Saturday, March 8, 2014

Emotionally drained

This past week has been exhausting. I feel like I’ve been pulled a million different directions.
Sometimes I wonder--what is more exhausting, physical exercise or emotional distress? I’d say emotional distress for sure.

Some people know how to drain the life out of you—if you let him.

I have to be careful to not allow myself to be drained. It’s hard when you want everyone to be happy and for things to not get out of control.

But then I have to ask myself—why should everyone be happy and what does out of control really mean?

I’ve learned the hard way that when I try to control things, I end up in utter chaos and completely wiped out emotionally. It’s hard to just let things go, but I have to remind myself that everyone is responsible for their own decisions and it’s not my job to make their life easier.

Also, just because someone is happy now, that doesn’t mean they will be happy later on. For example?
My daughter is now a teen and trying to find her independence and push the boundaries. Luckily it’s all pretty normal stuff, but it still requires punishment.

I understand that it’s okay to make her mad NOW in order to set her up for happiness LATER in life, but getting to that point is rough. It’s rough on all my relationships.

Just like all couples, I am the easy one and Robby is the strict one. I try hard to be strict, but it gets exhausting to always be “by the book.”

And just like all couples who want their children to grow up to be good adults, we fight over punishments and behaviors and how to co-parent in a world where there is another parent in the next town over who also gets a say-so in my daughter’s life.

And let’s not forget all the unsolicited, and some solicited, advice I get from grandparents, siblings, friends, co-workers, teachers, neighbors, etc.

While I need help, all the extra voices in my head tend to make decisions even harder. It’s like co-parenting with a village, but in the end, I am the one who has to make the ultimate decision. I am the one who has to make decisions that might make my children grow into productive adults or make them become larger children that suck the life out of me until I die.

I am the one who has to keep the ex in the loop while trying to maintain boundaries that don’t allow him to insult my parenting skills or make me feel like I need to defend the way I raise my children.

I am the one who feels the need to explain why I made a decision and why I think it was a good one.
Parenting comes with enough guilt and I’m not sure why I feel the need to constantly second guess my parenting skills.

At the end of the day, I have to depend on myself to come to terms with my ability to parent, my ability to be strong, my ability to maintain my boundaries and my knowledge that future happiness is something you have to work hard for and it doesn’t show up when you lie down and give up because things are tough.

I realized this week, I am a good parent. I’m not doing anything to hurt my children and I’m not going to let you make me think I am because you have insecurities and you would rather blame me than believe you have no idea what you are talking about.

I realize that things may seem black and white to some people, but I don’t see it that way and I don’t have to if I don’t want to. I have to make the ultimate decision so I have to make a choice I can live with.

I realized that there are always going to be people who want to make me doubt myself and there are some people who on some hidden level need me to doubt myself. It must be scary for them to encounter me—and if they aren’t scared, then they must not be living in reality.

It’s tough to be a mom—it’s tough to be a woman. It’s tough to be that person who is supposed to be everyone’s cheerleader and keep things moving smoothly but to also appear somewhat fragile so she doesn’t scare people away.

I interviewed a woman recently and she said, “My only downfall was that I was ‘before my time.’”
She said men didn’t know what to think about her because she was a good business person—she asked questions and called people out on their bullshit.

“If I was a man, I would have been applauded for being a great businessman, but I am a woman so I was the B-word,” she said.

Sometimes I wonder how I would be treated if I was a man and then I quickly realize there isn’t enough money in the world to make me ever want to be a man.

I’m not sure if it’s my quiet nature or if there is something else I am doing that makes people not take me seriously?

My husband always says, “Don’t mistake my politeness for weakness.”

I like that statement. I wanted to scream that phrase at the top of my lungs by the end of this week. To be honest, I wanted to just scream anything.

But most importantly, I just wanted to scream, “Give me a break!!!”

Seriously, give me a break.

I got this. I can do this. I’ve been doing this. I’m pretty damn good at it. But the constant second guessing coming from all angles is going to make me forget that I can do this.

Pretty sure that last sentence was written for me. I guess I need to be mad at myself for forgetting that. I guess I need to give myself a break, too.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Sometimes a near death experience is what you need.

I noticed I’ve started quite a few of these blog posts with the same, “well, it’s been a while since I’ve written…” so I’ll skip that part this time and get to what’s on my mind.

