I had an emotionally exhausting day. It was just one thing after another – little things, big things, stupid things – and all these compounded until I felt like I was going to lose my sanity. I simply couldn’t take one more bit of stress.
I’m at the stove cooking, Sam’s feeding Bella. I’m trying to explain to him what’s wrong, how it just feels overwhelming to deal with so much at one time. The stress of him leaving and me doing my best not to fall apart is taking it’s toll. I’m just shoving all my feelings down because I can’t think about it. So instead of talking about him being gone, I choose to focus on other, petty things. Things that didn’t make any sense. He’s trying to listen. Trying to talk to me about it.
And in the background, there is Bella. Whining yet again for more food. She’s just had a yogurt, I’m cooking her dinner as fast as I can. But the whine, the howling, the never ending horrible noise that grates on your nerves and sounds like nails being dragged down a chalkboard encompasses all sound. I begin to feel the blood rush to my head as I try to sort out my thoughts. She keeps it up. Just like every night between 4 and 6. Sobs and cries no matter if she’s just had snack, it’s the end of the world to not have her dinner as soon as she decides she’s hungry.
I’m upset, trying to talk and forgetting what I’m saying, Sam is talking loudly over Bella’s ceaseless hum. She throws food on the floor, bangs her tray, yells and arches backwards.
And I snap.
I spin to face her and scream, “Oh my God Bella, STOP. SHUT UP!”
She instantly bursts into sobs, real sobs of fright and sadness and the look on her face is more than I can deal with. I turn back to the stove as Sam sits quietly with her. My hand is shaking as I finish her dinner and all I’m thinking is, “I can’t do this alone. I can’t. I have no idea how on earth I’m going to manage being the sole parent for the next 18 weeks. I am going to lose my mind.”
I feel sick. I feel so guilty and awful. How could I say that? Why did I have to unload all my frustration on her?
After a minute I walk to where she sits, her little face so upset. I kiss her on the head and pick her up, carrying her with me to the stove to finish dinner together. I whisper, “I’m so sorry honey, I love you” in her ear and hold her close. She’s all smiles as I put her back in her chair with food.
Sam says later that she’ll never remember it. Maybe. But I’ll never forget that look on her face. I hated myself for being the cause of it.