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I’ll carry these torches for you.

“I’m not going to do extra if you aren’t going to do your part.”

I’ve been struggling with S not listening. For years now. Consequences nor rewards really make any difference. He’ll even weigh consequences to see if it’s worth it.

I know he has special things going on, but I know too it doesn’t have to be this unmanageable.

I have no current memory if I’ve written about the goals I decided for my 12 week class. I wrote about my 12 week class, right? Gosh, I feel so braindead. I have so many posts in my head waiting to be written.

I have four main goals. To have weekly one on one time with Chris and R and S. To get our home decluttered to its completion. To practice and adopt an abundance mindset. To get my official website launched.

One goal that I backburnered was the whole “our family is a team and we all have a role.” I delayed it, not because of its unimportance, but because I want to have a foundation in place first. I think a foundation can best be lain with one on one time. Baby steps. Boundaries are important too tho and this crazy phrase came out of my mouth this morning “I’m not going to do extra if you aren’t going to do your part” and I feel like this might be a turning point for me. It takes it away from S and puts my part back in my hands.

I’ll do my team player part. But I’m not doing extra when I’m not getting basic team playerness in return. And this is where mindshift meets backburnered goals!

I feel really good about this new boundary and affirmation for mindset.

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Like shooting stars.

I was driving and L was talking about going to visit Grandma. This is how our conversations usually go.

L: How we get there?
me: Well, it’s pretty far away. We could drive there.
L: Okay!
me: But that would take a long time. We could fly.
L: Ma! We don’t have wings!!
me: You make a good point, sir. We’d have to take an airplane.
L: Where we find one of those?
me: The airport.
L: Oh!

It all makes sense now.

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The fire in your eyes.

Today I brought a freshly baked loaf of bread home from the store. My daughter was all ooooooh. I excitedly said, “feel how squishy!” She felt it and I could tell she wasn’t on board with my excitement. I said, “What’s the matter?” She said, “It’s too squishy. Is it too squishy? It’s not supposed to be squishy.” I told her it was perfect. She said, “But you always have me feel the bread first to get a firm one…”

And the look she gave me. The realization she’s been doing it the wrong way all this time. She could have disappeared completely and I just hugged her and kept her with me and said “Oh, sweet girl” over and over.

She’s been coming into her own so much recently. It’s just astounding to watch as she morphs from this hostile, hormonal teenager into…a person.

Tonight she came out and showed me and Chris her wrist. She had written “victory” on it and was giddy excited. She said it’s like the semicolon movement and she had worked so hard to write it all perfect.

After she walked out of the room I said, “Man, I love how every day she becomes a little more me,” and it was my turn to be a bit giddy. Chris said, pointing to my face and happy demeanor, “I love how this is all going on with you.” And, even tho I didn’t say it at the time, I love all the little things going on with him right now too.

I used to write on my wrists. Like R did tonight. Little messages. Reminders. Tethers. It’s all these separate things we’re doing that help remind me all the ways we’re connected.

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Approach. Appear.

I didn’t know what the rest of my day would look like earlier when I wrote. I felt on top of everything, but in that way where you are until you suddenly aren’t.

I finished my paper clutter pile from yesterday and tried to occupy L because Chris has the flu, as well as detox from another round of medicine that didn’t get here in time. I know he feels like shit physically, mentally, emotionally, psychologically. I take great comfort in the fact that I am not the woman who contributes to that. That I don’t try to find (false) validation in making him feel worse. That I don’t have the means to feel better at someone else’s expense. Especially someone I love so much.

So I spent my day focused on me and my growth and my worth and betterment and evolution. And I was feeling so connected to me that I found connection with R and S and L too.

I taught S about time management. I empowered him with management of his own time, while giving him confines and boundaries to work within. I told him I was like the boss. “You gotta get this, this, and this accomplished by x time, but you manage the rest. You run your own show.” And he practiced in kind. Sometimes fast and sometimes slow. But it was his and I let him own it and he took pride in it.

