Is your glass half empty or half full?
Most of the time I consider myself a glass-half-full kind of person. But this week Evan has been drinking out of my glass, and now it’s empty.
He took his first sip – more like a giant gulp –over the weekend at a friend’s birthday party. We arrive late, and the kids are already sitting nicely around a table decked out in Minion party ware.
Evan walks in. He runs straight for the light switch and demands that the lights be turned on. He doesn’t care that it is a sunny day and the party is in a room that is practically all windows. When the mother of the birthday boy politely tells him no, he drops to the ground, launches into a pathetic fake cry, puts his hands over his head and shouts “Turn them on.” She does. He is quiet for about two seconds before launching into his next tirade. “No cheering or clapping during happy birthday,” he shouts. Thankfully, we missed the singing.
It’s ironic. We special needs parents lament about how our kids never get invited to birthday parties, and then when we finally get an invitation we wonder why we’ve accepted it.
The week doesn’t get much better, and Evan takes a few more sips from my glass.
He gets frustrated with his siblings. He calls Jessica a stupid idiot and hits her. He tells Noah he is the worst brother ever and throws in a few swear words for good measure.
Another sip from my glass.
He is screaming with frustration when it’s time to put away the iPad or do homework. While it’s common for him to yell and swear when he is frustrated, this week he’s upped both the volume and the frequency and it’s driving everyone here insane.
He drinks again.
Jon and I treat ourselves to a rare massage as an anniversary gift to each other. The therapist comes to our house at 8 p.m. and Jon goes first so I can get the kids mostly tucked in. When the massage ends earlier than expected and I can’t snuggle with Evan, he loses it and yells and cries. He is inconsolable for the entire hour.
He finally empties the contents of my glass – and it’s only Monday – when he darts into the street to retrieve a tennis ball. He is about to return home when I turn around from the mailbox just in time to shout “Evan, do not move.” The oncoming car stops and lets him cross. The scenario that plays in my head is much different. In this version Evan is in the middle of the street and the car doesn’t stop. A parent should not have to worry about a 10-year-old running into the street.
Welcome to my Pity Party.
Did you bring any wine?
How about brownies?
Not too many, I hope, because this party won’t last that long. It can’t. Unfortunately I don’t have any brownies to offer and I can’t justify opening a bottle of wine at 9 a.m.
Before Evan left for school this morning I told him I was feeling sad. I asked him what he does when he feels down.
“I cry,” he says.
I ask: “Does that help?”
He’s right. I feel better. Plus, I found a brownie in the freezer.
The party’s over. It was a short one this time.
Life can suck. It isn’t always what we signed up for- whether it’s something catastrophic or just overwhelmingly frustrating. Innocent people are killed and injured by terrorists and we wonder how something so awful can happen and when and where it will occur again. Cancer steals our loved ones. Jobs are lost. Bills pile up. The list goes on and on. Even when our children do things to drain our energy, it brings us down.
Bad and stressful things happen all the time. Sometimes they happen to other people and sometimes they happen to us. It’s okay to grieve over the bad things and the stressful ones. Have a pity party, but don’t stay too long because good things happen, too. And you don’t want to miss the joyful moments of life by spending too much time at your pity party.