Yesterday, I hid in the closet.
No, it wasn't part of a child's game of hide and seek. I am a grown up and I hid in the closet.
I hid because I needed to get away.
It's been a long week and a half that feels like three weeks. I had some issues at work that make me question my skills, who I am as a person and what choices I make in life. There are times when you can choose what your day holds, but most often you can't. You can choose how to handle it, and I chose to handle it in the closet.
Last week, my grandmother passed away. Ruth was the quintessential Grandmother. She always had a selection of home baked cookies for us; she'd welcome me and my brothers to her home any time with open arms; she'd hide Easter "nests" for each of us with the highest quality chocolate; she'd wear slippers that told you by sound when she was near; and she would always make us laugh. Grandma Ruth wore partial dentures. A couple here, one there, and some in the back. We would beg and beg for her to show us her teeth without the dentures and when she did, which was usually only once per visit, she would smile as if she won first prize in some toothpaste contest. It was great. That made me very happy.
I don't tell you that for your condolences, I tell you that as background, as what got me in the closet yesterday.
My mother in law went camping this week, which left me to request a few days off of work (poor me, I know). Yesterday, I had visions of me and the boys hanging out, playing outside, swimming, going on adventures. Those adventures ended up with me in the closet.
Boy #1 had an 'issue' that forced me to cancel our zoo trip. Not too fair for Boy #2, but when there is only one parent around, that is what we do. Tom and I try very hard to hold true to the consequences of certain actions. This, I had to do. However, Boy #2 did not agree. He cried. And cried. So loudly that I left the room and went into the basement, in the dark to switch out the laundry. I had wrongly assumed that he wouldn't follow me into a dark basement. There he stands red faced, tears streaming down, chanting repeatedly, 'mommy, mommy, mommy." My boys have been somehow trained to continue this chant until Mommy replies with "what". Sometimes, I can stare at them, they see they have my attention, yet they will not ask the question. And, when I am not so stressed out as I was yesterday, I'll replace their desired "what" answer with things like: "cheese" or "baseball" or "banana butt". This gets them more upset, but it humors me for a tad, so I use it sparingly.
So, this crying, whining chant continued for quite some time. I took the clean laundry to my bedroom and locked my door. Ran through the adjoining bathroom and locked that door. Unfortunately, the bathroom lock is on the bathroom side. The builders of this home didn't have children. Boy #2 is still crying and eventually unlocks and enters through the door. And cries. I tell him that there is no crying in mommy's room and will put him in a time out if he continues (no chance that after 20 minutes he will all the sudden decide to stop, he's on a roll). Into his room he goes, I lock his door, again, builders didn't have kids, the lock is on his side. It is now just a time waster for him to figure out which way the lock turns then he is out. Writing this, makes me see as a third person how ridiculous this scene had been.
Back into my room, bathroom door locked again. I hear the cries getting closer - he is out, faster than last time. And all I can think to do is hide in my closet. I jump in, but don't have time to close the door all the way. So, I stand. I wait, he really couldn't just stand there and cry mommy for much longer.
I was wrong.
As I peeked through the crack in the closet door, this little red-faced, now puffy, little blond boy gets his stool from the bathroom and places it in front of his father's dresser and gets up and reaches. He was reaching for the Bob's Big Boy Bank. The Big Boy Bank I bought Tom for Christmas long, long, ago, before little red-faced boys were around. After realizing he couldn't reach, he returned the stool to the bathroom and got back on point at the door, and continued to cry. Yes, he cried all the way through that exercise.
I came out seeing something funny I wouldn't have otherwise seen. I came out refreshed and armed with new tactics. I got Boy #1 to deal with and listen to the cries and treat this problem. And it worked. Crying stopped, #1 room was cleaned, Mommy got 34 minutes on Facebook, playing Farkle.
The most important lesson I learned is that sharing visits to the closet is okay. I'm not ashamed, I'm just being honest. If you are a mom reading this and surprised that I would hide in a closet, then this blog isn't for you. I hid in the closet. I needed it.
And I emerged from the closet with a fresh mind. Don't be afraid to hide in the closet. You might be surprised what you learn about yourself.