It’s been a while for so many reasons. Robby was in the hospital sick for about 5 days. He had been sick off and on for a while. It wasn’t anything alarming, so we both just thought he would shake it off and start feeling better.

Turns out he had a strep infection in his blood and it almost killed him.

He called me at work on a Thursday morning, the day before Valentine’s Day, and said he needed me to come get him at work and take him to the clinic because he almost passed out at school. By the time I got there, the ambulance was on its way and his heart rate was dangerously high.

The rest is a blur of little scenes of the crowded emergency room, so hearing him scream when they had to shock his heart with the paddles to being stuck in the hospital with lists of tests but little answers.

Robby had never been to the hospital with me and I’ve never been with him, so this was all new. He was surprised how prepared I was for his stay, how I knew the right questions to ask and I was able to handle the nurses and doctors. I guess all my training with Veronica has made me a handy person to have in the hospital.

Somehow through all the chaos I was able to get the kids to and from school every day with the lunches packed, homework done, and uniforms clean. I was able to balance work and life and stay caught up. I was able to get the kids packed up and off to their dad’s for the weekend with no drama.

I also found a way to hit Walgreens at 9:30 p.m. to get Jude’s Valentines for school and make sure he showed up on Friday morning with everything for his friends and teachers. Veronica was no different, and I’m not sure how I managed. I have this ability to go into autopilot in bad situations and this time was no different. 

I had help from a new and very dear friend, another friend I’ve inherited from Robby. And of course, Robby’s other friends showed up and checked in on him . Everyone called him and kept him company when I had to run an errand or go home to get a few hours of sleep and walk the dogs.

And just like everything else, Robby and I survived the madness. But just like everything else, the madness left us with issues to deal with.

While I can’t speak for Robby and what he has to come to terms with from the entire ordeal, I can speak for myself and reflect on anther stressful moment in my life.

I am grateful to the friends I have in Savannah—they are just as good as family in so many ways and I don’t want anything I’m about to write to take away from that. Especially since the one family member I have in town that I needed the most to support us, spent the time being angry at me and refusing to call my phone to ask questions.

While that isn’t a surprise to most people, it really hurt me for some reason and it was days before I could shake my anger. I still haven’t talked to that person, and I’m not sure if I’ll feel like speaking to her for a while.

The feelings that come after I reach out to someone with love and they reach back with petty anger and meanness are feelings that bring up past hurt and sometimes I find it really hard to shake that hurt and anger.
I also realized that for the first time in a long time, I’m really homesick for my real family. Even though I haven’t said anything, I guess Robby was picking up on that feeling.

He surprised me for my birthday with a visit from my sister. I can’t express how much I needed to see her. For the first time since everything had happened with Robby, I finally allowed myself to cry and admit my loneliness.

I haven’t been able to go back to Texas for several years now and I miss it. My parents still live in my childhood home and I miss being in my old room and sharing it with my children. I miss hanging out with my brothers and my sister and playing games and staying up late.

I really don’t understand what has happened to make me homesick. I guess I miss the familiarity. I guess I miss the bond that comes from being around family.

The friends I have now are great and I love them, but it’s just not the same and sometimes I just miss that feeling.

I miss the food in Texas. I miss seeing my old friends. I miss little things.

Then I think back to what happened with Robby in the emergency room. When the doctors couldn’t get his heart rate to level out and the monitors were beeping loudly.  The doctor asked me to leave the room so they could shock him.

I walked out in to the crowded hallway that was lined with gurneys of sick people. I thought, “This is it—he’s going to die of a heart attack just like his father. This just can’t be the end of it.”

Later that night, I thought about what I would do if something did happen with him.

Would I continue to stay in Savannah? Would I move to N.C. to be closer to my sister and the family I have there? Would I move back to Texas? Would the kids be okay?

I have no idea what I would do, and I’m so grateful that I wasn’t faced with that decision. I’m not ready for this life to end—I don’t want to be in a world that doesn’t include Robby.

Life is full of uncertainties. Just when we feel like we have everything figured out, we get hit with something that makes us re-think everything we thought was solid. We have to question ourselves and our motives.

We have to look at what is really important and wonder what is lacking in our lives that makes us homesick or makes us feel unsettled or unfulfilled.

I have to try to understand why I always feel the need to move around and go from place to place and why it’s hard to for me to establish roots.

What keeps me from being settled and why does staying in one place for too long make me feel stuck?
And why is it wrong to feel that way? Maybe it’s not.