Thursday, June 30, 2011

Meltdowns, Not Just for Toddlers...

The painting party for the gals at church seemed like a great idea four months ago when we put it on the calendar. The end of June - well into summer and the "more relaxed summer schedule." Problem is, I never made it to that elusive "more relaxed summer schedule." Why, you ask? I blame it on the Kingwood Blaze, Trent's All-Star baseball team. I knew I was crazy to volunteer to be the team mom for the regular spring baseball season with our community league. I mean, it was our first time to even PLAY in the league. I didn't have a clue! Surely there was a mom with more league experience? But no one else volunteered and our coach was going to have to miss our first scrimmage to attend the meeting. That's crazy, I thought. How hard can it be? I didn't know what I was doing, but I knew I was organized. I could listen, take notes and follow directions. Honestly, I have such a deep appreciation for little league coaches, who volunteer their time, giving up almost every night of the week, at the expense of their families, just because they love teaching the game. It was the least I could do to show my appreciation. Well, fast forward two months to the All Star season. Trent was thrilled to be selected for the team; Ryan got recruited as team photographer and assistant coach. Our beloved Coach Paschall was coaching the 12 year old team and before I knew it I said yes to being Team Manager. I got sucked in with the old, "You were the best team mom, ever." Clearly I was ignorant about the Team Manager responsibilities for an All Star team. Oh, we have to fundraise? How much? Oh, and organize a two shirt uniform, practice shirt and fan shirt? No problem, except when the coaches' shirts got printed without names and numbers, causing a last minute scramble to keep our team within the tournament regulations. A two week long tension headache was the first symptom that I was wound too tight. I had been going from one event to the next, with no down time - for me a ticking time bomb at best. The only way I was able to keep my feet on the floor was because of Ryan, who picked up the slack in heroic ways, all the while shaking his head.

As I scrambled to make it to the painting class, I still had a To Do list a mile long, which included sewing 12 patches on baseball uniforms, finishing 79% of a book I was supposed to lead a discussion on the next morning and final preparations for my daughter's 7th birthday party the next day. But  I was excited about the painting class! I had really been looking forward to it!

Twelve gals joined us for a "Painting with a Twist" kind of evening, minus the wine. Sabrina, ever the amazing teacher, guided us from the sea-foam green background to the blue eggs, to the nest around them, complete with shading to show depth and finally the tree branch the nest was settled in. Sounds simple, right? No's just a's all just for fun. That would have been true in a non-frazzled state of my mind.  But the more pathetic my nest looked, the less patience I had for the whole endeavor. As I looked around at my friends happily making twigs and cute little curlicue branches, my sad little nest just kept looking more and more like a brown blob.

I realized in that moment that I just needed to go home. We had about an hour left of our class. Sabrina saw my face and realized the jig was up. I couldn't figure out a way to quietly sneak out of there unnoticed, and when someone asked why I was leaving, I tearfully explained how overwhelmed I felt. It was embarassing.  When I got home, I moped up the stairs to have a good cry. My son saw I was upset and instinctively gave me a big hug. My daughter kept asking, "Why is Mommy crying?" and I didn't have a good answer. But I did have a good cleansing cry. Trent brought me a cup of hot tea to help me feel better. Soon after,  the doorbell rang and my sewing friend Denise, who had just left the painting party, showed up to help. She plopped down on my living room floor and she, Ryan and I got the 12 patches sewed on in 45 minutes. She asked, "What else can I do to help you get ready for tomorrow?"

Isn't that the very definition of friendship?
People who just show up to help,
even when we're too stubborn to ask for it,
even when we are beyond overwhelmed.
People who share our journey,
even when we are less than perfect,
even when it isn't pretty.
That is also what church means to me.

Everyone finished their bird nest paintings and they look beautiful, each in their own way.

I'm grateful that Nancy (top row left) was willing to hold up my nest picture in addition to hers. These friends honored my contribution by holding my place for me, even as I sobbed my frustrations into my pillow at home.

My nest picture is still unfinished.
I may get Ryan to help me fix it 
or I may start completely over
or I may just paint over the whole canvass with white and start a different painting project.
I haven't decided yet.

But before I can decide, I need a whole lot more white space or down time in my summer and my life. Gently, I need to create the relaxed schedule of summer before it is too late. Gently, I need to accept my own limitations and be willing to ask others for help. If none of that works, and a meltdown is inevitable, where there is friendship, where there is church, there is always grace.


  1. Great post, two thumbs up! Love you!

  2. Awesome thank you for this, we all need to take time to just chill and enjoy moments instead of breaking the speed limits we all have seem to do way too often. Big Hugs Cuz, you are a wonderful Mom, Wife, Daughter and Woman.

  3. Flattery gets you.....a damn lot of work!!!! ??!! You beautifully juggle all the balls in the air and are completely entitled to a meltdown. Love you!!