Some days I don’t know how I get home.

Three days a week I have classes on campus, a 35 minute drive from our house.  On most of these drives, especially in the past two or three weeks, I drive and I cry.  A lot.

Last Wednesday after a morning at my internship first grade classroom and an afternoon class that ran until 5:30 it was an email from my mom regarding my sister.  Not good news.  So, tired that I was, I called my mom while walking to my car.  She needed to talk and so I listened.  After we hung up, I sat in my car for over ten minutes until the wracking sobs subsided enough that I felt it was safe enough to drive.

Last Thursday after a morning at my internship first grade classroom and an afternoon class that ran until 5:30 I stopped by a Walgreens on my way home to pick up balloons for a science experiment I wanted to do in the classroom the following day.  It was a homeless man dressed in a makeshift black trash bag raincoat in the check out line in front of me that triggered my drive home tears.  He desperately wanted to share his excitement in buying a hat for his brother and so we conversed about the hat and he burst into tears when telling me how much he loved his brother.

One rainy night a couple weeks ago, I don’t remember what day, I could not understand why my windshield wipers were not removing the rain from my view.  I could see them swishing gallantly back and fourth but my view was still blurry.  It took me several minutes to realize that my blurred vision had nothing to do with the quality or lack there of of my wipers.  On this particular night, I don’t even think I had a good reason for crying.

I think it is the automaticity of the drive as well as the fact that it is the only time during the day that I am alone.

When I am at my internship school, I am in perpetual interview mode or trying desperately to learn everything I can about being a great teacher.

When I am in class with my cohort, I am a scholar and a hard working student.

When I am at home, I am a mom.

I am the pretty picture on a complicated puzzle box in the display case of a toy store, I am so glossy you can’t even see the cracks where the pieces fit so neatly together.  But when I get in the car and no one is around it is very apparent that my puzzle is anything but put together.

And sometimes I fear that I may be missing a piece or two but just don’t know it yet.

Today Husband and I took Cody to Seattle Children’s Hospital for his yearly Neurology and Neurosurgery appointments.  And everything that was spoken were words and medical phrases I have heard before.  But today Cody’s Neurosurgeon reminded us that we must not be complacent when it comes to Cody’s VP Shunt.  We have been lucky in that it has not failed yet.  The fail rate is 50% in the first five years and over 90% at the ten year mark.  Cody’s shunt has not failed since he was two months old and still living in the NICU.

The doctor, picking his words carefully, told us that we were nearing the ten year mark (Cody will be eight in April).  Again, none of this is new but other worries, his seizures, his physical therapy, his delays in motor skills, and his low academic performance have taken center stage.  Not to mention the busy life that we are currently leading.   Most days I don’t even think about his shunt.  I feel that a large part of me simply convinced myself that his body no longer needs the shunt and if it were to fail we would never know (this does happen on rare occasions – which the doctor pointed out is extremely rare).

So today in the car I cried – huge almost tearless sobs mingled with surges of animalistic fear and terror – as I visualizing Cody so very sick and in need of a life saving surgery.

Some days I don’t know how I get home.  I drive.  I break when I see red.  I go when I see green.  I turn at the appropriate street signs and find myself at home.

This can’t be good but I am not sure what to do about it.

So for now I drive and I cry and I take it one day at at a time.

About Shoes

I am an elementary school teacher, a former microbiologist, a mom to a herd of two boys, and a grilled cheese sandwich and beer connoisseur.
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20 Responses to Driving

  1. Not quite 40 says:

    Oh honey, what can I say? There is so much going on for you, so many many things. I wish I could fix it all for you and nothing I could say would make it better. However, i can offer some options about how you feel and how you arereacting, if that’s ok. Firstly, vitamin B. Take a vit B complex until your pee turns

    • Not quite 40 says:

      Oops. Turns yellow. That’s when your body has had enough and is excreting it. Stress uses adrenaline, adrenaline uses up vit b and a lack of vit b causes depression. Hence vit b. Then, if you can, see a good homoeopath.

      • Not quite 40 says:

        Aargh. Blooming phone. Lastly, big hugs. You are not alone. We all only ever see everyone else’s glossy pictures when we are actually all in bits behind it.

        • shoes says:

          Thank you for your suggestions – I admit I tend to take care of everyone and everything else in my life before taking care of me. I need to slow things down and spend some time putting myself first.

