The Tipping Point
It's so interesting to me how fickle emotions can be sometimes...How easy it can be to tip the balance from having a perfectly fine, happy day to suddenly trying to pick up all the pieces and put yourself back together again. There are a lot of days like that and they tend to sneak up on you when you least expect it. Today was one of those days for me.
I was having a perfectly fine, happy day. I felt productive, I was getting work done and I was glad to have more time to spend with Peter over the holidays. The holidays have been weird this year, as I'm sure they are for just about everyone. I knew a couple months ago that going through another childless Christmas was going to be hard all on its own. Coupled with not being able to see any of my friends or family was going to make it that much harder. So I decided to be a Grinch this year and pretend Christmas doesn't exist. No lights on our house, no Christmas tree, no glitter everywhere and no Christmas music. No Christmas movies or Christmas dinner, no reminders of how full my house should be and no looking at how empty my calendar is when it's usually full of plans this time of year. But most importantly, no imagining what it would be like to watch your child opening presents, no wishing to help little hands put the star on top of the tree, no tall tales about Santa Clause and no carrots left out for the reindeer. I wasn't allowing myself to think about any of it.
Turns out that also means I wasn't allow myself to grieve it either...so today was a tipping point. It came from something as simple as a box. Just a box, casually left at our front door. The doorbell rang and I thought it was one of many packages that we have been getting lately (the one thing I still let myself do was buy gifts online for my friends and family). But it wasn't just any box. It was a Pampers box. At first I thought it was someone playing a cruel joke which hurt all on it's own. Then I thought maybe Pampers was sending out free samples like they sometimes do and somehow they missed the mark and thought I would be a good candidate. But it didn't end up being Pampers at all. It was just a vessel to transport something completely unrelated but by that point it didn't matter. That seemingly harmless piece of cardboard broke me and reminded me of everything I was missing out on this Christmas.
It seems odd that a box would trigger me that much considering I have physically held my niece on several occasions and felt nothing but pure joy and happiness from those interactions. So why would a box have such an effect on me? I've noticed that I am a lot better at handling certain things when I have fair warning. If I have time to emotionally prepare myself then I will be okay. When I'm sitting at home, in my safe place, where I am in (almost) total control of what kinds of baby related things I am exposed to...opening my door to a Pampers box on my doorstop feels like an attack. I just wasn't prepared. I didn't have my shields up...and so a box got the better of me.