A Mommy Blog About Raising Men, Not Boys.

Monday, November 30, 2015

The Bullies and The Bullied

My oldest and my youngest child have had similar situations when transitioning to school. We're not a daycare family, we didn't overly socialize our children preferring to do things with our own family most of the time and so because of that both of them struggle in that "learning how to be in large groups of strangers experience" that is school. The nuances of friendship, the little mean games kids play, these things have baffled both of my kids. Both with the boy and now the girl, there have been tears and bewilderment over power plays, withdrawing of friendship and other shenanigans that are simply how children work out how to communicate and socialize.

There has been one little girl, however, who has stood out when it comes to stories from school. My first inclination was to write it off as "this child speaks how she's spoken to, that's sad" because she is constantly saying harsh critical things to the girl. She tells her she's doing it wrong. She tells her or insinuates she isn't doing a good job - apparently quite a lot. She belittles her and makes her cry. There was an alleged incident of hitting, but honestly it was hard to exactly sort out what happened.

I mentioned it to the teacher, that I was concerned about the meanness of some of this communication, and was she concerned? Did they not get along? The teacher assured me it's normal socialization in Kindergarten. We're friends today, we're not friends tomorrow. I don't like you anymore. Now we're best friends. Mean girling seems to start at age five, who knew? But ok, I gotta leave it to the professionals and not be THAT parent.

As a bullied child myself, I'm afraid that sometimes I DO actually look on being bullied as an opportunity to toughen up. That's bad psychology but I know it's also common in adults who were bullied as children. So I've been trying to give her language to dismiss this girl, the husband has too. We've tried very hard to diminish the importance of ANY mean words spoken at school, stressing that our real friends wouldn't speak to us this way. I've tried to focus on making her strong enough to DISREGARD these attacks, but she's five. That's a hard lesson for an adult, it's impossible for a five year old.

Today as she exited the bus, the girl in question spit into her face.

So, phone calls have been made.

I don't need anyone drawn and quartered but I've been the bigger person for quite some time about it and so has my husband and now I'm DONE. Conversations will be had. Change will occur in some form.

The worst part of it all is how today when she's telling me about she says "I really like her, why doesn't she like me?" I wanted to SCREAM "NO DON'T LIKE HER SHE'S AWFUL." But she might not be awful. I don't know this kid. All I know is the sideways conversations my child shares, full of confusion why someone would say mean things to her.

I don't know why. She's so sweet, I can't imagine anyone ever saying anything mean to her. She loves school. I won't have this experience change that.

In a dramatic case of the shoe now shifting to the other foot - I feel certain WE TOO will be getting phone calls.

After what was apparently an awesome happy day at school, Miles went batso on the bus. We struggled so LONG to get him out of his harness. "He won't get up," we said. "He's fine he's outgrown it," we promised.

Today apparently he got up and punched the bus driver. He also spit all over the windows. He was SO OFF THE CHAIN they went BACK to school, got another adult for the bus before they brought him home. The very least I can hope for out of this is a harness for the little monster. Why did he do this? JUST TO BE A JERK. That's the thing with Miles. He's smart. This is willful misbehavior on his part. He's doing it because he can. He's doing it for the same reason he taunts Charlie and makes him cry by making "the raptor noise". He can do it, it's entertaining to him to cause distress.

So now we're also the parents of the jerk. We're the reason your kid was late getting home, because of our kid. Our kid spit on the bus like a wild animal, hocking loogies all over the window.

Perfect. We're bullied and we're bullies. I guess that makes us a well rounded household. We bring balance to The Force.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Meaningless and Awesome

We got out early this morning for breakfast at a new place and it was a hit. Biscuits, hash browns and all the breakfast staples made us all feel a bit like we were not so poorly and I admit it was just good to get out of the house.

Shortly after all of our deliciousness was consumed it was back to the house, however, because breathing treatments and rest is still on order for this crew. We're "better" we're not completely well. I was up about 2 am with Miles giving another breathing treatment and at this point it's him I'm most concerned about. However at the moment he's behind me singing and reading a book, that seems like a good sign.

I invoked a reasonable semblance of order in my living room while the husband went to watch the Colts play and felt like a proper, responsible, together adult.  It was right about the time I moved the box that a small blue ball with Foghorn Leghorn rolled out from behind it.

My mom bought that ball.

