Fear of Flying

My dearest little bird –

You jumped out of the nest too soon, I think. You weren’t quite ready to fly, or maybe you were a bit too confident in how well you could fly, but whatever the reason, you jumped. And I think maybe you flew a bit too high and got a little singed before you hit the ground. My heart hurts so much because I can’t pull you back into the nest, under my wings.  There are things I can’t protect you from,  now its time for you to fly in the bigger world, even though maybe you weren’t as ready as you thought. There are things now only you can figure out, new things, grown-up things that you get to decide about who you are, not next year or sometime later.  If there are things about your story now that you wish were different, well, that’s how it is for all of us but I do promise this – you have the power to write your story your way, every day, always – you do not ever have to let other people tell your story for you (Here on the ground? People will try to do that). Your inner strength (which is impressive) will be tested as you figure this stuff out.  I am told that the worst thing you can believe about me is that I’m disappointed in you (you got that from me!) but I want to shout from the tree tops “I’m not disappointed in my little bird! My little bird is amazing – all the wonderful things that I hear from all the people who know my baby, they are all true, and more!” Little one – you are amazing.  You have nothing to be ashamed of.  Let me say that again because its super important and there are voices that will say differently – You Have Nothing To Be Ashamed Of.  If I struggle at all, it is with being so proud of you because I don’t want you to confuse what you do (good or bad) and what you accomplish (amazing things) with who you are – you are my baby who wasn’t ever really a baby, who always pushed and did and was just too far ahead and that’s still who you are but sometimes that’s super scary for me, even as I’m all mixed up proud and impressed and baffled at how I got a child like you. I’m sad and afraid because I love you so much and I want you to fly high and strong and never hit the ground and never get too close to the sun either. (Because sometimes moms want things that aren’t exactly real life when it comes to their babies). You’ll have to be more grown up now and I know you’ll handle it. And I know I’ll handle it. I just wasn’t ready for you to jump but  maybe I wasn’t ever going to be ready.  You’re my little bird and I love you no matter what. Yes, there are hurt feelings and yes, there are difficult conversations ahead and yes, its going to be weird and awkward and all that, because it takes time to get over big yucky feelings – that’s what hitting the ground does. But you’ll still fly and I’ll still be proud of all that is you, my little bird, who jumped too soon for me.

Mama

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Are We There Yet?

I’ve had more to think about surrounding the death of my friend’s child.  First, how incredibly nasty people are in the anonymity of the internet – I wouldn’t read the comments on the news story but I heard enough about them to desperately hope my friend never, ever reads them.  Why do people do that?  Well…I think they do it because the alternative is to admit they don’t have nearly as much control over their own kids safety as they’d like to pretend.

If your teen is going to do something stupid, they are going to do something stupid.  If your teen struggles with something behavioral, or brain related, then they struggle even if you are the best parent ever. As another friend of mine put it, “how many of us have ‘I could have died’ stories from High School?”  See, that’s it – we could have died. We didn’t.  We were lucky. It had nothing to do with whether or not our parents were “good” parents, or “doing it right” or whatever.*

And so, on top of making the month of October even more sucky than it already is for me, the Universe is inviting me to look at and let go of even more stuff.

What is a good parent anyway? Especially when you get into the teen years, when they are growing up, wanting more freedom (which is important to let happen), more able to make life-threatening decisions, less likely to look to you…well, you feed them, you clothe them, you shelter them…and?

You provide them the opportunity to get help, if they struggle with something on top of being a teen.  But, as the saying goes, “you can lead a teen to therapy but you can’t make them talk.” You listen, if they happen to talk.  But most importantly, you stop looking at them, start looking at yourself.

You be the best parent you can be.  Here’s the rub – for me, I can’t be the best parent that’s in me if I’m not working on being the best me possible in that moment.  What does that look like?  It looks hard, painful, consistently more than I thought I was going to have to do. See, I have a teen who struggles not just with being a bone-headed teen, but with some behavioral and brain stuff.  Because I share that with this child…and because I’m now old enough to have a developed prefrontal cortex, I “know” what would help. Except according to the kid, the kid is “just fine” right now. Ok…I can let that go, with more than a little fear and trepidation, just like I’ve let go notions of how school will go.  People won’t do hard things until what they are currently doing is harder than what they need to do to change. I know this to my core. (I hope this kid doesn’t, in the mean time, do something that involves dying because that kind of eliminates changing.)

