Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Bittersweet memories are Crazy!

I recently was told again that when things get hard in my life I seem to revert back to Pete's passing. And I am starting to really hate that analogy. Ya know maybe its because I know what loss feels like. Or that I am a walking nerve (another saying I have come to hate as well) because really whats wrong with being sensitive. Nothing. If anything more people could stand to be more sympathetic or even empathetic. I get it. I understand what its like to have the magic carpet ripped out from under you leaving a harsh reality in its place.  But I digress. 

My reason for responding as many have put it "in the past" maybe has to do with the present and past colliding. A close friend of mine just found out she is having a baby. I am over the moon happy for her. She and her husband will be amazing parents. Its like this bittersweet emotion washes over me. Maybe every other woman when they hear of another friend becoming pregnant has this same reaction. For me, I remember when I found I was pregnant with my first and nervous yet excitement I felt.  However in this moment I have sadness too. Another friend of mine said that its more like that  achy womb syndrome. The sadness that I can't have anymore children, and that I will never again get to feel the baby kick. Granted I am so glad that I don't have to deal with the nose bleeds, congestion, constant vomiting, sleeping sitting up, or making sure that I ate every two hours all night long to keep from throwing up at night. That awful anxiety, restless leg, and the worst nausea on the planet where nothing seemed to help. I don't miss that at all. But I do miss food that never tasted so good. I miss how everything was just hilarious, and the way Pete would look at me. Even though I was a beast, to him he said I was beautiful.  I miss the sparkle in his eye and his excitement in seeing the baby kick underneath his hands, or the ripple across my belly as baby would move and wiggle at the sound of his daddy's voice.   Maybe I have this achy womb feeling because Pete didn't get to experience it all. Or maybe that I didn't get to experience it with him.

Its hard not to forget. Again, I am grateful he got to experience it with the first two. I am glad I got to experience it with him. But, still I wonder.   If you have your spouse and they were there for the whole thing does one still have that feeling of "aww I remember when we were first pregnant?" Do you feel sad that you can no longer go back to that? Is it just an age thing? Realizing that you're getting older. That your kids are getting older? Do you feel sad that they don't snuggle like they used to? I mean they still snuggle but they don't just curl up like they did when they were babies. I don't know, maybe its just this Crazy Red Haired Lady. You know since I am after all, a walking nerve and I live in the past. However, I have come to realize how important raising kids and having a family is to me. I have come to realize how much I love being a mom and how much family time means to me.   For me, pregnancy was not nice. I was super sick with all three and my body never recovered from being stretched beyond stretched. You wont be seeing me in a bikini ever again. Can't say though that I am not jealous of the women who can. Yes, I know the body is an amazing thing and mine has been put through the ringer, and yes, I am grateful that it is still strong and that it looks as good as it does, but...my unrealistic expectations rear their head and I think to myself If I just worked a little harder, if I just tried a little more... Oh well, thats a blog for another day. 

I think maybe its just that my memories get in the way.  I'm sad that Pete isn't here to see the awesome family that the kids and I have become. I am sad that I can't just look over at him and laughingly say "hey, remember that time, I made you eat your frozen dinner on the back porch in the snow, because the smell of it was so bad it literally made me throw up?"  I don't wish a different outcome. I am happy with my life and I am strong because of it.  I am empathetic, I am sympathetic, and I am a walking nerve because of it. This life has made me who I am.  There are just times that I wish I could just pick up the phone and call him. I know he knows, I know he see's, but its the little conversations, the moments that are long gone, and the feelings that remain.  In the end I am happy for this new family and so excited to see the foods that she craves and how her body will change as she nourishes new life.  For this Crazy Lady I sit with my bittersweet emotions and pat the empty seat beside me. I close my eyes and if I sit real still, I am sure I can feel the brush of angle wings against my shoulder and laughter in my ears.       

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Crazy situations...

It seems that any time I try and write on this blog, my kids decide at that moment they are going to argue ad fight, or come and find me to tell me about some awful explosion that took place in the kitchen and needs my attention this moment. Meanwhile in my head all I want to do is write and create and get out these thoughts and feelings that overwhelming my body and my brain.  Why does it seem to go that way?