My mom bought that ball in Tampa at the new Walmart that opened shortly after we moved there. She saw it on an end cap display and giggled as she picked it up, doing her best Foghorn Leghorn impression and cackling at herself. "I love Foghorn Leghorn" she grinned at me and bought it for Louis.

Two things came to my mind, my mom vibrant and beautiful in stupid Walmart on Gunn Highway in Tampa (is that the name of that road?), and my mom laying in bed, the living skeleton she had become at the end of her life. She was still mom inside that shell. But the contrast of both of those images sent me to the other room to compose myself for a moment.

It's not the worst I've felt, but it gave me pause, that little blue ball with a stupid rooster on it. I hope I never forget that moment, it was silly and it was fun. Meaningless but awesome all at the same time.

To round out our day after Daddy came home from watching football we fired up the Playstation and I convinced the boy that YES his sister CAN play if he just teaches her.
She's Darth Vader. Right after this, she killed him.

That's my girl

Today's theme, is meaningless and awesome. It was a good day for it, living it and remembering it.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

And Then They're All Sick

It's breathing treatments and cold medicine and lounging about for this crew. We have had many conversations about how it's too many weekends without activity, we haven't done enough, everyone is stir crazy.

Now everyone has a fever, a cough that sounds like the plague and a general malaise.

It sucks when they're all sick. My  husband has been in bed all day in a pool of sweat. I feel for him having been there recently myself. So I've watched movies, braided the hair of some my little pony and dried the tears that occurred when Tianna's head broke off.
She bought the Tianna doll (am I spelling that right? I have no idea) with her own money at the dollar store so I'm not sure if that's the reason for her sorrow or it's just being sick.

She sobbed. "SHE'S DEAD SHE'S DEAD" she sobbed. She also mentioned that she's blind now. I'm unsure if that's in addition to being dead or instead of.

I need to work out but ache from yesterday and can't remember the conventional wisdom of aching, do I work out more to stretch out the aches or do I not because the muscles need to rest. I don't really care I'm sort of thinking about pie.

Pie is damn good.

Today is fascinating at our house. Unfortunately that's how it is most of the time. Full of snot, poop and very little adventure.

This glimpse into a not so exciting day was brought to you at the expense of Princess Tianna. May she rest in peace.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Thanksgiving Happened

The annual shaking of the spices was taken over by the female. It's been the oldest boy's domain for 13 years and he didn't seem to even notice we passed the torch. I think perhaps he wasn't as in love with it as I was in love with the idea that it was tradition for him to do it.  After the spices are shaken and mixed they can go on the bird.

It was a little funny, the girl did a little silly dance just like he always used to do, before he was too cool for such things.

The night before Thanksgiving I fell into bed so tired I could barely think.

And then I could not stop thinking. I wasn't thinking about anything in particular. I wasn't thinking "oh I'm so sad because my parents are dead" or anything like that. I was just unable to let my mind slip into darkness, into peaceful sleep.

I ended up getting out of bed at 1 am and watching tv for an hour with the husband, and having a bowl of cereal. I took two benadryl to induce some chemical tired and finally my brain lost it's battle and I had to crawl into bed to finally sleep for real.

I baked the pies of my people, the sugar cream pie. It's never exactly like what we had in Indiana. Somehow those were more custardy or something. I don't care. I kind of love these. They're more like the tarte de sucre I get in Montreal but they're amazing and full of sugar and cream and there is nothing bad about that.  I gave one to our neighbors, the oldest boy's best friend.
The day was without incident. A wonderful meal was prepared and I was surround by the family we've made. I didn't feel a big sense of loss of anything else. Maybe that's because I haven't been "home" for a Thanksgiving since 2002. I'm not used to being with my parents on that day, so not seeing them didn't mean that much to me. Not being able to call them is less and less painful and yesterday was just another one of those days.

It might've been harder for my brother's family who would always make a pass through my parents as they were doing all the family visiting. My other brother has lived away from home a while too, so perhaps he felt a bit more like me.

It's not that something was missing on this day, because it was a wonderful day. Something's just missing from my life.
Not monkeybread though. Monkeybread I totally had.

At dinner, after we eat our feast, we always say what we're thankful for.

That was the moment for me. I wanted to say that I was thankful that my parents weren't suffering any more but I couldn't get those words out. I couldn't say them because it felt too much like saying I was thankful that my parents are dead. I am not by any stretch of the imagination thankful for that. But they were both suffering, I cannot being to elaborate on the degree to which their lives had devolved into hell.

