Wednesday, September 29, 2010

stress, arm pain, roller coasters and the principal's office

Yesterday was not a particularly good day. I spend my work days in a perpetual state of chaos, always feeling as though I am not doing enough, not spending enough time with every member of my team, not reviewing the right data, not submitting the right report at the right time. I usually try not to worry about this feeling because I know that many other regionals at my company feel the same way. The organization has high standards and high expectations, and so do I. My boss and my fellow regionals make me want to be a better leader and coach, and so I put even more pressure on myself and give even more. I know this is the pattern, and it works. I work in a constantly changing field, for a large corporation that takes what feels like rather sudden twists and turns but what are,  in reality, carefully thought out and calculated steps towards success in this economy. There are some days that I feel as though all I do is put out fires. Then there are other days that seem like one endless conference call. Other days I feel as though I have spent half my life in the car, the painful reality of a road warrior. never does it seem as though I spend enough time coaching, teaching and mentoring. Yesterday was a fire day. I had my fireman hat on all day long, soothing nerves, talking team members off ledges, correcting others mis-steps. My to do list in my Franklin Planner grew longer and longer, and there were very few check marks, to me the sign of a successful work day. Perhaps tomorrow I should simply write "put out fires" in my planner. That, at least, I could check off.

Somewhere around 2:00 yesterday my entire right arm started to hurt. It was a nagging pain, one that wouldn't subside with movement or Tylenol. I was vaguely worried about this pain so I did what everyone does in this easy access to information world we live in - I logged on to webmd. I immediately ruled out broken bones and shingles. Nothing really fit, so I gave up searching for answers online, satisfied that it wasn't a symptom of something truly bad.

After spending all day putting out fires with severe pain in my arm I spent some time on the phone with our consultant from the adoption agency. You would think I would have this more pulled together, it being my second time hacking my way through this paperwork, but I don't. It didn't get any easier. In fact, I think it might have gotten harder, because this program is so new. No one really has all the answers, there were no families blazing the trail before us, working out all the kinks. I hung up the phone slightly more confused than when I placed the call. The calls that followed, to the local police station, the Franklin County sheriff's office, and the BCI did nothing but increase my confusion and agitation.

Fires, arm pain, frustrating phone calls that led to more questions instead of answers - I head into daycare to pick up my son. My precious little baby boy. My sweet little angel who was summoned to the director's office earlier that day because he keeps tackling his friends. Now I don't think he is alone in this; many of the boys are rough housing and many of them are getting called on it every day. But I am not concerned about those other boys. Yesterday  my son had his first visit to the principals office, so to speak. Truly a proud moment.

I wanted to attend the first MOPS meeting of the year but couldn't. Between the arm pain, which was really distracting and the fact that I didn't want to put Matthew in the Moppets room for 2 hours after being in day care all day I just couldn't pull it together to go. Sometimes you just know when you need to call the game and go home.

The entire rest of the evening, through dinner, cleaning up, putting clean clothes away, tidying the upstairs, two thoughts swam through my head. "My arm really hurts", and "We are never going to get this dossier done in time." I couldn't pull my head away from the logistics of getting signatures notarized, the photos a friend will be taking of our little family later this week, the fact that our birth certificates and marriage license still have not arrived, the increasing arm pain, and my son's visit to the day care director's office. Add how far behind I feel I am at work and you've got the recipe for a total meltdown. Which occurred at exactly the  moment I lay down in bed. Step 1. brush teeth. Step 2. Lay down and pull blankets up to chin. Step 3. unleash massive tears.

Normally I press on. I handle things well. Today I woke up with no arm pain and a fresh perspective on how I am going to get all this done. But last night all I could think about were those happily pregnant women who go about their normal lives for 9 months while they wait for junior to appear. They don't have to prove they are worthy. They don't have to jump through someone else's hoops. I know this is unrealistic. I have been pregnant. I know that there is worry and fear and invasive doctor's appointments mixed in with the joy. But last night I didn't care about any of that. Everyone who has been there will tell you that the adoption journey is a roller coaster of emotions, with many highs and many lows. And last night was truly a low. It was a low I haven't felt in a very long time.

Today I am back to knowing that we were placed on this journey for a reason. So what if I have to prove my worthiness to be a parent? So what if I have to jump through hoops?  The first time I jumped through those hoops I was given the opportunity to parent the most spectacular child. I get to learn Serbian words to add to my limited Chinese vocabulary. I get to celebrate little christmas along with autumn moon festival and chinese new year. We will add to our family and we will have the children we were meant to have. Today I know this. Today I worked at solving the time crunch issue with our dossier, instead of throwing in the towel. Tomorrow I will hack away at it a little more.

I usually carry all my stress in my neck and upper back. I always know it has been a bad day when I can't lower my chin to my chest without blinding pain. Maybe yesterday's wicked arm pain was a new way my body will show stress. Maybe I pinched something. Who knows. Today it was gone, and so were my doubts and heavy heart. Today the roller coaster started back up the big hill.

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