Thursday, July 14, 2011

A View of my Bellybutton

Every summer, as part of the divorce agreement, The Boy spends four weeks with his dad.  We don't do this all in one stretch, I would miss him too much.  We split it up over the summer in ways that is convenient for us parents.  Week one was scheduled around a business trip I had planned, which I had to cancel in the wake of XBF's departure.  As difficult as that week was, and the empty house made it a bit scarier, it was a blessing that I didn't have to try to appear stronger than I really was, and The Boy didn't have to watch his mother disolve into a puddle of snot on a daily basis. 

Week two was last week.  A couple of friends expressed concern, wondering how I would deal with being alone.  I assured them that I would be fine.  I was too busy not to be.  And the early part of the week was a whirlwind of yardwork and post-funeral duties and catching up on work at the office that got behind due to the funeral planning.  It was nice to just be able to re-heat the food a friend had brought me because of my mom's passing, throw my single dish in the dishwasher and move on to the next task at hand without making conversation and being, you know, a Mom.

Toward the end of his stay with his dad I found some spare time, which was not necessarily a good thing.  I had been wishing for a breather, looking forward to sitting in my big comfy chair with my dog on my lap (I feel I've been such a neglectful, absent doggy mommy lately) and just watch some mindless TV.  I did all of that, but the momentary lull in the schedule allowed a few sharp pieces of reality to stab their way into my consciousness.  It was painful, and perhaps a bit soon, but they had to get in there one way or another, so maybe it's for the best.

During the more introspective times (I am, after all, an olympic level, grand champion naval-gazer) I found myself feeling.......adrift.  The best way to describe it is to recall an article I read years and years ago on the subject of rules.  The expert author assures us that children not only need rules, they WANT rules.  And to a child, life without rules feels similar to if you or I was to walk through a door, expecting to walk into a room, but instead found ourselves with no floor beneath us, no ceiling above, no walls surrounding us.  It would be a scary thing. 
That is how I was feeling, but the issue wasn't really lack of RULES.  I was LOVING the lack of rules, the ability to close my curtains and buy junk food and watch what I want on TV and use the overhead light in the living room instead of the lamps on the end tables and...well I could go on and on but sufficed to say that I was enjoying some freedom to do things that I wasn't exactly FORBIDDEN from doing, they just weren't worth the fight...and now I can have them and do them with no fight....those are rules I do not miss.

What I felt I was lacking, was a job.  I mean I have a J.O.B., a career actually, (and thank God for it on a daily basis) and heaven knows I have plenty to do with the oversized house and the loathsome yard that surrounds it, but if you look at all of the things that fill our days, and separate out the difficult, less than pleasurable me, those are all "jobs".  Everything from going to work to going to the bank to going to the grocery store.  Everything from maintaining the house to maintaining the yard to maintaining relationships.....and THAT is a job that I have lost.

And let me tell you folks, that was a was a 


...that doesn't quite cover it, but I don't know how to add flashing lights and dripping blood to the letters so you'll just have to use your imagination.

I have been consumed with trying to "make the relationship work".  And after a couple of years of banging my head against that brick wall...the sudden absence of that brick wall caused me to not only, quite unexpectedly but thankfully temporarily, fall on my face...but the sudden lack of BANG BANG BANGing has left a ringing in my ears that almost drowns out the silence.  I find myself sitting among the rubble and bricks, a halo of cartoon stars whirling around my head, the sound of tweeting birds in the background, and thinking "now what?"

Before I had to answer that question, The Boy came home.  And now I can focus on him.  In this parenting gig, it's a very slippery slope between not enough attention and too much.  Between neglect and smothering.  When SHOE THREE dropped I had to fight the screaming parental urge to lock him in his room and never let him out because I was convinced that anything bad that could happen to me WAS happening to me and I was TERRIFIED about his safety....certain that the next time he left the house a bolt of lightening would reach from the blue, clear summer sky and strike him down only because I love him so much. 

The Boy is sixteen years old.  To paraphrase a line from a movie that I can't quite put my finger on at the moment.....there's nothing a sixteen year old boy likes more than spending time with his Mom.  Ok...there's nothing he DOESN'T like more...and I do realize that.  But I'm trying to build a man out of a boy here and that is a JOB in itself.  And I feel fortunate to be able to more clearly focus on the task at hand, and to be able to do it in a way that I, with the input of his father, feel is correct without being told over and over and over again about how every single freeping thing I'm doing is wrong.  Another brick wall my head does not miss.

So this past week has been spent chauffering him to appointments and investigating home schooling (he's not interested) and working side by side in the yard and forcing him to come home from his friend's house long enough to share a meal with me and say "How was your day?".  Tonight I am sparing him from having to share food or oxygen with me.  I have yardwork to do and a friend who is willing to help me so he's off the hook.  But he WILL go to a movie with me this weekend, and we will help each other rearrange our bedrooms.  We will fight and he will drive me crazy and I will certainly return the favor. 

It will be awesome.

And then I will let him go have fun for a while.
And come Sunday afternoon week three with his dad will begin.  Hopefully I can spend the week accomplishing some things around the house and learning how to relax without trying to see too far into the future...or into my belly button.

Today's lunch:  Panera Asian Sesame Chicken Salad, whole grain baguette, flower cookie.  A work lunch which I dind't have to pay for.  Free food is always good.  And SO yummy.   The flower cookie is a seasonal thing.  It's your basic miraculously wonderful panera shortbread cookie, with frosting and sprinkles.  It is the proverbial unicorn farting rainbows and glitter. It's wonderful wrapped in scrumptious wrappe in oh em gee. You can't get better than that.  But when I first heard about it I thought it was a FLOUR cookie...and I was reminded of this joke.

Woman:  You don't pay any attention to me, you barely KNOW me.
Man:  Baloney.  I know plenty about you.
Woman:  Ok....tell me....what is my favorite flower???
Man:  Um.....Pillsbury??

1 comment:

  1. so sorry to hear of your mother's passing, my condolences to you..