I am thankful my parents aren't suffering. I am thankful for things I cannot name but that I can feel. I am thankful for the people who have shown me who they are whether that is good or bad, because I have learned where my love is best spent. I am thankful for my husband who has endured my tears and my craziness and my irrational rages. I am thankful for my two brothers because now we are the family and our families are the greater family.

I am thankful to be. That's all, just be.

Monday, November 23, 2015

This Is Better

I woke up this morning with various complaints. My eyes were crusted shut. My left arm was basically asleep from being held wonky under and around a five year old who was tucked beside me so I could listen to her breathe (she's sick). My throat felt like a desert of fire. I was exhausted from having also woken up repeatedly to listen to the sounds of terrible coughing from the next room, to evaluate and worry - how sick are they? Who was that? My sinuses ached and throbbed, and as I slipped out of bed I realized something surprising.

I felt better.

Gone is the shaking weakness, the incredible aching, the fever, the overall feeling of doom settled over me has faded.

Oh god I'm better thank you.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not WELL. But I have moved into some different phase of sick and that means it's passing and I did it without antibiotics (always a win).

Now my children are heartily sick - the girl has been sick all along, probably patient zero, and I have energy to worry about them. I have a terrible feeling they're about to spend Thanksgiving break sick as dogs.

Poor kids.

Now I need to go face the scale and see what damage I did while sick. Pretty sure it was intense.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Look At Poor Barbie...

The girl was playing with her Barbies at the hearth yesterday, playing something with Hamm and her dollhouse and there seemed to be goings on having to do with sharing and having good manners and there was possibly a picnic happening.

I was sitting on the sofa, swirling in a cloud of sick and Contac watching Mickey Mouse clubhouse because the remote was so far away, when she came over to me with a concerned look and Barbie in her hand.

"Mommy, how can Barbie be happy?" she asked.

I was thinking of the tee shirt from the 90s "because the bitch has everything" as a valid response but refrained as she's only five. "What do you mean?" I asked.

"Look at poor Barbie, look at her tummy it can't ever be big. She can't ever have babies. How can she be happy without babies?" the look of concern continued.

Now I'm sick and on a slippery parenting slope. I want to say the right things here. As a post-feminist believer and a woman I want to convey that having babies isn't the only road to happiness, that having a family is a choice women can make willingly but that women can use birth control and never have babies and be very happy because it's their life and finding fulfillment isn't only met via reproducing.

I consider all of this and decide oh god that's a lot to lay down at a five year old so instead I say "Well, does Barbie WANT babies?"

She answers "Look all she has is a pig, who can be happy with that? Mommy her tummy will never be soft for cuddles, it's terrible."

I decide to gear up for a positive role model type of speech when she says "I know, Snow White can be her baby! PERFECT!" and runs off. She returns with Snow White and Aurora and says "TWINS!" and then proceeds to play.

Well I probably missed a moment but I guess in a way I'm flattered that she thinks that having a soft tummy and being a mommy equals happy. I guess it means I portray both of these things in a positive light.

I either missed a parenting moment there or made too much of a passing fancy, or somewhere in between. I'm sick it's not my fault.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

I Hate Being Sick Part Two

It was my hope that a solid night's sleep would change my world. A solid night's sleep was not mine for the having.
Around 3 am I realized my cough had transitioned from tight.dry and painful in the throat to deep, wet and rattling. My sinuses began to burn and ache, and the sinus draining and filling from one side to the other kept waking me up. By the way, apparently if your sinuses drain and fill based on the side you are laying on you have a deviated septum. I learned this when I got mine fixed about oh, 25 years ago. Apparently it's grown back deviated. They warned me it would happen so I'm excited about that.

At around 5 am I staggered down the stairs in search of medicine for me and Julia, who had crawled into my bed with her own wet, rattling horror show of a cough. Two contacs were consumed and I got her inhaler and had her  breathe in & sent her back to her own bed so I could be sick in peace.

Of course at 7 am Charlie decided I had to get up.

Contac nuit formula working full strength makes you feel like your sinuses are a desert and your head is the size of a giant boulder. It also makes you lethargic and slow. I'm four cups of coffee in and I'm still combating my lack of hand-eye coordination. However I managed to feed the smallest offspring and got the oldest boy to agree to bus the dishes so I could return upstairs.

