Friday, May 28, 2010

We're heading here tonight

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

REAL motivation

This morning I dutifully brought my daughter to school and myself to work. Then I saw the weather forecast for the day and thought "maybe we should have just played hookey for the day. It's too hot for her to be at school with no air conditioning..."

but really, really... I don't want to be at work. That's the truth. There is a remodeling project happening near me, and the construction work has been going on all week. It is really noisy, lots and lots of banging and banging and banging. Really I don't want to be here. And really if I escape, it will probably be the same thing tomorrow so then what? I can't take the whole week off.

So the kid is going to be stuck at school, like always, and I am going to go for a walk at lunch, maybe treat myself with something from the cafeteria instead of eating what I brought with me. Because when I'm honest with myself I realize it has nothing to do with worrying about the kid and the heat (although I do worry). It's just about me and self-pity and that's no good.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Coming out of my shell

Lots going on but how much of it matters? A cousin with cancer, a new kitchen appliance in our house, and my mother's cat died. Well, she had it put to sleep actually. Lots of things I could say about that I suppose. Last night I opened up my Al-Anon books for a while and meditated. Then I read a whole book of short stories. Who needs sleep, right? Too hot for sleep anyway. I refocused, came up with a new plan to try to get myself to the weekend with my sanity in tact. We'll see how it goes. "One Day at a Time" and "Keep it Simple Stupid". I feel more detached from my mother's loss than I feel I should be. That cat had been around for a long, long time. Still, it's probably for the best and I need to focus on myself, not on her. "Admitted that we were powerless..." and I'm reaching for the higher power of "my understanding". What if that higher power isn't the same as my husband's higher power? What do I do about that? How do I teach my child about a higher power when even my husband and I don't agree? Sigh. Let it Go. She'll figure it out too. We all do. In the meantime it's about 90 degrees outside so enjoy the sunshine.

Monday, May 24, 2010

stuck in my own head

I've been stuck in my own head lately. I've tried reading books, and talking to friends, but I keep coming back to the "what ifs" and all the other things that seem to poison my mind. I got an argument over nothing with my husband yesterday and blamed it on PMS. It didn't matter though, the apology didn't matter. He was hurt, I was wrong, and he took our daughter and left for a few hours. I had more time to myself, more time to stew in my own head, not a good time.

This morning the child was troublesome, but he and I were back on the same page again. I'm grateful for this. I don't like it when we get misaligned. I'm still off somewhere though, and trying to find my way back to the present. I'm not sure why.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Depression is winning

Well in spite of TRYING to THINK POSITIVE, I feel like fatigue and depression are winning. The other night I had a very intense nightmare about an abusive ex-boyfriend coming back in my life and trying to harm my daughter and myself. My husband was in the dream, but he wasn't able to save us from this horrible man. It was a pretty vivid dream, and I woke up crying and upset.

I've been married for almost 7 years, and started dating my husband in 2002. He's a very good man, and not an addict etc. He has never hurt me. Why am I still having dreams like this? Is this what PTSD looks like? Or should I just shrug it off, no big deal?

This morning I am asking myself questions about identity. How do I want to define myself? Am I a "survivor" or a "victim" or "just another anonymous soul" or just "me"? I don't like asking myself questions about who I am. It makes me feel uneasy. How big or small is "recovery" in my life? Does it define me? Or do I not work hard enough?

Enough! I say. I applied my program to dealing with my daughter this morning, but not until after I had tried it the other way and seen it fail. Next time maybe I'll remember to apply it first instead of suffering the frustration of the failure.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

I'm back I guess

Well I did manage to post a few times last week, and then this week I've been rather quiet. I'm trying to THINK POSITIVE and sometimes that is hard so I've been reading, but keeping my mouth shut. Learning to keep my mouth shut is something that I've gone back and forth on over the years. Sometimes I don't speak up when I should, and other times I keep yabbering when I shouldn't. So I've been quiet this week on the blog.

My daughter and I survived the week without my husband, although there were a couple of days when I was pretty late for work. Her tantrums seemed to escalate as the week went on. Instead of getting used to her father being gone, she got more difficult to deal with. Of course I was getting more tired as the week went on as well, but such is motherhood. When my husband came home our daughter stuck to him like glue for a day or two, but now we are finally starting to return to normal.

