(Not the usual humor, this is serious, be prepared!)
It has taken me a while to come up with just how I want to put my thoughts down about what has happened in the last month. Since the 15th of September, I have accompanied my spouse to an award ceremony, come home to a shit storm, done a lot of soul searching and fallen into and pulled myself out of (hopefully) a blue funk, deep depression, the umps, whatever you want to call it. I have felt like I have been on the mountain top and the deepest valley and all points in between.......let me take you thru a tour of my fevered mind (buckle up, it's not a pretty sight, my head looks like my house, in need of a good clean out).
I started out with a certain unease about going to Omaha with Joe. I was afraid that I would embarrass him, that I wouldn't look good enough, might talk to much, say something not acceptable....things I have been accused of doing most of my life, so why should I think this adventure would be any different. Let me start with our trip to Omaha:
First of all, I have always been paranoid about how I look. My mother, God rest her soul, (when I look back I think she thought she might be sparing me but little did she realize how much damage she did) always told me that I had better learn to cook or do something spectacular because I would never get anywhere on my looks. This has always sat in the back of my mind, and I always dress down (tshirt, sweats, sneakers, no make up) as I never wanted to bring attention to my looks or lack there of. Here I had to dress up for this dinner, and to tell the truth, I was horrified that I would pop out in all the wrong places, paint my face like a clown and generally be a laughing stock and bring shame to my husband on a day when he should be the star. I had this so bad the night of the banquet that I sent Joe down to the lobby to wait 'while I put on my makeup' and had a complete bawl, beating the bed, crying jag before washing my face and putting on the make up, the facade, the smile, and heading downstairs.
Secondly, I talk, and talk, and talk. When I get nervous, or feel insignificant, or think someone is looking at me critically (see #1) I usually talk faster, louder, and sometimes say things that shouldn't be said. When we were first picked up, we went by the main headquarters of Joe's company to meet all the people he works for/with. We go into a large office where the work stations are divided into cubicles....and I have a flash back to the mid-80's when I worked at Prudential doing medicare and medicare supplemental insurance.....I was good at it. I had an office, a briefcase, a name plate....I was someone who made a difference.....in Omaha, here I was looking in from the outside to people who were the same age as I was when I did that, and I realized that I could be doing something like that, I should be doing something like that.....and I felt like I had been left in the dust, an afterthought. In the years since, when I have attempted to get back into the workforce doing something similar, I don't get a nibble......while all this is going on in the back of my head, we are talking, talking, talking and I pray my prattling doesn't adversely impact their view of him, or in lieu of that, that they don't take pity on him for the ball and chain he has with him.
Thirdly, my husband decides to play with my head. Let me go back to the very beginning with Joe. I love my husband, I love him with all the breath I have in my body and I would do anything for him. With that said, I have always been paranoid (again with that word) that it has always been a dream, a figment of my imagination that he loves me in return. I have actually said to him, 'you could have done better' or'why are you still here with me'....and he brushes it off. Now, I am going to say something that may be a surprise to some, a confirmation to others, and a 'I knew it all along so why are you bringing it up now' to a few more. I dropped out of college with 12 credits short of a bachelors of social work to marry Joe. I was pregnant at the time. Although he said he never felt trapped, I always have had it in the back of my head that I trapped him into marrying me as he is an honorable man and did what was expected of him. It has been almost 30 years since then, but still that thought lingers. If any of you who read this have found yourself in the same situation, particularly if you are male, please PLEASE reinforce to the other party that you married them for love and not out of 'obligation'. I wish he had reassured me more, but that is water under the bridge. 30 years and three additional children later he decides that on the night of the banquet he will dedicate his award to ME, he tells me that he loves me. I wanted to fall apart. I didn't know what to think, as in the back of my mind (those voices again) I was hearing 'now that he sees how much he is appreciated, and how valued he is he may realize what a drain you are on him'. So yet again, I put on the false front and made like I was mad at him for trying to make me cry and ruin the makeup it took so long for me to put on.
Finally, on this trip, I had to face my shortcomings as a mother. We were escorted around by Joe's contract manager (see the earlier posts), a young man who is, literally, the same age as my oldest son. We joked with him that he is my 'fifth child' or that I was going to trade my eldest for him, but inside it wasn't a joke.....it killed me to see him with his children and wife being a responsible young man and me having the thoughts that I would kill to have a child like that, then I felt overwhelming guilt for not having that type of relationship with my own son and for gauging one against the other.
