What a weekend I had. My daughter had a friend over for a sleepover, and while I will not divulge details about this girl, I will share that her mom, a dear friend of mine, passed away a couple years ago. It was… absolutely heart breaking then, and shook me to my core. I still think about her every single day. And it’s been a long time since we’ve spent time with that family. So this weekend has certainly left me feeling emotional… And protective over children, in general.
Last night, she asked if we could take a moment and do a group snuggle – because she didn’t get that much at home these days. My heart broke as I snuggled both girls for a while. I stayed up way too late, snuggling and chatting with them. Caught up on how her life had been since we’d last seen each other. And it shook me all over again. I tucked them in and stayed up tossing and turning over it all. This morning, I took them out for breakfast. Waffles with cotton candy on top – because .. that’s why. Just because.
Because maybe, a little extra sweetness, be it a snuggle, a kind word, a funny story, or even cotton candy on top of a rainbow waffle … with sprinkles…. will somehow put a smile on a kid’s face. And if that happens… maybe she’ll be able to survive this horrendous childhood that she has had. Yea – I know it’s a stretch. But damn it… what else can I possibly do?! She now has a standing invite to come over regularly, as well as halloween and any other time she needs a snuggle… but even I know … It’s not enough.
It’s interesting how small your own problems can become in moments like these. I’ve cried a lot this weekend… cried for her, cried for mother, cried for the unfairness of it all, cried out of gratefulness for my own children… ugh. I’m done crying, and tomorrow, my still partially sick butt has to get up and go to work and get my head in the game.
It’s funny, this isn’t how I’d imagined my weekend turning out – but I wouldn’t trade it. Maybe I needed a reminder … that my problems and stress are small in comparison to what they could be. That I have it so much better than some, and have given my children a world that is healthy and positive and full of laughter and snuggles and love. I have to remind myself that I cannot hug everyone. I can’t heal everyone. That I have to be content with helping those that I can… and not get hung up on those whom I couldn’t.
I’m beyond exhausted. So what started out on friday as a very frustrating and scary situation managed to amplify and get a million times worse and it’s affecting my ability to sleep and eat and be able to function at a somewhat normal capacity.
On Saturday, while at the ex’s, my daughter went and jumped off the side of the deep end of the self control pool. She is now being admitted to an inpatient psychiatric hospital for adolescents. I think now, more than ever, I want to get more involved with preventing teen suicide. It absolutely floors you when you realize that the normal, happy, loving preteen you’ve raised has been wearing a happy mask and really, she needs help.
Until we could get her admitted to the treatment facility, she’s been under observation at the Emergency Room. We had strict instructions to keep things positive. No lectures, no tears etc. THAT has been the most exhausting. I’ve managed to ask her a few questions, get her to talk to me a little here and there, but overall, she’s acting as if nothing happened and that wanting to harm yourself is a perfectly normal thing. That I’m making a bigger deal out of it than it is. It is incredibly draining to keep things positive when you just want to shake your kid and make them see how dumb they’re being. Not to mention, the actions your kid has taken have put themself, and others at risk!
It’s going to be a long road ahead. I’ve got to work on being present and there for her in some new ways. I’m trying to make arrangements to allow me to work from home more often. Going to look into a few other programs to help her and give her things to keep her mind more occupied on healthy things rather than negative things.
Visits to the ex are to stop. Well – ok maybe not STOP – but things will be altered dramatically, at least until we’re all confident that she’ll be safe.
It’s been hard this week to not blame myself. And there is also a part of me that wonders if somehow she’s learned this stupid “happy mask” that she’s been wearing from me. In fact, who am I kidding, I KNOW she learned it from me. I’m the one who’s always so focused on being strong, staying happy. I think somehow she misunderstood that to mean that you aren’t allowed to fall apart, or be sad, or break… and that’s not true either. You have to be able to let that stuff out somewhere, or it will sit and fester and bubble until at some point – you burst.
