I have obviously come to a few conclusions. Like writing at night isn’t working. I should be studying right now. When I write a post and accidentally delete it, I call it a night and start over the next day. Of course, by the next day, I shall interject humor because that is how my family deals with life.
I stopped writing. I stopped making phone calls. I stopped organizing. I barely studied. I didn’t do any art. I didn’t read blogs or books. I didn’t send emails. I retreated. I dug in. I found a small cave and placed a shield up and rested as my dragons roared and stomped and howled and swished their tails and flapped their wings. I was avoiding them.
Like the largest. An ugly, scary thing. Mediation didn’t go well for me last time; I felt under attack. I didn’t have the right weapons. I worked hard, researching my numbers, doing my homework. How can anyone argue with facts? But my careful researched numbers were trumped by the ex’s guesses, pulled from thin air at that moment. And the lies! Christ! And I playing dope-on-the-rope out of habit and being coy as not to anger the beast and just not thinking fast enough as I looked at all angles and sides before I could make a decisions. Now I have to find new weapons. I will not retreat.
Or that slithery one. I worked all summer trying to get Tornado S assessed and help. I called. I left messages. I would get a hold of someone helpful to be brushed off again. And finally, after weeks of calls, I was told I needed to go through a different channel. All my work for nothing. But I won’t give up. I’ve been working with Tornado S every day for 30 minutes. I will drag him across the finish line if I have to. Even with “he seems unhappy in first; can we move him to kindergarten?” It’s the third day. And unhappy isn’t a reason to hold someone back or no one would graduate from high school. I will fight for Tornado S
Then there are all the little ones. I’m a single parent with sole custody. I’m the one who gets everyone ready, takes them to all their extracurriculars, takes them on errands, makes them do chores and homework, makes them dinner, holds the line, holds their hands, gets them to bed on time. I’m the one figuring out which activities, which schools, which clothes, which supplies, which school lunches, which routines, which consequences. I’m the one who does the yard work, the cooking, the cleaning, the scrubbing, the laundry, the shopping, the bill paying. It’s exhausting. These are dragons I cannot ignore.
My own three dragonlings who are testing boundaries and need to be held. Tornado A is learning to swim, learning to use the potty, going to school for the first time. Tornado E is rebelling against my authority, procrastinating on homework, picking on his brothers, being a smart ass. Tornado S is trying to get out of work, messing with his brothers, adjusting to a new school.
Then there’s the dragon I wish never to see again. As I have to hold his hand over basic parenting. Sometimes I think he’s a glorified babysitter. (Take that lawyer who may use this in court against me one day.)
I’ve got dragons in my past as my mom seems to get more out of balanced, as she acts like she has PMS, reminding me of horrors of my childhood and insights of my own failed marriage. I married my mother. I won’t do that again. I hope.
That dragon over there. I want to tame that one. I have school. Or will again soon. Now I’m studying history for my teaching test. I’m reading history books. I’m studying time lines. I’m watching lectures online. But I’m not going fast enough. I’m like my boys, staring into space or finding other things to do. I’m scattered. Googling: “Spartan women” and “how to defeat a war elephant” and “the black death” and “what do Aryans look like” and “why were their mass executions in China in 545 BC.”
And I hate that dragon. It’s my monthly budget that never grows as everything around me gets more expensive, as the boys eat more and need more.
And so I retreated.
“Don’t forget the mediator wants you on the career track, even though you’re at school and have the kids and the house to deal with,” said my friend, viciously annoyed, after I counted off my dragons without my dragon reference. Oh, right. The mediator and the ex think it would be a great idea if I worked 6 or 7 hours a week. Apparently I’m not working hard enough.
And my invisible dragons of not blogging, not reading blogs, not emailing friends, not doing art work, not writing. Ohmygod, not writing!
And I’m tired. I’m beaten up. My varsity team, the people who love and support me the most, are all scattered across the country. I miss them all so much, and I wish I could spend just even a few hours with each one.
So I avoided and dug in.
“No, not avoided. You switched around priorities. You can’t give the same amount of energy to every single thing all the time. Some things have to be put on the back burner for a while,” said the same friend, as she rested her hand on my arm.
Now that I’ve written this. I can see all the dragons better and where I need to attack. Maybe I should get a big dry erase board and make a chart of how to attack each one. Maybe I should print pictures of dragons, and then I’ll list each attack point. Or maybe I’ll get a “Risk” board game. Then I could make a battle map and move pieces around. I’m totally turning the office into a war room.
It’s time to adjust my armor and check my weapons and go back there. There are dragons that need to be slain.