Roller-coaster

It’s a cliche, I know. I just can’t think of any other word to capture the intensity, the speed of highs and lows, that we have fielded this week:

On Sunday, Grandpa reveals that he has lung cancer; it is operable so at some point in the next month or so, they’ll take him in and remove the offending lobe. Dread.

Monday: I finally post on the writers’ group I’ve been following for several months. I say, I’ve written a piece I think I might like to publish, does anyone have any suggestions? Brave!

When a commissioning editor expresses interest, I fight a strong urge to change my name, leave the group, go hide under the duvet and instead send her an excerpt. Scared!

CraftyFish’s Guide group goes for a fast-food meal at a place she’s never been before, followed by a toad-busting walk in the dark; she is terrified and then – having survived and had a great time with her friends – ecstatic.

Tuesday: I have a long text chat with someone else who’d commented on my post, saying ‘hello’ as a fellow home-schooling mum of intense kids. Funny, bright, wry woman who writes poetry. Lovely!

I get into the garden and build an entire raised bed. I end up covered in dirt and mulch that are stuck in the sweat. Satisfied. And proud.

The Sceptic comes home and announces that ‘some time in the next month or so’ for Grandpa’s surgery has been bumped to ‘tomorrow’; he has to be there at 05:30 and is first cab off the rank. Scared.

That night an argument with Mr Pixel (who refuses to do chores) bangs into something I read a while ago, flinging me down the rabbit-hole of wondering whether he might be ADD. Only two or three indicators that fit, but BOY, do they fit. I mention one of them to him and he looks at me, wide-eyed. “That – that’s me!” Hmm. I’ve never wondered that before; now I am wondering hard.

Wednesday: a landscaper comes to go over my proposed garden projects with a more practical brain and a knowledge of costs. Engaging! Thought-provoking. Also a little scary – it’s so grown-up of me to ask for help.

We spend some time with Mum. Bittersweet.

Grandpa finally has his surgery late in the afternoon; The Sceptic goes to visit. Relief. And some anxiety.

I spend hours searching for rain-water tanks to fit the garden and looking up psychologists to test the kids for giftedness, ADD/ADHD (I’ve long thought CraftyFish might be the latter), and the anxiety/depression scales, since they both show plenty of signs there, too. Beyond frustrating. There is so much available for autism-spectrum conditions now; so little for plain old giftedness, let alone combined with anything else. I cannot find one single person using the term ‘2e’. Is there any point dealing with someone who doesn’t get it?

Thursday: Estimates come in: water tanks $830 plus installation plus the base for them to stand on. Landscaping projects: $2000, if we do a fair bit of the labour ourselves. Psychological evaluations: $2700. Ouch, ouch, ouch. Commissioning editor admits my piece isn’t what she’s looking for. Ouch. The Sceptic reports his dad is looking better but still has tubes everywhere, so we’ll just hang on to that anxiety for a while.

Friday: I send piece to someone else. Scared again.

CraftyFish burns her fingertips with hot glue. After 20 minutes under tap water she is pale and her knees won’t hold her up, she is so scared and pained. Our GP’s hold message informs me they will answer in 15 minutes (rage!) so I take her somewhere else; wonderful doctor explains why the pain is a good sign; a nurse dresses her fingers (relief); Mr Pixel makes her laugh all the way home (gratitude). After lunch we go out for groceries. Tedium. Thinking. Ugh. On the way home we drop CraftyFish to a friend’s. She’s so happy! We get home and Mr Pixel – oh, my poor, sweet boy – Mr Pixel discovers that the guinea pigs are dead.

Pet deaths are so hard. Add emotional over-excitability into the mix and – well. Multiply however bad you’re imagining it by about 150%. Bedtime is horrendous. That’s okay. I can hold all the space they need. I am so strong.

Saturday: I wake at four. So. Much. To process. We spend the day hiding, the kids on their screens, eating like invalids, me baking like a madwoman. Late afternoon we visit Grandpa in hospital. He’s looking better than we’d hoped. A degree of calm.

Bedtime is easier but as Mr Pixel is dozing off the sounds of drunken belligerence disturb our peace. The drunks choose our yard for their last stand. We are ready to call the police when squad cars begin arriving, lights flashing. Three cars, cops all over the road. The drunks quickly lose their belligerence and wait quietly for friends to come. Way too much excitement at 11pm. Mr Pixel is rigid with tension and fatigue. I stroke him to sleep.

Sunday: Exhausted. I am having my writing time, my two hours off for a week’s good behaviour. On my way home I will pick up some lunch treats and … nope. Can’t remember the other thing. CraftyFish wants me to buy her a black sequinned hat for the funeral. (It is essential to look the part.) And then, I think, I might see if anyone wants to go to the beach. We need it.

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