Every day I have tried to get insurance to pay me back for some claims.
Every day I have found more charges on stolen credit cards.
Every day I have looked in my mailbox for a paycheck that hasn't arrived but two bills have taken their place.
And yet, my mind drifts back to a few Saturday agos in Big Bear. We had an amazing time as a family, but my son's tics (which had been almost non-existent) were a constant and steady stream of "mmms" and "hmmmms" and gulps that were combined with hyper activity I hadn't seen in ages.
Every throat clear... every hiccup... every click was a megaphone blaring to my frazzled soul, "YOU HAVE FAILED. YOU CAN'T CURE THIS."
A part of my brain tried to remind me that I have, indeed, done wonders in suppressing those nasty tics through a healthy diet and a stream of supplements as steady as those soft vocals, but during that particular trip - confined in a small space with no place to run and hide - I wasn't much for logic.
My patient husband held my hand the whole way up the mountain. "You're doing great," he'd whisper, as if to convince himself as much as he was trying to persuade me. (Actually, I do think he believed it. How does he do that? Where can I get some of that delusion... I mean... magic?)
I bought ear plugs. I prayed for patience. I listened to music. Nothing worked.
That night, while making dinner, I couldn't take it another second. I turned on my kids in a fury, after slamming the oven door.
"STOP!" I shouted. "I can't take it anymore! STOP RIGHT THIS MINUTE!!!!!!!!! Gox Daxit!"
Yeah, cuz I suck.
Stink didn't say a word, but my daughter looked at me in wide eyed horror. "He can't help it, Mommy. It's just his tics." She quickly added, "And give us a dollar! You said Gox Daxit!"
And there we have it. A five year old. The voice of reason.
Stink soon chimed in. I was ready for another assault on my parenting. Instead, happy as a lark, he chirped, "Oh, Pip, it doesn't matter! Mommy said a long time ago that sometimes she might tic, too, just because she can't help it! You know she LOVES them and wishes she had it, too, right Mama?"
"Right, baby, that's exactly right," I said back, now in tears. I was ashamed. And awed at his innocence.
At seven, Stink believes he is fabulous and perfect. (Because he is.) But my little anger shows -like firework explosions that only last so long - are not going to fly when he's ten. And perhaps even more to the point, while it might not affect him (who clearly inherits his delusion skills from his Papa) it's not okay for Pip.
I took Pip aside later and told her I was sorry. That I'm working on it. That she is right. That I was wrong.
"Am I angry a lot?" I asked her.
"No," she said. "Not all the time. But sometimes. And it makes me sad."
For days after I flogged myself. A perfect mother wouldn't be irritated at Tourettes. A perfect mom would hold her cool. A perfect mom would never yell and scream... take her kids to church on Sunday and scream like the wind on Saturday.
But I am not a perfect mother. I am a human one. I occasionally cry and scream and curse and lose it all together.
And then I apologize and vow not to do it again.
And I haven't. And honestly, I don't think I will again - not like that.
Will I get mad? Irritated? Sleep deprived and frustrated as hell? Oh, sure. But I'm going to give myself more time to breathe. More time to run. More time to play and laugh.
The past two weeks - while far from perfect - have been more joyful than I've experienced in years.
Because even though Stink is still ticking (and I think I know why... more later in my "Ticked Off" section) he can still play ball with my sister after school on Wednesday.
And soon my husband will join her.
Oh, shut up.
Happy Wednesday. May your days be filled with joy even when your life is far from perfect.