Here’s the thing, the really hard thing: looking at what happened to my friend, looking at my own teen, looking at all my best attempts at being the best parent…at being the best me….and STILL somewhere in there I’m thinking that if I just get good enough at this “letting go” thing, it’ll result in a change for my kid.

No.

The Universe makes no such guarantee.

If I work at being the best me I can be, then I will be better off.  People around me will be better off secondarily because they won’t have to deal with me being more crazy than is absolutely necessary. But people get to decide what they are going to do and who I am to them may or may not make a difference.  Certainly the minute I think that working on myself is going to change someone else’s behavior…nope.  Right back to (well-meaning) manipulation. Working on me is just that.  Me.  It isn’t a second hand way of working on someone else too.

Can I just say that I HATE this fact? Especially as a parent.

How much control do we have over what happens to our teens?  In the end, depending on how hard the teen is willing to push things, how far they are willing to go, pretty much none.  Maybe the best I can do is let go with as much grace as I can muster.

Here isn’t the There I thought I was traveling to.

*I don’t want to ignore the fact that kids who are born into difficult situations, with families who’s best isn’t great for whatever reasons – chronic poverty, parental addiction, mental illness, any sort of systemic/chronic problem – those kids are more likely to make risky decisions and definitely less likely to get lucky. I’m not sure I’m willing to assign blame to the parents though – that comes back to my thoughts on everyone doing the best they can with what they have. **

**an idea which I am thrilled to say is backed up by research, if you read
Brené Brown’s latest book “Rising Strong” (which I hope you will).  In fact, the research says pretty much your only chance of being a basically happy person is to believe exactly that – that everyone IS actually doing the best they can.

If You Can’t Say Anything Nice….

We all know how that one goes, right? I realized today that the “adult” (as in grown-up) version of that saying is:

“If you are thinking of saying something because you want someone else to change the way they are thinking or behaving, don’t.”

Last Friday night, 2 people I know lost their 17yo child in a car accident. It was, in the words of the father who I saw the next evening, horrific. Here’s the thing – I personally know 3 families, plus mine, with 17yo children who share not only being 17 (which is stupid behavior inducing enough all on its own) but also other compounding difficulties. And now, one of those 17yo children is dead.

It EASILY could have been my child.

There’s absolutely no rational or acceptable reason why it wasn’t.

It just wasn’t.

And I want to tell my 17yo child about it. Partly because if I did, some of my slightly odder than usual behavior since then might make sense. But mostly, because I want to scare my child into doing something this child just isn’t ready to do yet.

The child of my friend just wasn’t ready either.

Let go.

Let go.

Let go.

(un)Happy Anniversaries

3 years ago this coming Wednesday, my friend Nancy died. She died suddenly, in her sleep. I’ve tried to come up with a word (or a few words) to describe who she was to me and I’ve never really been successful – she was a friend, mentor, bigger sister, pastor….I suppose I could do best with something like “she was the one person I could never talk myself into believing she didn’t really love me” or “she was the best embodiment of God’s love I’ve ever met”. I miss her so much – not just in October but all the time. I’m grateful that when I quiet myself down, I can still hear her voice saying “I love you my friend” – which she said every single time we talked or saw each other.

It is also coming up on the first anniversary of when my old church flew apart. I suppose it isn’t a surprise then that I find myself struggling again with feelings of betrayal, resentment, anger. I suppose, too, that I am grateful to be aware of the why behind the struggle. I am also really tired of it.

You see, even when we say we won’t, people take sides. Or maybe, more accurately, we say that taking sides won’t matter on a personal level. I never said it, I knew it wasn’t true (from unfortunate experience). It does matter on a personal level, there’s really no other level that matters much at all. I’ll admit, I’ve tried to just stay above it or more honestly, away from it – after all, I am a big proponent of letting people have the dignity of their own lives and that people really are doing the best they can (even if “best” isn’t very good) – but there’s something about the combination of Nancy’s death and the death of the church that’s brought my stuff to my surface, again.

I’m deeply disappointed and hurt about the side that some of my (used-to-be) closest friends have taken. For a couple of reasons, I still see these people weekly – let’s just say its my feeble attempt at “Third Way“, at actually honoring the Love that Nancy showed me – radical acceptance of people, even if you disagree on passionately held beliefs. I’m really trying to stay in relationship with these people but honestly, deep rooted honestly…I don’t want to.  I don’t want to hear about what’s going on.  It feels, well….dishonest – it feels like we are all just pretending that nothing of import happened.

