Buying into the idea that life begins all over again at forty...

Buying into the idea that life begins all over again at forty...

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Surviving Christmas

I planned it all ahead. Knowing my kids would be with their Dad, and I would not be able to go be with my family, I made sure I had lots going on this Christmas.

I had a big project (cleaning out my closet), I had social invitations and plans (a massage, church, then dinner on Christmas Eve, movie/lunch plans Christmas Day), and I had back-up ideas (work, work on a presentation, more home projects). It was all very well thought out, down to the wine I made sure I had ready, just in case I needed it.

It really didn't matter. I could have booked every hour, every minute, and every second out. But, the second my mind went to them, I'd have the same feeling no matter what. I miss my children this Christmas. And, things don't seem right.

The wonderful thing is, I'm one neighborhood away from them, and their Dad has offered to let me come by briefly this morning so I can hug and kiss them and see what Santa brought.

It's not the same. I won't kid you.

Last night, when Santa came for my darlings, it was probably delivered by their Dad and his girfriend. I sat and drank wine and watched a movie and tried to not think about what I was missing. As my head hit the pillow, I let myself feel it for just a minute and I cried and prayed. I considered that I just did that once, and only for a few minutes, a huge accomplishment for the day.

This morning, I woke up at 5:30 a.m. I am not a morning person, but the past two days that I have had to sleep in, I have been up by 6 a.m. I'm not sure why. I guess my body feels something is off. Something is not right in the universe. Every bit of my being wants to be with them right now.

I know that I'm not the first person in the world to deal with this, and my situation is actually much better than a lot of divorced parents. Last night, I was thankful for what might seem like very small things to some people. A friend saved me a seat at church, so I didn't have to sit alone as I typically do. I met two friends for dinner after and we laughed and talked about our futures (we are all newly divorced).

Then, I drove home and instantly noticed all the cars on my normally empty street. Families celebrating. Once home, my eyes went to my Christmas card pictures people had sent. I always set them out and enjoy them throughout December. Every single one of them was of a family this year. The whole family. Together. This would be the first year that I didn't spent Christmas with any family whatsoever. That was one thing I hadn't thought about, actually...

I have learned a lot this year. I have had validation that what happened in my marriage needed to happen--we were not good for one another and our kids have happier parents now.

I have learned what it is like to have someone adore you and how it feels to be swept-off-your-feet and giddy in love. I have learned how hard a break-up can be when your kids become attached and also when you have to recognize something that isn't good for you even if you want it to be.

I have learned how cruel a person can be when he/she is  confused and angry. I learned that, at some point, things are over and you can't love things back to normalcy--even in friendships.

I have learned to sit in a quiet home and just be. I have learned how to sleep and sleep well at night for the first time since probably my early 20s. I have learned that once I give myself a break on working out and eating right, I eventually return to missing being fit and eating right and I start trying to live right again.

I've learned things balance themselves out. A good glass of wine can really help during difficult times, but more than one is definitely too much. That having a sweet kitty crawl on you as you veg on the couch can make your heart smile, especially when he purrs. You heart can break and you can never think it will heal, but slowly it does.

Most of all, I know that all of this was part of God's plan for me. I wish that made this easier, but I have to have faith that better days are ahead and that I will find true contentment and peace. For the most part, I am happier today than I was a year ago. And, I truly hope that next year I can say the same.

Surviving Christmas without your family will change you, even if you plan it out to a "t." But maybe, just maybe, it will change you in good ways that make you never take things for granted ever again. God bless you and yours this Christmas!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Pardon me, but I have to get this out.

I know, I know. I have all but abandoned this blog. But, I think I need an outlet. So, here goes:
People are weird. These are my notes for the world today. There are things that I find kind of obvious, but apparently others do not:
  • If you organize a complex outing, please send out a coherent list of “things to bring” to attendees please—not a series of text-heavy rambling emails that people will have to disect like a science experiment to get the information needed. I mean, seriously!
  • If someone makes a joke, laugh. It’s OK to laugh in the workplace. REALLY. We all know you are still working. We're just trying to make work a little less...well worky.
  • Replying back to a text is common courtesy. It does not signify that you are madly infatuated and can’t live without someone. Really. Just answer the damn text. It’s not some kind of a test. Also? Get over yourself already...
  • If you don't work, please recognize that some people do. I stayed home and worked out of my home for a decade and didn't forget this. Why do you? While I'm at it--PTO presidents and neighborhood association nazis who schedule their meetings mid-morning? Good luck finding volunteers for your events this year or getting elected again next year. KAZOWWWW!
And, I'm done...

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Two sets of eyes

I went to a movie with the kids today. What movie really makes little difference to this post, but I'll say it was Mall Cop with animals--only not as funny in my book. I sat in the movie and was thinking that very thing: This kid movie isn't boring, because I am not asleep right now, but it is not that great either.

And, then I felt two sets of eyes on me. Four eyes kept watching. When I smiled, I saw smiling eyes in my peripheral vision. As the movie went on, I felt the eyes move on to me several times, guardedly watching to see if I was enjoying the movie too. I sensed them hanging on to see if I smiled or laughed at the funny parts, and so I made sure that I did. Even if they weren't that funny. And, like clockwork, the four eyes would rotate back to the screen--almost as if synchronized.

I realized in that moment, that my happiness really does matter to my children. I put my arm around my youngest girl and a hand on my son's knee. I let my son lean his head on me and soaked in a wonderful moment of his pre-teen self letting go of being embarrassed of Mom long enough to show he loved me. And, my heart soaked it up like a great piece of bread soaks up the gravy--saving the feeling of that for the angst-ridden teen years ahead when I will need it most.

Later, on the drive home, my kids were playing an animated round of Texas Hold-Em in the back seat, completely enjoying the game with one another. So, I made a phone call to my boyfriend. The conversation turned to serious things, then a quick misunderstanding of words, and several more serious exchanges. During all of this, I became absorbed in the call and stopped paying attention to the card playing in the back.

I didn't notice at all when they stopped playing and started listening.

Our phone conversation grew more tense. And, eventually, I managed to frustrate the heck out of my guy--a gift I seem to have a knack for that I wish I could somehow lose. I can say at this point we were in pre-argument or perhaps mini-argument mode.

That's when I felt the four eyes again. Watching. Listening quietly. Hanging on my words. I caught a few concerned looks in the rear-view mirror, their eyes quickly darting away as soon as they met my glance.

I got off the phone, but unfortunately I selfishly let my hurt and frustration continue to show on my face. I popped out of the car to grab the mail, and when I popped back in, my sweet girl was handing me a card she'd quickly made from a scrap of construction paper in the back seat and an old marker.

"This is for you," she said sweetly. Distracted, I quickly opened it, my mind on other things. That's when the words jumped out at me:
"Mom, I love you. Thank you for all the nice things you do for us."

Again, I felt two sets of eyes watching my expression. My son added,
"We really had fun today, Mom."

Today, more than ever, I realized two very important things.

First, that my happiness does really matter to my kids and it can directly affect their happiness. All the years I had growing up in a home with a mother who was chronically depressed and anxious, came flooding back. The way I somehow subconsciously felt that my own mother's happiness relied upon my own worth and accomplishments. How could I lose sight of this very important thing? The very thing, in fact, that helped me made my final decision to divorce just under a year ago.

And, secondly, that no matter how I like to think that my children do not notice when my mood dips, they really do. And, they really need to know that their Mom is OK right now, after all that we've been through.

I am left tonight with a feeling of such completely gratitude for my loving children, coupled with a serious determination to not let those two sets of eyes show worry for me like that, as much as I can help it, in the months and years to come.