It is 2:29 AM. Tonight I am just going to ramble. I have no idea the direction this blog post will go. But I need to just sit and type. My mind is incapable of buckling down and writing anything planned-out or well-written at the moment.
Pushed to my mental edge. That was where I was about four weeks ago.
Then, the launching of my two new apps (and subsequent snowball of craziness) gave me that final giant shove to send me tumbling over that edge.
At that point I was already so mentally flimsy that someone breathing on me when I wasn’t ready for it would have sent me spiraling toward the great abyss that can turn into, quite literally, insanity. And with the launch of those apps, over the Cliffs of Insanity I have gone quite a few times now.
I have been dangling by the fingertips for some time now. My grip has been weakening. I have been staring up into the seemingly reachable open space ahead, grasping at whatever I can, hoping that something (or maybe someone) will come along and pull me up and back over.
I feel like my mind has misplaced its ability to center itself or to know what reality is or what it is not anymore. I don’t know for sure what is selfish and what is necessary for survival. I don’t know where to draw the line of self-preservation and relationship-maintenance or even just plain ol’ what is or isn’t being a good human to others.
In the thick of the most stressful of it, when things were at their absolute most chaotic, I opened up my calendar and what I saw made my heart sink. My child, who is a student at a year-around school, was starting his next break days later. He would have three full weeks off of school. How had I not realized it was coming?
Normally I jump for joy when his breaks come. They mean a LOT more time with Dad than usual. They usually mean all sorts of fun together, and excitement, and sometimes trips or staycations together. They always involve lots of boys nights, fort building, movies, hiking, and projects together.
He counts down to those breaks. As a real Daddy’s boy, any extra time with me lights up Noah’s entire world. And normally any extra time with him lights up mine.
But as I sat staring at my calendar, being pressed down with the realization of all of the time I would need to deal with everything going on, I nearly cried. I already had no idea how I could get on top of it with the normal schedule, or if it would be possible to get on top of it all. I already had no idea how I could not fall even further behind. I definitely had no idea how I could balance any of it with my child’s upcoming and long-anticipated extra time with Dad. That difficult day (looking at my calendar) was four weeks ago.
And having no idea of how to handle it at all, and feeling like I was already being buried alive, I picked up Noah from school on his last day and hugged him, and nodded along, and whooped and hollered with him when he excitedly narrated his excitement for all the time we would have together for the next few weeks. To our home we went where we would have six uninterrupted days together to start things off.
Today, Noah headed back to his mom’s house after the third week. Each week was basically the same when it came to time commitment and his excitement.
And somehow… I did it.
We did it.
I don’t know how. But, we pulled it off.
He didn’t go back to his mom’s house today with any trips or grand adventures away from home to look back on. But he went home with three weeks of memories full of wrestling matches. And tickle fights. And late-night snuggles while we watched movies together. He went home with memories of cooking fun meals together. And a trip to the place with all the trampolines. And hilarious driving games. And speed-games of Monopoly Junior. And a dad who somehow pulled it together for him when it counted.
I’m kind of proud of that. So many times I wanted to crawl away and hide or sleep forever. So many other people and relationships were damaged or neglected while I gave 100% of what little I had left to give to my son and all while I kept doing what I had no choice but to do in order to keep my business afloat.
Oh, I had to neglect Noah plenty during those three weeks. He and his iPad became best friends. He probably cruised through four full chapter books. He spent a lot of time on his own, drawing pictures, playing games, and just being so patient every time he heard the words, “I’m sorry, buddy, I really hope I don’t have to work this much soon.”
“Okay,” he would usually say in response, and trot off to his own fairly content seclusion once more.
I felt like such a lousy Dad for all but about two hours every day. Neglecting my son for such long periods has never been something I’ve been emotionally comfortable doing. Yet there I was, doing it.
The other crises and situations still had to be taken care of the whole time. The work that existed before still had to all be done. Falling behind in any of it for even one day would have sunk me completely. Of that I am certain.
I completely tossed dating by the wayside long ago. I cut off all conversations, more or less, with women in my dating pipeline and watched as those few great connections one at a time fizzled to nothing. I bailed on more plans in one month than I have in ten years. I sometimes went two days at a time without showering. I mostly lived on food that came in wrappers. And I just prayed to high heaven that eventually I would get on top of it all.
I still haven’t. Not even close.
Three fairly young people I know died in the past few weeks…