Something is different and very weird

In my second semester in college, something clicked in me.  I stopped stressing about finals.  During finals week as my friends freaked out, studied until their eyes popped out, I would take a little time to review and then turn on the TV or surf the web.  It drove some of my friends CrAzY.  But my mom had taught me how to study.  A little every day.  Study for 15 mins, break 5, 15 more mins, break 5, and so on.  If the test was cumulative, I should know most of the material any way.  If the test was on just part of the semester, then I should just treat it like any other test.  I relaxed, watching how much nicer people were to each other, even though they were all stressed, because they were all in the same boat.  Professors and students were scrambling to finish the semester.  And I walked in slow motion as the rest of the world sped by.

Which is how I feel right now.

And I have no right to feel that way.

No right, what so ever.

My Christmas cards aren’t even at my house yet because I ordered them on Sunday.  So they are not addressed, stamped, and mailed out.  Oh, and I forgot to put something like “Tornado E, Tornado S, and Tornado A wish you a Merry Christmas” on the cards.  So someone has to do that too.

As for the jar mixes that I have to put together for my grandparents and aunts and uncles, I still have to buy the jars.

Tornado E needs another gift from Santa, but at least everything else is bought for the boys.

Nothing is bought for my family.  Ok, I lied.  I bought a few knickknacks last year after Christmas, but not enough to give as gifts.

Which means, nothing is wrapped either.

My boxes to my in-laws and my two best friends are not even packed.  (Didn’t I say I would get those out early this year?)

The annual professional pictures I wanted to get of the boys never got done.

I have not baked a damn thing, though I have all the stuff.  Except butterscotch chips.  I need those.

The handmade ornaments and gifts from the boys. I scratched out the gifts, and they have only made one set of ornaments done.  But I burnt those.  (Did any one know you can burn clay?)

And then there’s the grand debate of should I or should I not get some sort of gift for The Husband.  Are there rules for this sh*t?  But I rather err on the side of sainthood than b*tchhood.

Let’s not forget I blew over 200 bucks of the budget on things I forgot to budget for.  Add another 150 because I forgot to add regular groceries into the budget.  Brilliant, I know.  At least, The Husband has done his dirty work too by snagging 150, but he goes and slays dragons for that stuff.  And I don’t feel too bad over the budget.  I mean, Tornado A did NEED his shots, and the boys did NEED haircuts.  They looked like they had been timewarped from the 70s.

So ten days before Christmas, I’m buried under a mountain of stuff to do.  And I’m not worried.  I’m not freaking out.  I’m just chilling.  It’s weird.  The only theory I have come up with is that I’m so worried and freaked out and obsessed over my marriage and my path to maturity that I just don’t have any room for the rest of the stuff out there.  The kids will get to school on time, and they will be properly fed, dressed, and rested every day.  The bills are paid.  Everything else will fall into place.  Gifts will be wrapped.  Food will be prepared.  Budgets will be fixed.  And the boys will have a wonderful Christmas in spite the fact that all the adults are filled with chaos over the separation.

Remind me of this zen place when I’m building two bikes at 1am Christmas morning.

The shadow in me

This summer I learned that I couldn’t do everything on my own, that I had some major issues (sh*t is what I like to call it) and I had to own them.  Though I had known for over a year, I accepted I was co-dependent and I needed to go to Co-Dependents Anonymous

It started when my best friend insisted I read Co-Dependent No More, and I learned then that I had some real issues.  I had already realized that I couldn’t keep obsessively worrying over The Husband and where he was and what he was doing.  I stopped nagging him 21 months ago and gave him room to breathe.  But I didn’t tell him what I was doing or why, and he took it to mean I no longer cared, which got the ball rolling to the sh*t storm we are dealing with right now.  But that’s not what I want to talk about now.

