Monday, September 20, 2010

168 Hours - what I learned

When I was twelve, my mom took us to Disney World. I have a memory like an elephant (unless it comes to names...faces no problem, but names not so good). There was a lot of drama surrounding us going to Disney World, it was obnoxious but my brother and I got to go to Disney for the first time out of spite. I knew it at the time and relished it. We loaded up in her LeBaron and drove from St. Louis to Orlando. We stayed at a Hojo. There was a little kitchenette in the room and my mom made us pancakes every morning. We had never been to Florida. We had so much fun. We had so much fun in fact that we didn't want to go home. Not the "oh I don't want this vacation to end" but the hysterical crying anxiety filled with some "oh holy hell if you drop us back off with the crazy step family we are going to absolutely lose it we don't want this vacation to end." All.the.way.home. My mom finally got us to calm down by having us rehash the ENTIRE trip, from wake up until sleep we said everything we did, no moment was ignored. While daydreaming about our recently ended vacation we were happy, calm, not shrieking, and no doubt my mom's nerves were calmed as well. When we got back to Missouri I was happy to see my dad, but remember crying to him in the bathroom that I just couldn't be happy. Then I went to my room and rehashed the trip again. This started to become by coping mechanism. Rehashing vacations. The next year we went again and I had already decided by that point that I was moving in with my mom and circumstances with the step family had drastically changed for the better but the whole way home we went over the trip again.
I don't remember doing this in high school much. I remember all the vacations we took and I usually brought friends along, but generally the feeling was get me the hell away from my family and back with my friends, even on the Lampoon's European month long vacation. I rehash a lot of that trip now and laugh at my brother and my antics; and also marvel how much I had matured in a year, because when we returned the following summer I was a completely different girl and loved everything I saw.

Fast forward to The Disney Wedding: leaving everyone the husband and I knew in Germany, family, longtime friends, and returning back to Vegas was very hard for me. We both were lonely. I had that "oh shit I have to go live out in the middle of nowhere Nevada and I know one person" feeling. My writing journal is filled with the 10 day long wedding trip events, moment by moment. This is my coping strategy. Filling my head with memories. Sometimes at the expense of what is going on around me. What you didn't see when I was writing down my daily schedule is my thought pattern. Which basically is worry worry daydream daydream worry worry rehash rehash.

Last week was an extremely typical week. We always have doctor's appointments, school, homework, the house needs to be cleaned weekly, laundry never stops, the grass is still growing. But what I realized was my thought pattern. I get lonely because when we are sick (and the husband is out of town) we can't go to play group and socialize so I get on Facebook, just to "see" other people that I know. I listen to NPR while cooking breakfast and dinner so I can know what is going on in the world but also to hear adult voices. But mainly my head is dreaming. Always dreaming. Stories to write, what if Ham's lab work comes back bad, I daydream about Bud, I worry about family members, I feel guilty when I am cleaning or exercising that I should spend more time with the kids. Or that if I am playing with the kids that I am wrecking the house. If I am unable to exercise I get crabby and eat too much sugar. I fill my head with memories, some real and some made up. I plan vacations. I never lust over shopping or some item the I just have to have. What I lust over is time with my family just having fun. I lust over time with my husband. (Honestly I believe this is why triathlons are fun for me, they are my dates.) I am not craving time by myself, I am with myself all day long. I crave time that isn't filled with errands, sick, appointments, and medicines.

If I do this job of mine properly hopefully my kids will leave and not return and live in my basement. They will not be strippers, hookers, drug dealers, incarcerated, racking up debt asking me for money, chauvinists, but will be adults with integrity and can provide for themselves. I will still be married and my husband and I will look at each other in our empty nest and not see a stranger, but instead a companion. Yes the laundry needs to be done, I can't just ignore Ham's lungs as much as I would just like to, kids have to be educated, but I want to rehash some memories of my family having fun now. Relaxing now, not someday. So I will try to store some of my week in my brain and write down some moments to keep precious of snuggles while reading, dusty trails in the mountains, surprise flowers from the husband, and my painted toes from baby girl and maybe once and awhile a vacation with these people I love to rehash over too. Could I use some of my time better. Probably. Will I change my routine? Perhaps. But as far as time spent it seems to be well rounded: kids, volunteer, school, homework, exercise, house, church. (When not sick we do spend sometime with friends.) Exercise is fun for me. I should read more books. But I am going to start capturing some moments now while planning for some later.

All that and I drink too much coffee.


Anonymous said...

I can totally relate to the isolation feeling. It's so hard to stay positive sometimes when your kids are sick or having healthy issues. Exercise is great, isn't it? Always thinking the positive for you! You are not alone. :) - Melissa

Nicci said...

I love your blogs. I'm going to do this. Someday. lol