I don't know if I want to go to sleep or what I want. My throat hurts, my body hurts, my ears ache, my sinuses hurt, my teeth hurt, everything is bad. My goal today is simply to remain in my pajamas and only sit at the computer, on the sofa, or lay in bed. Possibly to lay on the sofa. These are my lofty goals.

I can't actually imagine performing more activity than that.

I just had the butteriest toast in the world because I couldn't quite scrape off the butter properly and decided fuck it, and because I realized my body needed some sort of fuel or my blood sugar was gonna go wonky. So I consumed it, not even groaning at the carbs. Who cares? NO ONE.

Being sick derails every single thing I hoped to accomplish this weekend and I'm so frustrated. I'm trying hard to be at peace and focus on getting better, I'd like to get better without having to go to the doctor but it's not looking good. I'm thinking of things like chicken soup, and orange juice, and other things that are supposed to make you better. Zinc, that's one right?

That being said, it might be time for a lie down.

I wonder which of these work? Maybe I need to do them all. Assuming it's a cold....and spice tea? WHICH SPICE?

Friday, November 20, 2015

I Hate Being Sick

It all started with an intense need to clear my throat. I realize that now, this urge wasn't allergies, it was the hearkening of legitimate illness. I was in Montreal, working, enjoying the icy cold air (man it was cold) and really my other idea was that if it wasn't allergies it was simply the dry air playing hell with my windpipe. It wasn't a tickle or an ache, I just had to keep clearing my throat.

Late night into watching TV it turned into a feeling of sort of being congested, but still not sick.

Morning came and when it was early morning it still felt like "oh not so bad". I was still deeply convinced that dry air (did I mention it was cold, super cold) was drying out my sinuses and so I didn't think I could be actually sick. Then the chills started.

Being sick when you aren't at home is about the worst thing ever. Being sick when you can't go home RIGHT THEN is even worse. At least when you're sitting in your office and a fever spikes up you can usually go home. "Hello boss, sore throat, hella fever, shaking, might die, gotta leave," something like that.When you are in a whole different country though it's not that simple.

I made my way to a pharmacy and acquired a medicine I recognized (YAY CONTAC!) and purchased it. The lady checking me out told me I should go lay down. I apparently looked lovely.

There is nothing like anticipating a 2 and a half hour flight when your entire head feels like it's melting with snot. Then your medicine kicks in and you feel that otherworldly medicine head that so many profess not to cause (lies, all lies). Contac is apparently loaded with enough speed to cause you to feel other worldly as well as full of false energy. My brain knew it was false as my entire body was screaming REST REST NOW as my brain was saying NO LETS GO! I entertained my brain by engaging the passenger next to me who is a physicist collaborating on a paper with someone here at Georgia tech. They are doing something where they say that micro lasers pointed into a molecule in short bursts will illuminate electrons within the molecule.

I was actually stoned enough on cold medicine that I dared to ask what the practical application of this technology to me would be. He had an answer as to why it would matter, beyond just because we can do it, even. However I've lost the thread of what he said. It made sense at the moment. I felt like I had communed with Sheldon and been accepted into his world.

He probably thought I was crazy.

By the time I got home I was deep in the sick, deeper than I had been. I was vaguely aware of my husband covering me up with more blankets in the night as I chattered and shivered in my sleep. I'm now two solid days sick and I'm hoping I get to turn a corner. Such as my throat could stop hurting or maybe I could stop sounding like Kathleen Turner.

Before I left I stopped and picked these up for my kids.
If you don't know what these are, it's ok, they're illegal here. Or they're something. NOT ALLOWED. There probably isn't an actual LAW against them. They are chocolate eggs with toys inside of them. Yes they're a choking hazard. Don't let your kids eat them unsupervised, right? I am excited to have them, I've never seen them in the wild so I think the kids will really think they are fun.

Now, I'm home and sick, have on my jammies and I'm done for at least the next 24 hours. I am hoping that by Sunday I feel like a human again.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

My Tag Along

My mom always said that from the time I was able to pull myself up, I was attached to her right leg. I would stand with her while she did the dishes, or toddle along holding her apron (back when she still wore them) or her pants, making sure I was never out of reach of her. She told me that quit wearing shoes in the house after stepping on my tiny toes one too many times.

I've realized after two months of her being gone that I never stopped doing that. It became mental, my attachment, but I think somehow I always resented when they cut the cord. I had to be attached to her. I had to tell her every random thing. I needed her to be there at any moment when I reached out, to keep me from falling, to help me stand, to just be there, the giant solid presence before me.