I taught the same to R. “Do what you want with your last day of winter break, but any food trash needs to be cleaned by 5.” She argued she might not get it done by then and I countered reasonably and objectively, “You’ve got four and a half hours to do this one thing. Choose how you want to do it. You can wait til 4:55 and then haul ass picking up trash. Or you can do it all right now. Or you can do some now and some later. It’s your show. But ya got til 5, and if at 5 it’s not finished, your phone goes on the island until it is.”

No shame. No guilt. No tough love. No bringing up past anything. Just right here right now, reasonable objectivity. Might as well have told her the sun was gonna set by 5pm. Just a fact.

And she responded with the same respectful objectivity and it was barely even reluctant when she said, “okay”.

And L and I worked on puzzles together today. And I let it be his show and we made a game of it, but I never rushed him or did it for him. I let him lead.

I gave them the opportunity and then I stepped aside and let each of them shine today.

What a blessing and a joy to take me and my feelings and my thoughts out of the equation and just talk to them.

I was afraid I’d break today. I was hoping I’d be able to withstand the bend. Turns out I stood tall all day.

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Trying to fight when you feel like flying.

The question is…

How do you proceed when you know so much about growth mindset, and the situation just sucks, and you want to reach out to someone, but don’t want advice and just want the comfort of someone’s knowing presence?

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The middle of nowhere.

For all intents and purposes, I had a really great week.

I had my kids home all week. My in laws (whom I love) came over for Christmas. I’ve had a bizarrely great relationship with my mother for the last week or two. She sent Christmas presents, which she hasn’t been able to for many years now and I sent her presents.

But amidst what was goodness, today I still feel forgotten.

I don’t know what part is truth and what part is perception. But it probably doesn’t really matter. At the end of the day (or the beginning, as it were) it still feels kinda crushing.

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I’ll wait up for you, dear.

I had such a nice day with my husband.

This sounds a little odd to say, seeing as it was a day filled with family and goings on and the neverendingness.

But also. I had such a nice day with my husband.

Today wasn’t really about the time we spent with each other. It was about the effortlessness of fluidity. It was about how we could be in a room together or a room apart and we still managed things in quiet synchronicity.

He did the dishes and cleaned the bathroom. While I wrapped presents and got Christmas stuff ready. He changed the cat’s litter while I vacuumed. He chilled in the living room with some family, while I chilled in the kitchen with other members of the family. We would meet up and we would separate.

We flowed.

I didn’t have nearly enough time with him today. I didn’t touch him enough or kiss him enough or take downtime with him enough. But still, I felt like we were in this together. On a day that is typically chaotic and intense and overwhelming, it felt easy to navigate family Christmas with him. He made my day.

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The minor fall and the major lift.

What a difference a year (or six) can make.

The last two weeks have been one crazy thing after another. My insurance is no longer accepting my doctor and physical therapist, so I either have to change insurance or change doctors. The $673 radiologist bill I should have never gotten, that I had fixed and was taken care of in November, suddenly appeared again and hadn’t been resolved afterall. I spent an hour and a half on phone calls getting it resolved again. (Shout out to Tamika who was my own personal savior.)

I’ve been trying to get ahold of a doggie day care place so Harley can run around and play with other pups because ohmygoodness is she in anxiety overdrive/bordering aggressive because she just wants to play play play and has no outlet. (I finally heard back today! Woo!) I ran with her on Sunday (ohmygod ohmygod ohmygod!! I ran! Two laps around the house!!! Freakin’ AMAZING!!!) and then promptly fell on my right knee and palm (and elbow and shoulder). Bright side: I hurt myself, but didn’t injure anything. Less than bright side holy oww and recovery time. (Bonus bright side: I tried Chris’s ghost pepper sauce and I’m a fucking rockstar!)

At 1am today instead of seeing Chris’s paycheck in the account, there was a $900+ fraudulent charge, just in time for me to pay the $150 medical bills today. Kitten’s first vet visit…wait….she has worms?… Oh, our dog’s been eating her poop when we’re not looking?…oh….well…that’s..special…

Have I even mentioned yet we adopted a kitten?! Meet Hazel. R’s early Christmas present/our new family member.

