Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Nail in the coffin

Yesterday afternoon I received word that my Mom went to lunch with her alcoholic/enabling ex.  I knew what that meant.  It wasn't lunch, it was a drink, a chance to manipulate facts and make him feel sorry for her, and an opportunity to convince him that she should move back into his house.  It seems she was successful this time because she went back to her adult foster home with boxes, declaring her plans to move on Friday.

I should be concerned.  The last time she lived with him, she nearly killed herself.  She drank herself into daily stupors in which she fell multiple times, burned herself, pooped herself in public, and developed alcohol induced dementia and cirrhosis of the liver.  I should be concerned because an addict living with an addict is a recipe for disaster.  I should worry for her health, for her well-being, but I'm not.

I'm not fighting it anymore.  Because I have fought and fought and fought for her.  When she gave up on herself, I stepped in and advocated on her behalf.  I have spent my entire life standing up for her, even though she never once stood up for me.  In particular, the last year and a half I put more energy into her care than I ever had.  I advocated for her with hospital administrators and social workers, disability services, and after a month and a half long fight to keep her in the hospital where she was safe from herself, I got her approved to move into an adult foster home.  A beautiful home with people who took excellent care of her.  A comfortable and warm home with everything she could ever want or need right at her fingertips.  A home she is determined to leave.

In all the years I've battled my Mom's addictions with and for her, there has always been this underlying guilt that has pushed me to continue when most people gave up.  Scratch that...when EVERYONE ELSE gave up.  Her siblings, her son, everyone else gave up on her, but I kept on.  I took time and energy from my own children to do what I thought a good daughter does for their mother.  Even when that mother doesn't deserve it.  For all the emotional baggage I was carrying around, I found a way to be compassionate to her and work on her behalf so she could get healthy.   I allowed her back into my life and the lives of my children, against my better judgement and previous statements that I would never allow it to happen again, I did.  I opened my home, I spent my time, my fuel, took hours and days off work, and the only thing I asked in return was for her to allow people to take care of her.

The guilt is gone now.  I know I've done more than anyone else has to help her.  I know that I gave it my all and that she still chose her addiction over her family and her health. I know a lost cause when I see one. I know that her presence in my life is a poison and it will only make me sicker, eventually infecting the rest of my family and most importantly, my children.  I know I can't let that toxicity affect my kids.  For all the times I said I was done, the guilt always brought me back around to her.  But the guilt is gone. In it's place is an acceptance, almost a relief.  She is not my problem anymore.  When her time comes, which will most definitely be sooner rather than later, I will handle her final affairs according to what she told me were her wishes.  And that will be the next and last thing I ever do for her.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

What I didn't know I wanted

Emotions are a funny thing.  It seems that no matter how logical we can be, when our emotions start running wild, there grows a major disconnect between our brains and our hearts.  In the end, sometimes our brain wins and sometimes it doesn't.

When I found out I was pregnant with Sawyer, my brain was running in circles.  The thoughts, the what-ifs, the how the hells, the holy shits were so abundant, I had no time to fall in love.  I wasn't unhappy, but the shock certainly dulled what excitement I could muster.  Also lurking in the not-so-deep recesses of my mind was the dread of what was going to happen to my body.  Superficial, I know.  Even as I told myself "you are only allowed to gain X number of pounds", I knew it was ridiculous.  And yet, my brain was in control and my heart was in hiding.

But then there was the anatomy ultrasound.  It was the big one.  The one where most women find out the gender of their babies.  We already knew we were having a boy.  I was lucky enough to be of "advanced maternal age", which means they did genetic testing on my blood to rule out the major abnormalities that are more common in women aged 35 and up. He already had a name and some little blue onesies.  The ultrasound was really just meant to measure his various bits and pieces, make sure everything is working as it should be and growing in line with his due date.  It was exciting, but not in the same way it is when you're hoping to discover the baby's gender.