That was still true when suddenly I was bigger than she. When disease shriveled and shrank her she still loomed huge before me, my touchstone, my longest relationship, the one formed when cells began to split becoming me along the way.

Death cut the cord finally and I think it's part of why I struggle.

Suddenly this morning, as I've considered this fact I am realizing I have a tiny human who is exactly the same. When I am home she has to be where I am. Today I asked her to go play and give me some space and she replied "How am I supposed to play without you?"

Oh god.

There I am. There I am in a tiny form. She follows me everywhere, into the bathroom still, into my bed, into the shower. She has to be with me. "I have to be with you," she says.

The truth is, I have to be with her. As much as I love the boys, there is something to this bond, something I didn't expect and wouldn't have believed. It's true. It's not that the love is different but the understanding is. The depth of the understanding, the sameness.

I'm going to leave her some day, and crush her world.

That's hard to swallow.

I guess it's just a measure of love.

No Time to Stop

I wonder how those Duggar people do it really. I suppose that they aren't actually all that involved in all of their kids activities, there's almost no way they could be. I feel like with four we never stop. I guess when you harness older kids into slave labor of caring for their siblings then that gets you off the hook for the frontline parenting.

Clearly I'm doing this wrong.

We went back to our elementary school and got to enjoy another sub-par Thanksgiving dinner. Julia however thought that it was the best thing EVER that we were there and I suppose it really was. I couldn't help but remember the first time she was there as an infant and how her brother pushed her up and down the aisles in the cafeteria, showing off HIS baby. Now it is her turn to be the one who goes through the line and gets food, she shows us how to do it and introduces US to everyone she sees.

We have apparently completely quit dressing up like Pilgrims and American Indians for Thanksgiving at school. While I can see perhaps it's appropriate to not dress up like American Indians for fear of being perceived as not PC, (or actually not being culturally sensitive etc) WHY CAN'T WE HAVE PILGRIMS. Really you invited me to Thanksgiving dinner and didn't even so much as have pilgrims? Rip off. Also there was NO TURKEY! The ham was delicious but seriously - no pilgrims and no turkey?

Dude, that was just school lunch with table cloths.

But it meant the world to her, so it was worth it, even if that WAS the worst cranberry jelly ever.

Also on the need to do list was purchase shoes, so off to the mall. And then since at the mall HEY CAROUSEL.  Mom always said that the entire story of my children's lives could be told by the carousels that they have ridden.
To me that sounds perfect actually.

To end up our week soccer wound up with it's last game and we all went out to watch the girl kick the ball and do a great job.

Despite the fact that they don't officially keep score, she and her little team creamed their opponents every game this season. The fact that they all seem to be about a year older probably helped. A lot.

That's not even everything we did in the past few days. No wonder I fall asleep like the dead every night.

God Bless Caffeine.

Now It's 8:20 on a Sunday morning and I've got a ton of things to accomplish and 1200 miles in front of me. My therapist was right, I never slow down. I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing. It's just a thing.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Moving On

That's a sign at my therapists office. I sat next to it and laughed a little while I waited. I'm not always the biggest on motivational stuff but I know that one happens to be a thought that rings true. That's the midwesterner in me, the mentality that you just need to suck it up and deal with what happens. I'm hardwired that way, there's just no way around it.
While I waited I stared at the ceiling and the waiting room which was actually the foyer of a really lovely craftsman style house. I'd like to live there. The patient before me was having a meltdown in the office. There was a LOT of yelling and crying, there was a lot of emotion. I hoped that wasn't requisite. I don't do big emotional displays well, again, that's a midwestern thing.
They went long, the earlier patient and the doc. I sat and watched the clock until I realized that it was stopped. Beside me was a blue book with no words on the cover. At first I thought it was the bible until I realized the words were EMBOSSED - Alcoholics Anonymous. I didn't know there was a book, so I flipped it open and read some of it. It was kind of interesting, it's not something I know anything about despite having lived with an Alcoholic my entire life.
We will call this my "I am nervous about going to therapy" face.

I went in shortly  after I took this picture.

It was amazing.

I learned some powerful things. I learned that communicating with people who love me and care about me is frustrating as shit because all of these people seem to get motivated to FIX me or the situation. There is no fix. I think it's a natural response, you don't like to see someone you love so completely sideways.  You want to make it better. You want to help someone you care about out of the hell they are in. Communicating with my therapist who just simply agreed with me how terrible it is was so incredibly refreshing. It was like catharsis. I wanted to scream YES YOU GET IT OMG YOU GET IT.

