I have only cried in front of my kids a couple of times. Once when we had to put our beloved cat down, and the other I can’t even remember. I’m not sure why I don’t cry in front of them. It’s not that I am scared to let them see my emotions. I just try to keep it all in. I naturally allow all the weight on my shoulders to build up, but as a mother, it is the tiniest of straws that can break the camel’s back. In this case, my back broke over a little poop.
The past few weeks have been nothing but emotionally draining and physically taxing. It started April 29, with my husband’s first total hip replacement surgery. I spent two days going back and forth between the hospital taking care of him, to home taking care of my kids. I was constantly switching between my parents and babysitters for the kids; I hardly had time to sit and breathe. Somehow I held it together. I even faced my fear of hospitals, which for me added to the emotional drain. It made me stronger each time I went, but I needed a break to regroup, which was hard with a bedridden husband.
One night after leaving the hospital, I arrived home and immediately left for Urgent Care with my daughter who had a 105 degree fever. Again, I held it together and faced my fears. After yet another long night, I went home and passed out from exhaustion.
My hubby came home from his rehabilitation at his parent’s house, and I started taking care of him on top of everything else. We were very excited to have him home. I continued to work a little and take care of the house. I was so proud that we had made it through the first surgery, and I was holding it together!
People were always telling me things like, “You are so strong,” and “I don’t know how you are keeping it all together.” I would smile and simply reply, “me either!” In all reality, I was on autopilot. I did what I had to do to survive and keep everyone fed, healthy, and happy.
When time came for the second hip replacement surgery four weeks after the first, I kind of knew what to expect. We were at the hospital at 7:00 A.M. after dropping off the kids at my parents. It was complete deja vu. The second surgery was a success. When he arrived to his room from recovery, I sighed a sense of relief that we were officially finished with surgeries and he was okay. I had such a huge weight lifted off my shoulders! Then of course, it started with switching between the parents and babysitters and trying to be in two places at one. Again, I held it together!
During the second surgery, I also had to deal with our cat, who ate part of a poisonous plant that we didn’t realize was dangerous. I quickly added him to my list of patients.
Over the weekend, we were on our way to visit the hubby at his parents’ house, but things didn’t go as planned. As we were all putting our shoes on, my son informed me the cat had gotten sick and he stepped in it. I looked, and to my absolute horror, it was poop. The cat had four accidents on the floor. I quickly cleaned my son’s foot as well as the rug. My daughter then started to cry as she had also stepped in the poop. It was on the bottom of her favorite shoes.
This was the straw. I lost it.
Tears started flowing uncontrollably. I fell to my knees on the kitchen floor sobbing. All the emotions that I had been bottling up for more than a month came out. I bawled. I ugly cried. You know the type, the face distorts, your makeup falls to your chin, and nothing can stop it!
My children didn’t know what to do. Their provider and super-strong mom was crumpled on the floor sobbing.
What they did next will forever be engraved in my memory. They simply sat down beside me and held me. They didn’t say a word or shed a tear. They let me breakdown. It was absolutely beautiful.
After a few minutes, I composed myself and was able to laugh at the poop on the shoe. I dried my eyes and hugged my little ones even tighter. We gathered everything up and went to see the hubby.
At my weakest and when I felt I just couldn’t do anymore, it was the strength and love from my four and one year old that built me back up. The relief I felt from their touch and the soothing sounds of their silent hugs made me stronger than ever that day. It was my beautiful breakdown!