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Quieter

 

 

quieter

 

Said goodbye to my son this morning and actually did a typing motion with both of my thumbs as I said “check in!”  This is what it’s come to.

I miss him lately.

This weekend he’s off to judge a speech and debate event in Phoenix. Then house sitting – then working – then I might see him Monday.

Ok, I miss him a lot lately.

I often think about those posts I wrote when he was still in school (High School) and I was lamenting how fast time was flying by even back then!

I didn’t even have to miss him then.

It’s hard for every parent I’m sure – but when you’re a single parent and nearly two decades have revolved (happily) around one person and suddenly they don’t need you – and their exit date is looming well … it’s disconcerting to say the least.

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It’s hard to talk about it with anyone – because I usually get the ‘Yeah well, kids grow up, that’s how it works!’ speech. Or, ‘Find a hobby!’

I KNOW this is how it works.

I want him to thrive and explore, stumble a little – learn from his mistakes, brush himself off and thrive again.

I want him to spread those amazing wings!!

This is me remember?!  The one who made it a priority to get him a passport! The one who sent him off to England to see more than our backyard.

I was even prepared for him to not want to return from that trip.

So my point here is – there are no apron strings tying him to me. The umbilical cord is cut.

 

But oh how I love him.

For all this time, he’s been the constant in my life.

We’ve had ups and downs but always had each other.

 

 

I don’t laugh as much anymore – because he’s not around much anymore. I feel his absence in ways I can’t even explain.

 

No, he is not responsible for my happiness.  No, it is not his fault that I feel this way.

I am simply sharing these raw facts honestly with you.

Because if I am being completely honest – I have been changing, and it’s not for the better.

Things I used to love to do, I’m not doing anymore. I feel unmotivated – a little lost.

I’ve wondered, is it because I’m alone with myself and really not sure who I am without the ‘mom’ tag on?

Then I realize that probably it’s a culmination of many years and many things that I’ve been able to sweep aside to some degree, because I had something more important to focus on.

My boy.

 

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We all go through this at some point. ‘Finding ourselves’ – and while that phrase is often mocked – it is a relevant phase.

 

But I thought I had found myself.

Now it feels like I lost her – our hands slipped apart in my crowded head.

 

 

I’m the first to admit my writing has gone downhill.

The first to agree ‘I don’t have a life’ when people joke about me never wanting to go anywhere.

I still say things at work or in groups that aren’t understood and end up feeling like an alien.

I don’t fit in.

I’ll mention thoughts that pop into my head and others look at me like I’m crazy. “You’ve never thought that?” I’ll ask. “Um, no.” is the usual response.

 

So I get quieter.

 

I thought the answer was to put more of myself ‘out there’. Be braver. Share more. Embrace the part of me that is clearly different from most. But then I was told I thought too much – shared too much.

 

So I’m getting even quieter.

 

Sometimes I feel so locked inside myself that I could scream.

 

I go through the motions of ‘fitting in’ knowing I’m not pulling it off.

Then every once in a while – the couch across from me is filled by this person who gets me.

Who makes me laugh.

Who has similar thoughts and similar humor … and I am happy.

And I fit in.

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“What are you going to do when I leave?” he once asked.

I didn’t really answer. I sarcastically brushed him off with a ‘I have always taken care of myself’ – but what I was really doing was taking care of him.  And that’s all I wanted to do.

What will I do when he leaves?

I don’t know.

I don’t know that answer.

I haven’t got to that chapter yet – and I don’t read ahead.

But I will miss him. That much I know.

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First Tangent of the Year

Two things resonated with me on Facebook today – one friend got engaged last night (I couldn’t be happier for her!) and another friend wrote something really thought-provoking on ‘Fear’.

Fear + Love = Tangent.

I thought about some of the recent obstacles I’ve overcome.

Being a single parent has not been easy.

And when I say ‘single’ parent I do mean – single.  Solo.  Alone. One.

I have no plan B.  No safety net.  It all comes down to me.

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My fears are usually those of the ‘not being able to provide the basic necessities for my little family’ variety.  My little family now being an 18-year-old son and a dog that adopted us.