  2. Wow….. A sobering post, real reality check on what’s important in our busy lives:) Mums keep running full speed ahead with the weight of the world on their shoulders. One day ‘mums’ going to have to drop the load….. We prefer not too because we say to ourselves ‘if we dont worry then who will?’ But you’d be surprised who steps up when you do finally ‘drop a little load’. A great post… You’ve had a busy year… Be kind to yourself 🙂

    • shoes says:

      I almost didn’t publish this – it felt really raw and I wondered if it made me look a little like a crazy lady. It is hard to give things up, to not worry, and to let others share the burden but I need to try. It has been a busy year but a good one.

  3. ksbeth says:

    i’m so sorry for all of these challenges. you have to hold it all together all day and night, for those around you and when you finally are in your car, alone, and with no one else, you are only then able to let it all out. i wish cody well and you a break you all deserve. hugs ) beth

    • shoes says:

      I think that the only time that I can be just me (not a teacher in training, or a mom, or a student) is when I am alone in the car. It is good to have a place to cry and get my stress out but perhaps it is not the best thing when I am driving.

      As for the Cody situation – it keeps me up at night. It is something we have to live with and I need to figure out a way to cope with this part of our lives.

      • ksbeth says:

        hugs to you and yours shoes, everyone needs some down time, and you really need some, so no apologies for grabbing the time and space where you can find it, in your car at the moment. my thoughts are with cody and with all of you who care so much, beth

  4. I’m sorry that you are dealing with so many challenges right now. Hang in there and make sure you take care of yourself – moms have a way of neglecting themselves.

    • shoes says:

      That we do. I ended up getting sick this weekend which forced me to slow down and take care of myself. Perhaps this is a bit of a wake up call that I need to focus more time on preventive measures and take better care of myself.

  5. Hang in there, sweetie! You will make a great teacher, so put all of those school worries aside. I know this because I have been there – grad school, kids, student teaching, and so on. You will be fine. One thing you do need to focus on you – rest (sleep!!!!) and relax a little. And a good cry is needed to get the pain out. Snuggle with Cody and get some much needed rest.

  6. Shoes, big huggg coming yr way. Hang in there, smile through yr tears, cos you are a very very strong person.

  7. Hetterbell says:

    I really don’t know what to say. It worries me that you cry when you drive because it sounds so dangerous. 😦 You’re so busy at the moment it sounds like you’re very, very tired. I can appreciate your schedule must be jam-packed at the moment, but if you could go to bed just a little earlier and/or take even just 5 minutes a day that were completely private for you I wonder if it would help. If you can just have those few minutes a day where you could designate it to thinking about those things that upset you when you’re driving, it might give you the chance to work through the things on your mind but in a safer environment. When we get busy we’re like squeezed balloons…we keep getting thinner and thinner but one day there’s a bulge and we pop. I realise it’s hard, but I really think that if you have a little time to yourself or are able to get a little extra rest it will help. Even though the things that concern us stay the same, when we’re rested we deal with them in completely different ways. I know that when I’m tearful it’s very often because I’m overtired. I know that sounds awfully preachy but I don’t mean it to (my keyboard’s tone of voice is not like mine! 😉 ), I know that there are times when finding time feels impossible.

    I hope you feel better soon. Take care and be safe, dear friend. 🙂

    • shoes says:

      Oh, I am so sorry to worry you with this. It was written that night when I was tired and stressed and it came across as really raw. I do need to find sometime where I can relax and get my worries and tears out that is not in a car doing 60mph down the freeway. I think that when I am in the car, I can let my guard down and just be me and that causes me to get weepy because I am so tired and overloaded.

      You do not sound preachy, you sound concerned and I am sorry I caused you worry. I need to carve some me-time out somewhere in my day.

      • Hetterbell says:

        No need to apologise! One of the great things about being able to communicate like this is that it is so easy to be honest. I can totally understand what you mean by letting your guard down in the car when there’s no-one else around. I’m glad you intend to find some you-time, I really think it will make all the difference. 🙂

  8. Oh, I’ve been there… and I wish I could give you a hug. 🙂 I find, for me, that sometimes crying helps. As crazy as that may sound. There’s something cleansing about a good cry. And when I’m stressed and wound up a good cry helps me let it out and unwind enough to continue functioning. I hope that you find some alone time for yourself. Time to not be so put together and absorb and think about what you’re feeling… even if it’s just locking yourself in a room for a day or waking up 30 minutes earlier so that you can have some quiet time to hear yourself think (outside of the car). Hugs!

  9. Nancy says:

    I haven’t been around much doing much blog reading, but to get caught up with this post, I’m so sorry life is so full of tears for you right now. Sending hugs your way. I’m not glad you’re sad, but I’m glad I’m not the only one who goes through this. I’ve been locking myself in the bathroom, away from kids to have a good cry a lot lately. Not sure why. Just need to do it. I hope things get better for your soon.

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