This morning I was having a conversation with a friend. I know I often have conversations but this one, this one got me to thinking.
I am a fixer. A ‘Give me your problems and I will find a solution’, type of woman. Does not matter who you are or what the problem is, by nature, I want to make it all better for you. And now my brain has veered off into how the hell did I become a fixer? Why do I yearn to take on the world’s problems and make them right? Why (until now) did I always chose men who needed their hands held at every turn?
Small problems (which are not even problems) such as helping someone locate a hard to find item. Trying to put their fears to rest when attempting something new. My response to that is always the same, ‘Imagine the absolute worst thing that could happen and after that anything that occurs is going to be a piece of cake. Walk in the park. Cake in the park.’ You get it.
Larger problems can take up a lot of my time. I mull over them. I twist it this way and that. Looking for the hole that I can wiggle through. The hole that is going to lead to the answer, or at least a partial solution.
This is draining. My focus is no longer on myself, on my care and T’s. It becomes super stressful. In the past my way to handle it would have been to drink.
Today as I was having my conversation I made a sudden connection. And that connection leapt along the synapsis of my brain and made more connections. Until I stopped watching the gems fall and turned to face my friend. I wanted to shout this discovery from the rooftops, however that would require getting dressed and I am just not up for that at the moment.
I have a friend who is going through a really tough time. When I look at her life, I am surprised that she is still standing. The amount of shit life has thrown her way, and the fact that she is here, present and alive, amazes me. She is an absolute rock, one of the strongest women that I am privileged to have as a part of my tribe.
She text me early this morning and I was reading over them, giving half explanations without betraying her confidence in me and it happened.
I am not put on this earth to be the caretaker of anyone else. (Well with the exception of T but that should go without saying.)
It is not up to me to scoop up the troubles that plague the world. It is not up to me to point out how by taking a step over this way, could change how you view things. It is not up to me, to fix the problems that they come to me with.
What is up to me?
To be a damn good friend. To offer my shoulder and my ear. To listen and at the same time when I speak, to be wise and offer up my own experience and solution to an equatable problem. Something that they can mull over themselves and it might help them to find the solution to their own issues. Or it may not.
Another part of this rebounds from a conversation that K3 and me were having. In it she stated that she felt we were brought into people’s lives so they can benefit from our experiences. I disagreed. We can tell people about what occurred but they are still going to make their own choices based on their own morals and life experience. Not ours.
What do we learn if we take all the advice others give us?
And that is another part of the epiphany which just came to me.
I am a big believer in learning my own lessons. No matter the pain that I am going to feel, I will face what I need to do. (Now I do, previously I may have stuck my head in the sand before facing my problems)
I need to speak less and listen more.
I need to be a friend, a warm hug, a place to shelter without compromising my emotional well-being. And I can be.
Because as I journey forward along the twisted path that my life is, I learn more and more about my role and place on this planet.
A while back I wrote about how my ex and me were getting along and I realized how much I had matured. Well today I took that one step further. Today I looked passed the man who made me unhappy and spoke to my friend.
This is a man who at one point and time I loved. It is not his fault nor is it mine that in the end we just were not happy together. We are such very different people with little in common.
Today was the first time that we had a conversation in a long time. And we both laughed. Not the fake ‘yeah get out of my face you are annoying me’ laugh but a real laugh. One that sets the other to laughing.
We also still have inside jokes and can say things to one another that we are unable to say to anyone else. There have been a few times, where I have been spitting mad and the only one I can vent to is him.
In talking with a girl friend today, she informed me that I was taking the mature route with him. All I had said was his girlfriend was good for him.
And I no longer had to take care of him.
This man is helpless as a baby attempting to organize a tea party. I sent him numerous texts regarding the dates he had T over the summer. I also sent him several screen shots of my calender so he had it. Finally his girlfriend messaged me asking what the dates were.
That is only one example.
I can afford to be nice and decent to him. I am happy and in a great place in my life. And I really am working hard to let go of negativity.
