husbands close your ears

I am sitting here in a rare moment of solitude. My child is being entertained by an ipad and The Backyardigans (no, I am not proud of this).  My husband is golfing.  The dinner dishes are in the dishwasher and the kitchen has been cleaned.  In a brief moment between loads of laundry, I sit typing this post.

Husbands, close your ears.  Move on, Hit that little red x in the upper right corner.

You don’t want to hear this.

I am tired.

I am so tired.

I work all day too.

I am the cruise director of this house.  I plan the meals. I cook the meals. Hell, I buy the food FOR the meals.  I make sure the wheels are greased.

And I am tired.

I am the taxi, the nurse, the caregiver, the bather, the scheduler, the appointment maker, the soother, the end all be all of our four year old’s world.

And you, are golfing.

Now before you get your pitchforks and torches all lit up, I consented to the golfing thing.  And I’m not complaining about it. All I’m getting at is this…

I hold down the fort so everyone else can enjoy a moment or two of selfish delights.

Who holds the fort down for me?

Before you suggest marriage counseling or that my husband is not a nice guy, I guess I should say that I haven’t painted a complete picture.

My other half helps. When asked.  What is lacking is the initiative to help.

The best line from the movie “The Break Up” is when Jen Aniston told Vince Vaughn “I WANT you to WANT to do the dishes”… to which he replied.. who ‘wants’ to do the dishes?

Understood.

I do a lot of things I don’t want to do, but I do them for the greater good.  I can’t go on strike or give up because if I did, my house would fall apart and my child would suffer and ultimately, I’d be making more work for myself in the long run.

Ah… no.

I don’t need a day off.  I don’t need a maid.  I don’t need a new husband.

I need someone who wants to participate for the greater good, not because the ‘warden’ has given a directive.

I don’t think asking someone to unload a dishwasher should put me in the same playing field as Joan Crawford yelling about NO WIRE HANGERS.

This mama is tired. And now it’s time to fold the laundry.

Peace.

million dollar days

Every once and a while the stars and moon align. The weather cooperates.  The kid behaves.  The traffic lights are all green. Time stands still and allows you to stand back and take it all in.

Today was one of those days.

I like to call them “million dollar days”.

Without any real schedule or agenda, my son, mother and I enjoyed a picture perfect beach day.  I sat at the water’s edge watching my son delight in jumping the waves.  The temperature was perfect. The sun kissed my face.  I sat in complete and utter peace listening to the waves crash against the shore.

I had nowhere to go, no one to answer to and no deadlines to meet.  Today I wasn’t responsible for raising a test score or parenting someone else’s kid.  Today I didn’t have a house to clean or a load of laundry to fold.

I simply took time to be grateful at the edge of the ocean watching my kid play and my mother savor being a grandmother.

I offered up a small quiet prayer of gratitude.  I thought about my dad.

I closed my eyes and drank in the moment, the sounds, the smells, the feel of the sand between my toes.

And I sat. On a Wednesday at 2pm with nowhere to go and nothing to do.

And it was pure bliss.

A million dollar day.

Peace.

shoe dropping, Namaste and other ramblings

Breathe.

It’s Spring Break here.  I have a week “off”. I use the term loosely because I am not really “off”.  I am home with my four-year-old. I relish the time we are spending together, and I’m using this week as sort of a preview for the summer. You see he won’t be in daycare (we only had summer care to hold his spot) because in the fall he will start the big “K” (kindergarten). He turns five in May.

I love my kid.  No surprise there. I know that every moment is fleeting.  Today he talks my ear off about robots and Peppa Pig. If I blink, he will be thirteen and will hate me.  I get it.  I really do.

But being “on” all the time is hard.  Kudos to stay at home parents.  I applaud you.  I bow down to you. I really do.

I am also coming off of two weeks of constant worry about my elderly grandmother.  A week after my grandmother turned 93 she fell and broke her hip.  This has changed life completely.  New housing arrangements must be made. Surgeries. Therapies. Family drama.

Today was the first day that plans for her care finally started taking shape.  I’d like to breathe a sigh of relief but I can’t.

You see, the last time I breathed a sigh of relief, something bad happened. Very bad.

I’d like to think I’m not superstitious. I’d like to think that. But when my dad had his horrific car accident and walked away with barely a scratch three years ago, I dared to breathe a sigh of relief.  I rejoiced.  I gave thanks.  I breathed.

And six days later he died.

Of course nothing I did caused that but I became complacent. I assumed life was good and all was well.  I didn’t anticipate the other shoe dropping.

But it did.

Since then, I cannot bring myself to enjoy breathing sighs of relief because I know there is always another shoe to be dropped.

Always.

