Friday, November 23, 2012

Great (NO) Expecations

Why do my lips choose resolute silence as if to speak would be to be a traitor to myself?    To never say when something is not okay?  To not speak up for myself, or to speak up for my kids?

I'm learning that in relationships I seem to have no expectations of anyone.   I seem to harbor the belief somewhere deep within that everyone will bail on me.  I seem to expect nothing of anyone.  I can thank Jonathan for this unwelcome gift.  

I am learning that I do this as a defense mechanism.  I do it so that I can never be hurt.  It's like a powerful fiberglass insulation.  Do you know how irritation fiberglass insulation is to the person who installs it?  You itch and itch for days.  It seems to stick to your skin and doesn't feel like you can get it off.  This insulation guards me against pain, because if I expect nothing from anyone I can't be disappointed when they don't do what they say they're going to do.   In a grave admission, if you say you're going to do something for me, I expect you not to do it.  I lived with a guy who couldn't pick up milk at the grocery store for nine years, and yes, that is an excuse. 

The trouble with this is obvious, I don't invest in relationships I'm not really receiving in or I invest and never have a voice to express my hurt.  Because I'm not even really sure that I'm hurt in the first place. I have this annoying numbing thing that goes on.  When people disappoint me, as they are wont to do, I almost don't even notice.  I just sit there and accept their excuses.  I, in fact, will excuse them for failing their obligations to me without their cooperation. 

This is really bad people. 

It's co-dependency. 

And yet people continue to not follow through.  I continue to need people in my life.  I continue to be ignorant of how I help them to understand that I am not okay with them not following through. 

I am not okay if you don't call me back when you say you're going to... repeatedly.

I am not okay if you don't show up when you say you're going to... all the stinking freaking time.

I am not okay if you don't do whatever it is you say you're going to do... consistently.

But instead I usually say something like, I understand, you're busy, you're working, you've got kids, your husband is never home.  As if I'm not busy, I'm not working, I don't have kids, and I have anyone who comes home to take my kids, so certainly since none of those things are true I can pick up your slack.  Because even if that were true that still doesn't negate someone's word.  I don't become absolved of my word because my life is hard, I'm a single mom with three kids and money is beyond tight. 

The other grave consequence of my co-dependency is that I believe everything I say should be a blood oath.  As in, I'd rather die than not do it.  And I'm quick to commit to things if I believe they will serve you.  So, if I said I was coming to your house and bring some food over, and one of my kids gets sick and I can't come.  I'm very likely to stay up all night cooking food and come and drop it off even though I've been dealing with sick kids all night and all day long.  THIS IS NOT HEALTHY PEOPLE.  And I need to stop it. 

There are some reasonable excuses for not keeping your word, provided you don't do it all the time.  Puking toddlers is a great excuse.  Please don't bring food to my house if your toddler has been puking, I don't want those germs over here.  I'm sure you don't want my puking toddler germs at your house either

I want to let my yes be yes and my no be no.  But I need you to do the same for me.  Please people, do what you say you're going to do.  You don't have to commit to much.  But a 5 minute phone call, surely isn't that much, right?  I'll endeavor to keep my word reasonably as well.  And if you continue to bail on me, expect your role in my life to be greatly limited.  I've had just about enough of that. 

With love and humility,


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Ow, ow, ow, ow...

I threw my back out.  It appears that I am getting old.  I have no idea how this happened.  But I have officially reached the point in my life that I can now not move any piece of furniture I want by myself without consequences.  I knew it was coming.   I could actually feel myself over doing it.  I kept telling myself, you need to stop, in my brain.  But I also knew that the house wasn’t livable yet and I felt like I had tapped all the resources of help I could and I was out of spare hands.

Ohhh Rowan and Harvey you have no idea what it’s going to be like once you can really lift things. 

But I digress.  So a week into moving my body finally realized it was its chance to snap and I got the full blown flu and my back went out over the course of two days.  Chiropractor and medical doctor later, I had a script and was adjusted.  But still really sore.  The flu passed eventually as it always does.  But the back, man, no dice.  I was careful tried to lift less and then I picked up a basket of laundry.  AS IN ONE BASKET.    And it went completely out, screaming on the ground tears in my eyes.  I headed straight to the couch as soon as I could move.  But a two year old, five year old and seven year old don’t understand their mommy not being able to move.  How exactly do you think she gets in her crib at night?  I put her there.  Duh! 

So, I recovered enough to move and hold Eowyn if I held her very, very, close to my body and didn’t move very much.  Next on the agenda.  Thanksgiving grocery shopping; with Eowyn in tow.  Right before the boys get off the bus.  We were rushing, bad plan on my part.  One misguided pull instead of push on the grocery cart and DAMN.  There I am again, tears, stifling a cry of pain in the middle of Giant with its insane holiday grocery shoppers.  I knew I was in trouble that time.  More care, more trying not to lift, more couch time (which has its benefits by the way)  I read a lot more to my kids when I can’t get off the couch.  But there’s also a lot more frozen pizza. 

And today, yep, I did it again.  Trying to clean the bathroom.  Hello, there are people coming over!  Trying to get the last little bit of stuff in the house put away.  Trying to cook for Thanksgiving and DAMNIT , there it goes again.  This time there was no getting up.  I called my dad and said “I can’t take the boys to get measured for their tuxes today, I’m not sure I can drive.”  And called the doctor, apparently this is called spasming and there’s another whole prescription they can give me for that.  So, I drove, to Giant, the day before Thanksgiving, with my two year old, to get that prescription.  I basically felt like I needed a medal for making it back home again with my child, the needed drugs and not having anyone hit my car. 

Did you know that today is the #1 drinking day of the year in the USA?  I guess we’re all really looking forward to tomorrow.  ;-)   And starting our holiday celebration a little early.

On another note: my grandfather is in the hospital.  The prognosis is not great but not terrible either.  And today I cried.  I’m not someone who really cries when old people get sick and die.  I more think of the mercy of them going on to such a better place.  I never want to be that old, my pride doesn’t want my body to break down… cue hysterical laughter here, and I figure my grandparents don’t like having everything break either.  But it struck me today that my grandpa could be dying, like, right now.  And he’s known me for my whole life and I don’t ever remember him speaking a harsh word to me.  What a legacy.  I was sad and crying on the phone telling someone about it.  These tears feel good and healing for me.  I never used to be able to express emotion when I wanted to or needed to and now it flows freely.  Granted there’s a trade-off, now sometimes I can’t stop the emotion if I wanted to.  Which can be awkward and sucky.  But I really like having access to my tears; it feels like I have access to my heart.  Provided that the tears aren’t associated with pulling too hard on a shopping cart. 
Happy Thanksgiving.