Everyday she begs me to be allowed to come home. And everyday I’ve had to tell her that she wanted our attention – now she has it. She has to stay and complete the treatment. That this is her most important priority that she could focus on right now. She doesn’t get it. She thinks it’s been fun to sit at the hospital for the last 5 days coloring, watching bad daytime tv and playing Wii with the nurses. She doesn’t even seem to realize – “hey, mom’s been taking every day off to come and sit and cuddle and watch crappy daytime tv… maybe that’s not good for mom’s job security!” I don’t know what’s going to happen next… all I can do at this point is hope and pray and be there for her every single step of the way.
I’ve got to go run and take care of a few more things, all this time running back and forth between the hospital, I haven’t been able to do much of anything that I need to get done. I keep reminding myself that it’s ok to be struggling with handling all of this… that i’m doing well at holding things together. But it’s hard. So I’m going to go finish up a load of laundry and at least get some dishes done before I have to trek back out to the hospital. Talk soon. Much love to you all Neverland.
I find a certain comfort and safety in knowing and understanding my role. Whether it be at work, in the family, or with friends and loved ones. It helps me know what is expected of me. Certain roles require certain skills or come with certain benefits or costs. Roles can change on a given day depending on a whole variety of things. I was thinking about roles for something at work, and it made me think that it might be a good exercise to do for myself. Why not? The following are 13 of the roles I play.
The Domestic Mom role
The fixer, the soother, the baker of goodies. When in this role, I will typically carry and bring tissues, brownies, bandaids and hugs.
The Mom role
This is to my kids mostly – but other people’s kids too. I will play with toys, chase imaginary monsters and lovingly quote Dr. Seuss with the best of them. This also comes with the fever checker skill, the incredible ability to make magic chicken soup and the skill to chase the boogie man out of scary closets. Rewards for this skill would include hugs and kisses and snuggles. Special skills: Loyalty, strength, patience, trust, unconditional love, pride
The Listening Friend role
This role is typically filled with “hmm’s” or “ahh’s”. Complete attention is given, as well as lots of listening. This is not typically a “troubleshooting” kind of situation. More of a listening and a shoulder to support kind of role.
The Troubleshooter/Idea Generator role
There’s a problem? Let’s fix it! Brainstorm 5 solutions, then prioritize as far as reality goes then let’s try em till we get it fixed. Don’t understand? Let’s learn it! Nothing is impossible! We just have to figure out how.
The Cheerleader role
This is the role you play when people need to cheer up or lift the energy of a room. Signature moves include random spurts of the carlton dance, outbursts of song, and jokes of all nature of things.
The Best Friend role
When you need me, I am there. Rain or shine, Day or night. You lovingly will listen as I break everything down in my head on a whiteboard, you help me figure things out when I get overwhelmed. And you know that I will lovingly do the same for you. We will laugh at and with each other. Poke fun when the other is taking life a little too seriously. Rewards include hugs and companionship. Special Skills: Trust, Loyalty, Pride, Respect, Honesty, Love
The Coworker role Friendship levels here are light and shallow. Most of the time, chats not involving work projects revolve around office politics, fashion, weather, recent movies, news or local events, family and vacations and new hobbies.
The sister role
See above as far as best friend. We won’t always get along, but we’ll always come back to a place of positivity and love. I would jump in front of a train for you. ‘Nuff said. Special skills: Patience, Loyalty, Pride, Trust, unconditional love, Honesty
The daughter/granddaughter role
I will always strive to make you proud. Ambition lies in this role to some degree. I will always remember my manners, fit into any situation, just as I was taught. This is where the good girl lives too. Special skills: Loyalty, strength, pride, respect, Trust, unconditional love
The single mom role
Heads down, focused on getting the shit done that has to get done. Work, Kids, Bills, Life… rinse, wash, repeat. Men? What? Dating? Huh?! Special skills: Strength, Pride, Respect, Trust. Special boost in finances for having no life.
