Struggles

Everyone has struggled. Money, love life, health, relationships with family, friends, job – it comes from everywhere. As a parent, you not only have your own struggles but those of your children as well.  I have struggled with depression and anxiety for a long time. I remember my medications most days, and that helps, but how do you medicate against other people’s struggles?  Or perhaps, you medicate because of other people’s struggles?  I’m not sure.  My children are struggling – each in their own way(s), and it hurts my heart so much.  When I was pregnant with them, I made sure to eat right, never drank or smoked, gave up caffeine, and just in general – took care of myself for them.  When they were born, I nursed them, co-slept, read up on brain development and tried to make sure they were happy, healthy babies.  Their milestones were all on time, and I began to homeschool them as soon as they were ready to, never caring about what age they “should” be doing stuff because I knew my children and their capabilities. 

I accept that I did fail them in some ways.  Ways that I didn’t foresee.  I stayed in a toxic relationship because I thought they were happy, that they were being nurtured and cared for by two parents.  I was wrong on that – and I’ll never be able to make it up to them.  I failed in homeschooling them past the point where I felt I could comfortably do so and they fell behind, which should not have been a problem – but their father made it the problem.  They are caught up now because they were put into public school, which has then introduced them to more struggles beyond what they were ready for.   Labels are put on them in school files, meetings are set, plans made.  When one child has an issue, it becomes my issue because I do not know how to separate myself from their problems.   

I tried to do everything I knew how to do to make sure my children had a GOOD START.  A good, healthy, happy childhood… one they could look back upon with smiles.  As it turns out, I failed. Miserably.   If, at the end of my life, I’m asked what I did – that’s what my answer will be. I was a failure at the one thing I thought I was good at.

                      

Just get over it!

I’m dealing with what I believe to be depression in my middle child. She’s experiencing what seems to be a personality crisis, and it’s affecting us all. I am worried about her, and her small group of “friends” that she’s attracted. She seems to think that I’d just “get over it” if she suddenly were no longer here because I have 2 other kids. I ask her if she has any idea how much that hurts me to hear her say it – to know she thinks it – she doesn’t, of course. Because she’s not a mother. She hasn’t carried a child from conception to birth, nursed that child for 14 months, co-slept with that child for 3 years – watched every single milestone, kissed every single booboo, worried over every single cough, sneeze, or bruise. So how could she possibly know how much that it hurts to even consider that I would just ‘get over it’? 

How can I explain to her that it would break something inside me – permanently, without any possible repair? How would I be able to go on being a parent to my other kids? How could I continue to breathe? How can I explain that I’d sooner join her in the grave than attempt to live without her?

Get over it.  Sure, no problem…….

Scatterbrained? Or just multi-dimensional thinking?

The following is an honest list of what’s going on in my world at this very second.

I am:

  • playing Canasta on my phone …while
  • researching blog editing software …while
  • downloading an image to go with a blog post I want to write …while
  • realizing the need to start writing it before I lost track of what I wanted to write

…which started this list

It all started when I read this article about mental load burnout. The thing that stood out to me was this:  we as women/mothers/wives have a constant list going on in our brains while we go about our lives. You might be cooking dinner, but in the back of your mind, you’re also keeping track of things, such as where the kids are, what you need to add to your grocery list because you just cooked this meal, realizing you need to make an appointment for kid for back to school physical, and the list goes on and on – meanwhile, you’re stirring the dinner in the pot and to anyone walking by you, you look like you’re “just” cooking.

Is this how it is for you?

It is for me. When my husband and I are out having a drink, we might just be sitting and talking, but my mind is still on 20 other things at once. It might sometimes show when I ask him to repeat something or laugh perfunctorily. Is it fair to him? Of course not. Is it fair to me? Hell no. My son is telling me about something that happened at work as we’re driving home. I may appear as though I’m listening, but I’m already back to my constant list: oh, my sibling’s birthday is next week, don’t forget to get a card. Oh wow, they put that store in fast. When do the kids go back to school? What day can I drop off electronics at the dump? Did I remember to drop off that recipe? How many rolls of toilet paper are left in the upstairs bathroom?

It just simply never stops! It makes it very hard to live IN THE MOMENT, to be PRESENT.

Although I am legally married, my husband and I live 2000 miles apart. So I am, for all intent and purposes, a single mom running my household. I am the only one who is in a position to do all this remembering for my children and I. Of course, now that I’m married, I also attempt to do all the remembering for my husband and our business as well. Sometimes it’s obvious to him when we’re in the middle of a conversation and I just break in with something that’s occurred to me, and I simply MUST tell him! It annoys him at times, as well as me.

I assume that as I and my children grow older, the necessity of being the “rememberer” for everyone will fade, and I’ll be left with a quiet mind.  I kind of dread that, because who knows what else might move in to take over the space!

I also wonder:  do men have the same thing going on?

Time


I can hardly believe it’s been nearly a year.

A year ago, I was planning a trip to the west coast, a place I had never been. I was going to meet a man I had never met. He was (and remains) mostly vanilla, and that was (and remains) OK with me.

I had created a new life for myself. I had shed both the physical and emotional ties that had held me for so long, and was enjoying a whole new me. Well, mostly new. I was, and still am, held back by my own misgivings and inabilities, both physical and emotional, but I had decided to throw caution to the wind with a laissez faire attitude. In essence, I was daring myself. Would I have the courage to do this?

I did.

In the process, I had to redefine some friendships that I had forged with a couple of people who (fortunately) were understanding and in doing so, made room in my heart for the man who had belonged there all along.

The journey has been filled with ups and downs. The distance sometimes seems insurmountable. The problems sometimes seem unfixable. Nearly 30,000 miles traveled by me alone, always alone. Yes, I travel with him in my heart, but never by my side. Our visits are always full of fun, business, friends, family – but they’re just visits. While the fight continues at a snail’s pace to change the geographic location, the desire remains strong and true.

Next week, we will celebrate one year together ~ short by most definitions of relationships ~ but hopefully a strong foundation for a lifetime of love, acceptance, friendship and comfort.

My love
My love and me at our 2nd wedding in Washington

marble

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Support

One of the neat things about this house is that all of the windowsills are fashioned out of what appears to be marble.  They are thick slabs of marble that you know will support whatever you put on them.

On the sill in the kitchen, the first thing I did was place a photo of my mom hugging her mom, who is cradling my first-born.  My grandmother (Nana) hopefully did not realize that mom was also supporting the baby, because we weren’t sure that Nana really had him – she’d been showing signs of dementia – so mom has one hand on nana’s shoulder, and the other one is supporting Nana’s other arm, which is supporting the baby.  It’s all done out of love, of course.  Each morning, I sit at my table and drink my coffee with mom and Nana as they sit perched on the marble windowsill.