There are days that are more emotionally taxing than others. We’ve all been in an emotionally vulnerable frame of mind that leaves us exhausted. For me, today was one of those days.
Emotional vulnerability is not something I am comfortable with. I prefer to keep my emotions tight-lipped. Honestly, I’d rather have a colonoscopy than allow others to witness any form of raw emotions. My typical professional and social interactions are controlled, organized, and I run the whole deal.
Today did not work out according to my typical plan. I dealt with multiple difficult conversations that put both my professional and personal life on display for many people to see. I felt exposed. I felt uncomfortable. I felt frustrated. I actually shed tears in front of people which was totally crushing. All of this lead to a general feeling of exhaustion.
The day ended with the politically required feigned support from people I have never met. I am not someone who falls for superficial niceties and I honestly feel more frustrated with the whole song and dance. I drove home and over-analyzed every aspect of the day.
Once I was safely in the driveway I took a deep breath and sobbed. Not pretty movie crying… loud, snot running, gasping sobbing. It was a great release. What was less great was the pounding on the van door. There was my small daughter, eager to see me. I opened the door and she jumped into my arms. I held her and took some deep breaths attempting to control my tears. She stroked my face and made the same soothing sounds I make for her when she’s upset.
Admittedly, I was ashamed of putting my stress in her 4-year old heart but she was so comforting. My son quickly followed, squeezed my leg and said he was going to carry in my things for me. I thanked them both and went inside. The toddler initially ignored me but, after the excitement of my chocolate milk purchase wore off, she gave me some long, tight hugs. I walked into the living room to a children made bed on the couch and firm instructions to rest. Cuddles ensued and the stress of the day slowly melted.
My hope is that this is not a scary memory for my kids. I hope they remember my appreciation of their kindness and how their emotional intuitions were correct. I want to be a source of strength for my kids. Part of that is showing them it is ok to accept support when it’s needed.