The ultrasound was pretty typical.  We got profile shots and the little alien-looking thing that we saw in previous ultrasounds was now very distinctly human.  He had features and fingers, toes, and a beating heart.  We even got to see a little butt shot when he decided to moon our ultrasound tech for running her mouth about his lack of cooperation.  I think that was the moment my brain shut off.  The thoughts that had subdued my emotions for the previous 3+ months went up in smoke.  This was my son and he was being silly.

Since that moment, it's been all emotion.  Each movement brings with it the joy I had felt with my two previous pregnancies.  Finally I was forgetting all the things that scared me about having another baby and I was experiencing the all encompassing warmth that comes with growing life within your body.  It's magical, really.

Now when I hear Simple Man by Lynard Skynard or Beautiful Boy by John Lennon, I cry.  I cry because I am only 18 short weeks away from meeting my son.  And although it marks the official end of my reproductive years, it is the beginning of something amazing.  My son.  My boy.  My little dude.  He's on my mind constantly.  I wonder what his sisters will think of him and how they'll all interact.  I think of all the new things we'll get to see through his eyes.  All the happiness and frustration we'll experience parenting our first boy.  I wonder what he'll be like and who he'll resemble most.

My brain wasted 18 good weeks by bombarding me with worry and questions.  But it only took a split second for my heart to jump in and wipe it all away.  Sometimes our brain wins, but not this time.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Ever the Anxious Optimist

2016 is coming to a swift and welcome end today and with it comes my obligatory end-of-year blog post.  Yes, my poor, neglected blog is getting a little attention today.  But probably not much because I'm not feeling particularly wordy this morning.  I just know that if I wait to post until later, I won't post anything until April.  So let's get on this, shall we...

This last year started out pretty hopeful, to be honest.  Around March our oldest nephew started coming around and met Presley for the first time.  The repairing of that relationship was a biggie for our fam because it had been strained for far too long.  It was around that same time that I started working on my health and trying to find my way to something that resembled self-confidence.  I jumped head-first into tracking calories and nightly walks with my family.  It certainly paid off, culminating in a total of 60 lbs lost.  (Of course, I've gained 13 of those back...but more on that later.)

Mid year, my youngest niece was born.  She came into the world 6 weeks early, born a fighter, and stole my heart.  She's 7 months old now and thriving.  She's got dark hair and skin, big dark eyes, and a perfect little pouty mouth.  Most of what I see of her is online via facebook, but hopefully it won't always be this way.  At some point my trips up to visit my Dad and Brother will be more frequent because I'm just not comfortable in the absentee auntie role.  It doesn't work well for me.

It was shortly before my niece was born that I lost my job of 15 years.  The company I worked for shut down after an alleged hack to our system.  There were over 100 of us displaced, but it seems most of us have moved on to greener pastures, and those still looking for a job have the hindsight to know this was probably all for the best.  Or our bitterness at the way we were let go fuels the fire in our guts and keeps us trudging ever-forward.  Either way, it seems we're all better off.  My first month of unemployment was a struggle.  I've worked consistently since I was 16 years old, so it was a shock to my system when I was suddenly without a job.  I took on odd cleaning jobs and my house was cleaner than it has been before or since, but my sabbatical from the working world was short-lived.  I found a job in August and have been gainfully employed ever since.

As for my new job, I actually really like it.  It's a boring job that is the same thing every day, but I thrive on that kind of routine.  It's a comfort when the rest of my life is always changing.  The first month of work was hard.  I was actually wishing they'd fire me.  I've never been fired from a job in my entire life, so it was odd to find myself praying it would happen.  But like a switch being flipped, I went into work one day and was glad to be there and that hasn't changed.  I like most of the people I work with.  There are a couple who have personalities that aren't my cup of tea but nothing terrible.  I definitely don't dislike anyone.  I just mesh better with some than others, and those tend to be the ones who enjoy sharing a work space with me the most, too.