The “DatingSomeone” Role
I’ll schedule you in when/if I can. I’m interested, you’re interested. It’s interview time…on both sides. I will slowly let you in behind the walls and masks to see if you are interested or trust-worthy. If I’m dating you – it means I like you. I don’t do well at focusing on more than one person at a time. Special Skills: Honesty
The “in a relationship” Role
You find time when you can to share with someone you care about. It is a very compartmentalized part of your life. You might share a lot about you, but not really share all of who you are because they only ever really get to see one or two facets of who you are. They rarely meet or hang with the family or kids. Outings are scheduled and planned – hey we’re both busy. Special bonus of me wanting to spoil you because you do mean something special to me in a big way. It shows because I’ll want to spend time with you. To note: Not sure how well I’d do at sustaining this role for long periods of time. If I love you, I’m going to struggle with keeping life compartmentalized. Special Skills: Respect, Strength, Loyalty, Honesty, New Love.
The Girlfriend Role
It’s not about finding time, we make time to share with each other…not because we feel like we have to, but because we just want to. It’s MUCH less compartmentalized. If you need me, I’m there. No questions, no judgements, no keeping score. You are allowed in my inner circle of trust – this also means you’ll meet the others in that inner circle and hang with them on occasion, because they are a part of my life, and I’ll want to share in that with you. You have a standing invite to my home and utilize it. I trust you with me. You have access to utilize most of the other role’s skills as you need them. Special bonus of me wanting to spoil you. Special skills: Loyalty, Trust, Pride, Respect, Strength, Honesty, Love
The Wife/Significant Other Role
No communication is withheld. No walls. No masks. You are viewed as my equal… my king. So long as I’m your queen. I trust you with me AND my family. I share life’s ups and downs with you. You have your life, your friends, your world… but we share them with each other. We live and interact and help support each other to get through the bumps along the way. I trust that you will keep me, and my family safe. I may spoil, but more than spoil, I share… everything. Special skills: Loyalty, Trust, Pride, Respect, Strength, Honesty and Unconditional Love
There are I’m sure many I left out of the list. A neighbor, an acquaintance, a customer, a boss…. All of these are valid roles that we play in a given day. What is interesting to me is that detailing this out really helped me define some things I didn’t know about myself and who I am. Before sitting down to write this out, some of the roles were fuzzy in my mind as far as all that it would entail. I’ll admit, some of the above are kind of new to me. I’m still trying to figure out the lay of this new land called dating. Realizing some of these new ones “In a relationship” vs Girlfriend for example – I really think there is a distinction there that up until doing this exercise, I would have missed. I reflected on many of the roles I play currently… where I thought I was on a few, and where I really am on a few others. I’m happy with it all and giving them distinction gives me clarity on what it is that I expect of me. What I still have to understand is whether or not my own expectations of myself need adjustment. But it helps me feel better, I can chart my course for the time being and keep chugging along. I’ve been trying to find a pace, and I’m realizing that the pace just comes on it’s own. And that I get to ride it. Enjoy it, each role, and all the others I left out, for what it is.
Because it’s Life. Because it’s relationships. Because it’s lovely.
I went and visited with my grandparents today. I don’t do that nearly often enough. Especially lately. It was wonderful to see them. The accounts I had from my mom on how they are had me increasingly worried, but today, they were full of smiles and jokes and laughter. Sharing old stories and learning new ones. I brought Chris and Grayson with with me. Their house isn’t toddler proof – so there were a few moments when I thought I was going to melt down, but they quickly passed and we found new distractions to keep the little one busy for a decent length of a visit. Granddad gave me this photo above. He had looked at the engine of my new car, was happy to see it was well maintained and was telling Chris a story. He designed the propulsion system of the Concorde. And when they took the first model out for a test run, it flew beautifully, but Granddad wasn’t sure. He asked the mechanic to open up the door and this was a snapshot they took. It was covered in oil. They went back for another few rounds before they got it right. I’d never seen this photo before. And I love it. Hell, the history behind it alone is pretty damn cool. But the shot is just a cool one too. 🙂
We sat and talked about airplanes for a bit. Apparently he wrote a short book about his work with all the airplanes over the years. He sent it to someone at the Museum of Flight and they asked if they could keep it and put it on display in their library. I didn’t know that. I felt like a horrible granddaughter for not knowing that. He showed me a copy of the book. It was amazing. Inspiring. I felt so proud to have this man guide me in my life.
