Today I've had the stomping.
Without warning I see it come, the plumber takes a leap and I know with a sole grinding punctuation it will land squarely to flatten me into squishy goomba paste. It's not the same as being assaulted in a way that allows me room to recover or defend myself. It's not like someone hurling cows and chickens over the wall that I can run away from, or at least devise a plan. It just doesn't matter what you do. There is no escaping the wrath of the stomp.
Usually after the stomping, I gather up what's left and try to make it home where I put myself together the best I can, but I'm basically down for the rest of the night. The next day I'm usually fine. Someone has hit the reset button and I've popped back into play. Until the next time when I blindly march onward.
Stomp. Reset. Repeat.
The stomping is never about work or friends or relationships, or even heavy world issues. It consistently involves my time with the boys. It doesn't happen all the time. For the most part, it's a good routine we've got that let's me still see them equally even though they don't stay with me but one night a week. Even with sit down explanations and reminders of love for them, I often wonder how much all the separation of mom and dad affects them. Sometimes it just doesn't feel right putting them to bed, singing them goodnight in another house and then coming back to my cave.
Usually the beginning of stomping days begin with a Homework Meltdown. After an hour of play to "unwind" from school, it's an unpredictable thing whether or not the Elder Monkey will be into his reading and writing or whether he'll have the grace of Godzilla. Mad as hell and once again we have to rebuild Tokyo in the aftermath.
And then there's Lord of the Toy, much like the quest for the One Ring but much more screaming and bitemarks. It will magically flip from a hobbit and elf team up one minute to the quibbling rage of orcs in an instant. I usually have to ride in and claim it for myself until peace has returned to the land.
I try to keep my cool, I put monkeys in time out, I take things away, I do what it takes. Then I remember, they are six and five and that means they are out see how far they can push things. Every parent needs a break from their kids, it's not selfish, it's simply burn out prevention. All those natural things that come with raising kids.
I try to ask what's wrong. It's always "Nothing." I know it's a great big nothing that at it's root is confusion about why we aren't together.
It's on these days of the stomping, when there are tears and nothing will console, that for a split second I twitch and wonder if I did the right thing in the long run. If perhaps trying to at least live together would have been the best solution. It never lasts very long but I still think it.
Stomped I tell you. I must now look for something to rub this footprint off my forehead. Damn plumbers.