I own all the content and pictures on this site, except where noted. If you steal anything from me, and
especially if you do anything mean or inappropriate with them, I will find you. Then I'll sue you for
theft, slander, libel and any other law that applies. Then I'll ridicule you in humiliating ways
here and everywhere else I contribute to. If you fuck with me, I'll get get all Gladiator on your ass
and unleash hell. Think I'm kidding? So did my a couple of my exes, my old neighbors, as well as
some assholes who ripped me off on Ebay, and last I heard, they were all still trying to undo the
damage I caused.
I haven't been able to really write here lately, and I've been kinda bothered by it. Besides being busy with work and life and trying to de-stress, I have just not felt very inspired or like anything going on in my life is particularly interesting.
This is mainly because there is nothing going on in my life. And this is not a bad thing; it just makes for less-than-stellar blogging. Does anyone really want to hear about how messy my house is, or how stressful work is? Because I sure as hell don't want to write about it.
And I don't want to read too much into this relatively quiet stage I'm in, because I know I'll jinx it, and also, because I am making a real, true effort to not analyze every damn thing. I concluded recently (o.k., for like the tenth time) that all my thinking and analyzing and obsessing was really harming me. It was just too much; and it was taking a very, very, very bad toll on me. There is nothing to be gained from it, and I knew I had to just stop if I wanted to get out alive. So I did. I'm honestly trying.
The plan now is to just, you know, live. Allow the thoughts and feelings, acknowledge them, but then stop before I dive into the misery. I don't want to deny, but I don't want to let it consume me anymore. I think it's o.k. to stop punishing myself now and focus on being the kind of person I want to be.
My God, sometimes I think I'm growing as a human being.
Really, I'm sorry for the quiet for what it does to my blogging, but I'm happy for it because of what it does for my peace of mind. I hope to remedy that by getting back to all the other stuff I used to write about, if I ever remember what it was.
But see, here is me recently. That smile you see? It's real.
Aw, this sucks. I'm here staring at the blank *page* and my head is one big, uh, blank. That's an awful lot of "blank"s in such a short space.
But it states my cases completely! I have no words right now; this week and next are stressful ones at work (and, consider this a warning: I'm entering a busy season - four major events in three months - so this might happen again), and my brain is fried. Busy days, stressful situations, working late at night - it hasn't been a fun couple of weeks, and I still have some more to go before I get a quick break and then have to pick it back up again.
Sooo..... what's up? You good? I'm o.k. You know, good days, bad days; trying very hard to be a positive, kind, humorous person. Not sure how successful I am at that, but hey, effort counts, right?
Well, seriously, I'm making a concerted effort to keep my worrying down to a minimum and to bring it out only when it's really necessary. Not only do I know I need to do that for my longterm wellbeing, but I'm honestly so fried (there I go again, repeating adjectives!), that my brain just can't handle it anymore. All the worrying and anxiety - it's really been affecting me (negatively), so I'm pushing myself to focus on what is, not what could be, and then going with that.
But to do this, I really just can't think too much about certain things right now. Not that I'm in denial about anything, just that I can only allow a short amount of time to certain things, give myself the space to acknowledge what I'm feeling, and then stopping there and letting it go for the time being. My God, it's really hard, but I know I have to do it right now. I need a break. I need to detach from all my shit and learn to have my thoughts and feelings without allowing them to consume me.
Oh my, I'm back to blanking out. I'm exhautsed. Send chocolates, people. And a gift certificate for a massage. I'll heart you forever for it.
Ever since Max started school, the strangest thing has happened: my evenings are mine again.
This is because there is no naptime at his school, and by 7 p.m., he is one tired, wonky little creature. Bedtime is now a firm 7:30 (sometimes even a little earlier!), a time early enough for me not to pass out with him (as I used to when he would go to bed around 9 or 9:30), and early enough for me to have a nice evening to do whatever I need or want to do.
I'm still marveling at this turn of events, and am hoping as I write this that I haven't jinxed everything by mentioning it. It used to be so frustrating when I would fall asleep at 9:30, only to wake up around 12:30 or 1 a.m., all groggy and out of place, but unable to go back to sleep.
