vows and nearing 49

I need to write my wedding vows.

It’s 11:01 on Saturday morning, exactly two weeks from my wedding day.

I need to write my wedding vows.

Yet, here I am floating in the pool, watching the reflection of the pool water bounce through the trees. It’s so quiet and with five dogs, that’s a rare occurrence. I know there is a list of things to get done today and only a few hours left to do them. I should probably do some laundry and the dishes from last night’s dinner.

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But I am so relaxed.

When did I become so relaxed?

I look down at my body and there are white lines on my stomach and I wonder what they are and realize that the sun doesn’t tan in those lines because the skin rolls together there and the rays can’t reach that area and when I stretch out, the lines appear. I guess I am a little fat. Just a little.

I see the stretch marks on my thighs. They have been there since I was a teenager, growing faster than my skin would allow. They appear more pronounced with the darkness of my summer tan. I see them but I don’t react to them. I rub them lightly with my fingers, following the lines absentmindedly. I am 49 soon. Right around the corner from 50. I’m old. But I don’t really care about it. I notice it but I don’t mind it.

When did I stop hating my body?

I need to write my vows…five more minutes, I tell myself and then notice that twenty minutes has passed and I am still floating along, doing nothing.

When did I start allowing myself to do nothing?

I am thinking about my brother, imagining his skin, imagining the last conversation we could have had if I hadn’t been so stubborn. He would be 52 in a few days. 52 years old. He turned 50 without me. He turned 50 without a call or a text or a card. I wish my brother could come to the wedding. I wish I could talk to him and touch him on the hand and look into his blue eyes and remind him how much he mattered to me, matters to me. I long for some sense of resolution and forgiveness and acceptance. I feel wetness at my eyes because there will never be a chance for that final conversation. I let him down. Yet, I am not angry at myself. I forgive myself because I know I did what I could with what I had at the time and that I do more and better when I can. I know I am someone who strives to improve. I know I am not perfect and I forgive myself for it, generally. I still get annoyed with myself when I am not the perfect person I imagined I would be but I recognize that perfection doesn’t exist and that we learn and grow and change and evolve into something different but still imperfect.

When did I start being so kind and forgiving to myself?

It’s 11:33 now and I am still floating and I need to write my vows but now I find myself thinking about my children. Not in a frantic, anxious way, more like pictures of them are floating along in my mind and I am watching them transform into the people they are becoming and I am scared and excited for them. I am honored to be their mother. I don’t get to see them as much as I wish I could see them. It’s harder and harder to connect with them as they grow older. I know how little impact I can have now on my almost adult children besides being more present with them. Simply being present has been such a struggle for me for so long. It’s not a struggle much anymore. Some days are better than others but overall, I am more present with them than I have ever been before.

When did I start becoming more present?

The sun has shifted and I find myself shivering a bit because the pool water is warmer than it is in shade. It must be noon now and I need to write to vows.

I am struck like a slap in the face as I recognize that these are my vows, these thoughts, these floating along musings, this realization of who I have become because you love me and I love you.

More relaxed, more kind to myself and to others, more present, and more forgiving.

You, my love, have broken down my walls. You’ve shown me what love is and can be and should be.

You’ve taught me to slow down. You’ve taught me to relax and enjoy my life more. You’ve taught me to love my body by watching how much you love my body. I shudder sometimes when I see you, seeing me. I don’t know what to do it with it. I like it even though it’s scary sometimes. You let myself be loved. You have taught me to forgive myself for being imperfect.

I want so much to love you completely and I can’t do that until I start loving myself completely. So I will. I do. You’ve asked me to be present and I want to make you happy so I am fighting harder against my tendency to shut down and tune out. You love me anyway, exactly as I am. But I long to make you completely happy, forever, so I try harder to be present and it’s getting easier.

It impacts every aspect of my life, our love…how I am in friendships, work, with my children and family.

I can’t wait to be your wife. I can’t wait until you are my wife.

Oh, there you are, walking outside in your red stripey bathing suit, looking so cute.

Damn, you are hot, I think.

“How’s it going?” you ask.

“Done”, I respond. “Let’s get in the pool.”

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Alright Universe, quit it.

Rule of three’s.

For a theatre person, it’s all about comedy. Do something funny three times and bam, the audience will go wild.

But it’s also a wise tale of “bad things come in three’s”. I’ve never believed in it.

Until this week.

First up, whirlwind romance ends…badly.

Six weeks. A six week romance.

