One day

One day they are going to stop running to me for cuddles when they’re hurt

One day they are going to stop looking at me for confirmation

One day they are going to stop saying look, mama, look what I can do

One day they are going to stop asking me if we can be bed partners tonight

One day they are going to stop calling me 187 times after they’ve been put to bed

One day they aren’t going to want me to read to them anymore

One day they’re not going to want to come in the bathroom while I shower so they can keep me company

One day they’re going to stop offering me their hands to cross the street

One day they’re going to stop believing in the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus

One day they’re not going to fight over who gets to sit in my lap

One day they’re going to stop asking me to paint with them or to play cards or to jump with them on the trampoline

One day they aren’t going to need me to watch them like a hawk when they’re in the pool or the sea

One day they’re just not going to need me quite so much

One day, but not today.

Nobody and dating

A girl is nobody. That was a part of game of thrones I had never really understood, how can a person really become nobody? Some vestige of yourself remains, doesn’t it? Unless you have amnesia of course.

A girl is nobody. I get it now though. A girl just needs to get separated or divorced.

So I wonder now, how does nobody date? How do you know who nobody wants to go out with, who she likes? Who does nobody attract? Nobody, in my opinion.

And when is nobody ready to even actually contemplate dating? Is nobody capable of dating after almost twenty years of not dating? How does it work? How and where does nobody meet people?

I’m not sure nobody should be dating though. Dating might lead to nobody becoming somebody, but the wrong somebody, the somebody who’s dating so and so.

Nobody needs to become somebody on her own terms, before dating so and so, because nobody doesn’t want to be defined by anyone but herself. She just doesn’t know who she is yet. Right now nobody is ok.

Identity

I’ve got a bit of a conundrum lately, it seems to be a side effect of the death of my marriage, I no longer have any idea who I am. I was with the Ex for seventeen years, seventeen, that’s a really long time. I’ve been his girlfriend, his wife, the mother of his children…. for so long that I have no clue who to be without him. More often than not, when you’re married, you mesh with the other person, each one spending a good portion of their time thinking about the other, their wants and needs and would likes, how to make them happy, how to move forward with them, each one slowly losing their individuality, their identity, becoming a hybrid, a bit of the old a lot of the other.

So now not only do I need to learn how to live my life without him, how to be a single (most of the time) parent, how to be my own woman, I also have to figure out who and what I am.

Who am I?

It’s a hard question to answer.

I’m forty years old, I’ve been many things in these forty years, but who do I want to be now? I’m about half way through this life I’m living, this one life I’ve got to live, and I don’t know where I go from here. It’s frightening, and exciting. I get to make decisions for myself, but I don’t know what myself wants. So where do I go from here?

I won’t go anywhere from here until I figure out who I am, independently from all the other things in my life, just me. It takes time, I’m told, but apart from that I’m not sure I know what else it takes. Do I have what it takes?

I’m not used to all this self doubt.  I thought I was good at self reflection, but in reality now I wonder if I’ve acutally ever done it. Am I over thinking? Should I just live and see where I go? I don’t know. All of the certainties, all of my foot holds, the ones I’ve painstakingly created in my life till now are crumbling beneath my feet. It’s destabilizing, and it’s scary. Can I be a person without him?

I have no answers now, just lots of questions. I hope these questions lead to something, because I’m ready to be me, whoever she may be.

Can’t breathe

I am in Rome this weekend for one of my nephews’ wedding. It was lovely, they are a beautiful, loving, kind and sweet couple, that loves each other so much you can taste it. I was very emotional during the wedding, partly because he is the first to get married of that generation in our family but also because looking at them on such a beautiful day, all I did was wish so hard for them to make it, because the Ex and I were like that too, yet here we are. And I hate how sad and cynical and jaded I’ve become. 

This weekend the ex is away on a meditation retreat. So he sends me a picture of them preparing a bed of hot coals and of his feet after he walked on them. And I stopped breathing. That’s how panicked I was. And then I got angry, so fucking angry I could have murdered him. But I tried to rein it in, because I’m no longer technically responsible for him, although I am anyway since he’s the father of my children and I feel the need to “protect” him, for them. The anger I felt was the same as when he jumped out of a plane without telling me, or went bungee jumping. 

I panic and can’t breath. Because every time he does something stupid, like jump out of airplanes or off bridges or walk on hot coals (which is just as risky, since his immune system is suppressed), or like when he texts while driving on the highway, I want to grab him and yell at him that for the love of God he’s hanging on to life by a thread already, he’s survived leukemia three times already, he no longer has his nine lives, why is he tempting fate.

I know, it’s his life. I understand that after all he’s gone through he needs to do these things. I understand. But I can’t breathe. I wish he would be grateful for the life he has, instead of constantly seeking the thrill. I wish he held his life in more esteem, he cared more. It’s his life. Not mine, not really. But it still hurts me, it still sends me into a panic. Worrying about his health and his well-being has become such a huge part of my life that it’s hard now to let go. But I have to find the way. I have to stop worrying about him so much, keeping him alive is no longer my job. I have to let go, but I don’t know how. What I do know is that I hate this feeling. I stop breathing, it almost feels like my heart stops beating, I feel a pain above my sternum, and then I get so angry, just so, so angry. It’s a response to stress, I get it, but it can’t be good for me.

