I woke up this morning and had a fight with my husband. I was such a jerk, so mean-spirited and distrustful. And afterward I didn’t feel repentant, but so angry. The anger just kept welling up inside of me and spilling out all over the place while stomping around the house and while in tears at the breakfast table as my kids brought me handfuls of Kleenex.
I feel like I’m failing as a mom, failing as a wife. My kids pick on each other and bother me and I snap at them to stop. I hole up with my cooking project or my books or my blog instead of sitting and spend time with them. My husband has a mountain of stress on his shoulders and instead of helping to ease it, I add to it by my sour demeanor.
I just want to be left alone.
I shouldn’t be surprised. I should recognize the pattern by now; this always happens the day, the weekend, we are packing up to leave.
I can’t help it—whether we’re packing to move to a new home, or whether we’re packing to leave a fun vacation, my skin crawls with dread and I’m filled with restlessness. My anxiety climbs just looking at the suitcases and at stacks of folded clothes. I compulsively blitz through whichever place we’ve been dwelling, snatching up bits and pieces of our family which have become incorporated into another’s home, organizing and cleaning, mentally checking out rather than stopping and relaxing enough to enjoy that last day together.
I’ve tried all the tactics. I’ve tried to look at the bright side: We have a beautiful life, we experience so many privileges most families will never know—travel, lots of time together, an amazing community of people stretched north to south who love us and pray for us and give to us. A whole host of memories made wherever we go.
I am endlessly grateful for these things. I recognize that I wouldn’t trade this sweet month at my in-laws’ for the stability of my own home. I’m changed by the conversations I’ve had, even just this week, with friends who amaze me with their stories of pain and redemption and hope. I am the person I am today because of our nomadic life.
But deep in the core of my heart, on packing day, none of this knowledge does anything to ease the pain. Choosing a new CD at Target for the trip south doesn’t ease the pain. Popping a Xanax doesn’t ease the pain. Knowing that friends back home are helping us find a house to rent doesn’t ease the pain. Knowing we’ll see Steve and Linda at Thanksgiving doesn’t ease the pain.
I know there’s probably some psychological answer for this, but I can’t fight back the flood of memories, on each and every packing day, of close to a decade of packing days. And worse than packing days, a decade of good-byes, of making friends and losing them.
I’m tired of packing day.