I actually sent a text to my best friend that said “Mark my words, I am going to marry this woman.”

I said that…after a month.

I was doing the lesbian happy dance.

(There isn’t a dance, I made that up.)

I wasn’t packing my u-haul but I was imagining how I might pack it someday.

It was a roller coaster six week romance where I allowed myself…pretty much for the first time since 1992, to imagine spending my life with someone. I decorated my Christmas tree thinking, “maybe I won’t do this alone next year”. I imagined vacations, long walks, music, dancing,  laughing, dreaming, loving, and of course, lots and lots of sexy time. Everything about her was perfect. I imagined myself finding the love of my life.

Blah. Yeah, I know.

I know.  My eyes hurt from rolling them so hard at myself.

Keep shaking your head at me….I get it. I am an idiot.

So it ended, badly. But I kept getting up everyday, going for runs, working my ass off, loving my kids, feeding my dogs, paying my bills, buying ten different kinds of nails at every store in town to hang my Christmas wreath on the brick fireplace. (I need to insert here that I successfully hung that wreath and it’s super pretty.)

I was sad, but my badass self kept right on fucking going.

Because that’s what I do. If I am anything, I am resilient.

Dammit.

Then number #2…the completely insane family news. The kind of news that you ask your family to sit down because you “have some news, so you BETTER SIT DOWN”. I mean, seriously…it’s so not ok…this shitty ass I can’t blog about but it’s really shitty can’t wrap your brain around it kind of news.

That’s all I have to say about that.

But mark my words, oh fabulous three blog followers…I kept right on marching. With that stupid piece of shit news in my head. I kept going, and going, and going. I even said this morning on my run to #AmazingRunningPartner something ridiculous like, “I just don’t have all these ups and downs anymore. I just can’t do it. I really want a happy life. I rarely feel depressed to the point where I can’t function anymore.”

Today was a busy day…big event at work…so many volunteers and so much responsibility on my shoulders. Off I went, like the little energizer bunny that I am.

Then the phone rang. I ignored it. Step-mom, no… too busy right now.

The texts start rolling in:

“Your dad had to be taken to the hospital, he’s in renal failure.”

“I don’t know anything. I just needed to tell you.”

My dad? That’s impossible. He’s young. And sassy as a mother fucker…he’s not in renal failure…he’s like a 12 year old boy…that’s insane.

But it’s a fact. A fact that exists separate from my zen philosophy of “ride the wave of the circumstances of your life…there are sad parts and happy parts and all the parts in between and you just can’t fight the feelings, you just have to let it wash over you”.

I went for a drive. I left my amazing staff in charge at the event for a little while. I sobbed and prayed in my car and lamented all the unfinished business I have with my dad.

And I thought about this:

The rule of three’s exists because human beings can only handle so much shit thrown at them. Three is kind of the max for shitty happenings.

You hear that universe? You hear that?

I am done. We are good.

Go kick someone else’s ass now. I will never underestimate you again.

Thank you for the reminder that I don’t know anything about anything. At all.

And now,

I invoke the rule of three’s.

 

 

 

 

The Little Things

I was talking to a friend today about the pain I have experienced in letting go of my children over the past four years. I went from being the primary caretaker of my children to being a part time mom pretty much overnight. There was some transition but for the most part, I went from spending every day and every night with my kids to not seeing them for days at a time…not knowing where they were or what they were doing for days. It hurt me, to let go. It’s been a process, a journey and I am still working through it. My friend understood. She’s a mom. It didn’t require much explanation, really. She got it right away. I mentioned how frustrated I get when my non-mom friends give me parenting advice. I do recognize that people who don’t have children CAN actually separate themselves from the experience of actually being a parent to know what advice to give. They (the non-parent folks) are often right. But knowing what to do and actually doing it are totally different things. Feel my pain and loss and sense of isolation…the way I suddenly felt unnecessary in my children’s lives…how hard it was for me..know what that feels like and then you will know that your loving and kind advice to “accept it and stop parenting out of guilt” or “your kids are fine” and “your kids adore you, no one can take your place” while correct, is completely lost on my aching heart.

