One of my first bosses, who is now a close friend, dubbed me “Pollyanna” after knowing me for just a few days. Even in the workplace at the beginning of my so-called career, my unfailing optimism and extreme idealism couldn’t be missed. Indeed, it is these very qualities that allow me to pop out of bed each morning, genuinely happy to face the day ahead and the challenges it entails.
Each day most certainly contains its own challenges – some big, some small. Liam might miss the bus or we might run out of milk or there may be three or four kids with raging fevers as I scramble to make myself presentable and get to work on time. As I’ve mentioned before, most days are good days and thankfully most of our challenges are small. But sometimes, even our small challenges add up to something bigger than I can gracefully manage; in those moments, the Pollyanna in me disappears. She is replaced Cruella deVille or the Wicked Witch of the West or some other such character with a dark disposition and menacing laugh. Last week this dark alter-ego appeared and I have to say, I think I dislike her as much as my husband and kids do.
Last week I had the most manic of Mondays. Everyone was tired and loathe to get out of bed, suffering as we were from switching the clocks over the weekend and waiting for our bodies to adjust. Work was, well, work. A lot of work! The day passed swiftly by and before I knew it, my tired, cranky bod was on its way home and fielding a call from Des who was going to be an hour late. The expletive I muttered under my breath wasn’t missed and it’s a wonder that the poor guy got on the train and decided to come home at all!
As I turned onto our block, pondering the mayhem and dinner preparation that awaited me (and just me!), I was almost run down by five tykes on trikes and bikes all of whom, as it turns out, belonged to me and none of whom were eager to accompany me inside to start dinner. That was Battle #1. Simply getting them all inside was a Herculean effort with a resulting deafening roar of dismay and disagreement. With my head pounding, I did the only thing I could think of to quiet the masses – I offered them a snack. This kept them busy for about approximately three minutes while I popped the salmon and potatoes (prepped before I left for work) into the oven.
With the snack gone and dinner cooking, the chorus of whining and wailing began. “I’m tired. I’m hungry. Can I have a banana? When’s dinner? Can we watch TV? Mac Mac bit me! I have to pee! Kevin’s taking his pants off! I don’t want salmon! Can we have more Goldfish? I’m STARVING! Declan threw a block at me! Where’s my baby stroller? Can I have another snack?!” And so it went. And so I texted Des “This is a NIGHTMARE. When will you be home?!”
That’s when the smoke started to come out of the oven, one of the kids fell off the counter barstool and I literally started to scream like a banshee. I just lost it. I was tired, they were tired. They were screaming, I was screaming. Dinner was burning, the table wasn’t set, the dishwasher needed to be unloaded and the groceries that had been delivered cluttered the counter. Believe me when I tell you, it wasn’t pretty. Des walked in shortly thereafter to a smoky scene that resembled a warzone. It was me against them and I’m pretty sure they were winning. Somehow, we salvaged dinner and by the time the sun came up the next day, I had almost found Pollyanna again. Truth be told, she’s still reeling a bit from her alter-ego’s violent outburst but, firmly believes that each coming day will be better than the one before. Phew. Pollyanna's back!
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