A mere 2 months into my new job, I got pregnant.  It was a monumental shock, and the disbelief still comes and goes on occasion.  But now that my little boy is a wiggling, moving human in my bulging belly, there is little I can do to deny that he's real.  I worry a lot about his impending arrival, in particular how a financially struggling family of 4 is going to handle being a family of 5.  We're in the worst shape we've ever been in and to say that doesn't weigh heavily on my mind would be a lie.  Every single day I worry and wonder how we're going to make this work.  There is no doubt we will find a way, but as of now, I'm at a loss for any clues.  I feel like that stress is overpowering my joy, but I do get little glimmers of excitement thinking about my son and the completion of the Sams Fam.  I always wanted 3 kids and now I will have them.  Two beautiful daughters and a handsome son; the perfect end to an emotional and wild reproductive run.  Once he's born, I plan to have my tubes tied.  Though my fertility has always been a mysterious bitch, I don't want to give it any chance to suddenly work again. Sawyer Lane is the last Sams baby and we're all good with that decision.

In spite of my sometimes overwhelming anxiety, I am always optimistic for the future.  It's part of my Virgo charm, maybe: being a contradiction.  Ever-worried, but ever-hopeful.  I don't have any particular resolutions other than getting more active now that the constant nausea has subsided.  The inevitable weight gain has been difficult for me and I know that has a lot to do with not being able to be as active as I like due to being sick all the time.  I no longer have that excuse so it's time to put a little hustle in my pregnant waddle.  Other than my vain hope to keep my pregnancy weight gain under 40 lbs., I am hoping the new year brings with it a solution to our current lack of money.  More than that, I need to find a way of getting our budget worked out so that it's not a twice-monthly fret-fest anymore. I know our income isn't going to change, so it's just a matter of working with what we have and getting creative.  I've even considered couponing, although I've heard that is a pretty time-consuming hobby that I probably wouldn't be able to pull off with a teenager, a toddler, a baby, and a full-time job.  But it's on the table, for sure.  I am excited to meet our son and to see how our family dynamic evolves with him.  I know I want to get away without the kids once before he comes.  Just Justin and I for one glorious night would be enough for me.  May 16th is our 10 year wedding anniversary, so it seems a good excuse for a mini-escape.  Overall, there is a lot that scares me about 2017 and a lot that could be a vast improvement over 2016.  However it turns out, you can bet I'll have something to say about it.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Unexpectedly Expecting

Last Friday evening, I found out I'm pregnant with baby #3 aka The Bean.  If you're surprised by this news, I can tell you that no one is more surprised than me.  (Yes, I know what causes pregnancy!)  So let me tell you a little tale about how I came to be unexpectedly expecting.

If you know me in real life or if you follow this blog, you know I have recently put a lot of effort into combating my over-eating and have lost a considerable amount of weight.  As of Friday, I have lost 60 lbs since March.  In fact, Friday morning was the day I hit that milestone.  I had no idea that in 10 hours, that milestone would pale in comparison to the surprise that was about to come to light.

So I've lost weight, bla, bla, bla.  My cycles had been really screwy since the weight loss stuff started.  Some months I would only have a handful of sporadic period-free days, sometimes I'd have one that would only last a few days and then come back two weeks later.  The last cycle was fairly normal-ish, though.  It started August 22nd and ended September 4th.  I was so messed up in that department, that I didn't really pay attention to the fact that my period was late.  In fact, it never even crossed my mind until the nausea started.

Over the last 2 weeks or so, I've had these random bouts of light nausea.  It usually comes after I've taken my vitamins, which is pretty common for me, so I brushed it off.  Justin even made a few comments about me being pregnant, but I dismissed them quickly with an "oh hell no" or "don't you put that on me, Ricky Bobby!"  Then the nausea started to hit in the middle of the day or when I waited too long to eat.  This sort of made my spidey senses tingle a little because that is one of the most common symptoms I had with both my previous pregnancies.  Ever happy to live in the land of denial, I ignored these signs and just chocked it up to all the recent changes my body has undergone...until I stopped liking coffee.

