So today was the first day back to school for my children. I can't believe that my oldest is now a sixth grader......It's official I am now getting old. I was excited to go to their classes and meet their teachers. My youngest in is first grade and he liked the fact that I was taking pictures of him on his first day. My oldest....not so much. We have reached the point that everything I do in public is embarrassing to him including taking pictures of him and asking him to smile. He wanted me to just drop him off and leave. It's the whole me being the mom so even the way I breathe could be classified as an affront to the coolness factor he is trying to achieve.....lest others think him a mamas boy....which he is. I went through the same thing when I was his age with my mother. I can relate. I try to be as respectful to his ego as possible when we are "in public".
The school called with an automatic message asking for a small core group of parents to help out with cafeteria duties or watching the kids during recess. I got kind of excited as the possibility occurred to me I might be able to volunteer once or twice a week. It seemed like it could be fun. I told my husband and he reminded me in the sweetest kindest way possible that the school would depend on me to show up every time. Then it hit. The feeling of failure and loss. Because I know I can't be depended on that way. It's why I cant work. I could show up a few times maybe even make it a couple of weeks but then the overwhelming sense of dread would arrive. The anxiety would start. I would become paralyzed with fear and my body would shut down. It simply refuses to leave my home anymore. Then I would have to make excuses and apologies to the school which would make me embarrassed and feel awkward anytime I would set foot through the doors.
I know that I am not normal and yet sometimes I forget that there are things I can not do. It smacks me in the face that I am not able to function like other people. It makes me feel like a failure. I know I am not a failure but the feeling still lingers and it hurts. It's depressing. I function so well inside my home and around my friends that I can froget why I can't work in the first place. But put me in a work or volunteer situation or anytime there is a pressure for me to do something over and over and things are expected of me constantly the stress levels start to rise and I start to avoid it. I can't shake the bad feelings and dread. It takes over my whole week, worrying about that particular day when there is something I have to do. Something that once may have been a joy becomes like physical and mental torture. I end up not being able to continue to do it and the failure feeling comes back in full force. My wonderful husband has watched me do this time and time again. He has watched me offer myself up for something and then crash and burn. He has watched as my legs became rooted to the ground and not move. So he always makes sure I know exactly what I am offering to do and I start to really honestly ask myself if I can actually do whatever it is. The answer is usually no, I really can't. After my last job, I became agoraphobic for three months. That in turn garnered me a healthy dose of depression. My body began to become sick. In the six months I was working I developed bronchitis, shingles, stomach bugs, rashes, and a plethora of other mind boggling and odd sicknesses. It was my body screaming at me to stop because I couldn't handle the stress of it all. And my body was right, I can't.
So I was saddened again that here was another sign that I can not handle or function the way normal people can. In a perfect world I would love to work and be with other people on a daily basis. I am a people person. In a perfect world I could volunteer my time at my children's school and be able to be depended on that I can always show up. But the world isn't perfect is it? And I am not normal am I?
There are many reasons I shouldn't volunteer anyway. I would have to walk one mile six times to and from the school just to be able to be there as well as walking them to school and back. I would probably totally embarrass my oldest by squealing hello and doing that dorky mom wave when I saw him walking in the hallway or God forbid call him by one of his cutesy pet names...I'm sure he'd just love that. My youngest would want to go home with me which would start tears to roll as he realized I would have to go home while he stayed. Not to mention that the volunteering is for three hours and involves helping corralling hundreds of children. What was I thinking? I can barely corral my own two children sometimes. I can just envision me walking home with school mashed potatoes smeared in my hair and incoherently mumbling. So, I am going to sit out on the volunteering this year. Maybe I will be able to next year....just as long as I pace myself and remember that there are some things I can not do and that is perfectly okay. I am not a failure even thought there are things I can not accomplish. There are many things I can, and I just have to remember those things whenever I feel down.