Because of that very reason I believe in insurance. I have an emergency binder ready with all relevant information. I tell people I love them.  I kick my ass hard when I am unkind.  I pray for forgiveness and I pray for strength to do better. I offer thanks and gratitude more.  Because I learned that the other shoe is always lurking around the corner, waiting to be dropped.

I’m no fool.  My grandmother is 93.  We are lucky she’s been with us that long.

But I worry about a lot of other things too. Without going into greater detail, let’s just say my plate is full. Full of worry and knowing better than to take the status quo for granted.

That brings me to Namaste.  As you know, if you’ve read this blog before, yoga is not my thing. I like the idea of yoga.  I like the idea of being all zen and blissful. I just can’t lay on a floor for more than 15 minutes to get to that point. I’ve got shit to do.

However, the concept of Namaste (the idea of respect and acknowledgement of souls and a bunch of other stuff I need to look up) is intriguing. Much like that damn Disney song “Let it Go”.  Simple ideas I need to practice more.

So here I am, in between heaping helpings of Heath Toffee Bits and rambling on a blog to strangers trying to find my inner balance.

It’s going to be a long week.

Namaste.

and here we go again

Here we go again.  The month of March, the month of April. Two months that are pure torture for me and my anxiety.  Why? Well, by this time of year school is almost over but it’s not, really. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel but we can’t quite reach it. We are all hanging on by our fingernails until Spring Break.  Patience is thin.  Behaviors have worn out their welcome. I’ve pulled out all my tricks, used up all my motivational energy and have hit the proverbial wall.  Time to go home, kids (in 43 school days to be exact, but who is counting?)

March/April also marks the end of my mother’s “snowbird” visit here in the South.  I’ve enjoyed having her near for six months and soon it will be time for her to go back home, about 3000 miles away.  It was this time of year my dad died (in fact, it was just after they arrived back home from the South).  I am starting to have extreme anxiety over the “death a versary” of his passing.

I am convinced my mother will meet the same fate.

In fact, I am convinced every time someone leaves my house something bad is going to happen.

Of course I know you can’t live your life that way.  But once you’ve had your panic button pushed, it’s hard to not go back there.

Sudden death has forced me to embrace gratitude and to not assume there will be another tomorrow, another opportunity around the corner.  And of course, because I think like this, I am the weirdo, freak who worries too much. *sigh*

March/April has shown itself again, in fact just last night.  My 93 year old grandmother fell and broke her hip.  I got the call from a relative back home.  The timing, the call, the time of year, the nature of the news…. it was all too much.  I immediately went into melt down mode and had a panic attack, much like I did when I got the phone call about my dad dying 3 years ago next month.

I wish I could rip the phone out of my life.  I hate the phone.  It’s never good news.

My grandmother is recovering after surgery.  I weep from relief, gratitude and fear for the future.  To me, this is the beginning of the end.  Somehow yesterday’s accident was a turning point.  A door closed on my grandmother’s independence and a door to an uncertain future opened.

I can’t take any more death or loss.

Not right now.

I barely slept last night, too upset over reliving the bad news phone call that continues to haunt me.

I feel out of control.  I can’t predict the future. I can’t fly home and hold anyone’s hands.  I  am useless and helpless.

And I worry.

Constantly.

Time to go back to therapy.  It’s time.   And I’m not ashamed to admit I need help managing my anxiety.

I’m tired. So tired.

Peace.

a change of season, a change of mind

It’s almost Spring. Thank God. I mean I am literally thanking God.  Spring is one of my favorite seasons.  I love seeing everything green up and come back to life.  I love the feeling of the sun on my face after a long, cold spell.  Ok, living in the South we rarely get ‘cold’ spells, but this winter has been miserable with freezing temperatures, snow and rain.

It’s nice to shed the heavy coat of winter (literally and figuratively).

In the past few days, I’ve sunned myself on my porch and resumed my evening walk on my favorite street.  It’s a street in town, miles away from my house.  It’s a place I’m pretty sure time has forgotten with big beautiful trees and neat little cedar shake houses pristinely poised on the water.  It’s my happy place.

Since the change of weather started I’ve started feeling a bit more hopeful.  I’m still counting down the days until my hellish school year ends, but I am starting to see a bit of light in the proverbial tunnel.

The warmer weather is bringing me around.

Now to start my spring yard work and sprucing up.

Peace.

disappear

I started this blog as a reflection of how I am handling motherhood.  I felt such passion toward my son I felt I needed to channel it, and for me, writing is the best way to do that.

Over the past four years this blog has morphed from my takes on motherhood (some humorous, some poignant) to being a real outlet for other areas of my life: job frustration, personal tribulations, the death of my father…. the list goes on.

I simply love to write.