A week away has taught my husband that "normal" in our house isn't really "acceptable" and I'm kind of glad for that. I feel like for too long our daughter has gotten away with unacceptable behavior. Now just to clarify, we are talking about a preschooler so I'm not talking about drug use or anything. I'm just talking about the whining and lazy behavior that we have tolerated for far too long. I have heard too many times words that grate my nerves "What do I have to do to get you stop crying?? Just tell me and I'll do it!" from my husband. This attitude has gotten us in a bad relationship with our daughter. So now he has been away, and is back, I am hopeful that some of this is finally going to change. I am tired of being the "bad guy" but I'm not afraid to do it. I'm not afraid to compromise either, and I certainly don't claim I have all the answers, but I'm glad to see improvement on his end.

So here we are. Things for both of us are rough at our jobs. Stressed out and tired parents greeting a tired and cranky preschooler at the end of the day... not happy times. I'm hoping to alleviate some of this for all of us by putting some getaway vacations on the calendar for the summer. Money is not plentiful though, so it looks like we'll be camping in a tent rather than living it up in nice hotels. Camping is work too. I hope we can still manage to find some peace. And hopefully by having those getaways on the calendar to look forward to we will all feel better.

What does any of this have to do with Al-Anon? Hmm... priorities, Keeping it Simple, One Day at a time, THINK POSITIVE, Serenity... I don't know. I'm just trying to do the best that I can one hour at a time.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.


Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

(Although known most widely in its abbreviated form above,
the entire prayer reads as follows:)

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
The Full Original Copy of the Serenity Prayer
by Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971)

God, give us grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.

Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

thinking of the single parents out there

This morning I woke up before my daughter. My husband is away this week, a rare occurrence, so I actually had the living room to myself for a few minutes. I took a few sips of coffee and enjoyed the peace and tranquility for the moment.

I know that a lot of AA and Al-Anon members are single parents, and many are going through divorces. I am fortunate that I am only a single parent for a week. By the time I find a routine and get used to the change, the week will be over. For the rest of you though, it won't be that easy. Still at 6am, I was thinking of you in that quiet. Thinking of how I hope your lives are more peaceful now that you are away from your loved one, and thinking how hard it is to adapt to that change. It's definitely more work being a single parent. The child hinders rather than helps the situation, arguing with me, delaying us, stalling when things need done. Little things like brushing teeth take much longer than they should. Fortunately the child also reminds me to hug, smile, and laugh occasionally too. I hope your children do that for you. I know that sometimes I forget on my own.

So often "single parents" refers to women, but it's important to remember that there are a lot of dads out there too. Some with custody, some sharing it, some still fighting to get it. My parents divorced in an era where fathers weren't even considered for custody matters really. I can only imagine how painful that must have been for the men to be broken away from their children unfairly by the courts, no matter what mental the state the mothers were in. Progress for fathers has been slow in this matter over the years. Once upon a time I worked a job that was across the street from a family court. On Wednesdays the fathers picketed for their rights. Sometimes there were only a few there, other times there were many. I have since moved on to another job, and I wonder if they are still out there these many years later. I imagine that some of them still might be.

At 8:30am I could have told you how many hours until my husband's plane is due to land. Since then I've lost track of the numbers, but at least it's on my calendar and the end is in sight. Even though I enjoyed those few minutes of quiet, I miss him more, and will be glad when this week is over. To all of you single parents out there though, with no end to it, I hope you find those quiet moments and some peace. I hope you find a routine that works for you, and I hope your kids remember to cherish you occasionally. I know it's more than "not easy".


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A photo from the New England Air Museum

My husband got on an airplane Saturday morning and my daughter and I went to the air museum for a few hours. I don't remember ever going before and found it very interesting. Of course having a kid with me meant I didn't get to absorb as much as I would have liked to, but I highly recommend it as a place to go.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

being positive

Syd said something about being an optimist or a pessimist. Interesting to me today because I was noticing something of a similar nature. I've noticed that some people LIKE being negative. They post on their Facebook page about a problem or some drama in their lives and they want the pity. If someone tries to counter it with "it's not that bad..." kind of thing, it gets dismissed. They would rather have the toxicity in their lives for some reason, and I just don't get that. I don't know if I need to stop being friends with them, but I definitely feel myself detaching.