Worrying about him is no longer my job, my job now is taking care of myself. And I don’t want to feel like this anymore, I don’t want to get so tense and stressed that I can’t breathe and the only way for me to ease the pain in my heart and my sternum is to cry, in frustration. I want to be happy, to smile, to laugh, to have fun, and not worry so much. It’ll be hard, I’ll need help, but that is what I’m striving for and I know I’ll get there sooner or later. Because I want to breathe.

Plants and stuff

 

If ever I had any doubt in my mind that we never actually grow up, I now have unequivocal proof that that is indeed the case. I am my own proof, because I’ve now become a forty-year old teenager. I’ve got a crush… a giggly, blushing, heart quickening, hiding behind plants, and driving past his house at night crush. It’s completely ridiculous. It’s also an awful lot of fun. And angst. But also fun.

And I’m so surprised because who would have thought, you know? I’ve been reprimanded already because I’m acting so out of character and how the hell am I going to attract a man if I hide behind plants when I see him, we’re all adults here. Because, I did, I literally ducked behind a plant. He didn’t see me (thank goodness) because, humiliating! Let me be clear though, I’m the first in line to look at myself in total shocked incredulity, when I extricated myself from the foliage I was like what the fuck was that? But it truly was one of those fight (or in this case flirt) or flight responses, my heart was doing triple time, my palms got sweaty and my face blushed, honestly the plant saved me from humiliating myself, or stuttering, or talking uncontrollably. Plants are great.

Also, I’ve apparently lost all ability to interact with men I find attractive. I was never totally great at this, but I also wasn’t quite this terrible. Right now it’s a cute distraction, but how many times can I drive by his apartment before I get cited for stalking?

So I’m a teenager again, and not even the cool as a cucumber teenager that gets all the boys, I’m the nerdy one who makes an ass of herself. I’m just going to go shut myself in my room and listen to angsty music for awhile.

Things unsaid

Is it always best to speak one’s mind? I wonder about that a lot. I don’t, generally, speak my mind. I filter all the time, unless I’m really tired, but generally, I filter. Mostly because what goes through my mind is best left unsaid. My sense of irony, though funny to a few, is found to be insulting by most, so I filter and smile. I do a lot of smiling. Especially since I’ve found out that I come off as something of a bitch when I meet someone new. I’m shy, you see, and shyness comes off as bitchiness.

The other side of the leaving things unsaid coin is that I keep things inside until suddenly they burst forth with the impetus and destructive power of a hurricane.

Case in point, the ex has been living at my house (previously our house) since he’s been home from the hospital. This situation was obviously fine with me, since he’s ill and I want to take care of him and let him spend as much time as he wants with his children (turns out, he doesn’t want to spend an awful lot of time with them). But the situation is not without its challenges. Mainly, he’s altogether too “at home” there and I’m altogether too ready to take charge of my house and my life.

But I don’t say anything, because I don’t want conflict and also he’s dealing with a lot. I don’t say anything, I filter, and I smile… and then I erupt like Vesuvius.

That’s pretty much what happened yesterday. I was tired, it was Sunday and I just couldn’t smile or filter. He left, moved back into the temporary apartment he’s been living in, in a huff. I felt guilty.

But then, you know what? I decided not to feel guilty anymore. Because, he left us. The separation was his decision, he’s in my house, and I have no reason to put up with things that make me unhappy in my own home.

I’m not abandoning him. He can see his children as much as he wants, I’ll help him when he needs it, I’ll take him to the doctor and I’ll support him in his decisions. But I also need my life back, my privacy, my space and my freedom. I need to make room for me as well as for him and our children. I need to take back my life.

And I refuse to feel guilty about it anymore. I’ll probably keep filtering and smiling and making sarcastic comments in my head all the while, but the guilt I can let go of.

A bucket full of crazy

So I’m off to Dubai and the Maldives this week… Feels very strange to even be writing this. It’s not all fun and games, actually it’s mostly long flights, a lot of hand holding, and uncomfortable heel wearing, but it’ll be in a beautiful place so there’s only so much complaining I’m allowed to do. It’s not the best time to be leaving as the Ex is still recovering between hospital stays and the kids have gone through enough upheaval to last them a lifetime, but the truth is, this trip is partly work, partly getting my mind off things and honestly, I really need a break. Also, sunshine and beaches. Most importantly I get to spend a few days with my brother, which is awesome and though he often pisses me off like no other he’s also one of the people with whom I have the most fun. Which seems to be the way most siblings feel about each other… or so I’ve gathered watching my two kids interact.

