CONTRIBUTED BY MEREDITH NOVARIO
It turns out that I scream at my kids. I didn’t expect to be a growling, screeching banshee. This all comes as a surprise. But not surprisingly, I feel shameful about it. I doubt confessing to you here in the blogosphere is a sound idea and tomorrow I’ll probably wait for your validation or criticisim eagerly in the comments section. Or I’ll just delete the whole post and show a picture of Eli eating a popsicle whilst pimping his cowlick. Heck, I’ll do that anyway.
Show off! With a cowlick like that how is that I am not filled to the brim with rainbows?
Anyway, right. So here we are in my awkward moment because I don’t want to be the only one yelling. And if I am perhaps you’ll just send the folks with pills and restraints to my front door. I live in Mizugama.
Can I get you a glass of flouridated water or whole milk? Wait! No really. I promise to end with a waltz or a leprechaun or something up-tempo. Just hear me out and judge me as you see fit.
I never intend to raise my voice. It’s not on my agenda. It’s a minute by minute affair in this house. I pat myself on the back for the screams that get averted with reason or hugs or luck or shutting myself in the bathroom. But then on the outside of the bathroom door there is just that one more demand for how much I WANT CRACKERS RIGHT NOW and I detonate. I don’t say much in the way of words. It’s a neanderthal-ish event. Occasionally I bring out my stomping feet for extra flare.
Sometimes the boys cry. Sometimes they laugh. Usually I think it’s just confusing because I’m not always like this or not as often and never at such a remarkable, Andre the Giant-sized volume. I blame the DEPLOYMENT & PCS double-threat-arch-position-combo for dredging up the darkest parts of my soul. It is fair to place blame there although the yelling ain’t the right thing to do. It comes on me like a fever and I don’t have the sleep or the proper amount of vegetables in my system or my Joe to keep me afloat.
Today I watched Eli buckle himself into his car seat. He can do this normally. Today he broke a sweat, thrashed his head from side to side and wailed because it didn’t go smoothly. I thought two things. Firstly, I get it. When you are depleted the littlest things can do you in. Secondly, I am teaching him to react this way. I sweat and thrash and wail too. I beg myself to be better and I apologize to them and explain as best I can that I am out of gas. Like when the bathtub drains and there is no water left. Eli asks me if I am thirsty. Yes, thirsty. And sorry.
It is this state of mind that also causes me to retreat from people who care for me and for whom I care but who are not dealing with deployment or PCS’ing. The concerned looks and inquiries into how things are going get tiresome despite the best of intentions. I find it easiest to stay among my own haggard tribe because the lump some of us probably constitute a whole human. The Frankenstein Tribe ambles along with borrowed limbs and brain cells and a paper thin flask of patience. But we get each other. And with all my poor parenting, I need to feel got.
Tell me I’m not alone.
Also, I leave you with THIS because I promised unicorns and lilacs at the end of this dark alley.
For posterity’s sake we have left this universally euphoric, terrified, confused, “what am I doing?!” series on Okinawa Hai. However, we have closed comments for future readers. If there is relevant information for all readers to benefit from, we have taken elements from this series and created new posts, which we’ve linked to from the original text. Thank you for joining us on this ride.