Oh the horror!! What was once the best part of waking up suddenly tasted like liquid disappointment in my cup. I had an inkling (which I still tried to ignore) that something was going on when I stopped finishing my morning coffee because it just wasn't appealing.  For five whole days, I only finished my coffee one time.  The rest of the days, I barely made it through half before giving up hope that it would taste better.  The thing that tipped the scales in favor of me actually taking a pregnancy test was on Friday afternoon when I was home for my lunch break.  I opened up the lid on my coffee cup, and when the scent wafted up and hit my nostrils, I gagged.  It was in that moment that I decided I would take a test that night.

Friday evening found us at the store for a forgotten ingredient to my hubs' amazing steak sandwich dinner.  While we were there, I asked him to buy me a pregnancy test, "just to rule it out", because I was still heavy in denial.  He agreed and we cracked jokes about the test.  In my head, though, I was terrified.  What would we do if it came back positive?  The idea was at once scary and ludicrous, so I tucked my head comfortably back into the sand and made myself believe a positive test was impossible.  I truly didn't think I was pregnant, mostly because I wouldn't allow myself to entertain the thought.  Here I am, only 22 lbs away from hitting my health/weight loss goal, only 3 months into a new job, already worrying about affording Christmas for the 2 kids we have, and my marriage hasn't been the most solid in recent months.  The timing couldn't be worse and I kept that running through my mind, almost trying to will away the inevitable.

Around 8pm, I had to pee.  It was the moment of truth.  As always, Presley followed me into the bathroom and when I started to unwrap the stick, she asked what it was.  I just said I had to pee pee on it and changed the subject.  Her big, almond eyes stared right through me as I hit my stream with the absorbent tip and then slowly pulled the stick up so I could watch the lines in the window turn blue.  A wave of shock knocked the wind out of me when I looked at that stick and there was a plus in the round was positive.

Tears welled up, I told Presley to go get Daddy. She ran out of the bathroom, but got distracted on the way and just started talking to Justin about something completely different.  So I put the stick on top of the box it came in, and carried it out to him with what must have been the face of someone who had just seen a ghost.  I don't even remember what I said but somehow I conveyed to him that I was pregnant.  I may have even thrown an F bomb in there.  I truly don't know because that moment was a complete blur.  Then I cried even more.  How are we going to do this? Are we allowed to be happy?  What will people think?!?!

The pregnancy PTSD was strong for at least an hour, though Justin's excitement did help calm my doubts and remind me what a miracle this truly is.  We told Trinity and she was so happy, she hugged me for what felt like several minutes and told me I was crazy to worry that she wouldn't be happy.  We told Presley, but telling a toddler anything important is pretty anticlimactic because they're more interested in whatever shiny or lit-up object is in front of their face in that moment.  They don't understand the concept, but she did say she wants to be a big sissy so she had a minor grasp on the situation.

The first person I told was my Dad.  He was happy, but I'm sure my stunned rambling made him question my sanity.  Rather quickly, we ran through the list of VIPs, shocking them with our news, and for me, allowing their excitement to wash away my fear and see this for what it is: a blessing.  Because in spite of what my bank account has in it, or where we are in life, a child is the greatest gift anyone can ever receive.  

I struggled with unexplained infertility before finally conceiving both my daughters.  Those years were some of the worst of my life.  I felt hopeless and broken and like a piece of me was missing because all I ever wanted was to be a Mom.  More specifically, all I ever wanted were 3 little rugrats to complete a family of 5.  When I finally got pregnant with Presley, the relief was so great that I was perfectly content if she were my last child.  In fact, we had talked about it and agreed that it would probably be best if we didn't try to have more because a family of 4 is pretty perfect.  I think that mindset is what made my initial reaction to this baby less-than-stellar.  But once I stepped out of my own head, and took a second to see the bigger picture, I was overwhelmed with gratitude.  This is the 3rd child I had always pictured in my head. The one that would complete our family.  Not everyone gets to experience this feeling and I'll be damned if I'll take it for granted.