Its like when moms used to get on the phone to actually talk to each other, the kid then needed their constant attention because it wasn't on the child.  either way its maddening. I am sure i did it to my mom but in the small space we live in, it feels like the walls are closing in on me.  I feel like there is no where in this house that I can just be for a few minutes to breathe and think in silence. I used to go and sit in my closet or only write at night. But even now that isn't an option. The closet has become overrun with everything that doesn't fit in the drawers, since my dresser is broken, but we don't have any space to build the new one we bought, and the weather wont cooperate and just be spring already so we can build it.  Plus the kids know where to find me if I'm not in the bedroom. So its no long a spot of solitude.   I feel that my nerves are on the outside of my body today. Just everything that isn't said and is said feels like it actually touches me. I am weepy, irate, sad, happy, creative, and agitated. Even now, we have one tv in the living room the walls are so thin I might as well be sitting on the couch with them watching tv. It didn't used to bother me before. Now it does. my house didn't feel like I was living in a shoe, now it does. I used to find comfort here, and now all I feel is madness.  Its time to go. And yet this house feels like the ONLY home I have ever known. I was a young married woman here, I raised my babies here, I grieved Pete here, and I raised myself here.  This house hugged me when I cried, delighted when I was happy, and helped me create my inspiration and business. I learned, I changed, I grieved, and I gained a new perspective.  Sometimes I feel so mad that I have be trapped in this tiny space. I want to shout to other families who make raising a family look so easy. I want to yell to these innocent people "Your spouse didn't Die when you were at the ripe old age of 30. You never had to bring your tiny new born baby home from the hospital across the threshold of your house without your spouse to greet you with a hug and a kiss. You got to have your spouse hold you when you felt big and fat from pregnancy, change diapers, make bottles, clean house, mow the grass, fight with, love with, create with, grow with, parent with. Its not their fault they don't get it. But it doesn't stop the hurt, it doesn't stop the guilt I feel for being mad at the "prefect" family. It doesn't stop the annoyance I have when people look at my kids and wonder why they are such a mess. Why are they a mess? because I didn't teach them to do chores, and I didn't teach them not to make messes, I was too busy keeping us alive, and surviving. I was too busy loving on them, playing with them, crying with them, and growing up with them. And now its time that I wish for the love of God they would just put stuff away.  I have no one to blame but myself. And its just so hard.

Today I don't have the patience to teach them, today I want the house to be clean, and today I don't want to talk to them about what they should be doing. Why? because it takes more patience than I have today and I can't stop crying. I'm mad at Pete, I'm mad at myself for being mad at him. I feel guilty that I don't miss him, guilty that I do miss him, guilty for talking about him, guilty for not talking about him. Its so hard to explain. I feel God has blessed me with my husband now because he understands my "crazy" better than anyone even Pete ever did. That is not Pete's fault, its just who he was, and who I was.  Some would say I look to the past more than the present. I take things hard, I feel them hard, and change feels like Pete's passing. I try so damn hard to look at every aspect, and then feel bad when I cry, and sad when Im mad, and ungrateful for feeling everything at the same time. I feel that when I get mad at my "situation" or the feelings within myself that for some reason I am being ungrateful. That I should feel so lucky that things turned out as well as they did, and I should be so lucky that someone loves someone like me and someone in my "situation." As if I did something to make Pete go away. Are these things logical or rational? NO, but I feel them in myself, I have felt them from other people, people who said they loved me, who would support me, care for me when I couldn't see how I was going to make it through, and then turn around and tell me how lucky I was to be moving forward. For so long I have felt like a "situation" and when I get mad, and when I get happy, and when I get too tired, and when the anxiety takes over, and the anger takes over, I remember these feelings, the thoughts, that I should be so lucky. 

So then, I feel bad for wanting more. I want the "perfect" family. I was the success,I want a bigger space,  I want to help, and heal those around me who feel so much pain, who have experienced so much trauma, and when I can't help them, I have failed. Or when I sit at shows and none of my products sell, or I only sold four. I feel that I have failed, along with the expectation that I should be grateful that I had the opportunity to come to the shows, to set up my products, to buy the supplies, to create the experience, to thank all the people, considering my "crazy situation." 

When I am there at shows and  I don't move very much product. But when I am not there and my husband is, he sells my product. It makes me want to yell. What am I am doing wrong? He is at a show today, I am not. Why can't I be there, because I don't have enough help with my kids and its so expensive to get a sitter for 10 hours. Is it my attitude? is it my energy? I made it, I love my products, I did the research, I sang to them, prayed over them, and yet he sells my product better than I do. but again, there is the guilt and the anger, since in all rationality, I know that it takes time to build a business for yourself, to get your name out there, to get the people to try your product and keep coming back. Again the feeling that I should be grateful that I found a sitter, was able to pay the sitter,  to go to a show, to spend time away from my kids, and push for something more, something better.  When I have setbacks or the guilt or the anger, I try and stand back from it, and ask where is my lesson, what did I gain from this, I know there is a better way to do it. I tell myself to think positive, to change my words in my mind, to let go of the outcome. And I work extremely hard and pushing myself and telling myself that the next show will be better, that people who need me will find me. I put mantras in my head and shove out my disappointment. I know I am too hard on myself and have unrealistic expectations, but its so hard when I go to these shows and look around and see that my table looks like glitter threw up on it compared to the massage tables, and the Celtic patterns, and the "typical" things you think of when going to a new age fair.  Sometimes even among my people I feel like the odd one out. What is that saying about "Why be like everyone else when you were born to stand out?" I get it, but on days like today, with perspective and change swirling around me, combined with not enough sleep, too much guilt, and high expectations, my emotions are too much. They weight me down and tiny rivers run down my face. 

But hey, tomorrow is a new day to gain a new perspective, to create a new plan, to meditate, and to try again. I have learned that in the challenge and the mess its worth it. Its worth it to prove to myself, my children, my unrealistic expectations, and lets not forget the guilt, that I continue to push forward. I didn't give up, I didn't let fear win, I didn't let all those shitty things I tell myself or things that others have told me. I listened to my own drive, my own passion, my own heart and I pushed on. It may have started with grieving, but through change, growth, a magical bear, a family of squirrels, and a Crazy lady at the helm that we became more than just a crazy situation.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Another Crazy Birthday!

I've had it with my children today. I had high expectations and maybe that was the real issue is that I had expectations at all. Chase Leo is 8 years old today. 8? how can that be? For some reason this birthday just feels like a bigger milestone than the other ones. He has grown a lot in just the past year and suddenly he looks more like a little boy and less like a toddler. I wonder things like.. Am I sad because he is my baby and my baby is no longer a baby? Am I sad because I can no longer ignore the fact that he is growing up? Or am i sad that its the real reality that its been 8 years since Pete has been gone.    My tears have hit hard this evening. It has taken me all day, of shoving down old feelings and memories. I probably get the most frustrated when I can't remember things about Chase Leo's life. I remember his birth and I remember parts of being in the hospital and I know I will never forget bringing him home with out Pete here. 
  I think my high expectations started with school being canceled. Due to the snow and the ice I was glad that I wouldn't have to get up at the crack of dawn and get everyone off to school. However, I was looking forward to having time with Just Chase Leo. I had planned to surprise him and take him out to lunch during his lunch time at school. It seems that I don't get much one on one time with each of them. But knowing that his birthday is always so bitter sweet for me, I was looking forward to Mommy and me time. He had been wanting to see the new Paddington Bear movie. He had been so excited that this movie was coming out on HIS birthday!  So off we went to the movies.  But, it wasn't that easy.  Most of the morning was full of constant bickering and arguing. Chase Leo would get his feelings hurt because the other two would take something that he wanted. Chase Leo would do something to retaliate and then the other two would yell at him. He would yell back and then since he wouldn't want to get into trouble Chase Leo would then cry because he wasn't getting his way. This cycle went round and round.  it seemed that no amount of helping them work it out helped. Eventually I let them sort it out, which ended in everyone yelling over each other. So much for that idea. Finally it was time to go to the movie. But in usual squirrel fashion I didn't plan enough time for starting Ruby. Lately Ruby hates cold weather and is starting to break down.  She isn't going to last much longer, but like Chase Leo and growing up, I'm not going to be able to ignore her "troubles" much longer. We have already looked into buying a new one. I am getting off course. It wasn't so much that starting Ruby was the issue, No it had more to do with scraping off the layers of snow and ice.  Due to the crazy weather, the doors were frozen shut and everyone had to get into the old girl via the drivers side. Nothing like plopping down on the torn seat that has puddles of melted snow on it.  With the defrost set on high and the kids in their seats I began the tedious task of scraping the ice off the cracked windshield.  The problem is that if I spend too much time outside of the car Chase Leo's worry kicks into over drive. Even though he can see me, I am not physically in his presence, he can't reach out and touch my body.  Chase Leo being Chase Leo took matters into his own hands, unbuckled his 5 point harness (since I have micro size children they have to stay in their 5 point car seats longer than say the average child), climbed back into the drivers  seat and opened the door. In doing so the snow that was falling and swirling around blew into the warm car getting himself and the drivers seat all wet.
  "When are we leaving?"  he said.
 I yell over the howling wind through my frozen lips "Shut the door Chase Leo the defrost wont defrost if you let out all the heat!" 
  He shut the door but remained in the driver seat watching me.  I continued to chip away at the ice with the scrapper. Thankfully the defrost on the wind shield started heating up the inside of the windshield and the ice started melting. Within minutes Chase Leo opened the door again with it more snow came funneling into the car on him and the seat.
 "Mommy, we need to go, we are going to miss the movie!"
 "Chase Leo close the door, we aren't going to miss the movie!" He shut the door but not all the way. Continuing my fast pace of scraping and fighting the wind, my hands now numb from the ice melting on my gloves, I moved to the passenger side window, then to the back seat window, and on around to the other side of the car. Chase Leo opened the door again because now he can't actually see me since I am behind him " Mommy!"
 Losing my patience with the whole process and the fact that my face is frozen and so are my hands I shout "Chase Leo! Get back into your seat! Put your buckles on! Do not open the door again, for any reason!"  Chase Leo's worried expression droops as he shuts the door and climbed over the seat.  Enter Mom guilt.  Quickly I move back to the windshield scrape a giant piece of ice that had fallen loose off the windshield, open the door, and sit down on a melted puddle.   Wonderful!
   Finally we arrive at the movie theater. Everyone out and into the cold. The three of them are still bickering. However this time its about who is going to sit where. Th est thing about the movie was that everyone got along. So for an hour an a half everyone was entertained and happy. Then the movie was over and it started all over again.   Normally this might not have irritated me to the extremeness that it did, but today was different. Today was Chase Leo's birthday.  Today the thoughts were hard to talk back to and today I had new thoughts and questions I had't had asked in awhile. How could he already be 8 years old? Where did the time go? had Pete really been gone 8 years?
 How could Chase Leo have never met his dad? Does Chase Leo feel that he is missing out because the term "Daddy" hasn't ever been part of his vocabulary?
  Questions that don't ever have answers, so why are they there? Maybe the real question is why are they there still?
   Once back home everyone seemed fine until it wasn't. It was the same scenario. this person was mad because that one took his seat. This one was mad because that one wouldn't get out of the other persons room. Someone was yelling over a stool. I couldn't take it one more minute. into my room I went and the tears came. Tears for the kids who wouldn't stop fighting. Tears that they day wasn't as fun as I had hoped. Tears that all I wanted to do was go to bed. Tears for feeling bad that the weather had made us cancel his party, tears for feeling helpless when the kids just kept arguing of the most asinine stuff and finally tears that Chase Leo was 8.  Is it rational? No. But at this point I didn't think it mattered.
  If I look back at my day I know I have much to be grateful for. I am sure I am not the only parents whose children constantly bicker.  The correlation between Chase Leo and the car makes sense. Its hard to let go. It was hard to let go of Pete. Its hard to let go of the miraculous but so hard birth of Chase Leo. And maybe that's where the guilt comes in. I can't remember lots of those days. People came to see me, visit me in the hospital, bring me meals after the baby was born and I don' remember it. I ran in to someone that apparently visited me at home after Chase Leo and I had come home from the hospital. No recollection of that at all. Some would say its a gift, but do you have any idea how hard it is to not know your own memories?  Chase Leo was the last of Pete, and like my car, it was the first car without Pete. But in both situations Pete wasn't physically present for either one. That crazy change is a hard one. Each day is a blessing, each birthday is a milestone. Its one more year without Pete, but its also another year to be grateful that Chase Leo was born a strong, chubby, resilient child. Even though the four of us all have trauma from Pete's passing, we also have an unyielding love and courage as well. Change is inevitable as everyone says but its what you do with it that matters.  I will thank Ruby for being a good car and getting us places safely. I will thank God and the Angels for helping to drive Ruby all those times when I couldn't remember how I got from point A to point B. I will thank the family and friends who would sit beside me in silence because I had no words for the grief.  And I will gratefully hold Chase Leo in my lap with his legs dangling way over. Grateful for another year of watching him grow and change. Grateful for the joy in his heart, the smile on his face, and for the way he cares for people. 

 Although this day was full of a multitude of irritations, I know that Pete was close by. We were kept safe while driving on the icy roads, we had money to go and see a movie, we laughed and we celebrated Chase Leo and the gift that he is.