It was easy to be angry with my ex when I left. I was blaming him for my unhappiness. Which really is unfair because I had a hand in my own unhappiness. I could have stood firm when I tried to leave three months prior to everything imploding.
Now though…I am in my own space. I am writing daily. My relationship with my son and mom are amazing.
So yes, I can afford to be kind with M2. And I even like his girlfriend even though we have not really spoken. But she is excellent with T and that more than anything makes me like K3.(Lol too many K’s- best friend, Auntie and now M2’s girl friend. M1 being my bestie.)
M2 loves T with all his heart. And at the end of the day that is all that is important. He is doing his best to be a great dad. Our failure to make our marriage last aside he will always be my friend.
Each step forward is a struggle.
It feels as though I am wading
wading through life, emotions
without truly connecting.
You ask me if I am okay,
I can see your mouth moving
and I am fairly certain,
certain that I give the standard answer
the one that says ‘I am alright.’
Look a little closer
and you will see;
the tears in my eyes
the fear that I will be discovered as false.
The shattered loneliness I dwell in
all the time.
The black shadows reach forth
capturing me in their fingers
I struggle to break free
only to become submerged again.
My little boy is turning 9 on Monday, August 7th. (Just in case anyone is so lost in the summer that they are not quite sure of the date he he he) This is going to be a hard one for me as he is with his dad so I will not be seeing him. I lied. I just text his dad(at 6:50 a.m. on a Saturday morning) to ask him to rearrange plans so that I could at least see T and give him a hug and kiss.
T is not so little any more. He was born two months premature. Due October 4th and decided to arrive on August 7, 2008. We were building the ex’s shop and joke that T wanted to see what all the fuss was about.
I was scared.
When I found out I was pregnant.
Bear in mind I was 35 not 25.
It is a kinda funny story how it all started. At work I had been complaining that my boobs were killing me. Everyone joked that I was pregnant. I scoffed. We had been trying for 5 years, were in the final process for adoption (where they did home visit etc.) but damn when my 3 lb cat stepped on me I nearly killed her they hurt so much. Clue number 1.
I could not understand why I could no longer drink coffee. I wanted it. I would pour my cup and set it down. Take a sip or two and than allow it to grow cold. I love my coffee. There is life in my coffee. And niceness. And civility. Should have been clue number 2.
It was our first new long weekend in February. For non-Canadians, the government decided that it was too long for workers to go from January to March/April without having a long weekend. So in February we have Family Day or as in Manitoba, the province I live in, Louis Riel Day. A long weekend. My ex decided to go snowmobiling. I was excited to have Saturday and Sunday and most of Monday to myself.
Got home from work and set the groceries down on the floor to be put away. When I heard the first growl I snapped around. Oh shit! Odin my cross Great Pyrenees x Collie x St. Bernard and Nero my Rotti were about to go head to head. And I was on my own. I screamed and yelled. I threw a heater trying desperately to get them to stop fighting.
I had Odin on the porch and was kicking at him. Kicking him, hurting him, something I swore to never do. I had a hold of Nero. Almost had the door to the porch nearly closed when Nero surged forward bursting into the room. Now I am in the porch, desperate to pull these two dogs, who combined, weighed 200 lbs to my petite 115 lb frame, apart. They are snarling, saliva is spraying and I am screaming and yanking at them.
Nero hit the stand up tool box that we kept on the porch. Sockets rained down. I was trying to get the door open, because despite the fact it killed me, I needed to get them outside so the fight could end naturally. My socks were wet from the cream that someone had bitten and it had flowed all over the kitchen floor. I was not aware of this. I stepped on a socket and down I went. Hard.
Oh boy. Now I was mad. To top it off, as I stuck my hand out for balance, I managed to stick it in Nero’s mouth as he was in mid-bite. By the time that my brain even registered that I had been bitten, he had already let go and was looking at me. My anger and frustration, fear and tears turned to rage in that moment. Rage that my damn dogs wanted to fight. Rage that I was alone dealing with this. Rage that I had been bitten! I slammed open the door leading outside and screamed at them to get out.