I learned that it hasn't been long enough to feel better. She asked me what was something that keeps hanging me up, or causing me heartache. I responded "Well for a long time I kept reaching for the phone to call my mom at night..."and she held up her hand and said, "A long time? It hasn't BEEN a long time..." and that hit me like a thunderbolt. God it hasn't. A million things have happened. I've traveled TWICE. But all of this JUST happened.

I also learned that I'm ok. I'm not in depression, I'm just grieving and this is all so very normal. She was really surprised by my lack of time off, my lack of stopping for a while and we both agreed that it's probably increasing my stress a little around this.

I'm going to feel less bad about being selfish with my time. I'm going to not be hard on myself when I don't quite feel like pushing myself physically, or I eat stuff I shouldn't. I need a break from everything. When I can't get that, I need a break from feeling bad when I fail.

I left there feeling empowered and strong. It was the most incredible thing I've felt in a long time. I've felt loved and cared about, I've felt empathized with and sympathized with. But I felt like I was lost and alone in the midst of all that. Suddenly I don't just from talking to her for an hour.

I have another appointment after the holidays, the first week of January. We said it was just to check in after the holidays and see how it went and we can decide our course of action then. I really feel like maybe I might keep going, if for no other reason than just to dedicate an hour a month selfishly to me.

It was amazing. I was feeling weird and nervous about it but I was wrong. It was absolutely amazing.

I really can't wait to go back.

Friday, November 13, 2015

November 13

My name has 13 letters in it when first and middle are added together. 13 is a magic number in my family, or that's what my parents always told me. My parents met on February 13th. They, along with another couple, all met that day and ended up getting married. Three of the four of them had birthdays that landed on a 13. My dad was the odd man out.

Today is one of those 13s. It's Mom's 71st birthday. She isn't here to celebrate it. She used to talk about "When I get old....". I can't help but feel she never got old. It's a very weird feeling, I know it's one  many of my friends have endured, the parental birthday with no parent.

On her birthday there have been great and terrible things happen over the years. Once I went for an ultrasound during a very hard pregnancy, I had hoped that after that milestone I could call my mom and give her a birthday surprise of a new grandbaby on the way. Instead I called to tell her I had lost a baby, and she grieved with me. I had a mammogram that turned out ALL CLEAR on her birthday. And six years ago today, I had an ultrasound with the perinatologist who said "Well, that really looks like a girl."

On Mom's 30th birthday she had the first of many gall bladder attacks. I remember this because I was tasked with fetching her water as she vomited nonstop. I remember her sitting on the floor of our bathroom, white as a sheet in massive pain, laughing though and saying well she'd hit 30 it was official she was falling apart. Shortly after that the ambulance arrived and took her to the hospital.

Today I'm going to go to grief counseling to talk about what it's like to be an adult orphan. I can admit confidently that I'm better, but I would like to be better than this. I'm going on Mom's birthday because it's a good landmark for me. It will be a point to look back on and see how I am.

Happy Birthday to the woman who made me who I am, both biologically and personally. She gave me the greatest gift you can give another human besides life. She taught me to think. She always said it was the most important thing anyone could ever learn, simply to THINK.

Happy Birthday Mom.

Nobody said it was easy. Nobody said it would be this hard.

That's a pic of two of my favorite humans ever to walk the planet, my grandfather and my mom.

I miss them both today.

Monday, November 09, 2015

The Things That Stop

In the face of mind numbing grief, I'm realizing that a lot of things don't have the power to bother me anymore. Someone was rude to me on the internet? Hmm, ok whatever.  I'm finding myself just noting things, injustices, things that I might have become incensed about and just saying "yeah ok that happened" and moving on.

I don't know if it's good or bad but I know it's the person I'm becoming.

Today this thing happened where I was interacting and someone who has openly made fun of me in the past starts talking to me. Now, I know that this person doesn't realize I KNOW it. They did it over in their own friends list, but thanks to the power of the digital age someone copied and pasted it to me. I don't know the person at all. I don't know who they really are or what they love or what keeps them up at night. I don't know anything about them at all. What I know is that once I shared something personal and they decided I was too stupid to live, and made fun of me like a mean girl in high school.