 

Why do people always try to describe things that simply cannot be understood without experiencing them? Artists, poets, writers,  and musicians dedicate their lives to trying to illustrate the feeling of falling in love, being a parent, spending a lifetime in a marriage or relationship, friendship, grief, birth, death and even divorce. All these big, giant, crazy, knock you on your knees life experiences that simply must be had to understand them. It’s the big stuff that is impossible to describe accurately, the major life events that until you have had them, you can’t really wrap your brain around them. And when you have, the people that you know who have had those experiences too become a sisterhood all on its own. Oh, your mom is dead? Yeah, sister…I get it. You are divorced, back in the work force, sharing your kids with a man you couldn’t be married to and yet must co-parent effectively with…along with his new wife? Mmmm…hmmm, yeah..sit next to me my sister and we will hold hands and know each other’s pain. Did you fall foolishly, madly, deeply in love with someone who wasn’t deserving of your love and turned out to be an asshole? Oh my, that’s a shitty life experience we share, let’s acknowledge that craptastic experience quietly and put it back where it goes, on the shelf of the things we don’t talk about because they are too dangerous. Some things you just have to do before you can really talk them with any authority. And even then, to the inexperienced your words are meaningless.

 

AH, but those of us who have been madly, deeply in love see poems like this one and it takes our breath away…it’s so right in the description.

 

[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]

BY E. E. CUMMINGS

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in

my heart)i am never without it(anywhere

i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done

by only me is your doing,my darling)

i fear

no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want

no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)

and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant

and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows

(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud

and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows

higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)

and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

 

Yes, ee cummings, yes, you totally get it. I carry your heart, it’s the tree of life, it’s the secret that nobody knows…

 

And this song that perfectly illustrates heartbreak:

 

 

Ne me quitte pas (click link to hear song)

 

 

Oh my sweet Jacgues I feel you. I feel you. Your pain is my pain.

 

I have been thinking about the little things lately and how much more they matter in the grand scheme of a lifetime.  The tiny little connections that I can grasp, that heal my soul, that carry me forward from one day to the next. I think we focus way too much on the big things (I do) and yet, it’s the day to day that matters most. And as I have been moving through my life lately, I have become suddenly, incredibly aware of the absolute brilliance of these little things.

 

Date night with my youngest at Main Event and playing the Ghostbusters Game (I hate games) and I am doing it, I am shooting all the ghosts with my laser gun and we are laughing.

 

A run alone in Central Park on a trip alone to New York City where time stopped for just a few moments and I realized, “this is who I am, a woman who travels alone to New York City and runs in Central Park alone, and goes to the theatre alone and is fine, happy, not lonely, not scared at all.”

 

My daughter and I, discussing adulthood and she is listening to me, hearing me, actually wanting my advice, that’s new, that’s cool and I remember to shut up long enough for her to speak and she does and she’s smart and I like her.

 

Walking, again in New York, with the sun on my face, the people all around me. I am present. I am seeing everything around me. I am not so lost in my own thoughts that I could be anywhere, I am actually seeing the world around me clearly. I am so alive. All of my nerve endings are pulsating and I see it all around me and I recognize how rarely I feel this way and it’s so good.

 

A talk with my son, my difficult son, where we simply communicate and understand each other for a few minutes. We just chat. It passes quickly but it’s there and I know it will there more often as he grows, as I grow into being this intense person’s mom.

 

Weeping in my seat while watching the Broadway musical Fun Home, she’s singing about the first woman she ever had sex with and she’s overwhelmed and she’s feeling in love and embarrassed and shy and scared and excited and she’s bursting with all the feelings and I am carried into the memory of that moment in my own life and the tears are just flowing and flowing. I almost let myself forget that beautiful moment, it drowned in shame,  I have wanted to destroy it. But I remember it all the way to my toes for the first time in three years, I remember how beautiful it was, how it felt  and I reclaim it, it is NOT tainted or ugly, that moment is MINE. And I own it again. The power of live theatre to change our hearts is miraculous.

 

So, it’s rambling, this post…the way my mind so often is. And I am fine with that. There are about three people who read this blog and this post is for those three people. I love them so much. They know who they are. One of the little things is the freedom to express when love exists, to be truly grateful.

 

Much healing has taken place in my body and my spirit lately and it’s pieced together by so many little things to create a life.

 

THE BEAUTIFUL (imperfect) LIFE I HAVE.

 

 

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Fun Home Actress Beth Morgan

Distractions

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Happy New Year.

I have never thought much about those words, Happy New Year.

You say them. It means it’s a new year, go have a good one, a better one than last year. Go do all those things you have been not doing in the previous year.

Now is your chance, it’s a brand new number!