Of course, this doesn't mean my insomnia is now gone; I just have a better chance to battle it. Leaving the bedroom at around 8 p.m., I have a few straight hours to exhaust myself - by cleaning, writing, reading, watching TV, working, or my perpetual organizing - so that I stand a better chance of actually being able to fall asleep sometime between 1 and 2 a.m.
The extra time has resulted in my feeling, for the first time since everything went to hell, like I can actually sit and think more carefully and thoroughly about Max and his wellbeing in a more longterm way. In other words, I can think past the next day. This brings me much relief. It's not like I actually do anything; it is just the peace of mind of knowing my brain has the time and space it needs to see farther down the road and keep options, possibilities and solutions in mind.
I've spent many, many months wishing that my life was settled. For a person like me, with the tendencies and issues that I have, feelings of instability and chaos are very hard to live with and work through. At the end of 2008, I was so much at a breaking point that I knew I had to take real, concrete steps towards creating whatever sense of stability and normalcy I could, no matter how temporary even that was. And while I have done some concrete things, a lot of it has been really working on myself and the way I see and handle things.
And this new thing of having time in the evenings has really helped me. If it's meant to change again, I just hope I have a little more time with things as they are now, so that I can get to a better place. If not, then it's a good thing and maybe the road ahead (which is still a difficult one for me) will be a little smoother.
Either way, this right now is good. I'm enjoying it, I'm appreciating it. I think I'm going to get better and better about how I use this little pocket of time. Maybe less lazying around, and more organizing. Or maybe more relaxing and less stressing. Hell, maybe one day I can have a friend or two over for dinner and good conversation.
I had a vision - a clear, detailed vision - of the kind of wife I wanted to be. My opinion on what a real marriage is, it is strong and firm and something, I think, kinda neat. And the longer I was married, the closer I felt to being the kind of wife I wanted to be, and the closer I felt my marriage was to being the grounded, fulfilling, wonderful thing I wanted it to be.
The thing I don't know anymore is - was I ever right in feeling that way? Or was it all in my head? Did I ever even come close to being what I wanted to be; was my marriage ever anything close to what I thought was a good thing?
Time and pain blur things. I no longer know if those moments that seemed so real and so cool and so there were real or not. Were they? Or were they manifested only to me because I wanted it so badly? And if I felt - no, if I knew, because my actions were very consciously planned and executed - that I was doing my part to be the kind of partner I wanted to be, but, as it has been very clearly stated to me, I failed to be a good partner, how seriously off-base is my vision? And how do I even rectify that, when I was just so sure? And is there any real possibility that I was indeed putting in a good effort, doing things the right way, and my failure is based more on the other's perception, the way their issues taint everything they see?
It is surprising - painfully so - to think about all the things you wanted to be, and very consciously tried to be, and realize you missed the mark completely. And I can't wholly buy that and believe that such was the case with me.
And this doesn't matter anymore from the perspective of the life that's no longer mine, but it matters when I think about the life that lies ahead of me, when I think about all the things I would still like and would still like to be.
The things I want to be - right now I don't want any of it very concretely with another; I just want it in an abstract sort-of way. Right now I just want to believe I can still be those things; or rather, that I will try to be those things and someone will believe in me, recognize the effort and feel like they have something pretty special in me. It looks so simple in black and white; what a shame that my faith in such a beautiful thing is so utterly shaken.
I could be - I'm sure of it - empathetic and supportive and encouraging and fun and kind. I would be thrilled to be inspiring, but am not counting on it. I could be the kind of woman who is a true ally, who can channel her passion in ways that would make life just so effing good.
For now, I will believe this. I will believe in myself: in everything I once tried to be, and in everything I can still be.
I almost always convince myself, very easily, that crappy situations are permanent. When the bad things happen, when it's days and weeks (and months) of misery, pain, tears and struggling, I just accept it all as my new normal. I take on the feelings of sadness and frustration and despair as my new state of being.
This kind of normal, though, is obviously not a good thing. And it can only go so long before you're ready to kill either yourself or the one who brought this on in the first place. The problem is, how does one make the shift? How do I shed these feelings when they're there because that's simply what I feel? I may be tired of them, anxious for something different, but I've felt no more able to control/change what I feel than anyone else can. I suppose I could force myself into a certain place, take on the kind of attitude that pushes all these feelings back. But I have learned in my time that when one runs from their feelings, they inevitably catch up, and usually at double their strength. It's better, then, to allow them to be as they are, to embrace them and suffer through to come out clean on the other side.
