It started at the store.
I had to go get another round of medicine for Egan. I didn’t need to bring all of you and could have waited a little while but sometimes I need to test it.
To see if it’s really all that difficult.
The pharmacy couldn’t fill his prescription because the computers were down and they weren’t sure when they would be available. The suggestion was to have it filled somewhere else if I needed it immediately.
I felt a little panicky then because I feel like this shit always happens. Instead of just asking Paul to grab it on his way home I went out to get it because we needed food and I didn’t want to do it tomorrow.
But then I took a breath and reminded myself that it wasn’t a big deal and we had another purpose for being in that store.
I told you that you could get a car today. You were so happy.
You wanted to keep stopping to find the car. But I said we had to get the things we needed first and we would get it after. But I could see it happening.
Your eyes were changing.
We got to the aisle. I told you which ones you could choose from. None of them were good enough for you which meant you had something you were hoping for and it wasn’t there.
I threatened you. If you couldn’t decide on a car you weren’t getting one. I hate doing that. Sometimes we reach for something familiar in times like these and I’m sorry. I promised you could have a car. I get frustrated when I have something in mind that isn’t available too.
You picked a car. You didn’t love it. You didn’t even want it. When we got to the register there were other cars to choose from and I told you it was okay to look for a different one while I was checking out. You couldn’t find one before it was time to go.
You were upset. You stood and didn’t answer me when I called for you. I got upset. It was time to go and I had gotten you a car anyway, afterall.
We got to the exit and you refused to leave. You stood there, staring at me, hoping for a different outcome and you were angry. I should have told you I understand how it feels to be in that position. But I got angry too. Because I wanted to leave the store and go home. But you wouldn’t move.
I threatened to leave. I started walking away from you. Finally you followed but you didn’t want to leave the vestibule. I kept walking. You followed. You wouldn’t continue after the doors though. I yelled.
You stood there, looking at your feet.
I went back with your brother and sister. I picked you up and carried you as I was pushing a cart full of groceries and them. You were yelling at me to have gentle hands. I didn’t even realize I had grabbed your side. I felt awful and readjusted my hold. You were furious with me and I understand that too.
I told you to get into the truck and before you could make it in you got an accidental boot to the face as Waverly was climbing into her seat. I was so angry I didn’t even console you, just told you to get in your seat.
We drove home and I brought in the groceries and unpacked them. Everything was fine for a while.
But nobody ate dinner. Not really. This has been happening more frequently.
It was time to get ready for bed. You refused to help.
It was time to brush teeth. You sucked the toothpaste off of your toothbrush and spit the toothpaste in the sink. Then refused to brush your teeth because there was no toothpaste. Still refused after Daddy gave you more toothpaste. You requested to have the Silly Brushing Song restarted. We had enough. The song was not restarted.
You barely brushed your teeth.
You didn’t hug me. You were offered the opportunity for a hug. You refused. When Daddy started bringing you upstairs for bed you lost it. You wanted a hug and a kiss. But you chose not to hug me.
I sat down stairs listening to your panic. To the way you were screaming and not breathing and I could see the sweat covering your skin and your hair and the tears rolling down your face and the way you hold your throat and the way your eyes look frightened. I can feel your panic, your fear, and your pain. I can feel the familiar thumping of the heart, the headache, the shortness of breath, the lump that won’t go away.
I want to hold you. And tell you I love you. And help you through it.
But you’re with Daddy. And he will hold you and tell you he loves you and help you through it too, probably better than I could after the way I’ve been.
I’m sorry you have to go through this. I’m sorry that I have anxiety too and that sometimes it rubs off on you because you are an emotional sponge.
I’m sorry that I’m doing my best to be the mother you need but I’m falling short every day.
I’m sorry that you have to ask me if you are going to die in those moments of complete panic.
I hope you know that I’m trying. We are going to get through this together. I hope you know that I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy and to see you struggling kills me. To not be able to take it away, to heal you, to make you better.
I lose my patience. I yell. I have days where I want to crawl out of my own skin. I don’t want to be anywhere. I understand, my sweet boy, I understand the awfulness of what is happening.
I just want to give you that fucking hug right now. But instead I’m crying on the couch with your brother asleep in my arms. Wondering why this is how it is. Wondering if anyone will ever be able to help us. Wondering if I will ever get the courage to get help for myself. Wondering if it will ever be warm enough to spend the days in the sunshine with you before we break again.
We can do this, Gan. We can do this. When you wake in the morning I’m going to tell you. I’m going to give you that hug. And we are going to begin a new day.