Facing the mess as me
–by Laura Dennis, originally published on the author’s own blog, Les Pensées du chat noir
[This is not the ATN post of the week, but rather an explanation of why it isn’t (yet) here. And after last week’s post on caregiver stress, I thought this could maybe be of help to some.]
I, for example, mean to put up a new post on the ATN blog every Tuesday night. Last spring, I started to hit my rhythm, and last summer, I was really getting it done. I felt productive and accomplished. Things were good.
Then the school year started.
Day 1 was good.
Day 2 was good.
Days 3, 4, and an unspecified number after that, not so much.
My oldest found out apartment living isn’t the cakewalk to independence she thought it would be.
My youngest struggled mightily with the transition to high school, and in one of his verbal assaults, said all he could to hurt me. It worked.
I’m seeing those closest to me suffer from cancer, injury, heartache. I used to live in Houston. I have friends in Puerto Rico. And can we talk for a minute about India, the place where 75% of my household was born? In the midst of all the horror here, this was largely missed:
Bringing things back – literally – to the home front, this marks the first time since August that we’ve had three homemade meals in a week. Yes, we are lucky to be eating at all. And yes, plenty of families eat but never cook. It might seem like no big thing, but for us, not cooking and eating at home is a big, fat, hairy deal. (Garfield anyone?)
So here we are, Wednesday night. Still no ATN blog. Yes, the bloggers do the writing, but the managing, the editing, the layout? That takes time. Time I feel like I don’t have. I’m behind on another deadline, this one fixed, and I have three more looming just after that. Combine all that with work stress, and just a few hours ago, I only wanted to go fetal and cry. That or run away to the beach.
Going fetal and crying, though, that’s not much like me. There’s nothing wrong with them, mind you. They’re just not me. Escaping to the beach is me, but there’s these pesky little obstacles in the way–I think they’re called mountains. If I was going to find me, I was going to have to look here at home. So I sent a few rather sassy texts to my closest friends. That helped. I rustled up ingredients and cooked tonight’s meal. That helped a little more. As we ate, we chatted and watched our kitten play. That definitely helped. By the time we opened the M&Ms, I felt like someone I could recognize as me. So much so that I opened my laptop to write.
Are the deadlines still there? Yep. The struggles of a working, single mom of 3? Likewise. All the disease and disaster, pain and death? Check, check, check, and check. None of that is likely to go away any time soon. And yet. For the way I’ve spent this evening, my regrets are exactly none. The bad stuff is going to come. At least this way, I can face it all as me.