Nightmares and Flashbacks

We wake up with so much to do, and often, with a few crises to solve...but that's hard when a memory surfaces that resists shaking off.

Years ago, before his diagnosis, when one kid was a toddler and the other an infant, this happened...

Our friends invited us to their wedding. She was a single mom who had found love again. Her daughter and my oldest were nursery school best friends. (Over time, we would share much, off and on because of all the times DH would make us move out of state...I thought they were the kind of pals couples make together, sharing much as we watch all our kids grow...but after much upheaval on our end, I have not seen them in years.)

An invitation to a wedding! This is exciting, but what will I wear? My body is still recovering from giving birth to my second 10 lb. baby. I don't even know what size I am. Husband is in what I will eventually come to label, "magnanimous mode". He reminds me that my career and his are doing well, I need a better wardrobe anyway, I deserve nice things, and BTW I am sometimes too frugal for my own good. (Of course I am, he has already caused us to lose thousands of dollars, but this ADHD marriage is moving faster than the speed of light, and I am so busy with babies and career that a lot of the causes of this chaos have yet to sink in...)

So, nervously, I allow myself to go to the hip shopping district with the elegant boutiques and sit on the leather settee as the charming sales clerk assembles an outfit of flowing silks for me to try on. I walk out of Eileen Fisher hundreds of dollars poorer, but amazing looking. I rationalize that this outfit's versatility will let me wear some of the separates for business meetings, and my husband has promised adventures together (never to materialize) in which some nice clothes will come in handy.

The big day comes. We drive several hours to get to an elegant mansion, a garden full of topiary, a banquet room of chandeliers and exquisite floral arrangements and French doors flung open to let in the sunshine and the birdsongs. My son's little friend is a vision in her party dress and bouquet, and he happily toddles off to romp with her. We don't know most of the guests, but like the happy couple, they are warm and open folks, and conversation flows. We are seated next to a mutual friend, an organic farmer from our area I have been looking forward to getting to know better.

Ten minutes into our finding our table, DH excuses himself to eye the copious buffet . He returns to our table to interrupt the conversation I am having with the other guests. He is in a state of agitation usually reserved for movie scenes where a friend storms into a room to announce that zombies are breaking through the barricades. He is twitching. He can barely talk. He mumbles that there s nothing here for our kids to eat!!! Nothing!!! What will they eat! They're kids! They need to eat!

Only years later will I start to understand that, when he would get like this, the tension would be so great, that a part of my brain would shut down. I could not reason with him. His twitching would not stop until he got what he felt he needed. And, at that point (though this would change over the course of our marriage) he would couch these desperate/weird demands in the language of caring for/doing right by others. So here I was, confronted by a man in desperate need to see children nourished--what kind of mother would I be to question that?

Five minutes later, we have rounded up our son and made some kind of hasty goodbye to the bride and groom.

Fifteen minutes later, we are sitting in a Denny's feeding our toddler French fries.

I feel it is safe to say I am the most expensively dressed women to have ever sipped a soda there. My husband is now "Super Daddy", making jokes with our son and playing peek-a-boo with the baby, and showing his evolved ability to live fully in the moment, and even smiling at strangers at other booths. I am in a daze. I feel I've been shot out of a cannon to land there.

Why did I wake up to this memory? Well, yesterday, I did see a production of "The Taming of the Shrew" and couldn't believe how much Petrucchio reminded me of my husband as he carted Kate away from her family, starved her, made a mockery of her wedding day, and "tamed" her into calling the sun the moon because he said so...

Having wasted the first hour of my day to write this down...I feel purged..better than when I awoke at least. We carry so much within us...those experiences we can hardly believe happened. Put yours here, too, if it brings relief. This is a place that gets it.