But what would be the point of pretending otherwise?  What else would I want?  What else would I expect, if we did dredge up the past?  What answer would I expect if I asked “Why did you stay?  How could you stay with someone who is so devious?  Someone who is using you?  Who only wants you for the check you write every Sunday” (all of which is my opinion, not rooted in any hard fact, just my hurt and suspicion and funny feelings that have been there for a lot longer than the last year). If I doubt the publicly expressed reasons for staying from some of these people, that’s my problem, not theirs – after all, I also believe quite strongly that we must, as much as possible, take people at their word, since we never actually know what’s going on in the privacy of their thoughts.

My struggle is – do I continue to try to limp along in some sort of “relationship” with these people…feeling drained, not uplifted…for the sake of….what?  Or do I do the harder thing, the hurting thing and say “I can’t do this anymore, I can’t meet with you weekly and pretend like its all good, like we’ve somehow transcended the hurt. I get wounded every week doing this and I’m not going to hurt myself anymore.” Except sometimes loving people is hard.  Sometimes its painful. Sometimes we go through things to get to something higher.

I really don’t know what to do.

I really don’t know what Nancy would counsel me to do in this situation. For various reasons, I’m also sure none of this would have happened the way it did if she’d not died (I am not blaming her for dying!).  Oh, the split might have happened anyway but I do think it would have been different.  Probably no less painful and it doesn’t matter anyway so I don’t let myself dwell there for very long. I know she had very healthy boundaries (which I’m working on) but she loved people in difficult circumstances too (which I think I’m working on).

I want to not hurt, to not feel betrayed, to not slip into contemptuous thinking when I’m around people I used to be close to.  I don’t know that I feel like I have to be close to them again – I’m old enough to know that relationships come and go and change and just because someone is super close at one moment, it doesn’t mean forever.

Ach. I need to talk about this.  And maybe this is the real grief….I don’t know who to talk to about it. One person is dead (which doesn’t stop me talking to her) and the others are the people I need to talk about.

Grief is lonely.

Would You Like To Check That Bag?

I’m sure someone has studied unspoken definitions of what a “good/healthy marriage” looks like.  Cultural biases and all that crumpus.  I’d guess it varies with things like race/socioeconomic status/regional upbringing, etc. Since I haven’t studied this, I can only go by the inside of my own head and how unconscious beliefs have shaped my own behavior within my own marriage.  And perhaps more relevantly, how the way things have changed within my marriage (for the better, by any real measure) still triggers feelings of guilt/failure/not-good-enough.

I (and my husband) never really bought into the “wives be completely submissive (housekeepers/mothers/dutiful helpmeets)” line – we tried, a bit, because we thought we were supposed to but it was really impractical (if also just plain ole incorrect) what with me being the primary wage-earner for much of the marriage, etc. And even in the throws of our unsuccessful attempts to be more conservative than we are, as far as the classic scripture about “wives submit to your husbands because they are the head like Christ, blah blah blah” we couldn’t get away from the part that follows “husbands, be ready to lay down your lives, as Christ did, blah blah blah” – we’d joke that really, the husband got the short end of that stick, since I might have to obey, but he had to die. But even with finally giving up on consciously making that whole thing work for us, unconsciously, ah well, that’s a different thing.

For example, like not a few couples, we’ve fought a lot about sex.  Like, we mostly never fought (out loud) about anything other than that.  The same fight. Over and over and over and over. Mind you, there certainly was stuff to work out – baggage from my past, his past, hang-ups small and large from both of us – all that gets in the way.  And being who we are, raised in the traditions we were, in the country we were*, even if expectations around sex & marriage weren’t ever really talked about (they weren’t, except in our fantastically horrid “premarital counselling” sessions where I watched a video of Beverly LaHaye telling me I needed to have sex with my husband at least every 3 days based on the number spermatozoa he made each 24 hours) there’s just a miasma of assumptions we both brought to the marriage.

