Oh 2am....my old friend. So many nights I can think of, sitting in front of my computer, typing and crying at the same time. A quiet house and I'm left with nothing but reality TV and my thoughts.
I see myself doing something lately and I'm not exactly sure how to stop it. It's like I see myself making the wrong choice, but yet I don't change. I choose to avoid life. My kids, housework, friends, etc....I avoid it all until I can't anymore. It appears that the last 5 months took a toll on me larger than I expected or realized and now I'm not quite the same person. But yet I don't feel I have the right to now have 'issues'. I have beautiful children and the best husband. Shouldn't I wake up wanting to jump out of bed and start the day? Shouldn't I be so excited to sit on the floor and play with my kids? I keep thinking, what's wrong with me???
Sometimes I watch Craig playing with the kids or snuggling on the couch with them and I want to join in, but I don't. I feel tired of working every day to keep Jacob focused on schoolwork and doing what he's supposed to be doing. I'm tired of reminding Eliana to be nice and share with her sister and please stop taking all her toys!!!! And then I think, "what the heck is wrong with me? These are all normal and awesome things and my friends dying to have children would love to be in my shoes!"
What I'm learning is that sometimes life can be so challenging that we must grieve through it. I don't know that I can ever explain the toll that the last 5 months have taken on me, my children, or my husband. To be honest, our friends don't get it. I have VERY few friends who raise and school a step-child full time. I'm not asking for a trophy, I'm just saying most of my 20-something friends (and those much older, too) can't possibly get it. My friends are changing diapers and going to playdates. I'm teaching history and geometry and trying to fit diaper changes and playdoh time in, too. There's no time left for anything I might want to do that doesn't involve the kids.
I think of how many days I spent nearly 8 hours on the phone and my computer trying to sort through things and hold life together for my in-laws and I can actually picture my children in the living room watching TV all day while I couldn't be there for them. I can see Evie sitting in the room, playing with toys and I remember feeling like I wanted to just go be with her, but the list of calls to make and emails to send was enormous. I felt the burden that if I didn't do it, no one would. Then days and sometimes an entire week would go by before I could even talk to my husband. When we did talk it was about ferry schedules and trying to get the stinking doctors to call us back. We needed answers about his mom. Would she live? What should we do next?
Ever since all of that it's just like things aren't normal and I don't know how to make them normal again. Jacob is chatty. If you know him, it's no secret. But for some reason I have such a hard time finding the patience to listen to his constant stories. I just get irritated. I find myself nodding and saying, "uh-huh"....because I can't bear to do another riddle or hear again about how he won Zelda. Then there's more guilt and more, "what's wrong with me????"
Of course now that Evangeline is 15 months it seems everyone, including strangers at the grocery store, want to know when the next one is coming. Honestly, I don't know. It takes a lot to jump on the fertility bandwagon again and I'm just so tired I don't know if I can do it. I'm not sure I can handle Jacob, the girls, AND a new baby. And then I feel frustrated all over again because in my heart I want another baby!
I wish I could say exactly why I am always frustrated and where this total lack of patience has come from, but I don't really know. It's the result of extreme stress is all I can think of. I find myself irritated with people all the time and I hear myself thinking that I have no right to feel the way I do or judge others so harshly, but I do it anyway. I'm overly sensitive and totally impatient with people. Out of a whole group of people that go to all the same things, I was the only one excluded from a baby shower. It really hurt and made me feel that much more that I'm on the outside looking in at everyone living a normal and happy life. That I'm too complicated and messy and the perfect, happy people don't have room for me at their parties.
It's cold. My house was 57 degrees today with a fire going.To fill the oil tank would cost over $2200. So, we freeze and pray for sun. But the whole money thing drives me crazy. How many people are "broke" but yet have Smartphones, new clothes, regularly eat out at restaurants, etc? There's nothing wrong with those things and it's really not my place to judge anyway. But then I feel frustrated that Craig and I sacrifice so much and others only say they do all the while living and buying however and whatever they want. "Crying poor" I call it. Drives me crazy.
I think some of you can relate to this...doesn't it seem that when things feel like they are going well the other shoe always drops? Craig used to tell me he would start to worry when things went well because his entire life bad things just kept happening to him and so he got used to bad and good was the rarity. Coming from the homeless kid who had to couch surf staring at 14, he knows hard times. I'd managed to stay relatively optimistic and would tell him he needed to think positive.....but now 7 years later I get what he was saying.
In amongst all of the mess, we've had half a dozen offers on our old home fall through. That's been a source of frustration and stress for sure. So much paperwork and back and forth and nothing good.
We prayed and prayed and miraculously Jacob was able to stay here after his visit last spring. We enjoyed our summer and were so hopeful about our new life as a whole family in a big house for the first time. Then October 25th Craig's mom gets the stage 4 cancer diagnosis and things changed so much so quickly. Here it is March and I still don't feel like things are normal again.
The kids are happy and enjoying life and even Craig seems like he's doing well, so then I think, "it's just me. I must be the problem." I wish I could get the last 5 months back, a do-over. So much of my time was spent helping Craig's step-dad who ended up being a user and abuser and I feel like I gave my time to such a hateful person when it was my kids who really needed me. But how could I have known?
I think the pressure I was under was too much. A piece of me, deep inside, broke. I know in my head that Jesus needs to fix it, but sometimes that feels easier said than done. You know?
For the record, I know I have SO much good in my life. I know I am extremely blessed to have 3 wonderful children. I know my husband is amazing. Grieving, being sad, feeling anger and frustration.....those feelings do not negate the good. It is possible to feel both things at the same time. That's the paradox and where the guilt comes from. Like, how can I be so sad when I have such a great life? Trust me, I know I do.
I think I'm praying that as the seasons change and sun comes I can get outside with the kids, make memories, and be present. I know it's also something I need to work on now and not wait for it to happen.
So anyway, this is why I don't blog much lately. I'm Debbie Downer. There are days where I feel happy and am better at being present with the kids. There are days I allow myself to live in a thankful and peaceful space. But other times it's like I've crawled in a hole and shut everyone out, only I'm standing there in the same room as everyone else.