Sitting at the kitchen table. Trying to avert Finn’s meltdown. I had been shuffling Charlie, Henry and Tallulah from room to room so they would not bear the brunt of Finn’s rage. Removing ourselves from Finn’s line of vision was only escalating his meltdown, so we settled in at the kitchen table for breakfast.
I was trying not to respond.
I was trying not to pour gasoline on the fire.
So, Charlie, the twins and I tried to carry on with our morning amidst Finn’s screaming.
I sat down next to Charlie and saw his lip start to quiver. I thought, “This is it. He’s going to tell me he wants out of this family.”
My beacon in the storm.
The one who will help at a moment’s notice. The only eight year old I know who has the empathy of a full-grown adult. My sweet boy who, just last night, was sitting in bed tormented over global warming and what we can do to change the future of our world, was sobbing into his bowl of Cracklin’ Oat Bran.
I put my arm around him and said, “I’m sorry, I can’t make this better for you, baby.”
He said, “It’s not Finn. I miss Daddy.”
I said, “I know, baby, I do, too, but he has to work.”
Even amidst his own hysteria, he tried to talk himself down by saying, “It’s always so hard when we get to see him all weekend and then the week comes and I just miss him so much.”
I was heartbroken. And I knew Joe would be, too. It’s not that Joe chooses to work as much as he does. We don’t have a choice. He works and I stay home with the kids. A two income family is not an option at this point in our lives. But, how do I explain that to Charlie? Whenever I try, it usually ends in Charlie running upstairs and retrieving his piggy bank as an offering for Daddy to come home.
I felt powerless.
And as if Charlie’s needs weren’t palpable enough, there was Finn still melting down in the living room. I knew he needed me, too, but I didn’t know how to help him either.
I saw it coming when he walked down the stairs and asked for the “magic towel” (those stupid washcloths that grow when you put them in water.) He and Henry were arguing over it yesterday and I let Henry put it in the bath last night. When Finn woke up this morning, it was the first thing he wanted and he wouldn’t accept that it was not its magic shape anymore.
He kept asking me where it was and insisting I search for it with him. I told him it was in the bath, but he kept asking. I decided to try and tend to the other kids while Finn continued asking me where it was. I found Finn’s sensory brush in the toy box and asked him if he wanted to be brushed, but he said no.
I knew things were about to get ugly.
And then the wheels completely came off.
I asked him to get dressed so we could eat breakfast and that did it.
It was a half hour before Finn calmed down, but the rest of us were left rattled in his wake.
Charlie was in tears for the remainder of the morning. Even before he got on the bus, he was begging me not to go to school.
I promised him a surprise for surviving his day. Only I have no idea what that is going to be.
I have been reeling all morning. As I usually do after one of Finn’s meltdowns. What could I have done to help him? The million and one things I could’ve done better. I wish it didn’t get to me when he when yelled that he hated us. I wish I could put on headphones, too.
Despite my mood, I still willed myself to go to the gym. Tears streaming down my face as I walked in. I felt like a basket case. A basket case who needed to run away from her problems, physically and mentally.
I wish I knew how to make it better.
Damn rainy days and Mondays.