The big sex lie was this:  as the wife (woman) it’s my role to make sure my husband doesn’t sin/stray.  Sex Sin (or straying, if you don’t like the word sin) can be as broadly or narrowly defined as you might like – so its my job to make sure my husband doesn’t “look upon another woman with lust” or watch porn or masturbate or be unfaithful or you get the idea. Kinda comes down to “you need to have sex whenever your husband wants to or else SOMETHING BAD WILL HAPPEN”.  We tried that, for specific reasons that don’t matter and it didn’t work.  I ended up feeling used (and ferociously enraged) but unable to articulate why and thus felt like a Bad Wife. But when I said “no” I didn’t feel any better, even though you’d think I would since saying yes didn’t work very well. I still felt like a Bad Wife only with a heaping serving of guilt over being selfish and thus imperiling my husband’s spiritual well-being to go with it.

A piece of my reweaving after unravelling actually revealed why this whole mindset is (in my opinion) indefensible bullshit.  It makes me responsible for someone else’s thoughts and actions.  Heck, learning to be responsible for my own thoughts and actions is more than a full-time job. Trying to control someone else’s is impossible whether I want to or not (which on a healthy day, I most definitely do not). No wonder we fought all the time! We were both trying to conform to something that was terribly unhealthy but that we were convinced was the hallmark of a healthy relationship.  It’s kind of an aside but the important understanding is this: there will always be issues in any relationship you won’t ever agree on and you need to be ok with never agreeing and instead figure out how to be in relationship in spite of it.

So, that aside aside, this isn’t just about sex…but also the other reason many couples fight – money. Another one of those unspoken assumptions about what constitutes a “good marriage” was keeping all the money jointly. The dreaded “joint bank account”.  I only recently realized that I used to be quite judgmental of couples who didn’t put all their money into the same pot.  It was what my parents did.  I’m pretty sure it was part of our premarital counselling though I don’t remember if it was Tim or Beverly who taught it. It was what all “healthy married” people did, right?  I mean, if you didn’t, wasn’t that an indicator that you didn’t trust your spouse?  What’s yours is mine and vice versa? It was certainly true for us that we threw everything into the same pot and I really did consider that proof that we were doing the marriage thing correctly (ignoring all actual facts to the contrary).

The funny thing is, I did open a savings account that was just mine exactly because I no longer trusted my husband with anything financial.  Things were rough, it really was in the point of my journey were I was getting healthier but would have only given 50/50 odds at best that my marriage (of a couple decades at that point) was going to survive.  Our finances were in ruins and I’d been forced to try to figure it out, pick up the pieces and make some sense of things.  Some bad, bad decisions had been made and not just by me (well, very few of them by me but that really is water under the bridge and far away into the sea).  That said, I opened my own account.  To feel safe. And whenever there was the tiniest bit of extra, or money that simply had to be available for something, it went in there, not the holy of holiest joint account.  I removed his name from the credit card account, changed passwords.  Oh….I was Bad Wife but since I wasn’t sure I was going to be a wife at all, it was ok.

Then some other stuff happened and he ended up opening up his own account (to deal with a different financial mess that I refused to be part of).  So there we were, with 3 accounts between the two of us.  And you know what?  It worked.  It still works.  Its….better.  The issues that led to those decisions are long resolved but we now find ourselves in the odd position of having a joint account were a set amount of money goes in each pay period because that’s the budgeted amount and the rest goes elsewhere. It works.  And I still feel somewhat guilty about it – because that isn’t what a “healthy marriage” looks like. Its just funny to me how these unspoken assumptions about what a relationship “should” be can be so strong and so tenacious.

Maybe my marriage doesn’t conform to some cultural norm that somehow my brain has latched onto.  But just as the actual facts about my marriage were in direct conflict with the outward appearance of health from before, the actual facts about my marriage now are in direct conflict with what my cultural baggage would say about the health of the relationship now.

I’d give you much better than 50/50 odds these days.

*We may have come a long way, baby, but we still have a very long way to go – becoming a parent made me even more aware of all the subtle and unsubtle ways our society tells girls from a very young age that their sexuality as appreciated by men is what defines their worth.

Observer Status

I was driving from here to there today feeling very detached. Not just in the emotional sense but really, as much in the physical sense. Just not terribly involved with anything.

It struck me that it might be a product of not sleeping very well last night (which I think was really more about a weather change than anything exciting) but it did coin the phrase in my head “detach in…detachment”. Hey, its better than “detach in anger” even if it isn’t quite “detach in love”.