Stood at the kitchen sink washing the wound while screaming out the window for them to stop. The entire fight lasted no more than 2 minutes, 3 tops. It felt like an eternity to me. I got Odin in the house, put Nero on the porch and looked at my hand. Yep, pierced right through fat and oh my god is that bone????????
Called my girlfriend up and she and her boyfriend left the restaurant they were at before they even got their meal, to come and get me. Hospital here I come. They could not believe my lack of fear and stoicism as my hand was cleaned and bound. Heavy duty meds to counter any infection and I was sent home. With a doctor’s note, I was now off work for the week. (As an aside my hand blew up to 3x’s its size and I could not move it the next day, or the day after that.)
Up until this point my periods had been every 28 days without fail. So when I skipped the Sunday after that fight, I put it down to stress. By Wednesday, I was concerned and I purchased a home pregnancy test. Took it and began to clean the house. Completely forgot about the test for an hour. An hour people!!!! When I did remember in I went in to be presented with 2 double pink lines. The first thing I breathed was ‘Holy Fuck man, I cannot do this.’
Called the ex. Called the doctor for a second opinion. They told me to come in as soon as I could pee again. I drank two bottles of water and off I went. I was scared as shit. I had lost my daughter when I was five months pregnant with her. There has never been any answers for me as to why that happened. This was 15 years prior. I was in shock.
T was an extremely laid back baby in the womb. Rarely moved, when he did it was in response to my drinking a Coke (which I had stopped drinking years ago, switching to Pepsi, but he liked Coke. Or I had eaten a chocolate bar) Or when Patches the cat draped herself over my tummy and purred away. He liked that. He was not a fan of anything with processed sugar so I ate a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables.
From day 1 I knew he was going to be a boy. Everyone warned me that saying he was a boy meant that I was having a girl. But I knew. There were a lot of differences between this pregnancy and my daughter’s. However, he had a strong heartbeat, when he chose to kick me they were good strong kicks. Yet still I worried.
Tuesday August 5th, 2008. I worked a normal day. Except I knew that something was off because I barely ate. Got home, made supper which I again barely ate and flaked out on the couch. I was exhausted. Could not keep my eyes open. Something was not right. The ex came in and I told him this as I was preparing for bed at 8 p.m.
Got up at 10:50 p.m. to go to the bathroom. Made it to the bedroom doorway when it happened. My water broke. Now I was terrified. I still had 2 months to go. And it just kept coming. An incredible sense of calm broke over me as my ex panicked. I dressed although by the time I got to the hospital my sweats were soaked.
At emerg I was asked if I was okay to walk down to admissions. My eyebrow shot up. Away I went only to be sent back to emerg 2 minutes later with papers in hand. The hospital is not outfitted for premature births so I was going to be sent to Winnipeg, if in fact my water had broken and I had not just peed myself.
That is right folks. The nurse on duty asked me if I was sure that my water had broken and I had just not peed myself. (Mom I love you and know you have mad nursing skills but I nearly decked this woman). Off I was sent to pee in bottle because well all pregnant women have to pee in little bottles for months and months.
Then came the test to ensure that my water had broken. This one a little more invasive and potentially could lead to infection. And they lost the first one. So I had to allow more invasions only to be told what I had already told them. My waters had broken. Ex was sent home to get me clothes to change into. Thank god I had my book with me. Although truth be told, I would read the same page over and over again.
I was fucking scared. T had been pretty quiet. I was set up on an i.v. drip to, I don’t even remember. I had no one to call. I mean yeah, I could have called mom or the bro. Truth be told, I wanted, I needed a girlfriend who would come running, hold my hand and tell me everything would be totally fine. My ex was not really helpful in the face of an emergency so there I was deep breathing, trying to control my anxiety and wait.
