Tuesday, June 13, 2017

I'm Awake, Because This Parenting Thing Is HARD

It's nearly one o'clock in the morning, and even though I am bone-tired and utterly exhausted, I'm awake.

Tonight I took some cold medicine, and curled up in my bed with a book.  I was feeling sleep curling around the edges of my body, seeping into my bones, and dragging me into that peaceful place you only know when your eyes are closed and your brain is resting.  Was.  Then there was a knock at my door.

Kid 1:
"I don't know what's wrong with me.  I feel so depressed."

We've been so sick the last week, the two of us.  She's been on a new medicine, and it's not quite ingrained in my head yet that it's a fixture, and I MUST REMEMBER.  I've been so focused on getting her well from this monster cold that I completely spaced out on giving her this medicine - for days.  The medicine for her anxiety.  Great job, Mom.

I go upstairs to try to help in any way I can, soothe her, give her the meds, get her into a warm bath, etc.

Kid 2:
(stops me)
"Hey, Mama.  :(  I'm so lonely."

The kids have been having trouble finding common ground/getting along these days, more than ever. Their interests have diverged widely, one of them is in the clutches of puberty while one is still clinging to dolls, they fight, they hurl insults... it's been a rough ride lately.  This is VERY hard for Kid 2, who is incredibly sensitive, and craves the connection she's not getting.

I do what I can, promise that we will find a place tomorrow where she can get plenty of interaction with other kids her age.

The long and short of all this?
I feel like a failure.
That lovely sleep that was closing in on me was gone in a flash, replaced with worry, my mind tallying up all the many ways I'm screwing my kids up.

I love them so much it takes my breath away, but the emotional toll of parenthood sometimes makes me want to buckle.  I don't just feel badly for them, I FEEL it too.  I feel it, and I feel the weight of failure like a brick tied around my body, because I couldn't or didn't stop it.

I'm up in the early morning hours now, wondering how everyone else does it.

How do other parents weather this without drowning under the weight of the emotions?  How do they keep it together, and when they don't, how do they keep the worry and guilt from rendering them sleepless and anxious?

I never knew how lonely and emotionally taxing being a Mom could be.
I'm not really sure I would have believed it if someone had told me... at the very least, I wouldn't have grasped it, not really.  I've been through a lot, so I thought I was prepared.  I wasn't.  I'm not.  You're never prepared.  There's a saying that being a parent means having your heart walking around outside your body... there was never a more accurate statement.  I wasn't prepared for what it would feel like to have my heart walking around outside my body, unguarded, and not be able to protect it.

This is effing rough.  It's rough, and I'm awake, but I'm sure I'm not really alone.

I wonder how many other Moms are awake worrying, and beating themselves up over their failures tonight?

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

"You, yourself, as much as anyone in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection." - Buddha

How many times have I done something that diminished, devalued, or sabotaged myself?
So. many. times.

I have prostrated myself at the feet of people who didn't deserve my submission.
I have taken shit from people and gone back for more.
I have accepted apologies given insincerely.
I have accepted apologies that were never given.
I have allowed myself to be used by people I loved, because I wanted their love.
I have believed awful things people said about me.
I have believed that I'm not worthy of love, because love has failed me so spectacularly in the past.
I have talked badly about others to make myself feel better, or powerful.
I have drank to excess to avoid my bad thoughts about myself.
I have hidden under a million excuses, because I'm so afraid of failing.
I have rejected love from those who give it to me, because I'm afraid to become attached/get hurt.
I have accepted little more than scraps from people I cared deeply about, and told myself it was better than nothing.

This shit is horrible.

If my daughters came to me and confessed this, it would break my freaking heart.
Imagining my little girls thinking so little of themselves, or being so afraid that they would do the things I've listed, breaks my heart.

Frankly, I've always thought of the things on this list in terms of ME... what I can handle, what I can deal with, how much I can take.  A few times, I've let my mind wander to a place of 'what-if'... what if my girls were telling these things to me?  How would I feel? It didn't have the impact it should have, because it's a theoretical, I think.  But today, in the car, I thought:

"If my Mom really knew all these things, she would be so sad."

My Mom would be sad.  It's a concrete thing, not a theoretical.
I have done so many things, and diminished myself in so many ways, and my Mom would feel sad, and like a failure to know that her daughter has rolled over so many times, has internalized bad feelings about herself, and allowed fear to dictate so much of her life.

I don't want to do this anymore.
How can I be a strong role-model for my daughters if I'm hiding, afraid to love, afraid of confrontation, afraid of loss?

Turning this around is going to have to start with allowing those who don't really care for me to slip away, focusing on those who love me, and being brave enough to live my life on my terms.

I wish it was simple.
I wish I had my old, fearless ways back.
I wish I hadn't wasted so many years feeling diminished and unworthy.

It's not simple, but I have to believe that it's doable.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Mortality Sucks

Sad post today, y'all.

I'm feeling very shaken up and out of my comfort zone these days, especially today.  Mortality is a bitch, and every once and a while she likes to remind you that she's part of your story, too.

I'm staring 40 in the face (T-minus 4 months, 4 days) and mortality feels less and less like an abstract concept, and more like a waiting game, or a roulette wheel.

December 19, 2016 my sister lost her 20 year-old son, while he was in the Army, stationed in NY. The details of his passing aren't known, but he wasn't ill, wasn't in an accident, no foul play... just gone.  20 years old, and gone.  The unfairness of this just takes my breath away.  As a mother, it terrifies me and breaks my heart to the core - her baby is gone.  How do you keep breathing, walking, driving, working, paying bills, etc. when your baby is gone?  It is incomprehensible.

Today I received bad news about a friend.  This friend is almost exactly the same age as me (within months) and she had a heart attack a few months ago.  She was saved, and has been waiting for months to get stronger so that she can have a heart pump, and eventually a heart transplant (her only hope, as her heart only operates at less than 20% now).  Today she found out that neither the heart pump or the transplant are an option anymore.  Her body is too weak, and can't tolerate the drugs she would need to be on to make the procedures successful.

This woman, this friend of mine, is my age.  MY AGE, and she found out today that hospice care is how she will spend the remainder of her 6-9 months that the doctors estimate she will have until her heart gives up the fight.  6-9 months.

Did I mention that this woman has two little girls, younger than my own?  The news has knocked me for six - I fully expected her to triumph.  If anyone, I thought it would be her.  She's an amazing woman, a kind, compassionate soul, and a fighter.  I can't believe that she's been stripped of her tools to fight this.  6-9 months to live a life that should have been 40 years longer.  It's not fair.

The day after Christmas, my siblings' cousin died from cancer.
Rob was only in his 50's, and he's gone.  His daughter moved up her wedding day by a year so he could be there.  He fought hard, but it wasn't enough.  He died calling his dead uncle's name, with one of his four brothers at his side.

Several months ago, my oldest brother had a stroke - his second, according to doctors.  He's 58, and has had two strokes.  The fear I feel thinking about this makes me sick to my stomach.  We are so lucky that he survived and is recovering well... so lucky.  But my God, does it make you sit up and take notice.

Suddenly the things that happened to 'other people' are happening all around me, to those I know and love.  When I see these things happening one after the other, 40 doesn't seem so young anymore.  40 seems scary, because after that comes 50 and 60, and more risks, more health problems, more people that I know and love succumbing to the trials of life and health.

Life is so uncertain, y'all.  It's so beautiful, but so uncertain.
If you love someone, tell them.  Don't assume they know.  Do it for them, and for yourself, because life is short.