Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Looking for Hope

The past month has been increasingly stressful around our house.   Everyone seems to be fraying around the edges, and I can feel myself starting to crack under the pressure to keep the peace and routine going.

Safety Guy is in a tough place regarding bullying and dealing with everyday annoyances at school and at home.  He's made great progress over the years, but we're in a big time short term slump.  He's frustrated, and acting out verbally at everyone who gets on his nerves, which includes just about everyone around him.  He's had some trouble at school, yelling and swearing at other kids who get in his face and his space (on purpose or by accident, makes little difference to him).  He's grounded for the third time in a month.

Princess Yakyak is in the throes of puberty.  Oh, the drama!  Oh, the attitude!  Oh, the mouth!  She's been grounded a couple times this month as well, for talking back and doing mean things when she's upset.  She's also having some trouble with math in school, which totally frustrates her as she's never had difficulty academically before.  Couple that with her current tendency to blame everything that happens to her on everyone else, even when some things are patently her fault, and it hasn't been very pleasant to be around her at times.

Tech Guy is having his own struggles right now.  We're not in anywhere near as bad a place as we were almost a year and a half ago, before getting marriage counseling, but there are disturbing echoes going on.  Both of us are working hard to maintain our marriage and help our children, not to mention earn a living and keep the house from falling apart or be buried in a landslide of laundry and clutter, but we're both overtired, overstressed, and maxed out.  Something has to give.

I'm - what am I?  Too many things to count, sometimes.  At any given moment I'm tired, stressed, worried, anxious, fearful, frustrated, and angry, over all sorts of things going off-track in our lives.  I can't keep everyone else "together" and not lose pieces of myself in the process.  It's time to reprioritize and get things back in balance.  I'm taking a couple days off work this week to regroup.  I need the mental space more than I need the subbing paycheck (which, when you get down to it, isn't great pay at all for the amount of stress it sometimes involves).  I've had a run of very difficult subbing experiences recently, and I need a break from that.  Yesterday was very good at school, and I'll sub tomorrow if they call and it's a class that won't make me crazy, but I'm not going to be masochistic about this subbing thing.  It's not my sole income; I can say no occasionally.

This week has had some hopeful things occur, mostly in the way of spring arriving early.  My crocuses are in bloom.  My daffodils and tulips are sprouting.  I've been able to start edging the small garden beds in the back yard and cleaning out the strawberry patch.  The robins and birds of spring are back, and last night I heard the first spring peepers of the season earlier than I've ever heard them before.  (One downer:  the mosquitoes are back too.)  I got to go for a bike ride with the kids yesterday, and there was a gorgeous bright coral pink and smoky purple sunset.  I finished my winter sowing a couple days ago, and I've already got sprouts in two containers sown in January (oriental poppies are usually my first sprouts, and this year they're the early birds again).   It's been warm, more like April than March, so I've had the house windows open as much as possible.

 Dogwood blossoms, from our old house, 2008.

Today my parents are coming up for a visit.  I can hardly wait to see them!  The only concern I have is that I'm sure my mother's mom-radar will pick up that I'm down.  That's not necessarily bad, but just discussing what's bothering me will bring me down, so I hope we don't spend much time talking about it.  I'd like to just enjoy the time with them on a sunny, beautiful spring day.

Time to go do a quick tidy before Mom and Dad get here, but before then, I want to share one of my favorite hymns, which perfectly expresses the ultimate foundation of my hope and my reason for pressing on: