Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Trying to be a Rock and Feeling More like a Puddle

I'm having one of those days when I truly hate being a grown-up. And I know this is something that every parent goes through, widowed or not.

We're just having a bad family day - my oldest is sick, we're trying to get our house ready to put on the market this week, and we just had to take a very sweet cat back to the pound (I won't go into detail on that one, but the pet gods know that we did our best).

We're all just down.

I don't mind showing emotion in front of my kids.  Last night, when my oldest started crying about getting rid of the cat, I cried right along with her.  It's okay to be sad.

But there is that parental instinct that makes us feel like we have to be the strong ones, too.  My youngest has been cranky all day and while I know that it's because we're in the middle of a huge transition and I need to be patient with her, part of me wants to leave them all here so I can go my own mother's house and bawl my eyes out while she's strong for me.

After all, I'm still someone's kid.  Right?

There is just so much a person can take before she sits down on her bed and starts to wail.  Unfortunately, I have a sick kid in mine at the moment so that's going to have to wait.

I just don't want to be strong the rest of the day.  I want to be the one who's comforted while I get all of the sadness, crankiness, and general unease out of my body.  I want to beg my kids to change places with me for a little while and be the emotional wreck that eventually sends them into therapy.

I don't want to be me for the rest of the day.

Do you think my mom will write me a note?

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Packing and Purging: Do Normal People Cry Over Old Phone Bills?

In the last few weeks, I've been dealing with what a lot of you have already been through:  the ordeal of packing up my house and getting it ready to sell.

I've been in the fortunate position these last seven years of not being forced to leave and being able to make this choice when it's the right time.  And it is the right time - in many ways, I'm ready for a new chapter and to not be in a house that has always been ours.  It's time to move into a space that is mine, a home where I can see myself raising my kids and being comfortable in after they've left the nest.


It's a process.  Throughout the last seven years, I've done a lot of purging and packing, trying to slowly move myself forward.  And again, I've been fortunate that I've been able to do this on my own timeline and not anyone else's. 

So, when I started the major purging last week, I braced myself every morning for what I might find.  The work was exhausting, not just because it was so physical, but it took an emotional toll as well (which was probably worse).  And for the most part, I did okay.  I already knew that I was ready to get rid of our oh-so-classy college shot glass collection (yes, I did keep a few for shooter emergencies) and I can't say I was all that teary when I packed up a huge skull beer mug that we got when we were in Vegas.

It was silly stuff - or what would be silly stuff to other people.  My hands shook when I found an old phone bill of Brad's from college, meaningless paperwork to someone else but it was part of his life.  Who did he talk to?  Was it me? And then remembering how hard we had to work to talk to each other during the time of long distance calls and shared dormitory phones.  Was that during this life or a previous one?  It's hard to tell sometimes.

His old report cards from the Air Force Academy.
An expense report from a business trip.
A small photo album that had his friends' senior pictures in it.
Photos of him and his high school girlfriend (okay, that I could part with pretty easily).
Don't get me started on his tools.  AGAIN.

All of these little things.  Junk to some, but found treasure to me. 

I think it hit me on about Day Three of packing - I was digging deep in the back of my desk drawer and I found an old Valentine's Day card.  The tears began to fall and didn't stop the rest of the day.  I cried at the gas station.  I cried in the bathroom.  I cried just about any moment I stood still and sniffled when I wasn't crying.  It was one of those good ones, you know?  When you just know you're getting stuff out that needs to come out.  It just came and came, not in a sob, but a good solid cry.

And that's okay.

My therapist asked me the other day what I can do through this process to honor Brad and still move forward.  And I knew what she meant, but I didn't really have an answer for her.  The kids and I went through a lot together and they helped me figure out what they thought was worth keeping and what they didn't.  I needed that because a lot of what I keep is for them, so they'll know their dad.

Anyway, I've been thinking about my therapist's question this last week and the truth is that there is no hard and fast way that I can honor Brad through this process, mainly because I feel like I honor him by how I live every day.  And I think he would understand why I'm making this move and that I'm not leaving one of piece of him behind - he's coming with me in this life wherever I go.


 I'm sorry we couldn't be together, too.