One of the hardest things I had to do in 2016 was going from seeing my son every day, hearing him tell me he loved me and giving me thousands of kisses, to seeing him every other week. That is the custody arrangement my ex and me have worked out. Week one with me, week two with dad, so on and so forth.
Today is the last day of my week with him. As I write this he is still sound asleep, sprawled across the bed all long gangly limbs and cherubic innocence. Not so innocent when awake but in the coma of sleep he is still my little baby. One might think that after 9 months of this that you might get use to it. But you never do. I cry every week. I start to miss him before he is gone. My home becomes silent and somehow less colorful.
I never let him see me like this. The overwhelming need to cry only occurs when he is, like now, asleep or otherwise occupied out of sight. I don’t let him know that my heart breaks when he goes out that door at 4 p.m. on Sunday. I don’t go into detail about how I will count down the hours until he returns in 7 days. I give him a hug and kiss, tell him I love him and will see him in a week. Than I go into the house and wonder what to do with myself now.
So I read. I spend a lot of time on Facebook. I text a lot. I work. But I don’t really live. My world is drab. There are no visions of sugarplums or fairies dancing in my head. There is depression. There is a need to self-medicate so it does not hurt so much. In doing that though one is lead down a bitter twisted road that ends only with more pain and conflict.
I am going to do something different this year. And no this is not a resolution. This is a need, a must, a chance for me to remake myself once more. To start with I am going to write more. Write more often? Just write. Writing is cathartic for me. It allows me to process my feelings and to work through the dark imagings that can arise.
I will live healthier. Eat better. When my son is here I cook meals and when he isn’t I eat whatever is on hand. I need to stop that. I need to nourish my body as well as my mind. I am going to drink less and learn to live with the silence that surrounds me. And I am going to be okay with it.
In doing so I will become a better version of me. A better mom, a better friend, a better lover.
So for the last two days my son and me have spent the entire day together. Just the two of us. Now I must explain, we spend time together all the time during the week that I have him with me. However I work full time so our time is spent from the time I wake him up for school or to get ready to go to sitters to when we get home. Than Saturday and Sunday are full days but he has buddies who live next door. So I see him but it isn’t the same.
Yesterday and today it has been the two of us. I have a mini break from work so this is a great way for us to spend holiday time together. Thursday was lazy day and today, today was purge/clean his room. And let me tell you this kid is a hoarder. I found multiple sticks, as in the ones that come from trees? Yeah hidden in the back of his closet. There was garbage to be tossed, papers and broken crayons and clothes to be sorted through.
While tidying up the hallway I picked up the shoe baskets. I have two pairs of sandals, one pair of work runners, two pairs of boots and 1 pair of sexy kick ass boots. My son….his basket is overflowing. 4 pairs of sneakers, 4 pairs of boots, rubber boots, slippers. I looked at him and said ‘dude you have way more shoes than I do!’ He asked me if that was a problem.
And than began the great purge of his room. Drawings and colorings from kindergarten and grade one. Books that he wrote in grade two. Thank god there was no moldy food or rotting meat (lol) he has some cleaning ability. But I came to the conclusion that my child hoards items. I wonder where he gets that from? Today though, he tossed with abandon and soon the end was in sight. Until we began going through the clothes. And there was a lot of them.
There are all the jeans that I have for when he gets bigger. I have nephews who are five years older than he and they are hanging in the closet waiting to be worn. But there was also clothing that he had outgrown. Clothes that he doesn’t even wear. Stripes apparently are icky. Color other than red black or grey are just not cool. I finally snarled after the fifth dark shirt that during the week when he was with me I was going to be seeing some color even if he didn’t like it. I spent 20 years surrounded by dark bleak colors and I refuse to have that trait carry over.
Than I realized my son is a clothes horse. He will change his shirt upwards of three times a day sometimes more depending on the season. He changes his pants from one pair of sweats to another depending on how the mood strikes him. Me, I live in yoga pants, tank tops and sweatshirts. Jeans are for date night and if I need to make an impression. I prefer comfort. I have such a lacksadaisy attitude to what I wear that this careful consideration and need to look ‘right’ confounds me. But he is 8 and I know that it will only get worse.
I have learned a lot in the last two days of being with my son. His ability for abstract understanding has yet to kick in. We had a conversation regarding digital money. He talks nonstop, feeling the need to constantly explain everything to me. That I know he gets from me. Case in point….he read the bit about the shoes and had to go clean out the basket so as to provide me with an accurate count of how many shoes he has. He is funny and smart. Sensitive and inquisitive. He is the male version of me in minature.