I woke up this morning with a serious Mother’s Day Weekend hangover. I wish I could tell you that it was from drinking too many mimosas and eating too much dark chocolate, but no such luck. Although the results were oddly the same, I was just physically and emotionally exhausted today.
It all started with working myself into a full frenzy as my middle daughter graduated from college on Saturday. I spent the days leading up to it feeling guilty about not attending her graduation in person (in upstate New York). She and I discussed this for months, and she didn’t think it was necessary for me to travel 16 hours (one-way) to watch her walk across the stage for less than one minute. Most universities now provide commencement ceremonies live online. Her grandparents (who live on the East coast) were there along with her dad and stepmom. She said that was plenty of family to juggle. Due to the 6-hour time difference, my husband and I got up early to make sure we were logged on for the 6am-8am viewing party. The rest of our family watched from different states all over the country and even in Europe. I got teary-eyed during the commencement speeches and when they called her name to receive her diploma.
After watching the graduation online, I had to get ready for the next event on the weekend docket: An eight-hour community service obligation with my youngest daughter. My youngest daughter’s school hosts an annual Craft Fair/Fundraiser which requires every student AND every parent to do a volunteer four-hour shift. As a student/parent of the school, you get to pick where you want to spend your four-hour shift. My daughter picked a food booth to prepare salads. I selected the admissions gate. My husband was a cashier at the rummage sale. Unfortunately, due to the fact that my daughter also plays Club Volleyball in the off-season and they use the school gym, we had an additional obligation. Every volleyball player AND their parent ALSO are required to do a four-hour shift at the Craft Fair. The difference is that the Club VB team is assigned to the overflow parking lot to help park cars… IN a cow pasture. No, I’m not kidding! While standing in knee deep grass, carefully navigating the cowpies like landmines, we were directing 5000 cars to park in neat little lines in the boiling hot sun. And no, just because you do one shift as a student/parent does not make you exempt from doing another shift as a VB player/VB parent. While they call us “volunteers,” there is nothing voluntary about it. It is absolutely mandatory. Although, I was hot, sweaty and filthy dirty from the flying dust, I considered it a victory when I made it out of the field without stepping on a single cowpie.
When our 8-hour shift was finally completed, I had (stupidly) promised my husband and daughter that we would go see the new Avengers movie. They had been dying to see it. I am sure that sounds like a wonderful way to decompress for most people, except that I really don’t like superhero movies. And yet for some reason, I always end up seeing them. Admittedly, it was better than I thought it would be. But after being up since 5am, and being in the hot sun for 8 hours on my feet, I simply couldn’t take a three-hour movie. So, I did what anyone would do in a dark theater with reclining seats: I took a nap during the battle sequence. I fell asleep at the beginning of the sequence, slept for about 30 minutes, and still managed to see how they took down the villains and who ended up saving the world. That night, I crawled into bed like I had been in a battle sequence all day. Every part of my body ached.
Sunday was Mother’s Day. I slept in, played tennis with my husband, opened up cards from my family, and we went out for a sushi dinner. As lovely as it was, Mother’s Day is just one of those holidays that will always be a little bittersweet for me.
Today, I thought that I might wake up feeling relieved that all the activity is over, but I just woke up exhausted. I had trouble concentrating on work. I didn't feel like making dinner. I didn’t feel like doing laundry. All of my go-to procrastinations weren’t working. I said to my husband, “Maybe this is it. Maybe I have officially run out of steam. Maybe I have lost the motivation to be productive, write, organize, plan or do anything. What if this is my new normal? What if I just wander around my house in my sweatpants for the rest of my life? What if I never make dinner again? Or never do the dishes? Who will go to the grocery store? Do the laundry? What if I never have the energy to do anything ever again?”
My husband looked at me with a perfectly straight face and said, “You are too emotionally damaged to be that unproductive.”
I just stared at him blankly. I didn’t say anything at first, and then he looked a little nervous after he said it.
Finally, I smiled and said, “I think that was the nicest thing you have ever said to me. You really do know me.”
And somehow that was the inspiration I needed to get back to work. So thanks honey for the brutal honesty, and for getting me back on track. Now that I am done writing this week’s post, I will need to put the next load of clothes in the dryer.