Something is just not right.
I know this because I sat here yesterday after cleaning my house, listening to country songs about great loves and happy endings. And I sobbed.
This morning, I ripped right into T as soon as he got up. Unleashed the tongue of death and completely ruined both of our days. He is in the bathroom crying and showering and I am drinking my coffee and crying.
I feel like a fraud. I am angry. I feel under-appreciated. I feel like I am the most selfish woman on the face of the planet to be bemoaning my petty little issues while people are facing larger ones on a daily basis. I just want all these feelings to stop. My heart hurts, my body hurts, everything hurts and I do not know what I have done to bring this on.
Because yes, I am falling down that rabbit hole again. And while at this point and time I seem to realize and know, I am unable to stop it.
Is it because it is Christmas? A time of good cheer and joy? A time where people blame me because we ran out of brussel sprouts, or the turkey just is not the right size. I will be worn down, facing the hoards with a smile on my face and joie de vie in my voice. When I get home, I will be numb, unable to talk to anyone, alone in my head.
All I really want to do is curl up in a little ball and hide. Maybe sleep a little longer. I cannot as I will not give into these feelings, but oh my god do I want to.
I bounce from one level to the next. Happy. Sad. Giddy with excitement for Christmas. Cringing because I have to face the hoards. There is no constant. Oh and the anger that hits me out of nowhere like a bolt of lightning. I have been here so many times and I know that a critical factor in this is the amount of pressure that I am putting on myself.
- Be a good mom
- Be a good boss
- Be a good employee
- Be happy
- Be perfect
- Do everything by the book
- Follow all the rules
- Have a kind word for everyone
- Smile more
- Pay the bills
- Be a good friend
Those are not in order. Except for the be a good mom. That is always at the top of my list and that there, is the one I fail at all the time. I want to be a great mom, one that T is going to hold up as his example to being a parent. But I will fall into the other category I am sure, how not to be like mom.
I also realize deep deep down, that when I come out of this, I will not feel this way. But today, right now I do. As we both cry, and I hold him close and apologize, I know that this is not the real me. That this shrew is a mish mash of shit that I am carting around. That my depression is making one hell of a play for my mind, and I will eventually climb my way free.
But today is going to be a shit day. A hard day. I would rather stay home and stew. Cry. Maybe stand under the shower and scream. Instead, I will stand up straight, paint a smile on my face, and I will pretend.
Pretend to be a good mom, boss, employee, human being. I will hide my tears and speak only of good things, sugar plums and dancing fairies.
And I will wait.
I have been through a recent creative outpouring of poetry. Not a whole lot of introspection or how y’all doin? posts. But this last week and a bit have been a bit of an odd one for me and I needed to look at, peer, poke and prod the happenings before I felt able to write about them. A couple of things have been just awesome for me, making me smile. Cheering my heart and making me realize that I am still growing and getting stronger with each passing day. The other began as armageddon and ended with peace on earth as I know it for the time being.
First I should tell you what I have challenged myself to this week. I turned the television off at 2 p.m. on Sunday and do not intend to turn it back on until T comes back Monday. So far so good. Everyone I have told this to always looks at me like I am crazy at first and than to a tee they have all said ‘Oh but you like to read that will take the place of the t.v.’
Wait what? Because I like to read I am not going to miss t.v?
And you know what? They are so right.
I am reading blogs I follow. I am immersing myself in others poetry, stories and find myself crying and laughing as well. There is this rich world in front of me that is way more lively than what I can find on the t.v. set.
I am writing. A lot. Everywhere I turn I am finding myself inspired. Words come together in a way that resonates and I am off and running. I am being more patient as I write as well. I am willing to set aside the poem and come back to it. Once I have mulled it over out on the back porch of my mind.
Not that the writing has to do with the not watching television. That was happening before. I have had a creative outpouring that is for sure. Love poems, Heartbreak, Depression, Happiness, the words pour forth and at times I feel unworthy to be their Champion. I have even had an idea for a story. That one is way out in the back field being mulled over although it is slowly taking form.