I love him. He has been someone I’ve butted heads with a TON in the past. He is incredibly logical and sound. Traditional and old fashioned. And yet also has this amazing streak of creativity that leads to some positively incredible watercolor paintings. He’d drill math and science into me as if my life depended upon it, but then would randomly put on a hat and crown and a robe and sing from My Fair Lady doing all the voices with flair and presentation or stop everything to jitterbug with Nana in the kitchen. I grew up with them. Spent time with them at least 5 times a week..sometimes even more.
They always made it very clear that knowledge was the most valuable and valued thing you could have. That to stop or give up is simply just NOT an option. You might have to wait, work for it, do what you need to do to get it right. It’s not always fun, it’s certainly not always easy, but with passion, love, time, dedication, hard work, loyalty, and sometimes a little creativity, you figure it out.
For a long time, I’ve always done and acted the way they wanted me to. Or how I thought they wanted me to. I stopped doing that just a little over a year ago. I started to show them ME. I left the ex. They were shocked. Horrified actually. Accused me of breaking up a family. Of destroying the children’s lives forever. I remember debating with myself on how much to reveal to them. I went with being pretty open and transparent. A few things I kept to myself, hey, different generations – they just don’t need to go there. But I did share a lot. I shared how proud I am of where I am in my career. How, while I may not be inventing propulsion systems that can break the sound barrier, or redesigning an airplane made to fly so light and so high it can be used for new purposes…I am doing things to help society. Hm.. well shit. Am I? I’m not convinced that the technology I build is doing anything to truly help society. I mean, yea, it is… but it’s also a reason why there’s an odd breakdown happening in the world as far as communication.
All I’ve ever wanted was for them to be proud of me. And I know that in a lot of ways, they are. Today, I saw it. The last time I visited with them, I saw it. But there was other stuff in there too. Worry, a lack of understanding, hope but I’m not quite sure what they are hoping for along with a myriad of other things. They’re proud I bought the car, they’re proud that I am successful. They are proud that I’m a good parent, I’m responsible, I read, I’m knowledgeable…blah blah blah. Why do I always feel like I can’t quite measure up? I’ve always felt that way. I don’t fully understand it. I think it’s because I look at all that he went through to get where he got. It’s an incredible story. About pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps and making it the right way. I looked up to him for that. Still do. Here’s a question tho, will I ever feel like I’ve accomplished enough to be worthy? And lord knows, accomplishments aren’t just in career. It’s in family, in love, in life, in reading and the quest for knowledge. I know I’m getting there. I’m happy with my progress, but will I ever be enough?
I saw my parents today too. Their house is always such a contrast to the grandparents. Their dog jumping around happily. My parents have gotten happier over the course of their marriage… Just as Nana and Granddad did with theirs. It’s lovely to have that kind of example around me. They’ve gotten cooler to me as I’ve aged. I thought kids were always supposed to be annoyed by their parents, but mine, honestly, have become friends over the years too. My stepdad and I are going to plan a double-ish date of some sort. Go to a comedy club, order a few drinks, have a bit of fun. I’m really shocked he brought it up and absolutely happy with the idea.
Hugely busy week ahead of me. Taking a training course from 9-5 all week, but still have work to do and silly people trying to book meetings around my training. I just hope they let me come up for air at some point. If not, I may need someone to throw me a life preserver.