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And I paid the $4.60 on my daughter’s dentist account….that they were going to send me to collections for. Ha. And I was allowed to pay on (instead of pay off) another bill. Thank god. Bright side to all of it: the deposited paycheck offset the $700 overdraft and we’re blessed to have family who can help out until the bank refunds the locked charges.

R has midterms next week and is underslept and overstressed and navigating big adult problems while still being in a teenager’s body with a teenager’s brain. (Given the option to ignore the warning signs of a close friend or make the hard call to betray confidence in order to keep him alive,  she chose life and I couldn’t be more proud.) And S is navigating the end of the semester and a week of unprecedented homework he just hasn’t been able to keep up with, especially when his parents have been a bit m.i.a. in the evenings when it’s time to work on homework because of appointments and meetings. (Given the option this morning of staying home today to work on everything or go to school and own up to the consequences, he chose to go and I’m so freaking proud of him.) And L is still recovering from being sick last week and a bleeding diaper rash to boot because he’s been eating butternut squash soup for days and apparently he’s allergic. (This morning he slept in his own bed til after 5am. Whether fluke or trend, I’m so proud of him.)

Have I worn you out yet? ‘Cause I haven’t run out of material. I could keep going. I won’t tho. Because the only point I wanted to make is that I’m still standing. I didn’t even have to stand back up from this shit show because it hasn’t even knocked me down.

What a difference a year makes.

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Damn sure better than rain.

I went to my first Al-Anon meeting.

I wasn’t nervous at all when I left for the meeting. When I got there and sat down I was suddenly doing all my nervous things. People were inviting and warm, but also people were inviting and warm. They were paying attention to me and fawning and supportive and caring and gosh, that is a lot.

But I went. And I stayed. And I plan to go back.

Really, I already knew I’d go back before the meeting. I’ve been to AA meetings and OA meetings and I know the program is good. I know the people are supportive.

Well, most of the people. OA was a completely different fish. I once had a man tell me I didn’t belong there because I was too skinny. As if my appearance precludes me from using food as a coping mechanism. As if anyone in food recovery has to forfeit community support once they find healthier tools to survive. But I digress.

Al-Anon isn’t like that. I can be there for any reason, for any timeline in my life, for any alcoholic who has touched my life. And I didn’t really understand until recently that I probably should have been going all along.

I should have gone six years ago when Chris and I started dating. In the days when a small argument could have compromised his short sobriety.  Or when he switched jobs for his dream job and then they insisted he throw away his integrity or quit. And he quit. At an immeasurable hit to his self worth, closing not only that dream in his mind, but a true hope for any dream at all. Or the moment we got pregnant and then miscarried and didn’t get to keep Caleb and he retreated from life for a bit. I could have used Al-Anon when his doctor and seizure medication fucked him over completely. Or when he started taking another medicine he put all his faith in and it backfired and, for all intents and purposes, took away his sobriety. For three years.

I could have used Al-Anon. I could have used the support and guidance of people. And I just…I didn’t know better. I didn’t know there was help for me for all of that or where to find it or, really, that I needed the help. That I deserved the help. I thought maybe that’s just how it was going to be from now on. I knew I needed help–wanted help–, but I didn’t know the help I needed was possible to receive. That it was out there.

And so now here I am. Going to meetings. Getting the community I have so desperately needed. Allowing myself the self-care of actual help. Of not going at it alone. Of being told I’m braver and stronger for showing up than I ever was of trying to hold it together by myself. And so I’m gonna keep doing this awhile.

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Spinning in your head.

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The voices in my head could shut the fuck up now. This is the least relaxing walk ever.

~~~~~~~

Eta

It was my intention to turn the day around. Just because Chris was on the phone and the girl was sleeping and the boys were doing homework and watching netflix (respectable) didn’t mean I had to lose the last warm weather day. So I took Harley for a walk.

But instead of enjoying the walk and the weather and the outside, I just could not stop the voices in my head. The voices waiting for the argument to ensue. It was like I was trying to protect some future me, in case my walk was misconstrued. And so now I’m back home and the sun is slowing going down and the weather is mild, but verging chilly and…this weekend was no reprieve at all.

I get to practice again tomorrow.