After meeting them there, I took J over to his birthday party. That's when the madness started. He was so emotional in the car. He's missing me, but I discovered that one of the main things he's feeling is sadness about his Papa. He knows exactly what's happening. When he told me he missed me, I said, "I know, buddy, but this won't last too long." He said, "I know. That's what is so sad." And he was tearing up. So we drove there, him holding my hand and playing with my fingers the whole way there.
The birthday party was at a giant waterpark. What could be more fun than that? But it was chaotic there, and he had never been there, and he was sad anyway. I could tell he was unsure if he wanted to be there. But he is such a good sport, and he stood up straight put his best face on, and said he would be o.k. I told him if he wanted to come home, I'd take him home, and if he wanted to leave early, he could call me. I had to take a deep breath and turn around and leave him there. In an unfamiliar place, with a few familiar faces but way more unfamiliar ones, where he was left to fend for himself. He's eight. It was more than I could take. I felt like I had to hurry back to mom and dad's. Brother and SIL1 were there to relieve me so I could go see J and take him to his party. I knew they had a big day with Nephew1's homecoming, so I wanted to get back quickly. On my way out of the parking lot at the water park, I called SIL2. She had been to the waterpark before, and I think I was just needing to know that the place was safe and fun. She reassured me that he would be fine, and he'd have a great time, but I was already frayed. I told her I felt like I was hanging on to my sanity by a thread. As we were talking I realized I had missed my exit and had to take a different route back to mom and dad's. This is not a long drive, people. It should have been a 10-minute trip. When I exited, there were detours and road construction (I love this state. I love this state. I love this state). I ended up getting so turned around that I practically got lost in my own old highschool stomping grounds. Hubby called me in the middle of it all, and I just fell apart. I was sobbing in my car. I told him I'm lost. I don't know what I'm doing or where I'm going. And I meant it in every way that statement can be meant. He said he was so sorry, asked me to tell him where I was and he would lead me to where I needed to be, and he did. In every way. By the time I got back to my parents I felt like a used up dishrag. Brother and SIL2, and Nephews 1 and 2 were there. Of course they didn't mind the delay. Of course they would have stayed as long as they needed without getting upset. Of course they just want me to feel better. Just seeing my nephews was enough to cheer me up a bit, and brother brought over Chinese food. That's pretty much the best medicine there is, right? And there was beer in the fridge. And I didn't have to dip into Dad's Ativan. And hubby brought the kiddos over for a visit in the evening. All is well again.
I can do this. I'm going to be fine. This is tough, it would be for anyone, and I'm not the only one hurting. My whole family is hurting. Sister is coming back into town today, so I'll get to spend some time at home. I'm going to go grocery shopping for my men today. I'm going to fill the fridge. I'm going to check their backpacks, make sure they have clean clothes for the week, and be a mom for a while. I'll be all recharged for what's coming up next, and hopefully my next meltdown will have a quicker recovery time.
So if anyone saw me driving around the neighborhood hysterically crying yesterday, no worries. I'm all better now. I've got this.