I have been working at reading the same book for the last two weeks. It has really been a struggle for me. This is book 4 is a series that I began a year and a half ago. The first three books I devoured while I was down in Mexico visiting mom. And than I had to wait more than a year for this book. Began to read it. Read the recap so that I could remember what was going on. I am at 81%. At some point there was a major shift, like suddenly a huge chunk of the book, the one that seamlessly melds part one to part two, was gone. There are characters I have no idea who they are. I have no clue how something has come about. I am being oblique because there are people who might read or be reading this series and I do not want to knock it. Also I really like this author, her work is amazing, so there.
I am at the point though where I am seriously considering giving up. On that book. Time to move forward.
I am having one of my meandering conversations with myself. Hope you don’t mind and are enjoying the ride.
Compliments have been reigning down on me all over the place. I have been in the best place in the last little while. Me, mentally, doing fabulously. I am pumped about this. So I have been smiling and laughing a lot. Customers have told me they look to come through my line when I am in a till. Lately that has not been often. One of my staff told me she thought that things would fall apart if I was not as organized as I am. I know everything. Gosh she just makes my heart hurt she is so sweet. And not once but twice I was told that I in no way look my age.
T was here last week. His room still a disaster that I had been trying to get him to clean since July. I was and will not do it. He is 9. That is more than old enough that he can keep his own room clean. All week I let it slide. He was doing the basics so I was taking that as a win. Little did I know that we were headed for an epic battle.
Saturday rolled around and it all started out okay. T and me were getting along. Laughing and talking. He went out to play with his friends. No problem. Than he came inside with his friend and the attitude started. I asked him to clean up his room. That I was tired of the way that it looked and if he didn’t I was going to take a garbage bag and go in there and clean house.
Words were exchanged. T became snarkier and snarkier and my anger was reaching roiling point. When his friend’s mom got home, I sent him out and T tried to leave as well. I said no it was time to clean his room, that there were consequences to his actions and these were them in play. I only have one child. There was no practice kid for me so I am winging it as I go along. And I get frustrated really easily and annoyed. A lot of this is my own fault because I am the one raising him. Some of it is just him being a boy who can be a bit of a twit at times.
T tried to leave and I stood in front of him asking okay yelling at him to go back into his room. We ended up in a grappling match with myself pushing him back into his room so that I could close his door. He was pushing back staring up at me when suddenly he screamed at me:
‘Get the f*** off me! Get the f*** off me!’
I stared at him, my brain reeling from the fact that my 9 year old had just dropped the f bomb on me. Not once but twice. I stepped back and looked at him and he screamed angrily ‘Why are you like this?’
My response was ‘Why are you like this? I told you there were consequences to your actions T.’
I walked out of his room and closed the door. I was shaking. I shot a text off to the ex which in hindsight I should not have done. I paced the living room a little bit, deep breathing as I went, calming myself. T was pitching things at his door, I was ignoring him. I looked over and realized that his door was open and walked over to close it. T was sitting on the floor putting things away. I asked him what he was doing because I could really not fathom what I was seeing. His snide reply was I am cleaning my room. Okay not gonna fight and I walked away.
He came out to the living room and I again asked what he was doing. He snapped I am going to the storage room what do you think I am doing. Ahhhhhh he is getting the vacuum out. A little annoyed at the tone but I will not respond. Let him go about his business. I washed the dishes and he came to me and asked if he could go outside. His room was cleaned.
I looked down well almost down at him and asked him if he thought he should really be allowed to go outside. He stared down at his feet and whispered that he was sorry. I asked for what? He whispered for dropping the f bomb on you.
I asked T if he thought that he was really old enough to be using the f word with me? He shook his head dejectedly and said no. We talked a little more and I checked his room. Made him vacuum a little more and said he could play outside for a little while.
That evening he swept the kitchen floor without my asking and fed the cats. We talked a little more and off he went to bed.
The next day we discussed the limits that were going to be imposed re computer time. That there was going to be more play time than watching youtube time. And that was when I realized that if I want him to spend more time at play, than I could not be zoned out in front of the television. Which lead to my challenge this week to not watch any t.v.
Wow, I totally just brought the whole thing home without even meaning to. Have no idea how so I am going to end it right here folks. I cannot get a better close. And I will glory in it for a few because never again will I be able to bring everything into a nice neat package.