So here we are, 2 days later, me and The Bean growing together, just in different ways.  As The Bean develops into a whole person, I am growing into a woman who is going to make this final pregnancy the best one yet.  I am going to avoid the myriad of unhealthy habits I embraced with my first 2 pregnancies, and work at maintaining my health throughout this entire process.  I am going to be grateful for every visit to the toilet, every ache and pain, because this is the last time I will ever experience it.  I am going to stay active and stress less.  I've made a lot of progress in that arena and I intend to keep that up so this baby doesn't suffer the way my first two did.

Based on a due date calculator, it's possible that this baby was actually conceived on my birthday.  If that's the case, it will be due May 29th.  My doc's office is closed on the weekend, so I have to wait until Monday to schedule an appointment.  I most likely still won't have a solid due date until they do an ultrasound, so I'm just going with "Summer 2017" as my stock answer when people ask when I'm due.

Honestly, I don't know what to expect over the next several months, but I do know that I'm going to make the very best of all of it.  Me, a girl who wasn't sure she could ever get pregnant once, is now pregnant for the third time.  That's not something I will ever take lightly.  This child has a purpose, a reason for being here.  Not the least of which is to make The Sams Fam complete.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

When September Ends 2016

Six years ago I wrote a post with the same title, so I added 2016 to set the two posts apart.  The reason this title is significant enough to reuse is because it is the name of the song that was playing on the radio the night I got in my car to go see my Granny, after being told she had just passed away. The date was September 28th.  The coincidence that would be the song playing on the radio at that exact moment was not lost on me.  What the song meant to me then and what it means to me now have recently undergone a big change and if you keep reading, you'll understand why.

The first thing I need to mention is that in addition to being the month of my birth, September is also a month of loss for me.  In 1996, in the wee hours of September 6th, my first love died.  He was swept away by Hurricane Fran and his body was later found in the Intracoastal Waterway in North Carolina.  Nine years and 22 days later, my Granny passed away after a short-but-brutal battle with Alzheimer's.  August is also full of loss, having lost my Grandma Coyote on the 1st, my Mother-in-Law Judy on the 4th, and my Grandma Wilson on the 26th...all in different years, of course.  The end of September in the last couple of decades has been the time of grief more often than not.

I bring all of this up because the months of August and September of this year brought with them 2 more losses.  This time they were both people from my past, and the impact of their loss has left me disoriented, but also resolved to learn the lesson from it all.  Hang on tight because this is where it will start to get wordy.

On my birthday this year, my brother Mikey stopped by unexpectedly to wish me a happy birthday and deliver a card and flowers.  Having barely had a relationship with him for a great many years, I was taken aback, but glad for the gesture.  We chatted for some time, and that's when he told me that someone I once considered a surrogate aunt, Nancy, had passed away.  To say I was shocked would be an understatement.  At one time Nan was my Mom's best friend.  Nan's family and ours did everything together.  From camping to weekend sojourns to the lake, to a thing the grown ups referred to as "Friday Fucker-Up Night".  Though the combination of alcohol and drugs occasionally meant these gatherings ended in flashing blue lights, usually because of my step-dad, there was a lot about them that I enjoyed.  They were one of the things I looked most forward to as a child, and later as a tweeny-bopper.

What I remember most about Nan was that she was a sassafrass through and through, she always said what she meant, she was rarely to never sad or angry, and she was an amazing cook.  There was never an empty belly when she was around.  My favorite of her dishes was something called Chicken Adobo.  It was this amazingly delicious rice and chicken concoction that could illicit squeals of delight when I saw her bring out the holey spice filter she used to make it.  Seeing that meant something amazing was about to hit my taste buds.

