Thursday, December 13, 2012

Birthday Freak Part 1

As I have gotten older and busier, I have become aware that the entire world does not revolve around me just because it is my birthday.  This awareness is of course partially cultivated by the fact that the day before my birthday is Andy’s birthday, so I usually spend that whole day stressing to make sure he has the special birthday he deserves.  Typically this includes at least 2 major freak outs about whether his present is perfect enough or dinner will turn out or if he’ll even like the dinner I made or if it will be done in time to eat before the kids fall asleep etc. etc. etc.  AND at least two consoling moments when Andy has to assure me that he really DOES love the dinner and his present and that I am the best wife ever.  Unlike me, Andy is not prone to hyperbole, so these reassurances do not come easily.  I might be a little needy, but he’s stuck with me anyway.

This year I became aware of an entirely new phenomenon that must just be a treat of growing older: the new annual testing of my nerves and sense of humor on my birthday.  On my 34th birthday, 2 major tests were thrown at me by the universe.  I’m pretty sure I failed one of them and nailed the other one.  You be the judge. 

Let me preface these stories with some facts: we are in the middle of a HUGE shift at our house, having just returned from a year in Berlin, living in a new/old town where 90% of the people we know we are related to, and money…well…let’s just say that being a SAHM and PhD student doesn’t pay that…wait…doesn’t pay at all.  We may be a little stressed and by we, I definitely mean ME.  Andy is super great at rolling with the punches and navigating in a murky sea of what-the-heck-are-we-doing.    

The first test came when it was time to pick up Annika from school.  Her preschool is really awesome, and I’m soo happy that she gets to go there.  She’s so happy that she gets to go to the same school as her cousin.  Everyone is happy about it.  I’ve FINALLY worked the schedule into a routine, so that picking her up isn’t as stressful as it once was.  (I might be a little OCD about the schedule.)  So Mayzie and I arrived to pick up Annika on my birthday.  We walked into her dark empty classroom.  I was confused.  I looked at my phone to check the time.  (Does anyone wear a watch anymore?)  I was 5 minutes early, but still a little confused. I walked across to the main building where I looked in the gathering room where they sometimes go for special meetings.  Nobody was there.  I walked back to her classroom, still nobody there, and the teacher across the hall didn’t know where they were either.  I walked back to the other building, the only other one I knew she ever went to, and her class wasn’t there either.  I asked one of the other teachers where their class was, she didn’t know, and neither did the other teacher in the same building.  Naturally, the principal, who is the nicest lady and probably would have very easily calmed me down by letting me know where they were and taking me to her, was gone that day.  By this point, it is 5 minutes after when I’m supposed to pick her up, and I’m starting to get angry.  Several other parents with kids in the same class are standing there waiting, and nobody knows anything.  Funny thing is, I am the only one freaking out.  I am now in full on panic angry freak out mode and just want my KID! 

“Why can’t anyone tell me where my kid is and why am I the only one worried about this?!?!  I mean, if I picked her up 10 minutes late, I would be charged a fee right?!?!  Is there some secret meeting or secret newsletter that I didn’t get explaining how things work here and where my kid is right at this moment?!?!”  I may or may not have yelled that exact thing at the two teachers who were unluckily standing there.  3 minutes later, her class marched around the corner and her teacher gave some explanation that I did not hear at all in my horrible rage of an anxiety-give-me-my-kid attack. 

In retrospect: I know that stuff happens.  Kids have to pee and the whole class has to wait.  Kids dawdle putting on their coats to walk back to the classroom building.  13 kids are not easy to wrangle and herding cats is no easy feat.  I was so TOTALLY in the wrong and really really really need to start a serious meditation practice to get my whole attitude in check.  I mean, seriously, that was ridiculous. 

Funny enough, the test that I passed was the one where I actually had cause to freak out about.


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