Yet, it feels lately like I am more balanced between these sad feelings and having a better outlook and taking steps towards something new and good. At least there's that. I've managed to get past the very darkest dark and am happy to be less emotional and calmer, more practical. You can only go so far with the overwhelmingly awful feelings. I can't say that enough right now. Generally speaking, I feel more removed from the vortex of hell, more eager to have new adventures and get back in touch with myself, and just plain anxious to get whatever my new life is to be movin'. This doesn't mean that situations don't get to me, that the sadness and all the other crappy feelings aren't still with me, or even that now I'm "fine" - but I certainly feel the difference.
It's actually that difference that worries me some (oh, I know: I can't get past one hurdle without placing another in my own path). The thing is this: when I feel happy, it feels wrong. When I find I've had an entire day untouched by the negativity and sadness, it feels wrong. When I am joining friends for dinner, and I look in the mirror and think, "Tere, you are so lovely!" - it feels wrong. I can't shake the feeling that I am being disloyal, even though there is nothing to be disloyal to anymore (and there is nothing inherently disloyal about trying to be happy). And so I wonder if this may have to do with (false) accusations I lived with during my marriage, or how I am still learning to separate myself from my relationship to another - I'm not sure which one it is, or what the real deal is here.
I wonder, what right do I have to aim for a fun night out, or to feel complete peace in my home, or to maintain an upbeat, positive attitude? And so these feelings of guilt/disloyalty are quickly followed by the feeling that whatever little crumbs of something good I have now, they won't last (and certainly, a couple of things have happened over the last week to back that theory up, but I'm choosing to give no importance or much thought to those things because they ultimately make no real impact in my life). You know, I'm like a peasant in ancient Greece: dare to be happy and the gods will smite you! Yeah, I believe it.
I am frustrated by this, because I don't really feel that I have anything to feel badly about. It is my right as much as anyone's to want and strive for some peace and happiness and an enjoyable life. So what gives?
My frustration and sadness are still a part of me, but I'm trying hard to move past them, or at least place them somewhere less all-consumming. I know that at this point, this is the right thing for my wellbeing, for my healing and starting over. And it feels good - it honestly feels so friggin' good - to have some taste of normalcy and light-heartedness and optimism in my life again. But why I'm feeling these pangs of guilt and disloyalty, I just don't know, and I don't know what to do about it.
Let's all heave a quick sigh of relief: my stress is temporarily abated. For now, it doesn't feel like it's going to choke the life out of me; it's acting like it's happy to hang around in the background, doing a delicate dance of coming up too strong and close, then pulling back when I'm about to lose it.
I guess I have a habit of freaking the hell out with the amount of stress I have, and in so doing, it dissipates some. That, and, I get fed up with all the shit causing the stress that I tackle it like a crazy beast, and at the very least, things get scratched off the to-do list and I feel better.
So right now, the water is calm, and I'm enjoying it. There are things brewing in the distance, both work-related and personal, that will surely up the stress levels soon enough. They will. I'm in a very busy and important time of year for my work, and the things that have popped into my life without any friggin' warning - like, not even a sign, or a loud popping noise, or - I don't know - one of the plagues, maybe - are undoubtedly going to beat me up some. I can't even think about it right now. Because right now, right this second, there is just this tiny pocket of calm, and I need to savor it.
In related news, I've been working like crazy on getting this house in order - decluttering, organizing, donating, throwing away. It's a never-ending task. I do one room, and the others look like hell. So I move on to the next one, and by the time I get to the last room, all the others are back to their previous hellish state. I wish someone would just come in and finish it up for me, get me through that last hump so I can just enjoy my cute little home without worrying about or dealing with all the crap.
Ugh. I'm tired.
And this may seem completely off topic and unrelated to all I've said here, but it's not. I need a pedicure. I do. My poor toes. My poor stressed-out feet. They need some love. So does my aching back. God, all of me needs some love.
At Least He Wasn't Screaming for my Boob in Public (Yet)
He loves his new baby cousin so much....
And he was very intrigued by the way she got her lechita...