At the time, man maybe two years ago now, I was LIVID. Who is this bitch, I wondered. WHAT THE FUCK? Other expletives ensued. I didn't know this person from anyone and they're being a dickbag about something personal? What the hell?

Of course that's just the internet in various forms, isn't it? It's the crazies in the comments.

So today when it happened, I observed it. This is happening a lot more. Where I once would experience something and feel something strongly about it, I find myself in a place of feeling that I am "observing it". I'm not mad. I'm noting it occurred. Part of my brain thinks "thanks bitch" but it's so fleeting, it's almost like a reflex rather than a real response.

I think that's the thing. A lot of my reactions now are reflexes and then just...observation. I say something, usually more benign than "thanks bitch", and then I just observe and watch whatever it was. I am struggling to feel anything about stuff.

Part of it is just ennui with internet behavior in general, I can't be terribly moved by internet people for the most part. But it's bigger than that.

I'm out of patience, and I'm out of energy for caring about every damn thing that happens. I'm out of energy for people who aren't real.

The weird part is, it's not like I'm in some ZEN place where I'm at peace with the evil doers. It's more like, they're just behind a wall and inaccessible to me. My brain won't let me deal with them. Maybe that's ok.

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Sweater Weather

I've sat down to write this post three times and can't figure out what to say.

Charlie and I are up early, he's an early riser, my Charlie. He comes in and rests his hand on my arm, or my face, and will say "Hi" or "Good Morning". Because Charlie can sometimes get into things he shouldn't so when Charlie is awake, it's prudent to get up too. KEEP CHARLIE SAFE is a mantra around here, which means keeping child locks on doors and keeping those doors closed, and rising when he does.

My SIL sent me several bags of my mom's sweaters and that might seem morbid but actually about 1/3 of them are my sweaters - I had given them to her when I moved south. So those sweaters have just come home. Another 1/3 of them are hilariously Beverly Goldberg.
Dear god Mom what the hell hahahaha. Ok I know for a fact this sweater is from the late 80s or early 90s.

But that last third of sweaters are really very nice. That's the thing about my mom, my mom had flawless taste - even the Beverly Goldberg sweaters were the shit at the TIME. She didn't often indulge in "fashion" so much as style, and I don't feel weird having acquired some of her clothes. She'd say "Why let them go to waste, you can use them for work." In fact she DID say that when she was still alive but I couldn't handle thinking about it. I had taken a few sweaters then, for work. She'd said "Well when I'm dead..." and finished up about how I should take the rest. That idea wasn't able to settle in, but it has now.

When I opened the first bag, I sat on the floor and sobbed, smelling each one and realizing how much they smelled like my mom. It was ugly crying, uncontrollable, snotty, nearly hysterical had you been watching me. A grown woman clutching sweaters and sobbing like a child. Like someone had died.
I wrapped them around me and keened for her like I couldn't imagine having done until that moment.

I waited a couple of days before opening the next one.

The second bag was less traumatic, and sorting was easier. No, that's 80s, No that's a size 28 (damn mom when were you a 28?), no that's just too worn, yes, yes, yes, yes. Things smelled good, but it made me happy not traumatized. I folded and sorted and made a bag for donations. The donations left the house and I didn't feel upset or lost as they left.

It's been a solid three days. That's pretty damn good around here.

I'm going to wear my mom's sweaters (some of which were really mine anyway) and think happy things about her, many of those things are going to be "damn Mom had good taste". She would approve of that.

I wear her wedding ring which she hated, and I rub it like a talisman when I'm sad. I figure that if I can wear this wedding ring that she really never liked (mom wanted a plain gold band not this weird thing Dad picked out) then I can comfortably wear things that she LIKED.

Not like she died in them.

It's rained for days. My yard is a mud bog. It's rainy and horrible and cold is sliding down from the mountains toward me.

It's sweater weather. For the first time in years, I am prepared. Thanks for suggesting it Mom.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Grief Becomes Her

Grief is messing me up. First of all I'm tired of talking about it. I'm tired of everything about it. The answer to "What is wrong?" is that "My parents died." It remains the answer when I fall apart at the table, or when watching tv, or when the wind blows, or when the leaves fall, or my daughter looks at me and says she loves me.

I can't communicate with other people how bad this is, in my mind it feels crazy. Other people need me to be better. They need me to be better because I have responsibilities and things to do and sobbing isn't something that gets things done. Other people need me to be better because, quite frankly, it's just tiresome to deal with someone who is falling apart all the time. Other people need me to be better because they don't know how bad this hurts, how devastating this feels, and watching me go through it tells them what it's going to be like for them and they don't want it to be this bad.

