Friday, November 05, 2010

Perspective

Yesterday was a long day. It was cold and rainy and frustratingly unproductive. We were late for school, we were whiny and throwing tantrums, we did not want to eat, nap, or get dressed, we were just generally cranky. Some days are like that, gray. And yesterday was such a one dreary and long and just exceedingly gray.

Kenny has this goal, an admirable one I think, of seeing all of Shakespeare's plays performed live. The Folger Shakespeare Library is currently performing the very seldom seen Henry VIII. The rareness of this play and the fact that we found half-price tickets was too much to pass up. I like Shakespeare too, but seeing all 38 plays live is not a goal I feel compelled to achieve. And, I will do just about anything not to have to arrange for a mid-week babysitter. So Kenny went off on his own and I stayed behind to do the bedtime routine solo.

I was determined to end our dreary day on a high note, and things were going well. We'd bathed, read stories, sung songs and turned out the lights. I finished my own dinner in peace and was settling into a television show TIVO was graciously saving for me. And then, the final nail in the coffin. The boys were fighting sleep and winning. I got up to go "gently" encourage they throw in the towel and in my haste, knocked over my water glass right onto my not quite 6-month old MacBook Pro. It is dead, as in doornail.

Shocked and very aware that I couldn't save it, I went down the hall to finish my original errand. Walking into the room I was confronted with two very tired little boys who refused to accept the glaringly obvious remedy for their conditions. And suddenly, this long and now terrible day became too much. And to make matters worse, here they were awake and not even close to letting it end. I couldn't handle the tension anymore and burst into tears. I thought about the pictures we would probably never recover, the weeks of class notes I've recorded this semester that were gone forever, bookmarks for my 25 page research paper I cannot duplicate and I cried. I begged them to go to sleep and let me think, to let me come to terms with this loss, to let me figure out how to break the news to my blissfully absent husband.

But, instead...they started to cry. Pitiful, heart-wrenching sobs.

I was horrified.

How could I have done this to them? I'd scared and upset them over what? A computer and some lost photos? I'm the Mom, I'm supposed to keep this from happening, not cause it. I knelt down on the floor in their room and drew their shaking bodies in close. I wrapped my arms around them and hugged them tight. We cried together for a few minutes, them out of fear and me from shame. In the most soothing voice I could muster I promised them everything was okay. I kissed their damp cheeks and tired heads and tucked them back into their beds. As I drew the covers up to his chin, Isaac looked at me and through a final sob said, "Lie down with me, Mommy." So I did. He nestled in next to me, as close as humanly possible and very soon he was relaxed and sound asleep. And finally that exhausting day ended.

As I lay there feeling, more than hearing him breathe, I thought about the damage I had done. As delicate and vulnerable as my computer is, what of these two tiny hearts? A technician will take apart my MacBook, look for glimmers of life and try to recover something. But, for my children, it is not that simple. Their hearts are soft and growing and the things recorded within are permanent. I am the guardian of those hearts. And last night, I lost sight of that. I will miss those pictures from the important moments in their lives, sure. But, how much more devastated would I be to miss their trust, love and belief that I can make it all better?

The sun is out today and I know everything will be fine, no matter what the verdict on the computer is. I know it will be fine because the Macbook is just a thing, and things are replaceable. I know it will be fine because we have an external hard drive and most of what was on the laptop is saved there. But, mostly, I know it will be fine because as we crossed the street this morning I squeezed two little hands and those hands squeezed mine back.

12 comments:

Bfiles said...

well, now I'm crying, too. What a beautiful and touching post. So sorry about your computer- hope all is not lost. But it's so true- it's all about perspective. hope today's a good day.

IWA (e - va) said...

Love this post.... My eyes were sweating.. because i've totally had my own break down in front of my kids.... and after all is said and done realized what was most important...

Good Luck with the mac!

llcall said...

Crier #3 here (onto Neal's computer, no less) but this was just a beautiful reminder of many important things. Thanks for that.

two forks said...

very well written.

i hope you have a great weekend together!

Jessica said...

That is so awful. Sorry about your day and your computer. And you sound like a waaay more soft hearted mom than me!

stephanie said...

I know that I have had those moments more often than I would like to admit with my boys.

Sometimes it is so hard not to let life's frustrations get the best of me.
Loved your perspective. Great post!

dana said...

Oh, this was so sweet. Thanks for making me cry at 2am. I'm sorry for your crazy day but I'm so glad you shared your story with us (and in such a cleverly written way). And please know that we've all completely lost it too (although yesterday when I just screamed as loud as I could to get the frustration out both kids actually started laughing which kind of surprised me and made me less tense). But I've definitely made Owen cry before too and that broke my heart. I'm glad you got a squeeze back from those little hands today. And I'm praying for your macbook :)

Lauren in GA said...

Linsey, that was so, so, so, beautifully written. I would have been hysterical if that had happened to my computer. You are a wonderful mother. It is so hard to put things in perspective when you are really upset. You did a great job.

JJackman said...

Well put!

Heidiram said...

Wow. Can I just say you are an awesome mom?

the wrath of khandrea said...

linsey, how have i missed your blog for months and months? did i assume you had just quit? did google reader drop you from my list? i feel sad now, here you've been dutifully blogging, and the last thing i remember reading was you saying you were leaving venezuela.

this post was great. you are so sweet, because i would've just screamed at my kids, slammed their door, and stood swearing at my computer. then i would've blamed it all on my husband when he got home, because CLEARLY he loves shakespeare more than me.

Alisha said...

You didn't know about my blog because I have been stalking you silently. But, now that I've been outed...

I really appreciated this post. I don't want to count the number of times I have lost my cool with the kids and thrown my own tantrums. Rather than helping the situation I have contibuted to the chaos and emotional whirlwind. You have very clearly articulated what so many mothers feel. Thanks.

Also, we would love to see you guys now that you're stateside. I noticed on Eric's calendar that Kenny's birthday is coming up. (At least I assume it is your Kenny, I don't know any other Kenny's.) Maybe we can use that as an excuse to get together.

We're still at melayela@aol.com let us know when you are free.

 

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