So much so that that night, as we settled in for bedtime, he asked, "Mami, can I have lechita from your tetica? He got very upset when I told him I had no milk in me, wailing, "But I want lechita from your tetica!!!!" And he cried and cried and cried when I explained it just couldn't be.
I managed to stop him before he latched on to see for himself, but it was a close call.
Over the course of the last eight or so months, I have had dozens (at least, but probably more like thousands) of conversations with family, friends, even - to a lesser degree - co-workers and acquaintances, about all the shit going on in my life. With some people, the conversations have been very deep and very painful - the kinds of things you can say to those you love and know love you right back. Others have been more superficial, but touching anyway on these things because these things have taken over every aspect of my life and personality. It's been inevitable.
When everything happened, I debated how open I should be about it, even with those closest to me. Initially, I said what had to be said to inform everyone, and said no more. I didn't really say much here on this site.
The thing is, this situation has been too huge for me to contain inside. As more shit happened, as my feelings fluctuated and magnified and threatened to kill me, as the roller coaster of emotions and thoughts got crazier, as I had to deal with his poorly thought-out actions, I have needed to communicate. I have needed perspective, advice, willing ears, the freedom to cry and be held. I have needed comfort and hope. I have needed having my ass kicked a little.
So I decided, albeit somewhat unconsciously, to reach out. And I'm glad I did. Between the emails and phone calls and hanging out and writing here; and between having people check on me or drop me a note or say a few words or sharing their personal stories or offering me cliches (and cliches, while... well, cliche-y, have been just as welcome, because while imperfect, there are truths in those), I have been surviving this. All these things have been the difference between utter despair and keeping touch with reality. Without any of these people, these words, this kind of support, I would have locked myself in my own world, completely lost in the shit in my head, without a lifeline to objectivity or different perspectives. I would have been in a dangerous position that would have definitely threatened my son.
How do I even explain what all this has meant to me? Those of you who have had the most brutal conversations with me: your level of honesty and compassion have sustained me. And those times you've been tough and blunt with me? I appreciate those more than you know. I have needed to hear that I was wrong or seeing something too narrowly; I have needed to be slapped around and told to get the eff over it and move on. At a time when the natural choice has been for me to believe every dark and scary thought, to think the worst, your pushing me to see things differently and consider other sides of the situation has been a great help. I can't state it enough: I would not be surviving this without you.
Why is this sounding like the speech I'd give if I was receiving a lifetime achievement award?
And do they give awards for surviving this kind of awful shit? Because if so, I want one.
Throughout all this, there have been times when my self-esteem has been on shaky ground. There have been times where I doubted everything I thought I was or thought I knew about myself. During those times, I've had to ask, "am I really all those things he says I am?"; "will I always be what I became in this marriage?"; "will anyone ever see me any differently than this?"
In all I have communicated with so many people - people who know me well, or know me marginally, or know me only through this blog (which... wow, sorry about that!) - a number of things have been stated repeatedly; enough times for me to feel like maybe I should believe those things. Because if other people from different parts of my life all agree on those things, perhaps they are real.
And so, if that's the case, if I go by you, then I am:
1. A good mother.
2. A strong woman.
3. A woman capable of surviving this, not just barely, but possibly brilliantly.
4. A woman who is more mature than she gives herself credit for.
5. A woman who remains passionate - about her son, her possibilities in life, and everyone/thing she cares about.
6. A woman who is stubborn and persistent - but who can channel these traits in positive ways.
7. A woman who is beautiful.
And while the first one is the most important one to me, it is this last one that I need to write about.
I have kinda gone into the blow my self-esteem took with all the stuff I've been dealing with since my marriage ended. But prior to my marriage ending, even if my self-esteem was so-so, I had not felt beautiful for a very long time. It is difficult for me to get into the particulars of this problem without 1) feeling very raw and vulnerable, and 2) making Ben look like a total ass. So you will just have to believe me when I say that certain factors in my life created a situation where beautiful was the last thing I felt.
So much so, that I grew accustomed to not seeing myself as a beautiful woman. I stopped relating to the part of me that was attractive and flirtatious and - shall I say it? - sexual. I applied that same concept to everyone I knew, everyone I came into contact with. I was many things to them, but not attractive or flirty or desirable.
