Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Rockin' mama

If you see a woman driving a mom-mobile with autism bumper stickers on the back, listening to way-too-loud music while seat dancing and/or head-banging, just avert your eyes and pardon the visual. I’ve had a day and this is my therapy.  
When I’ve had a particularly terrible day, it’s not unusual for me to call my husband and pertly inquire, “Honey, what time do you think you’ll be leaving work today?” He knows to be wary of my superficially calm tone, and that my question is actually code for “Why the heck haven’t you already left work? Don’t you know I’m going to kill the kids if you don’t get here soon?”
Sensing that he should tread lightly, he might reply with, “What happened? Is everything okay?” If I answer his questions and launch into a summary of the offending events with a calm voice that eventually breaks into silence (due to me attempting to stifle the tears and forthcoming ugly sobbing), he has learned to wait for a moment to see if I begin to audibly cry or if I regain composure enough to finish my story. He knows that if he hears crying, it’s time to give me some gentle words of encouragement and begin to wrap up work and try to get home as soon as he can.
Being the good husband that he is, he generally calls me from the car when he is well on his way home, giving me a glimmer of hope that I will indeed have a moment of respite soon. If things continued to be awful between my original phone call to him and his subsequent arrival home, he can often find me doing one of two things. First, I could be in the bedroom taking a mommy time out. Crying may or may not be involved. Second, I could be taking out my frustration by cleaning. Dirty dishes, laundry, and sticky kitchen counters beware of the mommy cleaning machine.
After he’s arrived home, Titan takes a minute to assess how severe my funk is and then determines what to do from there. If it’s bad, he’ll often ask, “What should I make for dinner tonight?” I’ll reply with, “I had planned to bake some chicken and steam some broccoli, but frankly, you can make whatever you want.” This is generally followed with him asking me, “Do you want to go for a drive? You can grab some dessert or something.”
Dear Lord, thank you for giving me the most wonderful husband in your entire creation. He knows that on days like these I could care less about dinner, I need to take a moment to fully get away from the kids, and I need chocolate. Copious amounts of chocolate. Stat.
I hastily grab my stuff and escape to the car. First things first. Music. I need something with a beat that I can turn up and sing loudly with. Oh, and the car dancing. Think the Saturday Night Live Roxbury guys bobbing their heads to Haddaway's, “What is Love.” 
Once I have the music situated, it’s all about the drive. For me, driving is therapeutic. As a child, I used to enjoy going on long drives with my parents. It was my family’s way of relaxing and enjoying the weekend. We’d drive into the mountains, out to the coast, or take some back roads around town to see some different neighborhoods. I love to drive. There is a sense of freedom that comes with getting in the car and going somewhere, even when there is no destination in mind.
I usually start out my journey wandering around some of the roads near my house, weaving my way eventually to the grocery store. But while I’m in the car, I’m jammin’ to the music. I know I look ridiculous. I know my windows are vibrating. I know you can hear the music when you’re next to me on the road. You know what? Deal with it! I’ve had a bad day and I’m finally starting to feel better.
It doesn’t take very long for my mood to lift, especially when the music is really good. Then I head to the store and buy chocolate. There may be several different kinds. Yes, I feel like chocolate cake is in order for this evening. Ooh, and maybe some cookie dough ice cream, too. Oh yeah. I walk out of the store with a bag full of sugar coma-inducing junk and drive home with a smile on my face and a head that’s bobbing to the music. As I walk into the house, I am a fully-functioning mom again. And, I have chocolate to look forward to sharing with my husband after the kids are in bed. Yippee! This night is looking better and better.     
So, if you are out some evening and hear my music before you can see that I’m getting my groove on, just remember that I’ve had a craptastic day and that I’m starting to feel better. Rather than gawk, just give me a knowing nod (even though I know you think I’m a crazy lady) and I’ll continue working toward redeeming my evening so that I can return home as a mommy restored.   
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