Without going into any sort of detail, there’ve been a couple or so decisions made by people in my household that I think were foolish. Not dangerous. Nothing that especially impacts me in any serious way. Nothing that actually impacts them in any long-term way. But, they were decisions that I thought from the beginning weren’t very well thought out or even particularly urgent.

So, I watched things unfold. I’d like to say I did it with no internal dialogue that went “hmmmm….kinda told you so (except I didn’t, so I’m proud of myself)” Did I get an unseeming pleasure in being right? Yes, yes I did. But I didn’t express myself out loud (what my eyes might have been saying is likely negotiable).

No, this isn’t optimal. For sure, taking on the position of non-voting observer is just a fancy way of saying “I’m silently judging you” but it does have the advantage of not involving a lot of trying to control things that aren’t mine to control. And yes, I am dancing with my old friend contempt.

Phooey. That’s the problem with observing stuff – sometimes you see stuff you wish you could pretend wasn’t there.

And Now For Something Completely Different

So, gratitude is a tool that I know is effective and that I haven’t been using lately, which I think is painfully obvious in what I’ve been blogging about. But I’ve had a couple of conversations with my youngest children that it does me good to remember. I’ve been pretty preoccupied with the negative shenanigans of an older child but that doesn’t define my life as a parent.

First kid (FK) is talking to me while we are driving from somewhere to somewhere and telling me about a boy FK has met in the new high school. FK is pretty sure this boy is on the autistic spectrum given that FK has a sibling who has Asperger’s syndrome.  FK makes a point of talking to this boy who is in a couple of the same classes because “I know how hard it is for Sibling to make friends because of having trouble socially”. Now FK is getting feedback from friends that “ewww this boy likes FK” and FK’s response is “so? it’s kind of a compliment if someone likes you.” FK has done the same for another kid that shares a class – he seems like he might be gender fluid but FK doesn’t have a problem with that and so compliments him on his heels and sits with him in class, having made a new friend in him.

Another car conversation left me hiding tears. FK has a younger sibling (we’ll say NK). We’d gone to pick up NK together prior to a volleyball scrimmage because FK wanted to say hi to some of the teachers. As we were making the rounds, the math teacher comments “FK did you know you are NK’s hero?”  In the car, FK asks NK about it and NK explains how inspiring FK is in various ways.  In the past FK has expressed frustration at the very existence of NK (“why didn’t you just stop with me?”) and while I’ve always told FK one day that opinion would change, it isn’t like I could do much about it.  Thankfully, time really does change things and the relationship is different now.

Its a reminder to me that parenting is different from what we seem to think it is.  I have responsibilities to try to “train up” my children in certain directions – the shorthand I use with them is that my job is to make them good room mates for someone someday – but there are lots of things I have no control over. I can’t change one child disliking another or wishing that other child had never been born.  I can’t force a child to be nice to “weird kids” or to do class work or to stay out of trouble or really to do or not do many of the things we think we have control over. I can do my best to model good behavior, apologize for bad behavior, provide a safe home, food, etc…but for me, I think the most important thing is to remember that I’m no more responsible for the behavior that brings happy tears to my eyes than I am the behavior that brings angry/sad tears to my eyes.  They are their own people, with their own quirks and foibles and gifts and struggles. I provide a trellis, they grow in their own unique ways.

I’m still struggling with being angry – I think it makes it easier for me to let go of stuff that I can’t control (like getting a diploma or not) when I really, really want to control it. Detaching in anger isn’t the best way, but I’m not quite there yet when it comes to detaching in love, with peaceful feelings on my end. If history is any guide, I will get there.

Another thing to be grateful for.

Just Step Away From the Angry Person

So Kid1 is enrolled in the alternative high school. Turns out they can access what they need online. Go figure. The “problem” was that they didn’t have Kid1’s birth date.  Um…I could have let you in on that secret, it just so happens I was there.

