I feel like I've been at and on the racetrack. So much good is happening that sometimes it feels inside me that too much good is happening. (Although I won't be getting to that part here.)
Yesterday morning, a wave of anxiety hit me and sat on me and wouldn't leave. I did something I wish I could say I never do. I took half a prescription drug....and went for a nap.
Me, who has written to people on Facebook about befriending anxiety, "Bring her as sweet intelligent consciousness, right to your lap and welcome her." (This is not my original thinking, I borrowed it from someone who suggested it to me...and I loved its effects and it feels true.) This time - I just popped the half pill in my mouth and crushed my little anxiety spirit.
In thirty minutes, I was back out of bed and onto chores. Clean, sweep, change some sheets, laundry, chase loose dogs ... Finally, take daughter to store so she can make an Easter cake and I can buy ingredients for three vegetarian recipes. (Three. Why not just one? This is what feeling better does to me. Makes me over ambitious.)
Now five hours after my helpful little nap, I am back at my station at my outdated and ugly tile kitchen counter. My daughter is making her cake, rolling out fondant (very expensive store bought frosting) ... We are watching Cake Boss. That we are together is enough. She asks me to find her things very quietly. (Get me a bowl, please. Get me the cookie cutters, please)....I clean up around her and am her happy sous-chef. I start putting my three recipes together. I'm already so proud of myself. (This is an omen.)
Clock turns to five. It will take me three more hours to make my three recipes and about 5/8ths of a bottle of red wine. It may not seem like much, but it is too much wine for my body...and deep down I know it's related to the anxiety...
My son and his visiting friend are having a great time. They will have dug a four foot hole in the back yard (over the same three hours), the beginning of their man cave, they say. The lawn hasn't been cut in three months in the back. It looks great. At one point they find a bone down in their hole and they bring it in the kitchen like two happy dogs. We discuss, examine, and determine it's a very old and dirty chicken bone. Dejected, my son tosses it randomly (and rudely) on my counter then turns to leave.
The wine kicks in for me: "Get this out of here!" I yell for him pissed and so he returns to put it in the trash. Both sarcastic boys laugh and tell me to "Chillax" at the same time.
I serve the boys my three recipes first: Radish and Potato Soup, Baby Spinach Salad with Plumped up Dry Figs, and a Potato Glop with Fresh Herbs that was supposed to come out like a tarte.
I let them eat out side. In five minutes, they mannerfully return the plates and bowls with lots left on the plate "We tried it, thank you, I'm sure it's very interesting, but we would rather not have anymore." They alternate the sentences.
Time is ticking. Hunger is happening now everywhere.
I bring Mom her soup first. It has garnish and crème fraiche.
Next the salad.... looking pretty good with the plumped up figs.
But there was the potato dish debacle and I'm not sure how to fix it.
I really can't bring her that. It's undercooked and looks gross.
It is edible though. So I eat it. Dipped in sour cream, salt and applesauce while now watching Parenthood (Season 3) and finishing that last 1/8 of wine. It's actually quite edible. My feet are tired, the kitchen is a mess. I am still happy at this point.
I hear Mom coming in with some dishes.
These sounds aren't right for this time of day.
She is refilling her Port glass.
Me: "Mom?! More Port? Really?"
Her: "So what?.... I haven't even had dinner yet..."
Me boasting: "Yes you have. I just made a three-course meal, what do you mean?"
Her puzzled: "I had this little bit of soup is all. Did I have dinner?" She doesn't recall. This is a normal. I could lie and just move into dessert.
But I don't.
"Um, you had Radish and Potato soup and a special salad with plumped up figs." Stop. Remember.
"The potato dish didn't turn out as hoped and I forgot you didn't get any...." My voice is trailing off.
She's hungry and feeling neglected but mostly hungry. "It's not a problem darling, why do you make such a big fuss? Just heat something up simple for us." (This makes me bristle - nothing is simple for me in this kitchen. Everybody knows that.)
I am suddenly feeling unappreciated. It comes on with a whisk.
Me: "Well how did you like the soup?" I am smiling, expectant, and nostril flaring too.
Her: "Oh yes, what was in that?'
Me: "Radishes and potatoes ?! "
Her: "Radish and potato?....Oh. Well...." Sigh. "It was a little bland, I thought."
To self: "She thought it was bland."
Me, a few moments later when I think I've collected my thoughts but clearly haven't: "Mom...do you realize you are the only person in this house who can give me the appreciation I need?"
(Wow -did I really say that? How unenlightened, how not true and how overheard by Natalie who was at the bathroom mirror.)
What followed next involved some tears and some soft shouting (because Mom's hard of hearing).... also some unloading of resentments and shameless justifications. "Do you have to tell me you smell something burning every night Mom?" Stuff like that.
After a couple more minutes of this.
"Well darling, I really feel like shit now." she says.
"Well I feel like shit too." I say and stomp off.
How old am I? 15 or 52? This was the wine talking (using my thoughts maybe, but still doing the talking). It helped me make the dinner but not without its price.
Back in the kitchen. My daughter comes to me and says "Hey, Mom I didn't get a chance to tell you, dinner was really good tonight." Gasp and Breathe. She heard everything of course. She didn't mind my glop. She heard me yell at her grandmother and doesn't seem to mind. I feel better and I feel worse.
My nice ex-husband arrives, sees my tears, and says a few words of comfort that praise my domestic efforts. My daughter shows him her beautiful cake. He takes the boys to his place for a sleepover. I walk the dogs and then face the dishwasher.
Finally, I help Mom with her shower and into bed. We hug and look for her glasses.
I go to bed and feel this tiny little anxiety lay down with me.