In the almost six years my husband has been gone, I've been pretty much a master at keeping the juggled balls in the air. Not to say that it has been an easy feat - most days I am drained and stressed. Until recently, I've only worked outside the home part-time for half of this time period. Which means that for about three years I wasn't working at a job, although I did help my parents on an almost daily basis on top of my parenting duties. For me the juggling has been getting my sons to all of their numerous activities, keeping our schedules straight, handling all aspects of daily living without any assistance from anyone. At times it is challenging because there are so many details to remember and when something changes (like a baseball game gets rescheduled) it can take some real creativity to reorganize the schedule. I honestly do not think there could have been any way I could have worked even part-time outside the home and handled everything on my own when the boys were younger. Now that they are in high school and one can drive, it is more foreseeable.
But back to my juggling metaphor, because today one of the balls in the air dropped. I was at work an hour and a half into my 8 hour shift when I received a call from my oldest that all of the baseball equipment was in the back of the van. The boys had a summer league game this afternoon. I had left for work late in the morning so proud that I'd gotten up early to make a home cooked meal for the boys that they could reheat on their own, totally forgetting that I needed to take out their equipment from the van. I knew they had a game and we had discussed their walking to the field and eating dinner afterward. I remembered everything except where the equipment was. I told my manager that I had to attend to an emergency situation at home and would take my half hour dinner break early so I could get them their sports bags.
As I rushed home, I cried and felt very depressed about having to always "fix" everything by myself. I was upset with myself for not remembering about the equipment in the first place, having to leave work and then losing my poor little 30-minute break! Here I have been so good about remembering all the details of our life! When I wasn't working outside the home this kind of thing wouldn't happen because I was the one always driving the boys so they would have been dropped off with their sports bags. So remembering to take the equipment out of the van before I leave is not something I am used to.
I realize that it is pretty silly to be upset with myself for such a small mistake but I still was because over the past six years I've done so well! This is one of the first times something like this has happened. I've become such an expert at juggling so many balls and keeping it all together (despite my fatigue and stress!). I guess the first time you goof it stings a bit. I have to be somewhat realistic here and acknowledge that with going back to work something had to give - there were bound to be some scheduling problems. No one can keep it together 100% - NOBODY! I need to commend myself for all that I've been able to do in the past and to recognize all that I'm doing now, especially with having gone back to work.
While driving home, I passed a wedding party posing for photos in the park. My tears fell harder as I thought about how difficult this is everyday - to keep on going raising the boys on my own, without a husband alongside me. It wasn't my fault that he died and left me in this predicament. I just wished there had been someone to call to help me while I was at work today, someone to help share the load - but as a widowed mom it is just me. So I did what I had to do; drove home, unloaded the baseball stuff, redid my makeup, ate a banana on the way back to work to tide me over, then returned to work, finished out the day and tried to comfort myself (something my husband would have provided when the going got tough). And I guess that would be a pretty good way to describe my current life - doing what has to be done with a little crying here and there; parenting on my own while getting back into the work force and doing the best I can. I guess I should be grateful that this has been the worst thing I have forgotten!
Today I am grateful:
1. That I was allowed to leave work to get the boys their baseball equipment.
2. That my oldest was able to deal with the situation in a calm, mature manner by finding the store phone number, calling the store and then getting me on the phone to explain the situation. Since I've always been at home, he has never had to face something like this on his own.
3. That despite the mishap, the day continued and ended in one piece with no great harm done (except to my pride).
4. To have been shown that I can't always keep it up, there will be times things fall apart and it is okay - I need to be able to support myself even when forgetting something or making a mistake. I need to cut myself some slack - that is the lesson here.
5. For being human and realizing I am only human.