Some of you might have already hit the link, maybe you didn’t.  But I think a co-dependent is someone who believes to be happy he or she has to make sure all the people around him/her are happy and safe.  The co-dependent knows best.  Damnit. So the co-dependent tries to manipulate people and situations to “protect” his/her loved ones.  Those loved ones don’t want to be controlled and resent the co-dependent, who then, in turn, feels resented, used, and hurt.  Then the co-dependent tries to control more.  It‘s a vicious cycle.

At first I wanted to know who twisted me into this deformed lover.

Society.  Our society has been telling women for generations to be successful, happy, and a valuable member of society, she had to produce a happy, healthy, functioning  family.  Behind every great man is a great woman.  Those children are so polite and smart; it must be because of the mother.  Oh, he killed three people; what kind of mother did he have?  Yup, women are responsible for all that is their family. 

Yet I read many of you, and you don’t have the craziness that’s in me.  So there must be other factors.

Like my mother.  And her mother.  Controlling women.  They give and give and give.  And if we are not sufficiently grateful, if we decide to ignore their advice, then we are foolish or horrible or stupid or too young to know better.  I’m watching my mom push away my brother, and slowly she’s beginning to push me away with all her well-meaning advice.  Her constant, loud, frequent, bossy advice.  My aunts and uncle all have issues, and I believe it stems from my grandma’s need to help her children be happy and safe.

But there’s plenty of blame to go around.

How about that emotionally abusive relationship in college?  The one where my boyfriend was passive-aggressive with time.   He tried to manipulate me to become a script writer for him.  (I wanted to write novels.)  He once told me I was getting fat from all the desserts I ate.  (Hardly, and I got up and grabbed three more.)  He got upset with me because we took a class together and I wouldn’t only study with him.  (I’m sorry, I don’t settle for B’s or C’s.)

Of course, my college counselor pointed out I was more than willing to cut myself up and put myself into a neat little package for the boyfriend without being asked.  Ugh.

And then there’s The Husband.  He brought his own craziness into the mix.  Which made me crazier.  Which made him crazier.  It’s a vicious cycle.

I thought about this the first week I started going to CoDA, and I realized that if I laid blame on someone, I would start to absolve myself from my actions.  Like an alcoholic, I was responsible for my actions, even if someone had poisoned me into not knowing how to truly love and how to be truly me.  It didn’t matter.  I was responsible, and I had to start living responsibly.

I’m co-dependent.  If I call enough and yell enough, The Husband will want to come home and be with me.  If I argue with my mom enough, she’ll see things my way.  If I keep my boys safe in the way I see things are safe, they will be safe.  If I make everything even between The Husband and me, I’ll have what I want and need.

But it doesn’t work that way.  I have to let The Husband and my mom be who they are, think the way they want, say the things they want.  I’ll have to slowly let go of my boys so they can experience the world and they won’t ever have the need to run away because I’m trying to control them.  I have to figure out what I need and want to be a healthy, happy, whole person.

Conversation in my head

The boys love watching the fish at Wal-Mart.  I should buy them a small tank with a few fish.

Am I crazy?  Who will be feeding and cleaning said fish?  I’m about to have a baby.  I barely have time to water the plants.  Wait- what day is this?  Excuse me.

But they would be so happy with the fish.  Maybe it would be a perfect gift for when the baby comes.  It’ll give them something to take care of and make them feel big.

Did you not hear me before?  Are you crazy?  The responsibility would fall on your shoulders.  Like everything else.

I took care of Fish well enough.

Fish was a survivor.  We could have won money if we trained him to fight.  You let him go green half the time.  What kind of responsibility would that be teaching?

This would be like training for a real pet like a puppy in a year or two.

Um, don’t you remember what you told The Husband?  No pets until everyone in the household can and does pick up after themselves.

The Husband wanted a cow.  For milking.

It’s still a good rule.  Who picked up Mr. Burns’ poop when he was with us?

Point taken.  Fine.

I’m glad you can see reason.  Even if this all took place in your head.

