Inhale. . .exhale

Last week was a trying week. I spent it sick working from home the majority of the time. In between work I laid in bed thinking of everything I cannot control, and even spent a great deal of time focusing on those things I can. I lacked motivation to operate and as a result I neglected writing for over a week. I think there is just something about being sick that draws attention to loneliness. Not having someone present to help you do the things you can’t do for yourself feels like you’re the last person on the planet. So I sulked for a minute.

Last night I finally had a moment to really think about where I currently am. How my heart is feeling. I am conflicted and emotionally drained. I can’t wait to finally catch my breath in his arms. I miss our week in April and wish to be there again with him, smiling from ear to ear without a care in the world. Being at his side and being away provided a type of solitude and peace I needed. In the hours I spent alone, I was able to get a much needed break from my reality.

I started writing different blogs in the course of the last week and not one felt like the right one. Nothing had a common thread or theme. I have been in this cluster fuck of emotions lately with my family and it is draining, extremely draining. I have been experiencing a writing block unlike before. My feelings are all over the place, these people are driving me fucking crazy and unfortunately I have been letting them.

This should probably be a throw away post, but I am not going to get back to my writing rhythm if I don’t get all the things that are bothering me off my chest.

I feel as though I haven’t taken a real moment to bask in what is happening with my son. His college experience is temporarily on hold until after surgery, but he still has all these big things going on and I am allowing things with my family to trump all the life that is happening. His last day of high school is tomorrow, he turns 18 on Saturday and he graduates in a little over two weeks. My only child is growing up and I haven’t taken the time to be proud of everything we have accomplished as a pair. I’m extremely proud and I need to live life and be more present with him instead of letting it flash by me. I have been so focused on trying to make sure everything is perfect for him that I failed to realize that Jon is one of the most appreciative people I’ve ever met.

Planning everything hasn’t been as bad, compared to pulling everyone together. It’s been weeks since I last spoke to my mother and again, reaching out to her is this never-ending task and feeling of, “am I doing this right?” I reached out to her on Mother’s Day and again, here I sit waiting for a call back or a lifeline. It is utterly exhausting. I like to pretend I don’t care, but it’s painfully obvious I do.

I was sitting at my computer staring at the screen when my brother approached me. Obviously he knew something was up and so we talked about it. He is kind of like an outsider looking in and he could see how much guilt I’m carrying on my chest about my mother and family. To this day, I have no idea how I can put myself first without feeling like I owe it to them to try. How does someone close the book on their own mother. Is that even okay?

I remember when I was a kid, my mom was institutionalized at least 3 times. On one occasion the psychiatrist spoke to my uncle and family about someone in the home that was the cause for my mother’s digression. My mother’s relationship with my grandmother made my mother sick. I remember my grandmother crying and hiding in the closet and my mother constantly trying to please her and make her happy. That relationship was taxing and I never understood it. I see how my grandmother was and how over time my mother has become that same person. In return, my relationship with my mother has become this cantankerous situation that brings me little to no happiness. I am tired of being the good daughter for someone that at times can be so manipulative and hurtful. I find that if I’m of no use to her, I’m useless to her.

I’ve started to realize that when things don’t go well with her I pick apart at everything else that is going right in my life. It’s easy to throw my hands up in the air and say, this isn’t going as planned and try to quit. She makes me flighty, because that is the way she is. She holds me back and I have given her a pass because of the fact that she is my mother. I can’t keep doing that. There is no other time I realize this more than when it comes to Jon and now with my bright eyes.

When things picked up with my last job and my family was around more, I took a break from school. I thought it be best to focus on getting Jonathan in line. I wanted to make sure he was doing well in school and that I was present for every school activity. I’ve done that but it came at a price. When I’m not focusing on him, I give way to the bullshit and let my family try to occupy my time. I’m extremely school and career driven, and stopping school was the right move at the time, but my return to it is long overdue. So I’m going back in the fall, I’m finishing what I started and I’m getting back in my groove. The idea of it already has me excited. It’ll open more doors to get back into the field I love. I know that once I’m focused on myself again, I’m unchangeable.

Realizing everything that was piling up on me has helped me somewhat clear the debris and realize amidst it all, I have so much to be thankful for.

I have this magnificent kid that has grown into an incredible young man. Does he make me crazy, absolutely, but I think that’s because he is a living breathing embodiment of me. He has so much potential and I can’t wait to see the person he is when he is my age.

I also have my love. A person that I never in all my years thought I’d have. The love that he and I have comes without effort. He is my happiness and has been there for me even when I didn’t know how to ask for it. We understand one another even at a distance and it’s incredible. He is my forever, my bright eyes and I can’t wait to see him and kiss him again.

