The Breakdown Lane

Way back when the boys were little and I was a “housewife”, I’d get up early just to watch Dr. T. Berry Brazleton on Lifetime Network. He had a wonderful program about raising kids, and he was to me what Dr. Sears was to my mother. I loved his approach, his attitude, and his kindness.

One show was dedicated to what to do when your kids reached “The Breakdown Lane”. It was the point in the day when kids had had enough of a long day, and by that point in the world, kids *did* have long days. (More so than when I was a kid.) They got up at the crack of dawn, went to day care, then school, then day care—all very rigidly structures activities—then home. By the time they got home, their parents weren’t the only ones worn out, and when you consider the size of kids, that’s a whole lot of day packed into one small body. He said it wasn’t unusual for kids to reach The Breakdown Lane, the point at which they’d had enough and they needed to shut down mentally, physically, and emotionally. The problem was, the parents were tired too, and they didn’t know what to do that would work for everyone.

Well, I hit the breakdown lane myself this week. I’m trying to learn something new at work, and it’s just not clicking yet. It will, because I won’t give up, but the last time I needed to learn a new process, it took a while. Now I can do it in my sleep, but for a while there I started rehearsing, “Do you want fries with that?” or “Welcome to WalMart! How can I help you?” I’m back to that now, and stress is a mild adjective. At one point, I wanted to throw the phone and smash something.

Combine that with the fact that I made an ass of myself to someone I’m interested in, and I’m not seeing any other options on the future, and I have more vacation time than I can afford to use right now, and there are no “just me” weekends for the next 2 months, and juggling the boys’ schedules with my training, and writing a new manuscript isn’t exactly smooth sailing, I was almost combustible. For some mental relief, I pulled up a website that usually makes me laugh,, and I laughed until I ended up crying.

The fact of the matter is, I know I’m blessed. I know how fortunate I am to be healthy, the boys are healthy, we have a safe and secure roof over our heads, my car runs, I have a job (such as it is), and my life is stable (such as it is). And yet, I fell apart. I hit the Breakdown Lane.

But thanks to Dr. Brazelton, I know I can recover from this. It’s not fun, but it’s not forever, and what doesn’t kill us really does make us stronger. So when you hit the Breakdown Lane, take a breath and step to the side. Let the traffic go by, and gather yourself. It’ll be all right, maybe not now, but it’ll be all right.

I got my practice runs in for last week, though I’m behind by a day. I didn’t have time to get to the gym over the weekend, between a stop in Baltimore for the O’s game, and the Phillies on Sunday. By the way, if you happen to be visiting Citizens Bank Park, try the garlic fries at the Fresh Grille at the left field gate. You can thank me later. Anyway, my normal Sunday-Tuesday-Thursday runs are Monday-Wednesday-Friday instead. I’m nothing if not flexible. 🙂


Back to School!

School started here on Tuesday. Monday night I sadly crawled up to bed thinking, life as I know it is over. My pleasant, calm, easygoing work-at-home schedule went back to getting up at the butt-crack of dawn so the boys can be out the door at quarter to seven, I can be out by 7:30, and I spend hours and hours among…ugh…people. 😉 Really, it’s not a bad thing. It’s just that I seem to get more done on my own.

This isn’t necessarily a good thing, I’m finding out. Alex is working with the soccer team, and I got whacked upside the face with reality:  he doesn’t know how to be a team member. His schedule is off, and instead of going home and crashing in his room, he has MORE to do. I didn’t prepare him  adequately for this, but thank Heaven for his Coach; he’s not giving up on Alex just yet. More than that, I forgot a key principle to life in general:

Expect success, and you’ll get it.

I won’t forget this again. I’ll actually apply it to so many more facets in my life. Matter of fact, as I was kicking my own butt at the gym afterward, I thought, “If you don’t get what you wanted the first time, WORK HARDER.”

On a sad note, we lost a friend on Tuesday. Our cat Tilly hadn’t been well for a while but I thought we had a little longer. It wasn’t to be, and she passed away in John’s and my arms. I made it home just in time to brush her one last time—she loved being brushed—and to say goodbye. The basement just isn’t the same without her. There’s a space there where she’s missing. Likewise, there’s a space in my heart that will always be hers. She wasn’t the smartest cat ever, but she was sweet, and she had a difficult time in the world before John adopted her. I’m glad we could make those last thirteen years happy and safe for her.

Unfortunately, there were two other pet losses this week. My cousin’s cat Bella also passed on Tuesday, and my friend Valerie’s dog Ellie passed over the weekend. It’s a small comfort to think the three of them are rolling around together, in peace and love and no more pain, waiting for us at the Rainbow Bridge. Sleep well, Tilly. Stay warm in that golden sunshine.

Running-wise, I ran 7 practice miles on Sunday. I’ll run many more in the coming weeks. I’m seven weeks from the RW Half, and yesterday I read something that said once I’ve run 10 miles at a time, I’ll experience the sensation that I can do anything. Knowing that took me from “I’m not sure I can do this” to “I can’t wait to do this!” 🙂 Time to get running!!