This year I struggled with the words. I said them, multiple times. Texted them. Emailed them. But I didn’t really mean them. I felt a bit like new year’s is a crock, some arbitrary date on a calendar that people use as a milestone to make a bunch of plans for their lives that they can and should make on any day of the year. You wanna quit smoking or lose weight, just do it. Stop picking some meaningless date for yourself that ends up creating disappointment and sadness when you can’t find the motivation to continue after a few weeks.  (Also, it makes the park I run at really crowded and it’s annoying.)

Don’t get me wrong. I have my share of ugly shit that needs a New Year’s Fucking Resolution to fix. But I am not foolish enough to believe that I will walk through the magical door of a new year and suddenly accomplish all my goals. I am, unfortunately, aware that the only thing holding me back from all that I want to be and become is ME. I am the problem. I can fix it all and I am not doing it because I don’t really want to badly enough.

It’s hard. To fix my shit. It’s hard to work through the pain I am holding onto, the anger, the fear…all the things that are keeping me from being the person I want to be.

I have the secret. It’s me.

I don’t do what needs to be done because I don’t want to. This truth is so hard to swallow because it is…well, really hard to swallow. And I don’t wanna. It’s yucky and unappealing.

So instead, I distract myself.

With busy. With projects. With love. With stuff and shopping for more stuff. With social media. With taking care of other people. With criticizing or finding fault in others.

I go, and go, and go.

Because what will happen if I sit still long enough to feel what I need to feel, to think about what I need to think about, to grieve, to settle, to accept, to heal?

It’s too scary.

Let me just get on Facebook one more time.

Let me just accuse my x-husband of bad behavior and obsess over what a dick he is to avoid accepting the reality of post divorce life and the struggles of co-parenting.

Let me work more hours.

Let me buy a new car.

Let me watch more TV or read more books.

Let me overly care for the people I love and do things they can absolutely do themselves and probably should do themselves.

Let me hate that person who wronged me and hope they have a terrible life.

Let me have another glass of wine, or another cocktail.

Let me go shopping and buy some clothes I don’t need and can’t fit in my closet.

I’m not alone in this behavior. It’s quite common. All addiction, I think, is rooted in escapism and avoidance of pain or reality.

I see all the folks on the book of FAKENESS (also known as the BOOK OF MAKING PEOPLE FEEL BAD ABOUT THEIR LIVES BECAUSE EVERYONE ELSE IS HAVING MORE FUN THAN YOU ARE or THE BOOK OF WAYS TO HURT PEOPLE WE ONCE LOVED) who are obsessed with hating the government and beating on Obama and his “muslim ways”…anything to avoid dealing with their own shit.

The problem is the government.

The problem is the way other people drive.

The problem is the stupid people.

The problem is this or that or the other thing.

The problem is my crappy childhood.

The problem is my X or worse, my husband, wife or partner.

Anything to avoid the truth.

Anything to avoid getting real with yourself.

I went for a walk yesterday on New Year’s Day. I felt too shitty to run so I went to my local park and walked five miles. I had planned to make some new year’s day calls to family and friends while I walked.

God forbid I should just simply walk.

It was really cold which is rare for South Texas and the park was nearly empty. About a mile into the walk my phone died. I guess I hadn’t charged it overnight like I thought I had.

So I walked, alone, for four more miles.

I have been alone a lot this week. More than I think I have ever been alone in my life. I am a solitary creature and have always craved alone time. But this has been a very alone week, even for me.

Some weird thing came over me on that walk, some might call it a light bulb moment or whatever.

But I realized just how deeply distracted I keep myself to avoid being present. I’ve known for a while that I needed to work on being present when I am in conversation with others.  It’s something I took into therapy three years ago and have worked hard on, being present in rooms full of people or in one on one conversations. I have improved greatly on this problem.

Yay ME!

But being present with myself?

Nah, I have got some serious work on that. And frankly, the realization that I am distracting myself to death to avoid it, is kind of significant. I didn’t know I was doing that.

So I suppose my new year’s resolution is to be more aware of my tendency to distract myself. To tune out those distractions and spend time undistracted and see what happens, what comes up, where I go when I don’t have anything external controlling my thoughts and actions.

That’s a good one to work on. I can totally do that.

Happy New Year, and I mean this time.

 

 

Feeling it

My life fell apart three years ago. Pretty much exactly three years ago. Like today may be (I can’t remember exactly) the exact anniversary of the day I went to the store and paid good money to purchase the dynamite that I would then use to bomb the fuck out of my somewhat decent life.

Analogy being used here. I didn’t actually use dynamite.