(I need a sarcasm font. Really, could someone invent that already? Just sayin’)

I suspect it was a combination of bureaucratic laziness and pressure from the state health department to mislead parents about what is and isn’t actually legally required. Whatever, it all comes back to a process the staff and I are all going to have to go through called “no, I’m not that parent so let’s start over”.  ANYway…

Kid1 is enrolled and it will be interesting to see how this works. They only meet at the physical school Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and all the work is done online (which is good from the standpoint of no lost homework and you can’t move on until you’ve achieved a certain level of mastery in the topic.) There are instructors of some sort to keep order and help out. We were told that there is an expectation of work from home on Monday and Friday in order to keep up at an appropriate pace. So of course my first response was “HELL NO” because Kid1 is not any good at self-motivated positive sorts of behaviors.  Then again, Kid1 has systematically failed at and been failed by the traditional model of education. Perhaps this will work.  Worst case is it doesn’t and we are right where we are anyway, right?  I know Kid1 thinks this is going to be a great time hanging out with friends who are already at this school and I also know Kid1 thinks I’m convinced that the only interest in this because its the last chance for a high school diploma.  Silly child. I mean, it is the only chance for a diploma left but there are some expectations in place none-the-less (or maybe it’s more accurate to say there are some requirements that will need to be met to win back lost privileges?).  We shall see. I did feel the need to express to my husband that I’m not interested in living in a home where he and Kid1 are constantly fighting about school work – Kid1 either does it or doesn’t.

Kid2 plays volleyball.  Pretty good at it too, getting much better now that some decent coaching is happening.  This is the first year of high school, different school from the older siblings. I’ve managed to get to a few of the tournaments and scrimmages.  Kid2 had a pretty bad injury a couple of weeks ago – badly jammed/sprained the thumb on the hitting hand. I didn’t say much – hand got wrapped up, Kid2 continued to play (which wouldn’t have been my decision but I was trying to stay out of things). The next weekend, Kid2 was playing another tournament and had wrapped the hand much more lightly, which I noticed…and didn’t say anything about. Kid2 is tall, plays front row and loves to block.  Likes to hit as well but wasn’t supposed to be hitting, to protect the thumb.

I don’t know most of the other parents since we didn’t go to the middle school that feeds this high school but I was sitting with a group of them, in spite of my intense dislike of prolonged chit chat with people who know each other better than I them or them me. Another thing I don’t like is that parent (often a dad, not always) who yells at the refs. It usually starts as passive aggressive loud talk that is heard by a circle of other people and gets progressively louder as the game goes on. I always want to say “Hey – its not the Olympics.  Its not even College.  Shut. Up.” (well, usually I want to insert a couple of other words between shut and up but you get the drift).

The group I was sitting with had that dad in it.  Obnoxious.  And, Kid2 goes up and tips the ball.  His immediate comment was “what’s the point of being that tall if you aren’t even going to try to hit the ball? What a waste!”  I not-so-gently (but way better than the response in my head) respond “that’s my child – playing injured as you can see by the wrap on the hitting hand. Child isn’t even supposed to be hitting, but did on the last play.” At the very moment this conversation is happening, Kid2 goes to push pass and re-injures the thumb badly enough we end up at the ER later that night getting radiographs in spite of our uninsured status (can’t wait for that bill).

Let’s just say I’ve been a lot more involved with the “does the child practice/play or not” decision making this time around.  And strangely enough, that dad has been eager to cheer Kid2 on, asks about how the injury is doing, etc.  Still incredibly obnoxious at matches though.

I sit alone. And like it. Probably safer for everyone involved anyway.

Going…going……..gone

(for all intents and purposes)

It has not been a good week. It isn’t getting much better, so far. It will. But evidently, not yet.

Seems that maybe, just maybe, the contact person at the alternative high school that Kid wants to go to isn’t all that keen to actually do her job. I was told I needed to bring Kid, birth certificate and vaccination records to the school. And that Kid needs to be all up-to-date on vaccinations. Kid isn’t. Oh, the important stuff is there, I am what is known as a “selective vaccinator”. (not interested in arguing about it). And the state that I live in allows for “philosophical objections” to any or all vaccines. The state did, a few years ago, take away the schools’ ability to have the waiver signed and instead required us irresponsible parents to go listen to a nurse lecture us on the importance of vaccinating. So I did. And then I signed the damn waiver. And I’ve never been questioned since, not when kids moved to different schools, to different districts, nope – see, there’s a central data base that all the schools can access so I’m assuming they all looked and saw that I went and got lectured at and that’s that. And she wants me to get a copy of his transcript too? Really? I was willing to go ahead and do it until I realized she was being lazy about the vaccine history. Nope. I have to say, one of the things I’m not happy about with this school change is the need to help new staff learn how to work with me. Because frankly, I’m not easy to work with, not initially. Plus, they’d let everyone out early today and when I went by the school before 2pm, there was no one there. I do not have time for that sort of nonsense.

