Saturday, May 23, 2020

Control: A Mom's Struggle

The first year that I taught my child to drive was the year that I really learned to fear for my life.

She was nervous about the cars driving toward her, and so she hugged the right side of the lane.  And  when I say "hugged the right side of the lane," I really mean "made the blackberry bushes fear for their very lives."

I would sit in the passenger seat, my hand clutching the door handle with white knuckles, muttering, "Bushes...  there's bushes... IN the lane.  IN the lane.  Drive IN the lane. OH MY GOD YOU ARE GOING TO HIT THAT MAILBOX!!!!!!!!!"

Here, I had entrusted this giant vehicle that I knew very well could become a killing machine into the hands of a child who could barely ride a bike without running it into a ... well, a bush.  It was genuinely the scaredest I've ever been in my life.  After 30 years, I began to understand why, in my view, my dad was the worst driving teacher in the history of the world.  Maybe he wasn't the worst driving teacher in the history of the world -- maybe he was just FRIGHTENED FOR HIS LIFE.  

I genuinely didn't think I'd be that afraid ever again.

But, I was wrong.

I'm beginning to understand that teaching your child how to drive... entrusting her with your car and relinquishing control of the wheel to a mere teenager... It's a test run.

It's a test run in learning to let go of the wheel. It's a test run in NOT being the one in control. It's a test run in trusting them to make choices and live with the consequences.

Because there will come a time... not too long after they've learned to drive the car... when you will have to step out.  There will come a time when you will have to relinquish control to a young adult, and you will have to trust her with... herself. You will have to let them make their own stupid decisions, even when your mom heart wants to scream at them to get back in the damn lane and stop aiming at mailboxes.

And, as it turns out, it is far more frightening to trust them with THEMSELVES, my most prized possessions, than it ever was to trust them with the car.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

MY BIGGEST QUESTIONS

Some weeks ago -- I can't really say how many, I can't remember when this all started --, my biggest questions were "Where am I going in my job?" ...  "What are my husband and I going to do after the kids all fly away?" ... "How are we going to get the kids to all fly away?"...

And those are still my biggest questions...

Only now they're joined by questions like "Have I taken more than one shower this week?"... "When was the last time I ate something besides fruit snacks?"... "How many times can you have Make-Your-Own-Dinner night and still be considered a not-awful mother?".. "Do I even care?" ... "Why is it Daytime again?"... "Maybe this would be a good time to catch up on the storylines of All My Children?"--  "Is All My Children even still on?"

Hold please. No. No, it is not.

"Sheltering-in-place" doesn't sound like it should be hard. You're not going to war, you're not doing any hard labor, you're just... staying home.  But, the change in ALL your routines, the strides to create a new normal from everything is different -- it creates a weird strain that is more psychological than physical, but just as wearing.

For myself, I underestimated how much of my coping system would be shaken up by just not going anywhere.. by not seeing anyone. I misjudged how one simple change would affect me, and that I would be back to "I took a shower today" being sometimes the measure of my success.

And that's all okay -- you do what you have to do to deal with what you have to deal with. One step at a time, one day at a time.

I haven't had any fruit snacks today.  So... win.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

I FACEBOOK-STALKED YOU TODAY

I facebook-stalked you today.

You and I haven't spoken for a long time. There was once ugliness between us -- hostilities we could forgive but not quite forget -- and I think we both just stopped trying and went our separate ways.

Sometimes that makes me sad -- we once meant a lot to each other. But, time and life moves on, and if I'm honest, I don't spend much time dwelling on it anymore. We are part of each other's pasts, but not meant to be part of each other's futures.

But, every once in a while, I think of you. I wonder how you're doing. I think about what drove us apart and how I could have handled things then and later differently - but mostly, I just hope good things for you. I don't want your life to be painful.

So I peeked a little into your life -- And I can say these things truthfully.

I am happy for you for the good things you have encountered since we were last friends. I'm glad that you have people in your life who support you. I'm deeply sorry for the hardships you have encountered and the pain that has tried to break you. Interestingly, I think that you and I, as individual people, have hardened and softened in not-dissimilar ways. We probably have a lot of parallels in that journey, though they really don't look the same, and I'm not sure that our pieces still fit together in the way they once did.

And while I'm not sure reconciliation is in our future -- it could be if we were both better at forgetting and forgiving and trusting.

All that said -- I'm okay with where we are. Time has healed much, and I still love you and I still pray good things for you, whether our paths cross again or not.

May God keep you well.

Friday, January 10, 2020

A LITTLE BEHIND

It's not that I had big plans for the first weeks of January -- I have purposely kept my "resolutions" small.

It's just that my plans didn't involve staying at home, postponing all my little goals, and drinking my weight in hot liquids daily.

My job requires me to talk a lot -- so when I get sick enough that I lose my voice, it's a problem and  requires a strict slowdown.  So, this week, I pretty much ignored a lot of my life. I didn't do work. I did as few errands as I could get away with. I stayed at home a lot.  I drank tea.  Lots and lots of tea.  And then I peed a lot.

So, while the rest of the world has moved into 2020 with gusto... I'm sort of still stuck here on Dec 30th.

and that's okay.  2020 will be waiting for me when I'm ready for it.