I also recall many instances where she would hold my face in her hands and tell me how much she loved me and what an incredible person I was.  This was not something I heard very often, and at the time I always thought it was because she was drunk and took it as the equivalent of an "I love you, man" moment.  As an adult, I can look back and remember her sincerity and almost urgency in making sure I knew someone loved me. Did she know I didn't hear it enough from my parents?  Did she realize how unloved I felt most of the time?  Was she planting the tiniest seed of self-love and appreciation within me so that it would grow and bloom one day?  I can't answer those questions.  Whether it was just the byproduct of too much Coors Light, or a genuine display of affection, I appreciated it and I really wish I would have made it a priority to see her again before it was too late.

Just 3 short days after attending the memorial for Nan, my youngest brother's Mom passed away.  This was a loss that I didn't expect to feel much emotion over, but a huge wave hit me when I heard the news.  Before I knew what was happening, I was leaving my brother a teary voicemail telling him how much I love him.  I didn't expect to feel such a sadness because there were quite a few years I absolutely hated her.  I had spent some time living with Teri and my Dad when I was a teenager and it ended badly.  So badly, in fact, that I didn't speak a word to her from the time I was 13 until I was 22.  At that point, I was pregnant with Trinity and had just recently started building a relationship with my Dad.  With the perspective of semi-adulthood and precious time, Teri and I were able to get along really well.  One memory I have was from an evening when Dad and Teri were in town for a visit.  They invited myself and my then-husband out for dinner at Shoji's.  Teri was at least 2 hari kari's in by the time we ate dinner, and was pulling the pineapple wedge off her drink while singing the SpongeBob Squarepants theme song.  When my step-brother mentioned going to Lava Lanes for more drinks after dinner, she kept calling it Babalanes.  I think I found her more amusing than anyone else in our party that night, so her and I laughed more than we had ever laughed together.  She was a riot.  A few months later, Teri and my Dad split up and I didn't bother keeping in touch with her.  We saw each other again when my Dad had his cancer surgery, but that was the last interaction we had.

These two women were not people I felt compelled to keep close contact with, for very different reasons.  My sadness at the news of Nan's passing definitely stemmed a lot from regret that I hadn't kept in closer contact with her, as well as the knowledge that she is the same age as my own Mother.  (That brings up a whole slew of unresolved feelings and conflicting emotions that I can't even begin to delve into or I'll be typing all night.)  This was a person who embodied the word "Mom" and even had a hand in raising me, to some degree.  This was someone I never got a chance to thank for her care because I let life get in the way.

With Teri, the sadness was much more centered around my brother and having a sense of how difficult losing her is going to be on him.  I have had a front row seat to the devastation of my husband losing his Mom, and the thought of my babiest brother dealing with anything of that magnitude is like a knife in my heart.  The last year or so of his life has been a struggle, but his daughter was born and it seemed things were on the upswing.  It just feels like he needs a break already and this is just one more thing piled onto his shoulders when he has been doing so well.

I don't know if it's because I'm growing older, if it's some sort of personal evolution, a reaction to these two most recent losses, or a combination of all of these factors.  But I can feel myself changing and though it seems to be for the better, I also worry that I will change too much and it will cause a disconnect with key people in my life.  In particular, I'm feeling an intense need to forgive and forget, to exhibit compassion and acceptance where I once held resentment and anger, and to try to fix things that have long been broken.