I was taken by ambulance to St. Boniface in Winnipeg. By 5 p.m. Wednesday August 6th I was dilating and having contractions. Mom got a speeding ticket as she rushed to my side. My bro and SIL came to offer me encouragement. The ex’s mother showed up and wished she could go into the delivery room with me. Also made it all about her. The drugs were wonderful though. No epidural for this girl. No Morphine. They gave me Fentanyl which could be given right up until I went into the delivery room as it did not affect T. Epidural, I was pretty far along in my contractions because I had back labor, might not have worked. So why try?
Again my labor was fairly easy. My contractions were five minutes apart. Lasted a minute. The worst two I had, when T moved into the birth canal and his head popped out. When his head came out I was ready to quit until told all I needed to do were little pushes. Waved my hand at the doctor and informed him ‘I could so do that.’
I had been warned not to worry if T did not cry when he arrived. His heartbeat had been strong throughout labor. But when my little guy arrived and they laid him on my belly, he squalled and screamed. Tears filled my eyes as I reached down and said ‘Welcome to the world baby.’ And he grabbed my thumb and squeezed. 16.5″ long and 3.15 lbs. Six weeks in NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) and then he came home.
Flash forward nine years later. To look at him you would never know that he was premature. There have been no delays in his development. He is smart as a whip. Funny with a sense of humor that rivals mine. (He also has a dirty little mind that I am working very hard to ignore) His sarcasm is coming to a fine point. And I am sure that by next year he will be as tall as me, if not taller.
And on Monday, August 7/17 my baby is going to be 9. OMG I just realized that next year he will be a tween!!!!! Will I keep my hair?
Picture above is of the shower I used this morning.
So I am out camping. In a trailer in the rain. Not a cabin with creature comforts but a trailer!
Don’t get me wrong tis lovely what with the wind and the rain. And the fact I am the only sober one. But I am not complaining. There is fun to be had and well showers to take.
My alarm goes off at 5 a.m. because I need to be at work for 6 a.m. and despite the fact I am only 6 minutes away does not impress me much.
(A little side bar about me: I have a pathological fear that I am going to be late. Always. And I am positive that my phone will not go off at the expected time. Last night was not so bad I did not wake up every hour like I usually do when I work Saturday a.m. And just so you know it is only Saturdays I have this issue with.)
So my alarm goes off at 5 a.m. I bolt upright as unlike at home it is not next to me but on top of the damn fridge. As is the secondary alarm we set due to my fear of oversleeping. I turn mine off no problem haven’t a clue about the second phone and toss it off to its owner. So I am upright and slightly mobile.
I go into the bathroom and ask how I use the shower. Don’t laugh; chuckle a little, maybe giggle but no laughter 😁 although it turns out to be just like a regular shower. I am warned to watch the hot water as it can be finicky. Not sure what that means but hey I have never showered in a camper before. I turn on the water and step into a space designed for….I am not sure….someone who is shorter and thinner than I am.
I have barely put my cleaner on my face when I notice the water is getting cooler. Okay I thought to myself maybe the cold water is persnickety too. Turn the cold down. Begin to lather up my hair as the water gets a tad cooler. Now understand I have not been standing in there for 5 minutes or even 10. I have been in there for maybe 90 seconds.
Get my hair lathered and rinsed with shampoo. It is still a little warm. Throw conditioner on my hair and the water continues to get colder.
So 5 a.m. in a tiny wee shower (I am 5’6.5″ tall 120 lbs) and I have had no time to process that it is morning. My face is half covered in face wash, I think I had all the shampoo rinsed out when I threw the conditioner on.
Now I am swearing cause damn that water was cold. I mean ice cold. Shit and F bombs are flying left right and center. 20 second conditioner splash and rinse.
Well I am now wide awake. Freezing. And going to work. Yes it was only 5:35 when I arrived. Yes I still needed coffee to finish the wake up process. And I will never ever go on an excursion like this again if I work the next day. Unless the camper has a bigger water heater.