ride with us to the game. Crisis averted. All was good. We made it to the tailgate only an hour later than we planned to. I cracked open my wine, enjoyed some yummy food, visited with lots of friends, and made it into the game on what ended up being a picture perfect night after an afternoon of storms. We made it to halftime when everyone started melting down a little bit. We got home, got everyone showered and to bed, and enjoyed some Netflix. All in all, it was a great day despite the stitches.
The next day was when everything fell apart. I woke up and couldn't find my keys. Not that big of a deal because I have a spare set. There were slight annoyances that went along with losing those keys. I had to give my name, birthday, etc at the YMCA rather than just scanning my card and I was late to BodyPump (if you attend, you know you CANNOT be late or you won't get a spot or your weights), I was crammed in the corner, and I didn't have all of my gear. No biggie...I was still at the Y working out...I went home and rather than cleaning my house as I had planned to do before the weekend, I spent the entire time my kids were at school looking for my keys. I turned my entire house upside down. I mean, my ENTIRE house. I turned over furniture and dumped out cushions, I dumped out every drawer in all of our bedrooms, I emptied out the fridge and the pantry, I dumped all of the toys out of every bin in the playroom, and I went through the recycling and the trash. Guess what...I didn't find my keys. I started calling every single place I could think of that they could be. I was 99% sure that they were somewhere in my house since we had made it home from the tailgate, but in my tornado of a day getting to the tailgate, I couldn't remember if I took my regular keys or my spare in my haste.
Since I lost those keys, I have felt completely lost. My mind has been pre-occupied with those keys, where they could be, what could happen if I didn't find them, who could have them, etc. Every time I came home, I had butterflies in my stomach hoping that no one had come into my house. I went to bed every night praying that no one would walk in the front door, and I wasn't able to sleep. I have had anxiety all week. I went through the motions of getting dinners made, getting my kids where they needed to be, visiting with friends, etc, and I'm not sure anyone would've known what was going on. I played it pretty cool...until this morning.
I couldn't find my EXTRA keys this morning, and I literally started having a mini panic attack. I was sweating. Am I losing my mind? I KNOW I put those keys in my purse last night. Could my husband have taken them? That must be it...he totally took them, and it's his fault that they're not where I thought they were. I went in circles around the house until my husband finally asked what was going on with me. I lost my cool and accused him of being with me both times that I lost my keys and not doing anything to help. Being the calm cucumber that he is, he just simply looked at me like I had lost my mind, and said, "Are you seriously blaming me for losing your keys...again?" Normally I would not have had such a panicked response to losing keys, but this was the SECOND time, and I really couldn't believe it. I calmed myself down, went back to my purse, and looked in the little inside pocket. There they were, right where I left them...and guess what, I went back to the bag that we took to the tailgate, the one I had looked in no less than 25 times, and I found the little inside pocket. There were my original set of keys. I ran outside, found my husband, jumped for joy, and immediately burst into tears. He gave me a big hug, and gave me a lot of grace saying, "You take care of three people all day everyday, you run them all over the place to all of their activities...that you signed them up for by the way...and you do a great job. Give yourself a break. You're okay." My response was, "But now you know I'm not perfect." We both got a HUGE laugh out of that. I walked back upstairs, wiped away my tears, ordered four of the Apple Tiles from Amazon. They will be arriving Tuesday, so hopefully I can keep up with my keys until then.
I have not felt "lost" in a while. It was a good reminder of how the littlest things going wrong can really affect us. If we hold it all in and act like everything's okay, it will work for a little while, but it will eventually catch up with us. If we don't let people know that we're feeling anxious, that we need help, that we need to say "no" right now to preserve our fragile selves, we run the risk of getting into a vicious cycle. We put on a good face, we muscle through, we start to fall apart, and then we freak out. Putting on a good face and muscling through are things we just have to do sometimes, but when we start to fall apart, we have to tell someone. We have to find those people who we trust to help us. Otherwise, we run the risk of looking like a crazy person when we lose our cool over something that just really doesn't matter...yes, I am speaking from experience.
I realize that losing my keys does not qualify as a crisis, but if I had simply told my husband how truly upset I was, he may have helped me look, we may have found them sooner, and I probably wouldn't have lost my mind on him this morning. When real life hits, we have to be able to let people know what's going on.
When we are sleep deprived because of a baby who won't sleep or because of a worry that keeps us up at night, we have to find ways to rest. When we are upset because of a friendship that has gone through a bump in the road or because a family member is sick, we have to find a safe place to share our sadness. When we just can't get it all together because we are overcommitted because of our own decisions or because of things that are out of our control, we need to ask for help. Most likely, there is someone feeling on top of the world like I was a couple of weeks ago who would be more than happy to lend an ear, watch a child, take something off of your plate, and it is no big deal to them. There is also probably someone drowning right next to you that you don't even know about. Watch for the signs...if someone is not acting like themselves, there is more than likely a reason that has nothing to do with what's on the surface.
Unfortunately, there are no flashing lights letting others know how we're doing. It's up to us to be truthful with those around us. Life is so much easier when we let people in rather than keeping a wall up in the hopes of preserving an image of "perfection." Next time you need a friend, or just someone to help you find your keys, don't be afraid to ask. I know I'd love to help and I'm sure your buddies would too.