As an aside, when the ex showed up to pick up T, he was told he would have to wait a minute while T cleaned the lego up off the floor in his room. He needed to keep it clean. Parenting win to add to my weekly tally. 🙂
T began school on Wednesday. The above picture was taken before we left for school. He was grinning when he came out of his class and I was there to greet him. He said he had had a good day. I was encouraged given that T is not a huge fan of the education process. He read 51 pages in his new Dogman book Wednesday evening. Even more encouraging. And he went to bed like a champ.
Thursday did not have an auspicious beginning. I was up and down all night long. My hips and lower back were killing me. (I have since discovered the reason why) And so finally at 4 a.m. or so I rolled out of bed. Made a pot of coffee and sat down to try and be productive. But I could not focus. My head felt woozy and I ached everywhere. It got to such a point that I went and laid down on the couch curled into myself as I tried to get warm.
T had wanted me to walk him to school but that was not going to happen. I felt like I could not walk all the way to his school, as I was hobbling around my hips screaming in agony and my lower back felt as though something was reaching in and twisting all the muscles upside down and knotted. I took two extra strength Motrin and began to have some mobility in my legs. I hopped in the car to do my grocery shopping and a Wal-mart run.
By the time I got home it (and at this time I was still not sure what it was) my good feeling had worn off. I unpacked the groceries and left off portioning out the meat until today. Laid down on the couch and hauled the blanket over top of me. And fell asleep. I did awaken once but still tired, went back to sleep. The next time I woke up I was freezing. Ice cold. My teeth were chattering, my body shaking. I could not believe I had the flu but there you have it, I did.
T came home Thursday and dropped off his bag and went out to play with his friends. A good time was had by all and T even came inside and spent the majority of his evening with me. Went to bed without an problems. And than it began.
‘Mom, do I have to go to school tomorrow?’
‘Yes you do.’
‘But I want to stay home with you. I don’t want to go to school.’
‘Why not? What is going on tomorrow you don’t want to do?’
‘Nothing I just need a long weekend.’
‘No, you are going to school.’
And the crying began. I am positive that he cried himself to sleep. I too fell asleep. And began the night from a really bad place. It was not hell like but it was not good. I was up and down, freezing and hot. My body was still all achy. The cats finally had enough of my tossing and turning and moved to the other side of the bed. At 3ish or so, I awoke and thought I can’t handle this any more. I reached down and pulled up the fluffy blanket that I have at the foot of the bed. I never use it. Still aching I decided on more Motrin and hobbled to the kitchen for them and a swig of Pepsi. I had a sugar craving. When I went to get back in bed I realized how cold it was and turned on the heat. Yes I turned on the heat, pulled on a sweat jacket and crawled back into bed.
At 6 a.m. T’s alarm went off and I rolled over. I was coated in flu sweat, my sweat jack sodden, my hair was even wet. I rolled out of bed and turned the heat off. Went in and shook T to get up. Turned his alarm off as it was still blaring. He got up and was in a great mood. Right up until 8 a.m. when I made him get off computer and brush his teeth. I realized that I did not hear the water and told T to get in there. That is when he said he was not going to school today.
I did not handle the situation well. I could say it is because I am tired, I have the flu, I am a million and one things, but pissed off for this one. T kept saying he wanted to spend the day with me. Why did I not want to spend the day with him? I tried the explanation thing, to no avail. And than he began to cry and whine. He did not want to go to school. He wanted to spend the day with me. All in a whiney voice as he snorted back his snot his eyes kinda shiny with tears.
I told him I did not take kindly to the manipulative tactic he was attempting to use on me. I told him to get his sweater on. More crying. More whining. I told him to get his shoes on. More crying. More whining. Are you sensing the theme here?
We walked down to the garbage and T was insisting that I walk him to school. So he could spend as much time with me as possible. I said fine but we had to go back home so I could change and get the keys. He cried the entire way back. And while he sat on the stairs. And than again when we got outside. He kept saying he would miss me. He needed to be with me today.