When my great unraveling ended with me undone, I was told that if I did the hard work of letting myself get knitted back up into a healthier version of me, I would lose friends. I didn’t actually doubt it but I ended up surprised at which friends it ended up being. I had some grieving to do because I lost the two closest friends I had at the time – sometimes when one person in a relationship shifts in pretty dramatic ways, the relationship just can’t adjust. The up side was that I had some other friendships that deepened and have proven to be incredibly nurturing. But evidently there’s no time limit because I realized today that one of those friendships has been in a slow decline for awhile…and is, practically speaking, over*. I’ve sensed the discomfort for a long time around the continuing work I’ve been doing because if I’m honest, this friend would benefit a lot from doing similar work. I’ve been careful to not say anything like that to her – it doesn’t work that way anyway – but it has just seemed like my own journey ends up causing discomfort in her. So there was that. And of course, the gift that keeps on giving – the church split – got in the way here too, albeit in an unexpected way. At one point, this friend gave me a lecture of sorts about pride and ambition in the 3 pastors. I was resistent at first to what she said, since I wanted clear victims and clear villains but she really was right about some stuff. So I took it to heart and while that might have made my own path through it all harder it also made it more honest. Yesterday I learned she’s made a decision that pretty much flies in the face of everything she told me. So, I’m having a bad reaction to what I perceive as rank hypocrisy. Judge much? My anger is covering up hurt, of course – I thought we were close, I’ve seen the decline for awhile (how many times does one have to hear “hey, let’s get together soon” with no follow up to get that message?) but this was just pretty stark. And since the church split is fraught with continued hurt and anger and betrayal…well, it sucks. And while I know the actual decision she made has nothing to do with me (it really doesn’t), the fact that I heard about it third hand (“hey, I’m sure you alreay know this but…”) makes me think she very specifically didn’t tell me about it. So maybe that’s what stings too, and certainly confirms what I’ve feared – we aren’t close anymore.

I’m tired. It doesn’t matter much, in the sense that me being tired won’t keep stuff from continuing to happen. But I’d like to make the sorts of wishes that would make things easier. Whatever easier means.

Maybe I won’t have crazy clients tomorrow?

I’m so funny, I crack myself up.

*if you are reading this, I’m not talking about you. 🙂

Grumpy

Nothing like change to unsettle me.

Being on hold whilst trying to schedule service for one’s car doesn’t help. (note: the website for our local Toyota dealer isn’t as good for “online scheduling” as they’d like you to think. Also, having a child total a car really does put a crimp in getting everyone to and fro when another car needs servicing.)

But mostly my day started with me having a bit of an unexpectedly emotional response to the “goodbye” email from Kid’s Study Skills teacher – this is the teacher who’s been helping Kid (or at least trying to) and she really, really likes Kid. I believe her when she both wishes Kid well and says she’ll miss Kid. Hell, I’ll miss her – I really like her. And she tried, she tried hard to make it work but frankly, the way “traditional” high school is set up these days, it just wasn’t ever going to work.

(here’s where I work on NOT going to the “if onlys” that are lurking with regard to this particular Kid and what I wish I’d known then about how to manage ADD, Anxiety, kinetic learning styles, etc etc etc. Hello parent guilt, been awhile since we’ve talked.)

My tears over the teacher came on the heels of weird feeling like a failure when I had the text/email exchange with the cross country coach (who also happens to be the district psychologist and as such, has more than a passing familiarity with Kid). Why I care in the slightest what this person thinks of me isn’t quite clear to me but somehow I’m struggling with feelings of failure because Kid is dropping cross country and going to a different school. Huh? If there’s failure involved with figuring out what’s best for my child, there’s more than enough to go around. I ain’t alone in coulda shoulda woulda. Hell, Kid is lucky to have a parent who’s trying – I know that isn’t the case for most of Kid’s friends.

I’m a black belt at projecting all my inner crap onto innocent bystanders (especially the stuff I thought I had a bit of a handle on.) Ninja.

Oh, did I mention that it’s the first day of school in my neck of the Midwest? So…I have another Kid going to High School for the first time…another Kid going to Middle School for the first time…and another Kid who’s doing a dual enrollment thing this year and will be on campus at the local community college, for the first time.

Ninja, I tell you.