At least it wasn’t out loud.  As usual.

Point taken.

But still a couple of fish . . . .

Lord.  Feed me some chocolate.  We’ll discuss this later.

Frustration and being Mom

“Do you ever feel like being a mom was something you were meant to be?”  my mom asked one day.  I had just explained to her how even though this wasn’t what I was planning, I was glad to have it.  That even if all my friends from college are still swinging singles, going out late at night like I used to, I’m ok with waking up at 6.  (shudder) Motherhood has changed me in so many ways.  It’s crazy.  While I still have those when-did-I-get-old-enough-to-have-a-mortgage moments, being mommy just makes me happy.  Most of the time.

Like today, Evan NEEDED attention right then and there as I was trying to listen to the news.  (I just want to have something to tell people than Evan is doing well potty training.)  He tried to wrestle me, kicking, pushing, and begging to watch Mickey, which wasn’t on for another ten minutes.  As I moved around the room to get a little peace to hear the news, Evan just followed, crying for Mickey.  Fine!  Have the Disney Channel!  I’m taking a shower!  (yes, yes, I know I shouldn’t let TV babysit my kids, but you never had a fourteen month old sneak up to the upstair master bathroom and get stuck in the sink with running hot water while you’re trying to make dinner.  Besides I stink like a guy; I need my shower.)  My five minutes of peace, listening to Dido, using my sweet pea shower gel.  Heaven.  I get out to find Sean, dancing to Dido.  And all is well in the world.  (The kid’s got moves.)

Or the other day as I race to meet my friend for dinner with the boys in tow, I hit EVERY light red.  I swear this only happens when I’m running late.  Hell, I get green lights all the way if I’m running early.  So as I hit another red light, listening to Evan tell me how his cousin is not a genius (his word, not mine, but true).  Then Evan pipes out, “I’ll drive!”  What?  “I want to drive, Mommy!  Let me drive!  I can do it!”  You have to be 16.  How old are you?  “I’m three!”  Then you have 13 more years.  “But I can drive now!”  Then the light turns green, and I can’t help but smile.

But my favorite make-Mommy smile moment happened a few months back, and I still laugh.  Evan was pleading, beseeching, begging for candy, which actually means fruit snacks.  As Evan isn’t allowed to have a crumb of food after four or I lose all hope in getting him to nibble at his dinner, the answer was no.  But Evan has his father’s sense of selling, ABC (always be closing) and wasn’t letting up.  “Candy, mommy!”  “Please, can I have candy?”  “I want candy!”  “How about some candy?”  At this moment as I rubbed the bridge of my nose begging for deafness, I answered “How about some peace and quiet.”  Evan fell silent as he tried to answer.  Finally, he said, “How about a piece of candy?”  Well, that cracked a smile and a little shame for wanting silence when Evan will always say something hilarious.  He still didn’t get the candy, but I could go on making dinner with him tuned out.  (Note: he now asks for piece of quiet when he can’t get candy.)  The kid’s a crack-up.

These are the moments that make the teething, the temper tantrums, the constant not listening seem worth while.  It’s the now spontaneous “I love you, Mommy” from Evan or the attack of the open mouth kisses from Sean.  I’m a natural pessimist, but I’m striving for optimism and (God help me) perkiness.  Between kids, I wore only dark colors to hide my weight, but I watched Evan how Evan liked me in my colorful maternity clothes and how I felt happy in them, so now I wear colorful clothes, no matter how fat I feel.  No matter how many times I put Evan back in bed at night or how late I stayed up watching a movie doing laundry, I try to wake happy (and I’m not a happy morning person.).  But I also like hearing the devil say, “damn, she’s up again.”

So to answer my mom’s question, a mom who stayed home with kids when she should have been running a business empire (I swear the woman has a head for numbers that baffles me), yes, mom, sometimes I feel like I was born to be a mom.  Except when the kids are acting up at the store, then I’m just the nanny.