It’s nothing short of terrifying.  (And exhilarating when I succeed – if I’m being honest.)

But, I could never be in a relationship born of fear.  Only love.

I don’t understand people who bounce from relationship to relationship because they can’t be alone.

I don’t understand ‘gold diggers’ or those women that have a ‘sugar daddy’ that pays their bills.

I’m not judging them either.  I’m sure there is a reason they don’t feel empowered or lack the drive to go it alone.

Just as there are reasons why I am so stubborn and independent.

It doesn’t make my way right – it’s just my way.

I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I settled for anything less than true love.

And perhaps that’s why I DO live with myself.

Not willing to settle.  Not willing to be in a relationship for the wrong reasons.

But new fears – or, perhaps that’s not the right word … new ‘unknowns’ are to be embarked upon.

My son (God willing) won’t need me in a couple of years.  When he’s learned to juggle achieving a higher education and providing for himself.

He’ll be cutting his own path and I’ll have to look in the mirror and answer to the little girl who used to be me.

She had wanted to be an archeologist, a teacher and a writer.  She had wanted to marry her Prince Charming and live happily ever after.

I never did get that Cinderella to the ball.

But, I can look her in the eye and say ‘but you had a beautiful baby boy – and you turned out to be a good mom.’

She wanted that too.

I feel change coming.

And there is fear.

An electric buzz in the air, foreshadowing that 2014 is going to be a very important year.

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Then the dam broke

“It’s just everything – it’s worrying about Christmas,  and the car … and always having to worry about things like that – it’s doing it alone, but I wouldn’t have it any other way – what we have … and not feeling well and not being able to go to the doctor – it’s being stressed out and not having someone to talk to about it.  Because they’re going to tell me not to feel a certain way when I DO feel that way.  It must be okay to feel that way if I feel it??  It’s when people ask “Feeling better?” with a raised eyebrow because your answer had better be ‘yes’ … it’s not being allowed to feel sad because you’re the person who makes people laugh.  And on top of it all, I don’t feel well.  And I’m sad.  I’m just … sad.  And no, it’s not forever – and yes, it will pass and I’m so grateful – I’m grateful for everything we have and everything we don’t have … but I’m just … sad.  And I should be allowed to feel sad.”

– Me, after telling my son I couldn’t possibly vent to him.

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I left work early today.

I couldn’t take one more second of holding myself upright when all I wanted to do was curl into a ball.  I put a smile in my voice on the phone … and in front of customers who came into my office.   I went above and beyond on my files – went in early today and cleaned.  I pushed and pushed – and broke.

Monday I had a pretty bad ‘spell’ at work.  Besides my heart condition – I think my body also tells me when it’s done holding things in.

My vision blurred in my right eye and my chest squeezed.  I couldn’t get my bearings. I sat outside on a curb, taking purposeful breaths and feeling the wind on my skin until the spell mostly passed and went back in to work.

That’s what I do.

Remove myself, compose myself and return.

Yesterday I came very close to asking to use my barely used sick time.  But I stuck it out.  My ears have been hurting me – I’m dizzy and nauseated.  But I stuck it out.

This morning, I came even closer to asking to use my barely used sick time – then remembered I had a meeting and had to approve a settlement statement so that a customer could sign their documents.  So I went in.

I tied all the loose ends up and emailed both of my bosses asking to use 1/2 of a sick day.

The answer was yes.

I read an article yesterday on a hospice website.  About the phases of death.  I was making sure I was using ‘catabolic’ correctly in my last post.  A catabolic state is when your body can no longer process nourishment – it’s so starved for it – it starts breaking itself down.

That’s how I understood it anyway.

And that’s how I have been feeling.  Like there has been no nourishing input lately – that I’m sustaining myself and breaking down all my reserves.

So after my grand monologue that I wasn’t going to give in front of my son, I ended with, “I just want to hear ‘everything is going to be ok'”

To which my son replied, “Everything is going to be ok”

And when he hugged me – I sobbed harder.  And he didn’t tell me I wasn’t allowed to feel sad.

I love him so very much.

The sky this morning

The sky this morning