For me, it is therapy. (and it’s much, much cheaper).

It’s so interesting to me that I choose such a public forum to express my most private thoughts.  Because deep down, I am a textbook introvert.  I love flying under the radar.  I cherish time to myself.  Large crowds and small talk exhaust me.  The older I get, the more I want to disappear.

It happened again today.  I was at work, at a meeting. There were about 10 people at this meeting to discuss concerns about a student.  I didn’t really have much input (as others attending the meeting had more to say) but nevertheless I was there because I teach this student as well.

The whole time I sat listening, I simply wanted the floor to swallow me up.  I can’t explain why. I was not being questioned about anything, I was not on the hot seat.  I just felt so out of place.

I work with wonderful people.  No one makes me feel small or insignificant.  In fact, isn’t there a saying that no one can make you feel inferior… you just allow it to happen.. or something like that?

More and more, I just want to do my job and go home.  That doesn’t mean I don’t care or give 100% at work.  It means for some reason I want to fly so far UNDER the radar that I disappear.   On the weekends part of me wants to socialize and plan play dates with my child’s friends.  And for him, I do it.  But the thought of making small talk at a park or birthday party makes me want to pop a Xanax.  Soccer season is starting.  I’d better visit my doctor.  Sitting on the sidelines at practices and games is excruciating for me.  I do it to support my child, feeling like a  total social outcast in the process.  I’ve always felt like I just don’t fit in, don’t have much to say or have much to contribute.  I feel like if I fell off the earth, I probably wouldn’t be missed.

No, it’s not a plea for help or me fishing for an “oh there, there, we love you” compliment.

I truly, truly feel very disinterested in myself.  I feel anxiety at the thought of having to be “on”, trying to throw up a façade so I don’t have to explain why I feel so ‘blah’.

And I’m hoping this changes soon.

I’ll keep you posted.

Peace.

zoning out

I have decided to consciously zone out for a while. What does that mean? hmm. I’m not really sure either.  Having a full time job and a four year old doesn’t really allow one to “consciously zone out” for very long, or very often for that matter.

I started thinking about how much I am “aware” of what is going on in the world.  I tune in regularly to the news.  I browse social media.  I grab headlines here and there.

And I feel my anxiety level rush.  I am over loaded.

I am sick of Kim Kardashian’s hair. (and this apparently is newsworthy, it’s everywhere).
I am sick of sad stories about babies trapped in cars.
I am sick of news about hostages and ISIS and other terrible tragedies.
I am sick of news of the latest threatening disease and what I should do to prevent myself or my family from getting it (by the way, we are all vaccinated)

I am just sick of news.

That doesn’t mean I don’t care about issues, illness, tragedy and those less fortunate.  I do.

I’m just saturated with caring.

Being a sensitive introvert (and yes, I’ve realized this about myself as well over the past year or so) I internalize just about everything.  I guess it used to be called “wearing my heart on my sleeve” but listening to/keeping up with the news produces a lot of anxiety in me.  A lot.

I find myself convinced I, or my family will be the latest statistic.  Couldn’t win the lottery, but we sure as hell could be “that” family who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, or the rare case where the crock pot burned down the house.  Yep. That’s us.

I’m so tired of being aware.  That sounds silly, I know.

But I’m making an effort to zone out because I find myself slipping; slipping back into a very dark place where sadness looms. I guess you might call it “Eeyore-land”

Don’t tell me to get a hobby (no time) and please don’t suggest I try yoga. Yoga stresses me out.  Yes, I am probably the only person in the world who wants to punch someone in the teeth after yoga.  All the laying around and heavy breathing.  Ugh. I like the idea of yoga, just not actually doing yoga.  I simply don’t have time to lay on a floor and tune out while listening to other people groan and stretch.

So, I’ll keep you posted on this zoning out thing.

Peace.

the on and off struggle

I’ve learned a lot about myself since I turned 40.  (actually this self awareness began around age 36).  I realized that I have anxiety.   I was always a “worrier” as a kid.  Very serious, wise beyond my years, a planner.  I never really knew what I had was anxiety.  I grew up in a very stable, loving home.  I have no external reason to be anxious.  I think it’s just how I’m built.

As I grew up, I always felt anxious but I never really knew what to call it.  I was from a small town where people kept to themselves and resources were limited.  It was the 80s. Kids were kids and helicopter parents eager to diagnose their children didn’t really exist.  We just sort of dealt with anxiety, or brushed it off.   It didn’t really seem to matter.

As I became an adult, I was still very anxious.  Always worrying about what came next, trying to map out my life and plan the inevitable.  My stupid 20 year old self didn’t realize that you can’t plan everything.  When I look back at the pressure I put on myself I cringe.  I think of all the years I wasted scolding myself for not being married by a certain age, not enjoying things I should have enjoyed, and always trying to be something I wasn’t.  I guess that’s what you’re supposed to do in your twenties.