Next week will be a challenge for me. I know I can do it, I've done it before. Every year it gets easier when my husband goes away but I never look forward to it. I'm trying not to dwell on it as a negative experience though. I'm trying to think of it as  um... a week of unpredictability. A week when I just have to completely let go of any expectations I have of anything regarding my home life and just be the best I can for those around me.

Tomorrow may or may not be the beginning of some of it, and by noon Saturday I'll probably be fully submerged. The weekdays will be challenging, but it will all be over by next Friday night and I know I can do it. So if I'm absent, be patient with me. I'm with you all in spirit. I'm just going to be busy and distracted for a while.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Happy Cinco De Mayo!

Happy Cinco de Mayo everybody!

I don't know why I say that. I'm not Mexican. Then again, I'm not Irish as far as I know either, but I still said "Happy St. Patrick's Day" to folks back in March.

Friday would have been my grandmother's birthday. I'm thinking about that this week, and missing her. I was glad that my mom made May Day baskets this year. That was something that my grandmother used to do. My mom said she made around 112 of them. Some day I suppose I will be making them too.

Monday, May 3, 2010

crap about my mother

I posted a couple of weeks ago about my mother asking for some jewelry to be returned to her. I couldn't find the jewelry and my mother was insistent that I had it.

So Saturday morning my daughter and I went over to my mother's yard sale. She wasn't set up close enough to the road for many people to see her, and she hadn't advertised in the paper. I decided I'd better just give her some small things, and hang on to the bigger ones for a charity donation. So my daughter and I pulled in, and my mom explained that the landlord's wife had told her to keep it small. So she was away from the road and trying to make everyone happy. While we talked I poked around. I gave my daughter a bag and told her to put whatever she wanted in it, and I'd pay my mom for it. That kept my daughter busy. Then I noticed something on one of the tables- my grandmother's jewelry. Not all of it, but it was the earrings that my mother had insisted were in my possession. I pointed them out to my mom. I was expecting an apology of some sort. I never got one. I think this upset me more than anything. I'm not upset that she is selling the clip-on earrings. I don't need them myself. I'm upset that she accused me, then accused me some more, and had them in her possession the whole time. Plus, all she wanted them for was to sell them. After a while some more friends of my mother's came. One was an ex-boyfriend of hers. He noted that she was selling a fishing pole that he had given her. No apology about that either, and he didn't offer to buy it back. After his buddy made a rude remark, I decided it was time to leave. Other adventures awaited my daughter and I.

Skip forward to Saturday night, and dinner with my father and his girlfriend. I repeated this story about the jewelry and the lack of apology. My father laughed and told his girlfriend. This kind of behavior is just so typical of my mother. It didn't upset him the way it upset me of course, but I think he understands some of my pain.

When I left my mother's apartment on Saturday morning I told her that our weekend was full and we wouldn't be back. Still, she called my house Saturday while I was out to ask me to come back to get the few things I had left. I called her back and told her I'd get it on Mother's Day. Then on Sunday I drove by her apartment on the way to the grocery store. I thought about stopping but saw that she wasn't home. She still wasn't home when I drove by again on my way home. Then after I got home she showed up at my place, on her scooter/moped thing wanting me to come over to her house. I told her we were having lunch and then on our way out again. Again, "I will see you on Mother's Day".. well she doesn't want to wait that long to get rid of the stuff. That's fine with me. If someone else can give her a hand before I can, great. Not the answers she wanted though. She wanted my world to revolve around hers. I can tell. It didn't. I held my ground.

Some day I will have to try to explain things to my daughter. I'm already searching for ways. My daughter got a bag full of stuffed animals and a brand new 1999 Barbie that was still in the box. Might have been a collector's item, but not anymore. My daughter didn't understand the frustration or hear the anger I was feeling. I'm glad now, but some day I will have to warn her because I know the day will come when my mother lashes out at her in some way. I hope my daughter doesn't cry the same way I have over the years. I am just waiting for the other shoe to fall.