It is this bad. Sorry. It is.

I go whole parts of days that are fine. Then I am suddenly not.

I can clarify the things I am not. I'm not depressed. Not what I think of as depressed, anyway. I'm not suicidal. I don't have any great need to end it all in a fit of sadness. In fact quite the opposite, I want to never, never cause my children this pain. I'm also grieving the fact that some day my kids might feel like this. I can't believe I'm going to cause my children so much pain some day. I need to live as long as possible, not only just so I am not dead, but to delay this feeling to them as long as possible.

The stages of grief are crap. The story about grief being waves is crap. Everything everyone says about grief, including me, is crap.

Grief is loss inside you that no one but you can ever feel or understand. It changes you.

Other people know what grief felt like to them. But no one knows what it feels like to you. That's too bad because the people who love you could probably be more helpful if they understood your hell. But they can't because it's YOUR hell not theirs.

I keep saying I'm going to focus, and get back to doing the things I need to do. Instead I keep not working out (so far only once this week), and eating (weight gain is not good).  I keep not doing it. I need to do these things because in a very real way both of my parents died from things that weight played a terrible part in (hey people who think you are healthy fat, you aren't....heads up, it's not pretty), and I'm 47 and omg I have to get the pounds off.

I wouldn't mind so much this grieving if it weren't so debilitating. I wouldn't mind if it didn't knock the wind out of me just when I thought I was on my feet. I wouldn't mind if I just could find the air, if I could just get my head above it and stay there. But I can't. Not yet anyway.

My best friend Cajsa called around and found me a grief counselor that met my requirements and I finally picked up the phone and got an appointment. The first available appointment is on Mom's birthday next week. I'm not sure what I will get out of it, if anything, but I suppose it can't hurt to go and see.

I just miss this woman so much, I took the past 47 years for granted in a way I can't even believe.

That's her with Louis, when he was 1, at Halloween in 2003.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Traditions Come and Go

It's hard to imagine that a week ago I was sitting at Tim and Justin's house, on the eve of my father's funeral. We were merrymaking, and talking of spiritualism, and crystals, and the things we do and don't believe as it were. Conversations filled with memories and love are strong medicine against the anxiety that looms before such days.

I remember getting back to Matt's, and I couldn't sleep that night. I kept waking up. When I did dream, I dreamed of a room full of mirrors with the sun reflecting off of it -waking me constantly. I dreamed of angry words shouted at people I love. I tossed and I turned as the eventuality came closer and closer.

It may have just been the burger I ate that was 33% ground bacon. Who knows what drives anxiety and insomnia?
One week later, a rushed schedule made us tardy for pumpkin decorating so it occurred on Halloween itself. I suppose it doesn't matter, we got the Jack o Lantern out before dark, keeping the lost souls at bay or whatever it does.
No ghosts would trouble us on this night, we slept well guarded.

The oldest boy donned his garb and went to his friends, where a block party was held and much festivity was made. I know I might have seemed over emotional about him not being with us, but we're so traditionally together that when the girl found out he wasn't coming she sat down and cried.

We aren't telling him. But it broke her heart that he wasn't with us this special night.

Our good friends invited us up for dinner and we weren't sure the kids would eat but after Charlie finished his second taco and his fourth enchilada we realized it was a great idea. Julia declared Chris the king of Taco Tuesday.
The excitement of being someplace new with delicious food and fun to be had made Louis not being with us bearable for a cowgirl I know. It made it a bit easier for me as well.

We hit the streets of their neighborhood, and as Julia declared - got ALL the candy.

Two months later, the number of things I do "for mom" hasn't changed. I take pics all the time of the kids for mom, only to realize she isn't there to see them. I picked up my phone repeatedly today to see if she saw all the pics of the kids. I nearly asked Julia if she wanted to call Grandma to tell her about Halloween. Instead I put on The Nightmare Before Christmas, made popcorn and turned out the lights while holding her on my lap.

The phone is the worst part. It's exactly two months later, and I have no one to call. Until the very end when she was so very sick I called my mom every single day. We used to have coffee together early in the morning on the phone. I drink my coffee now and miss her, and her stupid half caffeine coffee.

I miss having someone who wanted to talk to me about nothing every day, and was always interested in what I had to say.

But it was a good Halloween.

The first one without my parents. The first of many.