But three years ago today or sometime this week, I made choices that would change the trajectory of my life forever. It would cause ginormous pain for my children, my former spouse, and for me.

I am not quite certain how I survived it. There were days when I didn’t think I would, the depth of my sadness was so great a burden I literally could not carry it.

It sucked.

There is still some brokenness that hasn’t healed, still some pieces of myself I haven’t recovered. That’s just the way it is.

Some days I feel angry.

Most days I am ok with it all. It is. What can I do now?

At the risk of turning into a cliché, the cool part of a completely shattered, messed up, insanely ugly, horrible life experience is the absolute depth that I feel every single moment of happiness.

GOD I feel it.

Deep down inside. It’s like a wave that goes all the way through my body and ignites all of my cells on fire.

When it happens the hairs on my arms stand up. And I get little tears in my eyes. And I feel so very grateful for that moment in time. And it’s good. It’s so fucking good.

Last week, I was sitting on the porch with my girlfriend.  I was sharing some pieces of me that I don’t often share, then she returned the favor…my tough girl opened up. And then we just sat there and we held hands. And we looked at the blue sky. It was lovely. And safe. And peaceful. And that happiness was so real. it was practically something I could touch. The feeling of happiness became a living breathing organism.

I took my kids to Fiesta Texas for my son’s birthday. It was hotter than hades. I wanted to lay down and hide in a corner from the crowds instead of riding rides and walking through the pea soup like heat. And then all the groups of teens and pre-teens came together, my little band of me and the seven kids I had brought with me to the park managed to meet up at our scheduled time. Someone suggested the “lame roller coaster”, the only one my youngest child will ride. So we ran full speed to the line. While we waited we laughed and took “selfies” and fought over who was sitting with who and in what order. And I felt it again, the living, breathing organism of complete and utter peaceful, beautiful happiness. It washed over me again. And my brain took a photo of the feeling to store for future viewing.

Then running in the park with one of my favorite people in the world last Sunday. My legs were moving and my knees didn’t hurt too much (God I am getting old). My lovely running partner and I had so much to talk about that we went almost 5 miles on a ridiculously hot morning and never skipped a beat in the conversation. As I drove away she called me because there was just one more thing she wanted to tell me and I felt it again, the simple joy of peaceful happy “yes to this moment” feeling.

And then this morning, It happened again. I woke up my kids and everyone was in a good mood. We only left the house five minutes late which is a record in the summer. This summer has been filled with anxiety…me working full time and their dad having a girlfriend at home who the boys could stay with. I have struggled with my fear that they wouldn’t want to be with me because I make them get up and go to camp instead of sleeping and spending the day playing video games and swimming in the pool like they can at dad’s. We all got up and left the house. And my middle child, the one that has nearly killed me with his anger over the past three years, got out of the car and turned to me and smiled. I was saying something goofy that I say a lot this summer, “make sure you do some learnin’ today, don’t want your brain to rot out before 10th grade” and giggling. And he laughed and promised he would and then said “I love you, Mom”. It’s all still messy and he is still angry, but that “I love you” was heartfelt and sweet and light and beautiful. And the happiness washed over me again and the hair on my arms stood up, and the wetness hit my eyes and I was feeling it, all of it, all the way to my core.

So here it is. The blessing in the craptastic three years of struggle.

I feel it so much more now than I did before.

Happiness.

I can’t quite say it was worth it.

For moments of joy, bliss, peace.

I just don’t know if I could feel these moments like this, if I could really appreciate them, if I hadn’t had my life fall apart.

That’s something.

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Pride

I left the theatre last Sunday with a strange feeling. I walked to my car, loaded with costumes and flowers and other “backstage” stuff that I had accumulated over two weeks of being ultra focused on a play I was doing. Once I settled into my car, I took a deep breathe and relaxed for a few minutes before ever putting the key in the ignition. I just sat there.

Feeling.

I felt happy, for sure.

The play had gone well. The audience had really responded. I felt connected to my character, to the other characters.

I had given an authentic performance. My castmates had done beautiful work.

We put on a really good play.

I was proud of myself.

And I knew in that moment that I had never felt what I was feeling before.

I was proud of myself.

I am 44 years old and I have never sat back and just felt proud of myself.

How is that possible?

That’s kinda sad.

Why? Have I never done anything to be proud of before?

And driving along I searched back through my life’s accomplishments, projects I had managed, other plays I have been in, events I was in charge of. Yes, I have done good work before. Definitely.