It wasn't long ago that I made a grand proclamation about practicing more compassion and learning to let go of things.  At first I struggled, but eventually found that it was pretty easy to let go of some things that used to cause me an immense amount of anxiety.  That resolution walks closely hand-in-hand with this latest shift within.  Where geographical fault lines are massive fractures in the Earth, I feel like my internal fault lines are shifting into place, and even the spots that are still jagged and askew aren't insurmountable or dangerous anymore.  Rather, they're like gorgeous little reminders that I've been shaken down to my core, but I'm still standing.  Just as I'm learning to appreciate my flaws as just another facet of who I am and what I've experienced, I'm finding that same appreciation for others and their flaws.  I have become a much more accepting person, and feel an urgency to reach out to people I had once pushed away because of their personal flaws and ask them for an opportunity to know them again.  Obviously this newfound need to reconnect doesn't extend to some people in my life who are simply toxic, but there are a select few who I feel a strong need to make amends with. And even those I've deemed toxic, I have let go of the resentment and hatred that used to eat at me when they came to mind.  Instead, there is just an acceptance of how things have to be and an indifference to their existence.

I never imagined I'd be the kind of person who would one day see my flaws as anything but failures.  The list of things I loathed about myself were once so abundant that it was often hard to think of much that I truly liked.   Consider a dandelion, if you will.  There are people who see them as weeds and people who see them as wishes.  Where I once saw myself as a hideous weed, I now see a wildflower.  Where I once saw loss as just a loss, I now see the potential to gain something even more profound.  That doesn't stop me from missing people I have loved and lost, but saying goodbye to them has shown me the importance of seizing the moment and making memories with the people who are still here.

This year when September ended, my eyes and heart were more open.  Like the song says, "twenty years has gone so fast".  Time passes too quickly.  Our kids grow up faster than we'd like and our parents grow older and leave us before we feel ready.  Friends come and go, families fall apart, and we all have the potential to get bitter from the challenges we face.  But at the end of our lives, when everything else falls away, all that will be left are the memories we made with the people who mattered most.  Either that, or a pile of regrets a mile high.  I know how what kind of ending I would prefer and I won't waste another moment making it a reality.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

My Reflection

Birthdays always make me nostalgic.  Each year around this time, my mind starts wandering back, reflecting on where it is I've been and all the things I've done.  I start comparing the previous birthday with the current one, paying close attention to the more drastic changes that may have taken place and thinking about where I want to be in the year ahead.  

This past year has been full of personal change.  The last 6 months, in particular, have been rife with upheaval, uncertainty, and eventually a sense of confidence that I have never experienced.  Most of this can be attributed to getting healthy and losing a great deal of weight.  As of today, I've lost 51 lbs.  I'm still heavier than I was when I got pregnant with Presley, and I want to lose 31 more lbs before next Spring, but I am happy with what I've accomplished so far.  It wasn't easy to break out of the rut I had been in for the last few years.  In fact, I was sure it was impossible until one day, it just clicked.  I started getting healthy and haven't stopped.  I don't want to stop.  I'm not tempted to stop.  Food just doesn't have the same power over me that it once did.  I get frustrated and discouraged when I don't see the scale moving for several days in a row, but not to the point of derailment. So even though I'm not the ideal body type, and although I still have a ways to reach my goal, I feel really good about myself for simply having the strength to get this far.  That is where the confidence comes from;  not from a number on the scale, but what that number represents.  

The other big change that has taken place is job related.  When the company I worked for closed down, it was like the rug had been pulled out from under my feet.  It was terrifying and took a lot of adjustment.  It was just like grieving.  Now I've come to terms with everything that happened and am happily employed with a new company.  In the beginning, I wasn't sure I liked my new job and even found myself outright hating it.  Looking back, though, I can see that all stemmed from simply disliking being "the new guy".  I had thought I would never find myself in that position again and then I was thrust into the job market and had to start all over.  My resentment toward not having control over the situation that forced me out of my previous job made me dread going to my new job each day.  At one point, I actually hoped I'd get fired.  (This coming from someone who has never been fired before and absolutely hates rejection.)  As seems to be the way things work nowadays, one day a switch just flipped and I suddenly felt good about my job.  I've started interacting more with my new co-workers, trying to get to know them and letting them get to know me.  The work itself is finally making more sense, and call me crazy, but I think working in the trucking industry, even in billing, is pretty cool.  

