Life is so humbling for me.
Spouse and I spent part of the weekend out of town (kids stayed behind at Fancy Pants Ranch with a 20-year-old babysitter), and it included two important meals.
The first was dinner with another couple we do not know well, and I have to admit I was nervous going into it.
As a person who enjoys public speaking, live TV events and performing surgery, feeling nervous is an unusual state for me.
They are extremely elegant, worldly and sophisticated. Often, I am not.
While I joke that I am best described as someone with toilet paper stuck to her shoe, I discovered during champagne at their beautiful home that I literally had a wet leaf stuck to my foot. I discreetly removed it and put it in my Prada handbag. This may be the first and last time someone ever did that.
Ostensibly, the dinner was phenomenal. The food was great, the conversation flowed well and I left energized and excited for the future.
The next day we had breakfast with our friends P. and T., but there was also an agenda to discuss a huge undertaking we’ve got in the works.
That, too, went well, but the underlying stress of the weekend eventually caught up with me.
When Spouse and I returned home on Sunday afternoon, we were greeted with disarray.
Not quite this, but you get the idea
MGM (9) and Trixie (7) had taken every last pillow in our home (and I have an insane quantity of regular and decorative pillows) and created a fort in the living room.
Our 15-year-old toy poodle had peed in our bedroom.
And pooped in the dining room.
A (nice) bottle of wine was empty, although I really can’t blame the babysitter. I might have done the same.
MGM was crying over a scene in a movie they watched that was deemed “too scary,” even though it had been turned off after the opening credits.
Toys were scattered everywhere.
Dishes were piled in the sink.
And then, Trixie was jumping on our ottoman into the pillow fort and landed just right so that she smashed and broke one of the doors on our TV cabinet.
I lost it.
I yelled at her to look at what she did and she immediately ran off and started crying.
Spouse kept his head together and started in on the sink. The babysitter exited. MGM was still crying about the movie.
I was seeing red but pulled it together enough to make a first stab at apologizing to Spouse and Trixie.
And then realized I needed to go to the gym.
One thing I learned recently: when I’m in stressful situations, I should try to step outside myself and check in, asking myself how I’m feeling and why. This doesn’t come naturally to me. Maybe it’s obvious and intuitive to you.
What I understood in that moment: I’ve got a big, exciting new thing coming to me. And while all signs point to it being awesome, it’s still scary and there are parts that are going to be messy and not in my control.
So I went to the gym with MGM and Trixie. A therapeutic treadmill hour later, we were headed home. I had (almost) forgotten it all.
At a stoplight, I heard a tentative voice from the backseat.
Trixie: Mom, are you still mad at me?
My anger had diffused nearly two hours prior, but she was still wondering. I felt awful, as I should.
Me: No, Sweetie. I love you and am sorry for losing my cool. I’m not mad. I do want you to be more careful in the future, but I always, always love you.
She accepted the apology.
Ever the comedian, MGM stepped in:
Just think, Mom, there could be seven of us! Then you’d really come home to chaos.
Again, life is so humbling.