When I began to open up to those closest to me, inevitably, this issue (and the specific details) came up. While this is probably one of the things I've been most private about, it's had to come out, because just like everything else, it was killing me, perhaps more keenly than some other things. And at first, I heard what I figured I would hear: my loved ones expressing shock and disgust, then rushing to tell me that, please, I am an attractive woman. I heard it and ignored it - of course that's what they would say.
But as I've gone about my life, trying to restore order and reconnect with myself, a strange thing happened: I just began to feel beautiful. That's it. I looked in the mirror and saw my frizzy hair and crooked nose and poochy belly and big butt and thought, "well damn, I'm hot!" At least, I liked what I saw. I like what I see every day, even on the days where I'm bloated and unable to deny the cellulite. I can't explain it, really. It just is.
And so as my wonderful people continued with their affirmations, what I had taken as gestures of love and support took on a new meaning: What if they meant it? What if it was true? What if - and this is the important one - people see me far differently than I had been seeing myself?
There is another angle to this, too: in the wake of my becoming a single woman again, there has entered into my life the issue of, ahem, men. I mean, not like in some freaky way: just, simply, that I realize that men notice me; some look; others flirt; and others have gone as far as acting like they like me, in that way. A few times, I've practically believed they do indeed find me pretty and - GULP - desirable. But I mean, let's not get crazy with this. No one has looked into my eyes and rhapsodized about my beauty or expressed their long-held, secret wish that I would even cast glance at them, much less share a meal or a movie with them, but I'm a big girl and can admit it: some boys think I'm easy on the eyes. *giggle*
Which, wow. Also, CRAP. That is all. I can handle no more thoughts about this topic.
This is a strange new world for me. I'm trying to make sense of it all, trying to move forward, trying to stay focused on the positive, trying to keep my worries and fears under control.
I want to think that I have entered a phase where good things can begin to happen, even amidst lingering sadness and problems. I certainly want the good things, and I want to be open to them.
And if I have heard you correctly, you see me differently than I see myself. I like how you see me; I want to see myself that way, too.
I am taking my nothing and am fighting to create something. Something beautiful.
I've been so incredibly stressed out that it looks like I've gone and given myself an ulcer. Or some kind of gastric illness that is making my life a living hell, what with the constant nausea and acid reflux. Not sure yet what it is, but I'm sure the specialist I'm seeing next week will let me know.
So based on that alone, I can confidently conclude that I have never been this stressed out in my whole life. That's it, I've reached the big-time with stress. How shall we celebrate?
As part of my ongoing emotional clusterfuck, I'm also happy to report that I'm pretty much off the morose bus, and ready to get busy with the moving on part of this nightmare. What that means for this blog, I haven't got a clue. This is a tough situation to navigate without the potentials pitfalls one can encounter or create with or through a blog, and I am very sensitive to that. As always, I want to be respectful of others' privacy, including my own, but I foresee moments where that will be really hard.
Moments like... hey, this one!
I've had this pretty massive shift from sadness and tears to frustration and impatience because of the stress I'm under. It's so bad that I'm physically ill now, and besides that, it's ruling my life. It isn't all just this situation, of course. I'm very stressed out at work (who isn't?), and it feels like I can't get any task completed or even do the work I'm supposed to do because of countless interruptions and having to deal with situations that should not be occurring in the first place.
So there's work, and of course, the stress of my financial responsibilities. But then all this other shit comes in, and that's what sends me over the edge.
I understand that right now, things are fine, or as fine as they can be. Ben and I are still adjusting to all these changes, and with Max having just started school, we're all in for another round of adjustments. In fact, every book I've read has made it clear that this feeling of survival mode and adjusting can last up to two or three years. So, I get that a lot of my feelings of uncertainty are completely normal. Under the circumstances, I think we each manage as best as we can, although there is a lot to be desired in the communication department. But hey, that's nothing new. I also know that Max is still too young to be deeply (negatively) affected by this; at this point, the suckiest part is the back-and-forth between mami and daddy's house, and missing the other parent when he's not with him/her. And I don't make light of that; I'm sure he's confused and trying to make sense of it in his own way. But the truth is that his father and I make all our interactions in his presence very pleasant. He regularly sees his parents talk and respect each other's role; we present a united front and consistently encourage him to be affectionate with the other parent, including nightly phone calls.