T cried all the way to school. Holding my hand. I was short with him because well, he had been using that whining now for almost 45 minutes. He kept asking me to turn around and go back home. I was so angry. I informed him that we were going to go and talk to his teacher. We walked up there and at first I figured it would be okay, he would see his friends and that would be end of it. But no.
At his hut I told him to leave his bag there and go play with his friends. He refused. And than proceeded to tell me he was going home. He was not going into the classroom. That is when I lost all semblance of even trying for the nonchalant I have it all together type of mom. I grabbed him by his school bag and dragged him over to the stairs. He slipped and there I was dragging him up the stairs to the door.
Knocked on door and went in to talk to his teacher. T cried the whole time. I was short and to the point with his teacher. I really had no idea where this was coming from. He felt as though he could get nothing right in class. Math was awful and he was struggling with it already. I did not tell him that T did not like him because well T did tell me that one in confidence. So I am sharing in a blog, on the internet, that is not breaking confidence clause is it?
To top it off I look like crap because of the rough night. I am coated in and smell of flu sweat, my hair is barely combed and I had not brushed my teeth yet so was really in no position to even initiate adult like conversation.
I gave T one last hug and had to unwrap his arms from around my waist. I promised I would be back at 3:45 to meet him. I would be standing right outside the classroom. And than I walked out the door. Coldly, callously, T’s little staring after me with betrayal written all over his face.
Did I want to comfort him? Yes. Wrap my arms around him and tell him that it would all be okay? Yes. That I want to pull out my magic wand and fix all that is wrong in his life? Yes.
Instead I had to be a mean mom. I had to harden my heart and walk away. T is not going to hate me forever and ever, although at this point and time I am sure I am his least favorite person, next to the teacher. And the reason I had to do this was because I need to set limits and boundaries with T.
I know he is growing up and out, he is wanting his independence and his safety blanket mom waiting in the wings. I know that he will push me to see what point he can actually get away to before I order the cease and desist. And also because not everything in life is about fun and games.
I will go pick T up after school. We will take a slow walk home and I will get him some ice cream too. We will have a conversation about his behaviour and mine. I will apologize for some of the things I said. And hopefully I have established a new boundary that T will respect. Otherwise it is going to be a long winter for T with reading as his only occupation.
Today is going to be the 2nd hardest day of T’s life to date. I would say his first hardest was when I moved out of the family home into our apartment. Like that time period, he had to adjust and redefine his reality. This is going to be the same. Today is the day that T’s best friend K is moving. An hour away.
Yesterday T and me, we put on a helluva show for the neighbors and others who were lucky enough to have caught it. At one point the RCMP drove by and all I could think was wonderful, I am going to be arrested for making T go for a walk. Again. This time I did not even make a lap around the park I was so furious. Walking back I steamed. When we got home he refused to come in.
It was awesome. His dad had text to say he was going to take T shopping. I text him back and said come and get him. I cannot deal with this attitude. I went outside and told him his dad was coming to get him. And I ruined his life even more by telling both of his friends that he was grounded. The t.v., the play station, youtube, computer, all gone.
When his dad arrived I explained everything to him and handed the Fire Kindle back saying T is not allowed any electronics. I assumed that he would think that I was over-reacting so was a bit on the defensive. He did not. And when T came out and was snarky with me, my ex said T’s name and looked at him.
I went back inside, still angry. I was so tired of T’s attitude. All I had wanted was for T and me to go for a quick walk while his friends were not home. This whole show was for a point he had snippily informed me, as he did not want to go for a walk. But your friends were not even home, I pointed out, so there was no one to play with. You did this all for nothing.
I mulled it over. Text back and forth with K’s mom M and finally I decided that because it was K’s last night I would allow T to play with his friends. I still was not giving him back his electronics because he acted like a little snot, but I would not be the cause of irreparable childhood scars for not letting him play with his best friend, on his last night, as our next door neighbor.
They played and all things were grand until T came in and he had tears on his face. Angry that he could not play with his friends, he could not understand why they had gone into one’s house without him. He wanted to go knock on the door again, and while I sympathized with him, I had to caution him that it was inappropriate to go banging on the door again. In under two minutes. Than he heard the boys and went off running. Only to return three minutes later tears leaking down his cheeks.