I’m always a bit nervous leaving the kids, especially since this time I’m going to be taking six different flights in a little over five days. My mind always goes to the tragedy, to the unimaginable, it doesn’t help that I just finished reading a book on a plane wreck and subsequent stranding on a desert island in the pacific. I really should watch what I read and when…

I feel like I should leave my children with words of wisdom and extra hugs and heartfelt letters… although this blog and the previous one are a form of heartfelt letter I guess. But I can’t really live like that though can I, because if I start doing that I’ll have to do it whenever I leave the house, or they leave the house and then it just gets weird and obsessive and a little bit disturbing. So I just tell myself I’ve been on hundreds of flights, and will probably be on hundreds more and everything will be fine, and my children will grow up with me by their side and all will be as it should. The alternative, obsessing and fearing and trying to control something that I really cannot control is just a recipe for disaster. So I sit here, writing this, trying to keep a lid on the bucketful of crazy that seems to take over whenever I have to fly anywhere without my kids. I wonder what I’ll be like when they are the ones flying off without me. I shudder at the thought.

Good news sometimes catches us unawares

Sometimes, in the midst of all of the crap, you almost forget to mention the good news… the Ex’s blood work and BM biopsy came back clean! (Yes, that statement merits an exclamation point). This means the chemo worked, he gets to go on the transplant list and we get some good news to lift our spirits. He now has several options for treatment, he can get a donation from a donor off the registry, he can get a donation from cord blood or he can use one of his siblings (least ideal solution), the doctors will choose based on the time frame for each option, the sooner he can get the transplant the better, because he may not have to go through another round of chemo if they can get the transplant done quickly, which is another bit of really great news.

We’ll see, but it’s nice to have options for once.

Good days happen

I didn’t go to the hospital on Tuesday, the Ex had other visitors and I decided to take the afternoon to shop for groceries, decide the meal plan for the week, and just potter around the house; my closet looks like a tornado went through and frankly the rest of the house is pretty much the same, I had plenty to do.

So of course I invited two friends over for the kids, and since kids have a way of mysteriously multiplying suddenly I had six kids in the house, three girls and three boys, which obviously means the house now looks like a tornado went through, followed by a hurricane and then whatever was still standing got taken down by an earthquake.

Thankfully the kitchen is in the center of the house and has a great view of the yard, so that’s where I spent my afternoon. Turns out this wasn’t as bad as it seems, I spent a lot of time making sandwiches and doling out water, but I also got a cake in and a nice risotto with spinach and bacon. Two kids decided to stay for dinner. My kids are exhausted and ecstatic. I’m pretty sure today was a good day.

Right back at it

One of the things that has changed along with the Ex’s illness is my work status. I’ve forgone my state of idle bliss and have gone back to work. Much against my best intentions…

Several moons ago, I worked for a few years at a lovely medical Spa near our town. I worked for the Ex, which was much less devastating on our relationship than one would think. I managed the Spa, and quite enjoyed the work despite it being intensely time consuming. I enjoyed it so much that I worked until two days before the Boy was born and I went right back to work once I’d healed from the whole ordeal. The Boy was a delightful baby (during the day) and slept contently beside my desk when he wasn’t eating. The job, however, was time-intensive and stressful enough that when I fell pregnant with the Girl a year later I completely lost my shit and decided I was done. DONE.

So fast forward to January and the Ex asks me to return to my previous job, with better hours and for a limited amount of time, just to get some projects off the ground basically. I said no. Because, mostly, I’m not crazy enough to go work for my ex husband when we’re going through an extremely difficult and emotionally destabilizing (for me) separation. And then he got sick. And then I had no choice but to take the job. Mostly because I have issues with saying no to people.

It’s taken some adjusting. I’m only working part time, but with all the added work of taking care of the Ex, bringing him his meals and all the rest of it, it really feels like I’m working full time. Also, I miss my kids. And I miss exercising. A lot.

I know, I know, everybody works… but I had a pretty good set up before!

Also, there are things I had forgotten about working with actual adults. I get to talk to actual adults. I also need to remember that I’m not dressing for the park or errands. The last few weeks I’ve been holed up in the office, so jeans were fine, but now I’m interacting with clients a bit more and, as I realized this morning, jeans and sneakers ain’t cutting it! So now I’ve got to do a closet check, with subsequent tears and wails of I’ve got nothing to wear. Oy Vey!

I’m tired just thinking about it.

Did I mention that I actually have to use my brain now? For several consecutive hours I need to be able to not just concentrate but also look smart doing it. I need to follow conversations and look at a budget without going cross-eyed, and I need to remember what I tell people to do and why. My brain is about to explode.

It’s not all bad, but it’s not what I would have chosen. For now I’m rolling with it and trying to enjoy the feeling of accomplishment as much as possible. Also, trying not to tank the projects, alienate the staff, or kill one of the clients, all distinct, if remote, possibilities… thankfully I’m too tired right now to worry about that too much, which I guess is one of the benefits of insomnia. Score one for insomnia.