No, when I break it down, I have to give Ben kudos and pat my own back. Overall, we are doing o.k.
Where my stress comes in is when I think about the long years ahead of me. What is easy now will surely change just as soon as his schoolwork and acivities and personality become more complicated. We will settle into some messed-up kind of normalcy and that is when all of this will stop working, and we'll be back at square one, trying to hash it all out. And that thought alone makes me feel like none of us will ever feel settled, none of us will ever feel like we know which way is up or what the hell we're doing. It will always be negotiating and doubting and worrying. Then take that and multiply it by at least 15 years, and what do you have? One hell of a scary, stressful mess.
And in the midst of all that will be (because it now is and I have no reason to believe it will change) all the crap that Ben and I carry between us, all the shit that is unresolved and will remain so, but still affects the way we interact and carry out our lives. Oh, fun. If I had the peace of mind of having my marital issues nicely resolved and packed in a box, it would be sad, but it would make life easier. I don't have that, I don't think I ever will. I have to live with this gaping hole, this lack of answers or reasons for why things happened, and happened as they did. The silence was deafening in my marriage, and it continues to be so, even without the marriage. And yeah, yeah, time will make that better, but only to a degree. It is effing hard to redefine a relationship and move forward with something new when the old one is still torn up all over the place.
I feel like my greatest failure here is the fractured life I am giving my son. I will one day try to tell him that if there was anything more I could have done to avoid this, I would have, gladly, eagerly. But by the time I tell him this, when he's old enough to understand, it may be too late, and the damage done. I have no way to fix this fracture, and for all that it will do to him, I carry this painful, despairing stress.
They say that marriage is a life sentence. They're wrong. It's divorce, especially when you have a child, and all you ever wanted was to give him a happy, stable, whole life.
Four years ago today, I found out I was pregnant. The story is pretty much covered here (the rest of that post? We can file under "famous last words").
I always remember this day; for me, it is as if it were just yesterday. Everything about that afternoon is so clear in my mind; and this is especially meaningful for me because of my swiss-cheese memory. I remember how I'd spent a couple of weeks with this incredible pain/soreness in my boobs, and how all I wanted to eat was either bacon or cream cheese. I grew suspicious when I remembered we had not been careful and I had no memory of my last period. I had one test left from a previous (false) suspicion, so I got home from work and went straight to the bathroom. The rest is history, and from that moment forward, I remember just about everything.
There is something amazing about that first confirmation. I wonder if even moms who lose a pregnancy still cherish that day as much as those of us who are blessed enough to meet our babies. I would imagine so. I would hope so. For me that day ranks high among the best ever. It always will.
I want another baby. Babies, actually. I have long wanted three children, and still do. There is no danger of such a thing happening now, or any time in the foreseeable future; and that is the thing that both relieves and saddens me. It's actually an odd and sad thought to think of having children with anyone other than Ben. Had we been able to save our relationship, I probably would have been pregnant right now, or at least working on it. It's a tough-ass pill to swallow, but I suppose it will pass. Part of letting go of the life imagined, right?
But from time to time I do think about it. I want more children. Although I really can't visualize it in any real way, I know I want this. Not alone, of course. I am well aware that being a single mother to one child is all I can handle, and I could not provide for another. I just know that even though I adore Max and he is more than enough for me, I want to give him at least a brother or a sister. I don't want this to be the end of the maternity line for me.
At the same time, to seriously consider this means to consider allowing someone new in my life, to allow myself to open up to love again - and I am SO not able to do that. Not able, and not interested. It is completely unimaginable to me. And so I end up in this circular argument with myself, of wanting more children and a loving relationship but knowing I am not capable of the latter, and so the former cannot be.
And in the middle of that, I am aware that I am moving much too quickly here, that I am insane for thinking about these things now. Because of course I'm not ready now; but life keeps going, and I don't know who might enter mine, or what may happen, so I am quite possibly stressing and sighing for no good reason. I know. But my brain hates me and likes to do this to me.
UGH. This is a topic best left untouched. I have the beautiful memory of January 6, 2005, when I learned I was going to be a mother.