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Resist resisting to exist

I think that as people we often find ways to get in the way of our happiness and blame it on self preservation. I get it, no one wants to be hurt. But when you’re living on the sidelines, how happy can you be as a spectator?

I’ve never been the type to shy away from profound growth and goals. I know what it’s like to work overnight, go to college on no sleep, maintain a high GPA and then come home to a wild toddler needing all of your attention. In the trenches of it all, it felt insurmountable but when I walked across the stage and became a first generation college graduate. Those years of hard work seemed minute in comparison to the pride I garnered for myself. I did that. I can do anything. Everything I have ever done has been for my son. So long ago I was a baby raising a baby, as so many people put it. Yet here he is, not adhering to any stereotype and the greatest contribution I have made to this world so far. But what now. . .

Last fall when he started his last year of high school I went through every emotion possible. From pride to fear. I asked myself, what about me. What was my life going to become post high school. When my life and every waking second wasn’t spent taking care of the child that has grown into an incredible man. Over the months fear turned into excitement.

While I’m fully aware that being a parent is a lifelong commitment I can recognize the work I have put in. My son hasn’t, “needed,” me for some time now I just didn’t want to admit it. I have just been afraid to let him go. I guess I just didn’t want him to feel abandoned and unnoticed. It’s not for the lack of trust because he has been nothing short of perfect and honest even when the information he shares is painful. I overcompensated because no one was there to catch me growing up, I had to be my own safety net and as a result I tried to jump in and rescue him every time he was about to fail. When I was pregnant, my parents left me at the doorstep of his fathers house like the Sunday paper. Coming from those feelings of utter disbelief, I have done everything I can to make sure he never feels that pain. A few months ago he had a talk with me and the long and short of it was his request for me to loosen the reigns. He told me that he understands I don’t want him to fail but there are times I make the decision for him and never let him learn from his mistakes. He wants to make a decision and if it doesn’t workout learn how to figure out things on his own or reach out to me if he wants help. I was impressed with the maturity of his conversation and was taken aback because my job is almost done. I sat there and looked at him in admiration because he is far from the person I was at his age. I had a strained relationship with my mother and couldn’t discuss anything with her. I feared that my son would be emotionally inept as I was as a child and would cope on his own time when people weren’t around. I was afraid that I would be the negative parts of her that never heard her children, or showed up because other things took priority. I love you was a foreign concept in my home after my grandfather passed away. All of these things, my experiences as a child molded the parent I am and to my amazement I am the mother I am not because of the sum of life’s infractions but despite. Despite all I have been through I am out on the other side and I haven’t hurt him or damaged him. I’ve loved him unconditionally and he knows it. Jonathan is an incredible individual and I’m proud to be his mom. He doesn’t need me, because I have done my job and that pays for itself in leaps and bounds. He wants me to be present but he can fend for himself. He has great relationships with people and he has a bigger heart than anyone I have ever met. So while the idea of high school being over was an emotional ride before, it is now this incredible dream to see who he will become going forward. I know, he has the makings of a person that can change the world and I can no longer stand in his way.

My son in many ways has taught me how to get out of my own way. In our home we have this saying, “it’s not if, but when.” We don’t think things will work out, they always will no matter the circumstance. He has helped me resist resisting to exist. He has posed the statement, “you need to put yourself first.” For once, I am willing to. Not because it required his permission but because it includes his blessing. So while I am happy and excited for his future, I’m ready to see what this new chapter in my life brings.

Hazel

I remember it clear
The moment in life
When fear & anticipation aligned
It’s when I found out
You’d be mine

Minor details failed to matter
Criticism, backstabbing
Crowd fodder and chatter

Feelings consumed
My every choice
Tear stained pillows
Instead of rejoice

An inclined challenge
Though I wasn’t prepared
I suddenly found courage
Because of those who didn’t care

Their judgmental glances
Above holy scriptures
Took place of guidance
With negative lectures

A minor, a child
They sold me quite short
I let them be, I didn’t retort

Years went on and here I am
No longer sixteen and pregnant
A grown woman raising a man

Now he is a boy
Not yet full grown
I would risk it again
To become the woman I know

Forever in debt I will be to my son
He is my biggest cheerleader
I’m his number one

Little does he know
I’m a fan too
Of this little boy
Who is more than the color blue

He taught me how selfless and helpless we are
When the world has a bigger plan
To create who we are

I love you my son
For I see in your eyes
A speck of hazel
And dreams that will never demise