When I simply can’t be benevolent to friends and family, I at least avoid trigger points. For example, sometime in November I told Eric that I would not be walking through the automatic doors of the Annapolis Westfield Mall from Thanksgiving to New Years. (Shoot, I guess I can go back now.) I learned my lesson last year, when I had a mammoth meltdown in the Starbucks’ bathroom after my two darlings and another four-year-old I was watching played tag in Claire’s, knocking off all of the lipsticks, nail polish, pencils, cosmetic bags, and earrings from their neat racks. I had absolutely no control over them or my emotions. So I dragged everyone into the closet of a bathroom at Starbucks and balled my eyes out.
I could tell my friend’s daughter wanted to ask David, “Does your mom always do this? How bizarre.”
I turned toward the toilet and began to slow my breath so that I didn’t hyperventilate and have to ask the barista for a paper bag with my scone.
All the stimulation–the talking snowmen, the Christmas carols, the piercing sirens of the toy fire engines, and three hyper small children–was simply too much. I made a note to self: don’t do this again.