We get home and I find that the dishes I left on Tuesday to be done were still in the sink on Saturday morning, the two kids still at home are at each other's throats (20 and 17, think they could co-exist, right?). I get home and find a message that my grandbabies' mom and her fiance have a bad virus and they want to know if I want the two boys overnight Saturday into Sunday. The little one wets my bed, the bigger on is whiney and clingy. I go to bed for three days afterwards........
I can't process everything. I write my blog giving a blow by blow description, using the humor that has gotten me thru most all things in life. To those in the know, we have had a rocky relationship with Joey since he got out of the Navy. He gets wild, settles down for a while and appears to have his head on, starts raising a family, after a divorce, with a fiance and has two little boys, then 'needs to find himself' and does a runner. His father and I do not condone his new chosen lifestyle, and he blames us for all his 'issues' and told me 'he will call the shots and will bring whatever girl he happens to be with into my home whenever' I told him no, my house my rules, and I haven't spoken with him since. This has been two years at least (except for one time he stopped by, but I refused to do what he asked and he blew out again). Please know that I love my son, I will always love my son. I cannot and will not condone his behaviors tho. After the guiltstorm I felt after our trip, I go to the place my son 'supposedly' works. I ask after him, and I get the message that 'his current girlfriend has said he is to have no contact with me and I am to 'go to hell'. Again, I go to bed. I am not doing housework, I am not cooking, I shower if I remember, I just can't think straight......
So you do not think I am wallowing in the Slough of Despondency (hey literati, read the Pilgrim's Progress) I did this for almost a week straight. Then I said to myself "Self, get your ass out of bed and get a life". I have friends online who are dealing with a lot more than I am, I have two friends from high school, one who is fighting cancer herself after losing her nephew/surrogate child to a brain tumor this summer and one who is dealing with the sudden death of her husband and having widowhood thrust upon her in her early 50's. That they get up each day and go on is an inspiration to me. I sit and think, and think and think.....I call my oldest and dearest friend from college and pour out my despair on her. As someone who faced down death herself from breast cancer and came out on the other side, she said things to me that needed to be said. Right now, I am a drain on Joe because I 'think I am a drain'. I hate that I am not a contributing member of this family, and I am feeling unfulfilled as a human being as I am not 'making the difference' that I know I can. So, I went and got my nails done again! Why? It made me feel better, human, pretty even. Then I screwed up enough courage to talk about this with Joe. On Sunday mornings we have 'our' time together. We usually go to the local diner for breakfast, just us, no kids, no grandkids, just us. I told him I want to be a contributor and not a taker anymore (he disagreed that I was a 'taker' stating I ran the house, etc., but I proceeded). I stated that I had not completed my college degree and even tho it was only 12 credits short, I could not in all honesty state I was a college graduate and therefore ineligible for a job that I could do, but demanded proof of a college degree. I wanted to go back to school. Our eldest is 'out there', the oldest daughter is teaching in Arizona, the younger son is in college and the youngest girl is a junior in high school and looking at college....I want us to be able to afford to live the way we wanted to all along, I want to contribute not only to our income, but to society as a whole. My background is in medicine/insurance so I will be looking at some form of medical administrative courses.....
I am going to quote the consummate Southern woman again, Scarlett O'Hara, when, after Rhett Butler left her and slammed the door in her face....she sat on the step, had a good cry, then picked herself up and said 'Tomorrow is another day'....so for me, tomorrow IS another day. I will NOT feel guilty for loving on another young family as I still love my child and my door is always open to him, just that I refuse to be his, or anyone else's, doormat. I will tell my daughters that they are smart, beautiful and the most wonderful human beings in the world, correcting what my mother started with them before she passed. I will tell ALL of my children, real and 'adopted' that they can be and do anything their hearts desire if they put forth the effort and have the will to do it......I will be the best Gramma I can be. I 'have' accomplished much in my first 50 years on this earth (there's a lot there when I look back) and there is so much more to do in the next 50. I am lucky that I found my ideal spouse, not necessarily 'ideal' overall, but ideal for me. He loves me, I love him more and more each day, he has my back, like I have his. I have some wonderful people in my life. I may not have any 'close' friends who are in close proximity, but the friends I have who are spread around the country (hey, I forgot Diane, she's in Russia and Sharon is in Ecuador, so around the world) more than make up for it.......Is my family messed up? Parts of it. But who doesn't have the drama associated with having people in your life. It's time for me to pick myself up by my bootstraps, brastraps, underwear elastic, what have you and get on with life. Now I gotta call the local college and see what they can offer an 'older' student and if anything from the Class of '83 will transfer.