Outside I smile, laugh and talk to people. Go to work meetings, shake hands, talk about strategies and ways to get work accomplished.
Inside I am falling apart.
Outside I return calls and in turn make more calls. The daycare. The pediatrician. The school. I gather information, pass along information, make suggestions, attempt to be reasonable and understanding while holding firmly to the stance that my son's needs are paramount.
Inside, tears are falling.
Inside, I say over and over, "This is not fair."
Outside I shrug and chuckle and say "Been there, done that, no big deal."
Inside, I think, "It is a big deal. This is my baby. He's anxious and out of control, miserable at home and even worse at school. It IS A BIG DEAL."
I want to have the luxury of screaming and crying and pounding my fists on the wall. To fall apart. But that's what I did before, when it was my daughter, losing it and crying endlessly and driving myself into a mess of fear and anxiety. And that didn't work for me, did it? In the end we got the help we needed and we made progress, mountains of progress. But that first part, the part where I fell apart and sobbed endlessly into my hands, threw the phone on the floor until it broke, screamed at the top of my lungs in my empty house, that part was horrible. I don't want to do that again.
When I let the storm inside me out through the cracks, I didn't feel better. I felt worse. It heightened my anxiety and my fear. It made everything harder, parenting, working, existing. I careened through my life, bouncing off walls and people, disturbing the peace.
This time it could be different. This time, instead of allowing the tempest inside to spill over, maybe I can draw in the calm assurance of my external self. Dial down the drama, replace it with something different. Something better.
No matter how I approach it, I can't control the situation or the outcome. But perhaps the process won't be as excruciating this time if I just go at it from the outside in.