Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Wit's End

I have sent the children upstairs to play while I, their teachermommy, sit and do the unthinkable. I am going to blog.

Technically we are at lunch break, which excuses me. But unless I can wrap up all of my thoughts in a clean 10 minutes, I'll be cheating.
Last night, Austin sent me a text. He was running late (shock!) and would be home even later than anticipated (how unusual!) because he lost track of time and talked too long in his meeting (a first!). After he sat in traffic (sounds so luxurious....silence....or music....and alone) he was frustrated and let me know where he was. His text (sent at a stoplight, of course) said:
At Burkitt (The main road near us)

While stirring the boiling chili, attempting to make a bottle for screaming Isla (whom I was holding...wait...who?whom?) and telling Sabra to STOP CLIMBING ON THE COUCH and gently persuading Moira to NOT DIAGNOSE EVERY TWINGE SHE EXPERIENCES, I got the text.

Without thinking, without hesitation, I flipped open my phone and told qwerty to send the following:
At wit's end

To his credit, he didn't reply. He knew that I was either yelling or being yelled at, and also making a world-class dinner. He knows that I have been dealing with situations in the house as of late that try me to the very core of my being. Sometimes I weep. Sometimes I laugh hysterically. Sometimes I close myself in our closet and he has to ask me if I have the nail scissors again (guilty).

It doesn't happen often, but I must have looked really, really scary. He told me I could go, leave, do whatever I wanted. I wanted to leave the country and not come back this year, which isn't a possibility, so really...the gift isn't all that it sounds. But still, I could just go. When Austin finally arrived after his 13 hour workday (be super jealous of pastors and teachers), he ate his dinner with the kids. I was too frazzled to eat. I also *might* have stopped by Codi's house on my way to the grocery store and *might* have eaten some leftover wedding cake that *might* have made me feel sick and spoiled my appetite. I sat with them, to give some sense of familial involvement, and then before I knew it, I was out running.

My friend Beth says that she likes to run because she gets to run AWAY from her family. Now, we all know that Beth, like myself, loves her family and would never leave them. For long. But sometimes, well. Sometimes having small kids and worrying about your best friend and your money and your kids' schoolwork and your husband's unhappiness and your extended family that NEVER STOPS being INSANE and your creepy draw towards nail scissors when life gets just need to get out. Alone.

I'm not a great runner. I don't get to run half as often as I'd like. But I do really love it. I ran a full 5 miles last night without feeling anything but the lovely pound of my feet on the pavement. Stress makes you better at exercising, in case you haven't discovered that trick. When my mom was recovering from her aneurysm and life was hectic and horrid, I ran at least 90 minutes a day. I'm not saying it is the best option, but do what you can.

So as I ran in the thankfully descending temperature of the last eve of August, I thought. My thoughts swarmed in odd fragments, swelling sequence, and colorful frustration. I ran past a dead baby snake. Gross. Then another. Then another. Then, oddly, three dead butterflies.

While making my way to the halfway point, I tried to figure out what dead snakes and butterflies meant. I really expected to come up with something. And then I felt odd for feeling that the universe was trying to send me a sign through dead things on the road.

Dead snakes...meaning....I hate snakes and seeing them dead means...well...they were babies. Maybe I'm not supposed to have any more babies? TOO LATE, UNIVERSE! ha! I beat you to it. No more babies out of this teachermommyrunner. E.V.E.R. But dead butterflies..hmm. Butterflies go through a metamorphosis, so maybe I'm not supposed to do that? But I don't want to be the universe's caterpillar. We used to have a big tree in the back yard when I was a kid. It was beautiful, surrounded by tulips. During caterpillar-spins-a-cocoon season, the tree was covered in nasty big nets of lumpy caterpillar tombs. It made my teeth mushy while I ate breakfast. I tried not to look at it, but it was like a nasty magnet. You WILL look at the LUMPY TOOOOOMBS.

And then I tried to wrestle my thoughts back so something helpful. I didn't need Mushy Teeth Syndrome while running. If I thought too long about those nasty nets, I wouldn't be able to eat for the rest of the night. Even writing about them make me feel like I'm chewing them. Gross.

So my mind hopped to my text: at wit's end.

I've always thought of that saying as a way to convey one's immediate proximity to the end of their ability to cope. It is the last signpost before glazed eyes and nail scissors.

But then, for the first time, I realized that one of my favorite words is in there. Wit! I love that word. If I say that someone or thing is witty, it is a high praise indeed.

I love the saucy, quippy, intellectual humor that is wit. I am in awe of the witty phrases sprinkled through literature, and I love those that can pepper their own world with its warm scent.

So, I thought to myself, am I really at the end of my wit?

This obviously necessitates the question of whether or not I posses such a thing, but I'm on a deadline to get back to teaching and I'm already 20 minutes late.

Let's just color my world happy and say that I am or at least can be, a little, somewhat, sometimes.

Last night I think I was getting awfully close to the end of the wit rope. I hate that I am not a good enough time scheduler (irony alert) to make my life work in conjunction with my responsibilities. I can do the mommy thing. I can do the writer thing. I can do the friend thing. I can clean my house...haha. But I can't seem to shuffle the pieces together correctly.

Do you remember those little puzzles that have moving pieces? There's one empty space, and you have to move one piece around, then move another, then move the first one back a step, until you have a picture? That's what I feel like I'm doing with my life.

I'm moving things around, but I'm still not getting a picture. I just have an irritating puzzle. The puzzle taunts me.

When I got those puzzles as a kid, and even now when my kids get them, I usually either throw it away or cheat and take the pieces out. I'm not really sure how to apply that to life.

But I hope that my picture doesn't have dead baby snakes. My wit doesn't extend quite that far.


Beth McDermott said...

OMG, I got a SHOUT-OUT! I feel famous. And I want to use my royalties to buy my very OWN pair of sparkling, shiney, brand spanking new out of the package extra durable extra sharp gold plated nail clippers. xo

Pastor Austin said...

One way of avoiding wit's end is to never have its beginning. That's the route I took.

Debbie Kaye said...

Hey Girl! My interpretation: Snakes are the sign of trouble (devil=snake) so a dead snake is a good snake. I would say that someone exterminated the snakes or that the drought and heat kept them from living.
If the snakes were "exterminated" maybe the butterflies got in the same cloud of poison? I don't know... but it's a sign nonetheless. A sign that if you are living you will have trouble. But never fear.... after the cocoon/death/passing of trouble you will come forth like a beautiful creature with wings that can fly free.
I totally relate to the pieces of the puzzle thingy... I said some of the very things about my life's pieces fitting together not too long ago. But you know what? Creative people HAVE to CREATE.... so what if we don't get it all done the way the rest of the world does it? Take the pressure off, eat dessert first, it doesn't matter. As long as your family have clean underwear, the organic or non-allergenic equivalent to peanut butter and jelly, things will be just fine. Because you are you and there isn't anyone else like you. The people that try to fit you into THEIR mold can get in it themselves and see how they like it because they wouldn't be able to walk 2 paces in YOUR shoes.
Love you so very much! P.S. Hot Springs has LOTS of running places and beautiful mountain trails. I'll watch the kids.
BTW: the word verification given me to type in order to post a comment to this blog was COMANIC.... hmmmmm....