My Facebook status from earlier this afternoon:
Going got tough at the house…so I am now keeping a chair warm with an afternoon tea— at Starbucks.
I posted it at about 5:15 and did not return to the confines of my home for a full two hours. It was not my original intent. In fact, before I left, I gave Jessie the option (which I was forced to snap at her hastily in the split second during which she took a breath in order to have the lung capacity to continue yelling at me) to either take a walk or I was going to. She, with no hesitation, told me that it was I who should take a walk. (“Yeah, maybe you should go” were her exact words.) I agreed, pulled my boots back on and headed out the door. Fortunately I had my wits about me enough to grab a few bucks as I walked out the door (with just a trace of a dramatic flair) with plans to purchase a cup of tea at the nearby Starbuck’s and return home: ten minutes round trip.
Once I got into the café, however, and was assaulted by the intoxicating smell of coffee and good-looking, yet tasteless baked goods, I knew I had no choice but to warm the big leather chair by the front window…even if just for a moment. I remained in my scarf and jacket feeling only slightly bitter about the draft seeping in through the glass, holding my hot cup of tea up to my cheek the way my mother always does. I then prayed for calm.
It was just one of those weeks. I like to blame it on the time change, but I am unsure as to the factuality of that.* I have been alternatively giddy, content, sad, angry, overwhelmed, energetic, exhausted, hopeful and resigned. I have changed moods on a less than hourly basis. So, too, has my youngest child. (Harrison, on the other hand, has been steady as he goes all week.) I cannot even put my finger on it, but Jessie’s flip out earlier (over something too benign, ridiculous and irritating to even mention) escalated quickly, in part because I was in no mood to sit back and observe a steady ascent so might have gotten a bit feistier a bit more quickly than normal. It is a discussion (and I use that term extremely loosely) which we have had innumerable times (in the past three days, that is) and the conclusion she desired was simply an impossibility. In anticipation of the energy I knew it would require talking her off the ledge, I got my back up more quickly than usual. And then I had to walk away.
As the hot tea began to warm my body, I consciously adjusted my breathing and commenced to people watching. I quickly grew bored but knew that returning home was not an option yet. So, like any warm-blooded middle-aged woman in the same situation would, I hopped onto Facebook and updated my status, secretly hoping that some of my local peeps would come to my rescue and, if nothing else, share in a late afternoon tea. Alas, they were all doing what people normally do at that hour: shuttling the kids, or making dinner, or driving home from work and not, as I was, doing Yoga breathing amid coffee beans and tea leaves.
I have learned to adjust to the fact that my life has changed a lot in the past year or so. I went from being a married mom of two boys, to a separated mom of one boy and one girl. I cut my long hair and (briefly) let the gray grow in. I started a new job while giving up Diet Coke and coffee.** And I learned to go take a walk when the going gets tough.
*I am not even sure that factuality is a word, but it works. So there.
**Full disclosure: At the beginning of the year I decided that I was going to give up Diet Coke, coffee and booze. Oh, well.