Having dealt with my manic and quick-changing emotions my entire life, you'd think it wouldn't be so surprising when that internal switch flips and I find myself in a completely different frame of mind than I was just moments before. Yet here I am, in awe of the clarity I feel after so long swimming in a fog, feeling like my life was in a shambles and everything was going to fall down on my head any second. It's like going to bed with a messy house and waking up with a spotless one. Where am I and how did I get here?! It is equal parts gratitude and confusion.
I think the uptick started when I spoke to a nurse and then the case manager at our local disability services office (DSO) about my Mom. After days of not getting a real solid answer as to the plan for my Mom, the last nurse I spoke to set my mind at ease and let me know that yes, the plan is to keep my Mom in the hospital until she is placed in a home. As long as they are actively seeking placement, she won't be sent away. Relief! Endless and deep relief! Then the case manager told me that I should be receiving a call from my Mom's DSO case worker early this coming week and that if I don't hear anything right away, I can feel free to call and see where she is with everything. Again, relief! I struggle with feeling like a nag or a pain in the ass when I'm being proactive with a situation. Even when it's expected for me to get the ball rolling, I feel as if I'm overstepping. It's ridiculous, but one of my quirks. I'm passive until I am forced not to be.
Things have been a bit strained in my house lately, too. I'm working too much and now the business of taking care of my Mom's affairs and visiting her twice a day at the hospital have pulled me away from my family. They're feeling abandoned and I'm feeling let down and unsupported. With our roles in life being what they are, we've landed on opposite sides of the proverbial fence, each looking over that fence like "why are you over there when you belong here?!" It only got worse when a long-awaited and overdue date night for my husband and I had to be cancelled due to my besty being sick and unable to watch our littlest munchkin, and our oldest munchkin having nowhere to go after her school play on Friday night. (She was supposed to have a sleepover, but her friend flaked.) A friend jumped in to take my place for the concert, and I will admit I felt resentful and jealous. Over and over again I stay home with the kids so that he can go to concerts. This was supposed to be our date and instead I got stuck at home while he went out and had a good time. Had the roles been reversed, I wouldn't have gone out. I know that, he knows that. I think I even verbalized that to him at one point. But there he was, out at a concert with friends and there I was, watching Willy Wonka for the bajillionth time. It wasn't that he didn't deserve to go have fun and get away from the kids. He's been their primary caretaker for the past 2 months while I've been working, so he earned the break. I also haven't been the most pleasant person to be around, so he deserved a break from that, too. It was just that old familiar sensation of being left out that hit me in the gut and put me in a foul mood that I honestly wasn't sure I'd be able to shake. The cherry on top was the fact that we were staring down the barrel of a full 4 weeks without any hubby/wifey lovin'. It was officially the longest dry spell we'd had since our youngest daughter was first born and we were medically unable to make things happen, if you get my drift. All of these factors, on top of feeling like an unlovable, fat, ugly troll, made it really hard to accept him not sitting in the quicksand of my misery with me.
But yesterday was great. I worked for 5 hours, early so it wouldn't take too much time from my family, then we walked around a holiday craft bazaar together, ate a little lunch together, and then Justin and his Dad went to the first performance of Trin's school play while I stayed home and gave Presley her much-needed nap. Afterward, the hubs and I got our pool ready to be closed up for the winter (my long work hours have prevented us from doing this sooner), then I went and visited my Mom for a bit. Trin stayed and hung out with friends between her first and second play performance, so the hubs, toddler, and I went to the store to get some household staples and dinner stuffs, then he dropped me off so I could watch Trin's second performance. We decided to split up for the performances and each watch a separate one so that we wouldn't have to contend with a toddler during the show. After seeing other parents struggle with their antsy toddlers, I was very grateful we decided to do it that way. Once Trin was done with her play, and the kids were both in bed, my hubs and I did something we used to do every single night, but haven't done in quite awhile: we went to bed at the same time. We curled up next to each other, kissed, and knocked the cobwebs off ye ole' headboard. TMI, I know. You're welcome!
Today I am renewed, energetic, and simply happy. I'm at work again because I missed so much during the week while I was handling stuff with my Mom. I'm nervous about my paycheck, but it's not bogging me down b/c I finally nagged the ex enough to motivate him to catch up his child support. That will provide a buffer for whatever my check doesn't cover and also give us enough to buy Trinity a new bed, which she so desperately needs. I'm at the end of my crazy overtime, too. The new pay period runs from tomorrow through the 30th, and that's when I intend to pare back my schedule to a more humane 40 hours a week.
This last pay period is my big Christmas push, to ensure we can get the things we want to get for our kiddos, Christmas cards, professional pictures of the girls, on top of the regular monthly expenses. Everything else be damned, I'm going to spend the month of December present with my family, doing the holiday things we love like watching Christmas movies together, going to the annual tree lighting ceremony in our town and the Victorian Christmas in our neighboring town. I'm going to be there to help pick out our Christmas tree and put it up. I'm going to be there to help keep the toddler from pulling ornaments off the tree constantly for 31 straight days in a row and to hear the teenager list off the bevvy of artistic supplies she wants for Christmas this year. I'm going to freeze my fingers and toes off outside with my husband as we set up our obscene display of Christmas cheer all over the house and yard. The lesser income is going to be a struggle, but some things are just more valuable.