But at the end of the project I simply moved on.

I may have thought about what I could have done better or what I would change if I did a similar project in the future.

If someone said, great work, I might have smiled and said thank you but internally I would have quickly discounted the compliment.

I think I may have breathed a sigh of relief and thought to myself, “well that didn’t suck, thank GOD.”

But I do not believe that I have ever spent even one minute in my 44 years simply patting myself on the back.

It boggles my mind how very true that statement is.

It makes me wonder if it’s a me thing, this inability to reward myself for a job well done, or a societal thing, or a female thing, or simply an insecurity thing?

Is there anything wrong with feeling proud of yourself?

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Pride is bad.

Humility is good.

I think it’s a deep rooted belief. Pride is one of the seven deadly sins.

We are taught not to be prideful. We are taught that pride separates us from God, from love.

But what does pride actually mean?

“a feeling or deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements”

That doesn’t seem like a bad thing.

Allowing yourself to feel pleasure at the end of a job well done shouldn’t be a bad thing.

And it isn’t.

It wasn’t.

As I drove home, I allowed myself to feel proud, to feel pleasure at having dreamed of a project, of going out and making it come true, and then having it be something beautiful and good.

Together with the other people on the team, we did a beautiful and good piece of theatre. I am proud of us.

It’s unbelievable that I have never allowed myself to feel a little pride before.

And I did it. All the way home. That 20 minutes, I danced, cried a little, giggled a little, marveled a little that we did it, I DID IT.

Then I got home and walked in the house.

Into three barking dogs, three needing kids, a sink full of dishes, seven loads of laundry and a lot of other “real life” crap.

Nope, nothing bad happened when I let myself feel proud. Life went on.

On being a mom

I tell each of my kids that they are my favorite.

They know it. It’s something we laugh about. They enjoy it. And they know I say it to the other two.

Each one of them is my favorite.

My little one is my favorite to cuddle with, to chat with, to just hang out and play legos or Rat-a-tat-cat with.

My oldest, my girl, is my favorite to go shopping with, to watch movies with, to get our nails done and to have long conversations about life and relationship dynamics and friendship and surviving high school.

And my middle child, my mirror, my intense one…who was intense to be pregnant with, was an intense little baby, an incredibly willful toddler and now is a teenager…two years ago I might have secretly admitted that he actually was my favorite. I get him, in a way I don’t get the other two. We speak the same unspoken language. Or we did. Or maybe we still do, but I don’t want to speak the language he is speaking now.

The language of truth.

The language of hate.

My mirror hates me.

He has been angry since the divorce.

As he gets bigger, so does his anger.

As he gets smarter, so does his ability to verbalize the complexity of his anger.

He doesn’t want to come to my house.

He doesn’t want to live in two houses.

He wants to stay at Dad’s.

He hates my house.

And he makes everyone else miserable when he is here. Increasingly so.

Oh the things he says to me. It’s horrifying.

Unbelievable.

Unless you are a parent, then you know. Cause this is the part of parenting you can’t comprehend until you live it. No one warns you about this part.

The way a child can break your heart, in a way no one else can. Your children are a piece of you, they live inside you. It just is that way. And when they push hard enough, they can destroy you from the inside out.

And it’s hard.

A few days ago, when I was, once again, having the “please don’t talk to me that way, it’s disrespectful and it’s not ok” conversation for the 300th time he responded with:

“I hate it here, I don’t want to be here.”

And I said, “where do you want to be?”

“At dad’s, I want to be at Dad’s.”

And for the first time in over 2 years, I said ok.

And I took him back to his dad’s.

Where he stayed. Where he is now. I guess where he’ll be. Hopefully not forever, but possibly.

The other two assure me they aren’t going anywhere. They are fractured without their brother. But they promise me they won’t follow him. I hope they won’t.

There is a line in the play August Osage County where Barbara says, “Thank God we can’t tell the future, we could never get out of bed.” I think it’s certainly true of parenting. If you knew, in advance, how deeply you would love your children and how dangerous that love can be when your children hurt you…often purposely, would you do it?

Would you be a mom?

As I write this, with a heavy heart, the answer is still yes.

Absolutely yes.

Without a doubt, yes.

And when my favorite child is ready to come back, I will be here with open arms. To continue loving him up close.

Right now, I have to love him from a distance. Because that’s what he wants from me. It’s what he needs. I know he loves me. So I will wait.

That’s what being a mom is.

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A hug from my boy.