There is Entirely Too Much Growing Up Going on Around Here
My son starts school tomorrow.
I need to let that sink in.
My son - my tiny, soft, most precious son - starts school tomorrow. A real school, with a full curriculum, uniform, the works. I am excited and proud and a little sad at yet another milestone. I am aware - much more so since his father and I separated - at how quickly time is flying. As recently as October, he was in diapers and addicted to his pacifier. Now is he pacifier-free and almost completely potty trained (almost. Let's not talk too much about the potty and having to pee and poop in the potty; one false move and kid goes right in his pants or pulls them down and goes right where he's standing, whatever that spot might be). And as of tomorrow, he will be an official pre-schooler.
I am sad that he's leaving the home daycare he's been at since he was five months old, but it's time. He's needed the structured, more stimulating environment of a school for quite some time now. It's so obvious to me that his mind is hungry for more. His father and I have been in this process of finding the right school and making the best decision for him on and off since last Spring. We both wanted the same type of school for him and really wanted to find the best one for him, which we believe we have.
But of course, in the middle of this excitement (and for now, he is SO excited about school and his new teacher and his new friends, and - as he keeps stating - because he is going to paint with the color blue), I am somewhere between happy and sad and devastated. I vacillate between "My boy is so big and smart and awesome!" and "My baby! Where's my baby? OH MY GOD I CAN'T HANDLE THIS!!!!" I feel like I spend so much time encouraging him to learn things and be independent and cheering him on as he moves forward in everything he does; and then night falls and he seeks me out for hugs and snuggles and all I can think is, "He's just a baby; he's so tiny and fragile and innocent and sweet." His face to me is that of a baby still - all I see is innocence and fragility.
And yet, to a degree, I am wrong. However innocent and vulnerable he is, he is equally a strong, resilient boy. He is confident; he laughs a great deal. The one comfort I have had throughout this whole "marriage going kablooey" thing is how well Max has handled it. I credit both his father and myself for this, for our shared anxiety over and intense love for this boy so that we have each done everything we can to protect him from our personal pain and anger. If I step back and asses the situation, Max is thriving and happy and stable.
But I can't always step back. I am guilty of infusing into him all my own worries, forgetting that I cannot put on a child all the feelings and complex thoughts an adult has. The days that are the most stressful are the ones where I'm worrying over Max being traumatized, or Max growing up damaged, or Max resenting me for all this, or Max being unable to have healthy, stable relationships, or Max becoming a little shit. And I go on and on like this, convincing myself that my marriage's ending has doomed my son for good, when in reality, a two-parent home does not guarantee emotional health or a life free of issues.
I'm having a hard time keeping perspective on this; how many people do I know (myself included!) who have some serious shit to deal with, and they came from two-parent homes? And how many people were raised by a single parent and are healthy, well-adjusted adults? Why is it so hard for me to apply some basic truths and common sense about this to my own situation?
I hope that time and experience temper these worries, because if not the stress will kill me. I remind myself that my feelings - for where I am in this process - are normal. I can do no more than all I do now. But I have to learn to separate (as a wise friend recently pointed out to me) my feelings about my marriage and love gone wrong and failure from my feelings and abilities as a mother. They are two separate things, and my failing as a wife does not mean I will fail as a mother. I hope.
But Max. Max is growing and changing and becoming this amazing human being. Life right now is filled with his sweet voice constantly chattering, with his rambunctiousness, with his charm, with his mischief and stubbornness and awesome laughter. His laughter. It is the balm to every ache, a sound so joyful and real that it never fails to make my heart feel like it's going to explode. To say that I am blessed and lucky to have this creature who is currently so obsessed with trucks, trains and flushing the toilet is an understatement - but I am. I just simply am.
And tomorrow, this boy of my heart starts school. His world will open some more and expand; it will have new depth and dimension. He will be in capable hands that will teach him and encourage him to continue growing in so many different and exciting ways. I can't help but feel good for him, and eager to do my part for him.
Still. My heart aches a little. This growing up - it is sometimes too quick and too painful. However necessary and inevitable it is, its fleeting nature sometimes leaves me breathless.
For now, though, I'm just going to hope he doesn't pee in his pants and remembers to ask for the potty when he has to go. Life is full of lessons, and that's a big one right there.