I held my arms open and he flew over to the couch. I held him, rubbing his back and rocking him, my heart breaking and my own tears falling. I told him that K was only an hour away and that with school starting he would make new friends, people he had never met before. T shook his head and said ‘no mom, I have no other friends. And I know everyone in grade 4.’
I had no argument for him. I held him until he felt better and he sat up. I cajoled him into the shower. The tears had left tracks in the dirt on his face. And he had said it was shower night anyways. We sat on the couch and talked a little bit more. I let him watch Larva and I watched it with him. A show that I cannot fathom nor explain. It is on Netflix.
He was in bed and asleep at 9. I am holding firm on that one. We have been getting back into the swing of a 9 p.m. bedtime so I won’t have to fight next week. This morning when he got up, I text M to see if they were awake. They were. T and K are together for the last little while.
As I was writing this, any residual anger that I felt at T for his behaviour has leaked away. Instead I am ashamed that I was not more compassionate towards him. He is 9. His best friend since he was 1.5 years old is moving today. They have been neighbors for over a year. Don’t get me wrong that does not excuse T’s behaviour, and the repercussions still stand, but compromise might be possible. After I get my house cleaned. And his room purged. And the cat litter boxes cleaned………..
Yes so Wednesday T was furious with me. I had been after him all day to go for a walk with me. He kept putting me off until finally I had had enough and told him that we were going, no ands ifs or buts about it. Outside we went and he huffed and puffed behind me. Stomping his feet and swinging his arms, postulating like an ape. I was trying so hard to keep a straight face.
We walked along, me slightly ahead of him, as I was not going to allow his misery to color my joy at being outdoors. Finally he comes clomping up next to me and with a red face demands that I slow down. I am walking too fast if I can be way ahead of him. I slowed my pace but refused to talk to him while he was still acting this way. All I wanted was a little time where he and me could get out and enjoy our time together.
We got to the park and began our lap around the pathway. I ended up being warmer than expected so made him hold the keys and my phone while I took off my hoodie. This began a conversation. Of sorts. First though T had to make sure that I knew without a doubt that I was only allowed to take one lap around the park.
Our conversation was actually pretty cool. We talked about university versus college. How was T to get there? What if he didn’t have his driver’s license by than? All this stemmed from the fact that I informed him that unless he was going to school, he would not be living with me rent free until he was twenty-five. I was optimistic as this is the first time that T has agreed that he is going to further his education after high school. (I should note here that he wants to be a mechanic and own his own business. I keep telling him that he will need to learn the trade aspect as a mechanic and than take business courses so he knows what he is doing. T seems to think that this might be a good idea now.)
As we come around the curve, I decide that we are going to keep going so I wave T to continue walking. Which did not meet with his approval. So he became angry. We walked along no longer talking. T continued to bitch and moan that I was not being fair. We no longer had anything to talk about. I finally had enough.
‘Here, lay down on the grass between the trees and I will continue my walk.’
‘No, you aren’t going to come back this way mom.’
‘You can see the entry way, just watch for me.’
‘But what if I miss you?’
‘I guess you will figure that out soon enough,’ I glanced over at him.
‘Mooooooom! You would just leave me here?!?’
I could not contain myself. The look on his face one part abject horror that I would even conceive of leaving him laying on the grass in a pout and one part anger that I would even conceive of leaving him laying on the grass in a pout. I burst out with laughter, and not a gentle ladylike tee hee hee. I guffawed. I chortled. I had tears in my eyes.
‘That is not funny at all mom.’
‘I thought it was.’
‘Well it wasn’t.’
We continued along in silence a little while longer. Me giggling under my breath and wiping away the stray tear. T clomping along in stony silence. Finally throwing me a glare he muttered ‘you can talk now mom.’
With that we segued back into our conversation about school. I admitted that I kinda wished that I had continued my university education. Not sure what I would have done with a Bachelor of Arts but there you have it. When we came to the bend again, T made sure that I continued walking the straight and narrow out of the park.
His friends were outside playing but he graciously conceded to walking to the Co-op with me. As we walked over to the apartment, I was glad I had forced the issue. I thanked T for walking with me, and told him that I hoped it would happen again. And soon.