I broke down on I-20. I was heading home from work and hearing strange noises. I called my mechanic and asked if I could bring the car in the following week. He said yes. Five minutes later I was stranded on the shoulder of a busy interstate calling my insurance company’s roadside assistance program. An hour later the car was on the tow truck’s bed and I was chatting with the most enthusiastic tow truck driver. The driver dropped the car off at the mechanics and left.
Chad, the mechanic, took a look at the car. He turned it on and pulled it forward a few feet, then back into the space. “Probably the transmission, could be an axel. Have to take a look at it. Has the clutch ever been replaced?” he asked.
“Nope”. It was still going strong, 197,000 miles on the original transmission and clutch. Until now. Based on Chad’s estimate we’re definitely going to be near a grand or more to fix the car.
Months ago a water leak appeared in our back bathroom. After several trips into the attic, one on to the roof, and one roofer later, it’s still leaking. The roofer thought it was where a sleeve covering a pipe had cracked along the base. He slathered it with some roofers caulk or some such and said that should do it. I was cautiously optimistic. I left the hole in the ceiling in case the roofer was wrong. I didn’t want to make the repair twice. Saturday night I stepped into the bathroom and looked into the hole and saw drops of rain beading up.
Last week a position opened up at work. I knew it was a matter of time before an email went out. I met the qualifications for consideration. It would be more responsibility, more work, and a host of new duties to master. My resume was ready but still I had to step back and consider; do I really want to do this? I’ve been in my current role for several years. By no means do I have it mastered. But I can do it. I know what to expect. I work with a great team of people. I had to consider carefully whether or not to apply. I’m not a shoe-in for the role. There will be other highly qualified people applying. Still I have to remember, I could get it. I did not expect to get the current position I had. Yet here I am. Resume reviewed. Cover letter written.
This week Jennifer told me her leg started hurting. It was the same leg she injured several years ago. After four doctors and no relief, she was ready for anything. I recommended acupuncture. She went and got better. Until now. I called our insurance company after noticing several TCM doctors in our area accepted insurance. “Do you cover acupuncture?”
It’s been awhile since Jenn went. I remembered one thing about the visits; they were not cheap. I asked Jenn if she thought two visits would help. She thought they would. Saturday morning we drove out for the first of her two visits. The next day she felt a little better. She has one more visit lined up. I hope that’s all it takes.
Sunday afternoon we took Penelope to Stephanie’s to play with Charlie. Jenn and I went to see “Iron Man 3”. It was a small break, like the eye of a hurricane, while we wait. Waiting to hear from the mechanic. Waiting to call the roofer back to find the source of the leak. Waiting to see if I get an interview and a promotion. Waiting to see if two visits will get Jenn’s leg back to normal.
I sat numb as the whiz/bang of CGI explosions and Robert Downey Jr’s barb-tongue’s zingers went by. The one moment of the movie that moved me was when Downey’s Tony Stark character protects Pepper Potts by commanding his Iron Man suit to encase her before she is slammed into a wall. That resonated with me.
Because that’s how I feel at the moment. Tossed around. But I want to protect the ones I love.
When the car broke down and Jenn picked me up from the mechanics Penelope was in the back seat. “Car broken. Daddy sad” she said. “Yeah sweetie, but it will be ok. It’s great to see you!” The rest of the night was play time, bath time, dinner time, and bedtime just as it always is.
When I saw the water dripping from the ceiling, knowing there were several more days of rain, my heart sank. Then I headed back into Penelope’s bedroom. Jenn was reading the last bedtime story. When it was over I held Penelope in my arms, singing and rocking her.
When Jenn told me about her leg I got worried. Real worried. When I got home Jenn and I talked about the pain in her leg. When we finished I played with Penelope, setting up the Calico Critter house with furniture.
When I typed out my cover letter I agonized over word choice, structure, and the proper way to boast about my accomplishments. Then I went to the dinner table and acted like it was any other day.
One day Penelope will have plenty to deal with. Homework. Complicated relationships. Internal struggles. Life.
But not today.
How do you shield your children from your anxiety? What do you do when you’ve reached the breaking point and your kids know it?
Please take a moment to share below.