As a 33 almost 34 year old, it is pretty embarrassing to admit this: I've been cranky lately. It's not in the way of an occasional bad attitude that as a mature (this is, of course, a generous statement of myself), well-adjusted adult I can identify it, take a moment, and then respond in a kind and thoughtful way. It's the "I'm happy and smiling one minute" followed by someone trying to ask me a simple question and my blood begins to boil, my heart starts pumping and I respond with, "How am I supposed to know?!"
TJ pointed it out to me yesterday as we were driving down the mountain to enjoy one last late summer afternoon on the lake with my parents before they head back home tomorrow, leaving us up here to sort out all of these unknowns in Canada.
"You seem like you're on edge--maybe I'm off base here, but what's going on?"
'NO I AM NOT!' I think to myself.
Wait a minute...
...yes, I am.
Why do I still feel like I'm a child when anyone tries to call me out for something or even innocently ask me a question? I revert to the 5 year old who was braiding her friend's hair during story time in Kindergarten and got her name written on the board for not paying attention. I was paying attention. Why did I get in trouble? I didn't do anything wrong!
I sit in silence and force myself to think instead of responding defensively. I already responded to TJ defensively the last 5 times he was trying to ask me something, and since I at least kind of care about him, I thought he at least deserved me taking a minute to figure it out.
When I was finally ready to talk, I said a lot (the joys of being a verbal processor), but nothing that is worth restating here.
What it comes down to is this: it's the waiting. I'm cranky because of the waiting.
Waiting on TJ. Waiting on family. Waiting on what's next. Waiting on motivation. Waiting on direction. Waiting on clarity. Waiting on the (literal) smoke to clear. Waiting on inspiration. Waiting on creativity. Waiting on patience (oh the irony).
The waiting feels like a game. It is heavy, where the wait turns to weight and it takes an annoying amount of effort and attention to acknowledge its presence and heaviness, and then to try and figure out how to navigate through it.
And that is all a part of the game. Should I be giving the waiting that much of my energy? In the waiting am I using the time I have well? It's a gift to have unstructured time to reflect and rest, but am I utilizing it to its full potential? It's been 11 days already, and that is more than many people get for a vacation or a break, and even during those breaks, many people have to use it for sickness or caring for loved ones or for unexpected emergencies. There is immense privilege in the time that I have waiting, so I need to be sure to be intentional with every moment. Is that putting too many expectations on the waiting? Is it truly okay to "just be" like I encourage others?
These thoughts are relentless, even though they exist tucked away in the back of my mind.
It's all just a weighting game. And because of it, I'm cranky.
My mom came into the apartment unit that TJ and I are staying in this afternoon to finish up some last minute organization. It is a part of her summer routine to prepare the vacation homes for the winter season, washing and replacing towels, ensuring that the linens labeled "bunk room purple" aren't mixed up with "queen gold lower" otherwise she'd have to call Rose, and checking the sturdiness of furniture otherwise she'd have to call Pippa.
At times it feels a bit like a whirlwind, especially the second to last day when the franticness kicks in and everyone knows it is better to stay out of her way. Determined Deb is on the loose and she is on a mission. The truth is, we've watched and experienced it for years, so we know to expect it; we also know that our lives wouldn't be as wonderful and colorful without the hard work my mom puts in to take care of, well, everything honestly.
When she walked into our unit, there was a small sense of a tiny tornado (evidenced by her pulling out a container of parmesan cheese that spilled all over the floor and bringing an armful of towels and blankets to fold in the living room when I had just picked everything up, and pulling out a leftover salad bowl out of the fridge since "it had been in there awhile and was going to get moldy" to wash but was unable to access the sink since TJ was trying to quickly make food for his lunch break and was cleaning a pan, so the metal bowl still sits on the counter). In reality, it was actually quite calm (despite all of the little things that happened above), but what do I do?
I get cranky. My fuse feels way too short for anyone's good. I respond to everything my mom does with annoyance in my voice and frustration in my heart.
It's not her fault that I don't know what to do with myself and feel this weight of waiting. It's not her fault that the lid of the parmesan wasn't on tight. It's not her fault that she cares a lot about being helpful and wants to love TJ and I by doing little things to pick up or offering to clean.
It's my fault that I am a large child and need to sort some things out. I need to tell myself to take a timeout, otherwise my crankiness may not subside. Or maybe I need to play (alone). Or take a nap. Whatever it is, I need an attitude adjustment (my dad would tell me this when I was cranky as a kid, and he was pretty much always right).
Maybe the waiting doesn't have to be a game.
Maybe I let myself be okay with the weight in this, knowing that, just like a good workout, this weight will make me stronger.