After I had my son in my mid 30s my anxiety ramped up.  I think it was some sort of post partum anxiety.  I felt like a life guard always on duty.  I ground my teeth to the point my jaw ached.  I went on meds.   I stayed on them for a while until I felt “straightened out” and then I went off them.

Fast forward a couple of years (almost 2) and then I lost my dad.  Needless to say, there was a lot of Zoloft in my future.  I stayed on meds for a couple of years and then this past summer realized I was doing well (not just a false sense, things had changed) so I weaned myself off.

And things were ok. For a while.

And here I am.

I’m not sure if it’s the impending “death” anniversary (April 24) or the fact I am having one of the most stressful teaching years ever, or the fact that I weigh the most I’ve ever weighed in my life, but I find myself more and more weepy for no reason.  I find myself lacking energy.  I find myself distracted and disinterested. I find myself stressed out and feeling sick all the time.

Of course these are things that should be discussed with a doctor, not on a blog.

But the wonderful thing about writing is that maybe just one person out there reading this can identify with me, can feel a little less alone or a little less weird.

This life thing is a work in progress.

Peace.

I love a rainy night

Just like the Eddie Rabbit song… I love a rainy night. I really do. There is something so very cozy and warm about sitting in your house listening to the rain beat on the roof and the windows.  My dad used to love listening to the rain.  In a funny way when it rains, it gives me a bit of comfort.  Almost like it’s him saying hello.

It’s Sunday night.  It was a busy weekend with me hobbling around due to a bad back. I’ve had my share of back problems, but this one was a doozy.  Needless to say a good part of my next pay check will be given to our local chiropractor. *sigh*

So on this Sunday night I did the usual lunch prep, laundry folding, plan for the week ahead stuff I usually do. I put my son to bed, as I normally do, and as weird as it sounds, I felt a little sad that the weekend must come to an end.

As I sat rocking him, reading him a story, I looked at my kid and fell in love with him all over again.

There is something so special and magical about his room.  I have so many vivid memories of sitting in there, rocking him as a newborn, totally unsure of myself and my ability to be a mother.  I remember rocking him when he was so tiny he could snuggle up under my chin and thinking… this is gold. I want this to last forever.  And then I remember crying while rocking him because I knew I would blink and pretty soon he would outgrow my lap and our rocking chair days would be numbered.

Every time this parenting “stuff” got hard, every time I wanted to throw in the towel and scream, every tantrum, every time I wanted to pull my hair out, I’d keep telling myself the same thing… “this won’t last forever”, “this is temporary”.

And now, as I look at him, all four and a half years of him, I know I was right.

Everything is temporary.

Nothing will last.

And it makes me a little sad.

But on this rainy night I will go upstairs, check on him, stroke his hair and kiss his forehead as he sleeps knowing that for just a little while all is right in the world.

Peace

snow days

I am on day number 2 of being held captive in my own home.  Before you call 911 (but thanks for thinking of me…) it’s because of weather.  In the South a bit of snow and ice renders us helpless.

Of course being Canadian, I consider this a cruel, cruel joke.  Back home it’s called “typical Wednesday in February”.

My husband is away for work this week. I am holding down the fort with my four-year-old.  I love my son very, very much.  I am grateful for my blessings.

But oh dear, I am ready to go insane.

I have a new found respect for single parents and stay at home moms/dads.  I know I am not meant to be either.  Being “on” 24/7 is a most impossible task, and the men and women who perform this miraculous feat day in and day out deserve kudos. And a day off.

Yesterday, our first ‘snow’ (and I use the term loosely here in the South) day or found us schlepping to Wal Mart for some much needed supplies… bread, milk, crayons, a ridiculously big blue ball (because when an impending storm renders you captive, you MUST have a ridiculously large blue ball).   I earned my “Mother of The Year” wings yesterday.  We shopped. We played. We created. We baked. We cuddled.  I was THE man/woman yesterday.

And then I got the bad news that we’d be having today off too.

Um.

Um.

My baking supplies are gone, the crayons are lost or broken, we’ve already seen the movie my son wanted to watch and it’s too damn wet to go outside.

Um

Um

My son has figured out I am a captive audience.  At the tender age of four he has yet to understand “alone time”.

So I sit here today, contemplating what to do.  Road’s are icy. Weather conditions aren’t great.  I don’t want my kid stuck in front of an ipad or tv all day.

I am mustering up the creativity and courage it takes to tackle this beast…. alone.

Bless the people who do this day in and day out with smiles on their faces.

Peace.