This weekend was one I was looking forward to. Every year, the weekend before and the weekend after Thanksgiving, Darren goes downstate to hunt. He takes the girls with him because I'm working, and they stay with his parents. They leave on Thursday and get back Saturday evening, so, sweet, sweet freedom for Alice.
Thursday night I went out with my blogger buddy Ann-Marie. We talked for approximately 5 hours over dinner about church and college and marriage, then came home and emailed each other with things we'd forgotten to say. Friday after work, I met my friend Julie (we've been friends since we were four) for dinner and Christmas shopping. We talked for approximately 6 hours about our work and our families and funny stories from high school and how my 70-ish parents inadvertently ate at Hooters.
Saturday I had a completely clear schedule in which to drop off our shoeboxes, grocery shop, clean out my refrigerator, and then spend three hours cleaning out the girls' room. I cleared out all too-small clothing and shoes, toys they weren't playing with, and a box each of books and dolls that could go to the basement. By the time I was done, my family came home. I was excited to see them until I realized my kids were different.
Lucy was obdurate about pretty much everything and had a sassy attitude. Elaine had somehow gotten croup and was just cranky and miserable. Sunday went downhill from there. I kept Elaine home from church. Everything, every single little thing, was a battle with her. If I said No in even the most pleasant voice, cue the wails, tears, and stomping feet. When I had cleaned out the refrigerator, I spent a lot of time washing and slicing carrots, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, and grapes and putting them in separate containers, which I marked "snacks." I taught Lucy to read that word and said that when she is hungry, she's welcome to take from any of those containers. Elaine ate all the grapes in one sitting (an entire Tupperware), then was discovered having scattered the cucumbers, carrots, and tomatoes all over the floor and was lobbing the tomatoes back up on the refrigerator shelves and laughing an evil laugh. It sounds sort of funny? Except...not at all.
I spent the rest of the afternoon on blurb.com, putting together a book of this blog, with photos, for a Christmas present for my parents (I've gotten up through September so far), while simultaneously watching "The War" on PBS. In between was our own personal family war, punctuated with tantrums, thumping, yelling...it was so awful that I don't even feel like recreating it on here and trying to make it humorous. Because it wasn't.
Elaine was the worst I've ever seen her. After bathtime, I had to force her, struggling and kicking and screaming, into her pajamas. Who knows why. She never has a problem any other night putting them on; usually it's a happy time. But last night? It was one of those times where I actually uttered the sentence, out loud, "One of us is going to win in this scenario. And it's not going to be YOU."
At the end of the evening, while Lucy and I were trying to read, Elaine climbed up with us (I thought to settle down, oh how wrong of me) and ended up grabbing the side of Lucy's face until she screamed in pain. Where did that even come from? I was pretty much ready to call Father O'Malley for an exorcism. I was so, so angry. I made her lie down on her bed because I didn't even know what to do with her. She lay there, punctuating the air with hoarse, angry squawks until finally everything just fell silent. Lucy and I finished up our book, she got into bed, and I checked on Elaine. She had scooted under her covers and was fast asleep...worn out with wicked, apparently.
I went back downstairs and just felt like putting my head down on the table and bawling. What a horrid day. And I really don't have any Bible verse or spiritual insight to put on it. Just...really bad. Definitely not one to put into my blurb book.
But today is new, and the first snow is falling, and it all seems fine. So far.