I can honestly say that as I'm getting nearer to 40 years old, I am starting to learn how to like myself and how to shrug off other people's expectations.  I hope this trend of discovery and empowerment continues.  It's strange not hating myself and sometimes it feels unnatural when I realize that I actually like the woman I am and the direction I'm heading.  There is still a small part of me that is insecure and afraid, but that part is shrinking all the time.  I don't know if this is the "wisdom" they say we get with age, or if it's how other people have felt all along and I'm just late to the game.  Either way, I like it.  I don't cringe at my reflection anymore.  Sometimes I even give it a wink and a "you got this, bitch", just for good measure. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Desperately Seeking Solace

Yesterday I started to write a post about how excited I was about all the job prospects that seem to be opening up for me.  I wrote a little about how I was feeling some doubt about a job I was up for (and REALLY wanted), but that the schedule was awful.  I wrote about how just when I was starting to think about letting go of that job to find something with better hours, I shadowed a clerk as part of the pre-hiring process and found myself once again pining for the job. I got distracted and never finished that post.  Now I'm glad I did, because I missed the interview, thus completely ending any chance of getting hired for that particular position.

This morning started out fine, but a series of unfortunate events that I really don't want to re-hash put me in the position of deciding whether to attempt to show up to the interview about 15 minutes late or give up.  In a last ditch effort to try to salvage things, I called the HR manager and explained my situation.  I was told all the interviews were being done today only and that there was no way to reschedule me, since all the slots were full.  So my interview was canceled.  And I cried.  A lot.

Without thinking, I changed out of my respectable attire, threw on capris, a t-shirt, and flip flops, and headed to Lithia Park.  That was my happy place as a child and my own kids love it, too.  Since the teen is w/ her biodad in Arkansas until Sunday, I packed up the toddler and off we went to play on the swings and walk along the trails, and listen to the sounds of the water in the creek.

Whether it's subconscious or deliberate, I've noticed that when something is especially heavy, I still seek out ways to be close to my Granny.  She always seemed to comfort me in the most perfect way.  If I needed to vent, she listened without judgement.  If I needed advice, she gave it.  She's been gone for over 10 years now, and was mentally gone a few years before that, but I still find ways to be near her when I'm struggling.

Today I needed peace.  After playing for awhile, and eating some lunch, Presley and I stopped at the Farmer's Market where my Granny used to shop.  The market looks and smells exactly like I remember.  I purposely walked down every single aisle in the tiny building, just to inhale as much of that smell as possible.  I bought a bag of banana chips and although they no longer sell the push pops Granny used to buy us kids, I bought Presley a tiny carton of Ben & Jerry's.  It was my way of holding onto as much of Granny's little tradition as I could.

Leaving the Farmer's Market, my next stop was the Hilsinger House.  I've written about the house and what it means to me in a previous post, so I won't go into it all over again.  The first thing that caught my eye as I rounded the corner, was a for sale sign that said "Residential Development".  I had been told a few years back that the house would be demolished at some point and had spoken to the owner's sister about possibly walking through before that happened.  However, I lost her number and haven't spoken to her in several years.  Looking through the gate, I noticed the driveway was in really bad shape, as if some work had already been done to prepare the lot for demolition and construction.  I pulled into the neighbor's driveway and knocked on the door, hoping to catch the owner's sister at home.  Unfortunately she wasn't there, so I left a note with my name and number, and asked if I can walk through the house before it's gone.  I sat in the car for what seemed like hours, but was probably closer to 20 minutes, just staring through the overgrown foliage and dilapidated fencing.  The reality of the Hilsinger House being gone hit me like a left hook.  This time there was no stopping the tears.

The drive home was quiet.  My mind was no longer clear.  Now that I'm back home, my heart feels heavier.  I hope the next time I post on here, it will be pictures of the house I love so much and a story about finding some measure of peace in being inside those walls one last time.  For now, I'm going to sign off on a somber note, hug my baby who just woke up from her nap, and go about my day.

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