Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Mayday...all day long

My life is a choice I’ve made. I think that I have spent some considerable time moving along with the perception that things happen to me. I don’t mean this in a way that I am a perpetual victim but that I sometimes assume that I am just floating in a sea of change without recognizing that I am the vehicle of this change. I keep complaining about transition. When will I get out of transition? Wah wah, wah wah wah, wah wah, wah wah. It’s like Charlie Brown’s teacher. Boring. When I break it down, I am mostly the changer, the vehicle of change. There are times that I can’t take credit for it and have to admit that something has happened beyond my control to create change. But mostly, I happen to things. Sometimes this is good. Sometimes this is bad. I’m not patient which is a problem. I have barreled through many things just for the sole purpose of getting to the other side. There’s this constant journey that I’ve been missing in order to get to the destination.

I’m in a place now where I will suddenly stop, like freeze tag, and try to assess my surroundings. I do emotional and practical assessments. Am I okay? Am I freaking out about anything? Are my daughters okay? Do I have time to mow the yard? Do I have enough money? Do I have to go to the grocery store again? Am I okay? Am I freaking out about anything? Are my daughters okay? Do I have to do laundry again? Am I okay? I suppose I have to do this because I’m moving so fast that I just don’t know how I am. I am barreling through but I’ve learned enough to at least do the assessment. I’m trying to do a better job of not having to ask these questions. I’m trying to work on the offensive instead of the defensive. I should just know how I am instead of asking how I am.

It’s interesting being a parent. I try to be a lot braver and calmer than I tried to be before I set these girls on earth. For example, I really try not to be afraid of snakes. We have lots of snakes in our backyard because we have a creek and we are cool like that. I could probably go out and find a couple of snakes right now, people. However, I’m terrified of snakes and will only act cool if the girls are around and sometimes there’s no cool available. I freaked out last summer when I wrapped my dear little irreplaceable fingers around a snake hiding under weed cloth. I made it into the house a good 30 seconds before the girls. Lucy Maye was furious and yelled at me. She yelled, “You’ve lived longer than us!” I had totally left them outside to fend for themselves as I ran into the house screaming. She still doesn’t find it amusing and rolls her eyes at me if I try to tell it like a funny story. I try to be okay with snakes around the girls because I don’t want them to inherit my fears, the residuals of my karma. I also just want them to think I’m cool and fearless. It’s disconcerting when there is no cool available. I try to keep the cool on tap like a Superhero Mom should.

In addition to trying to be cool with snakes, I try to be more Zen and brave about loss. I think this started during the divorce from their father. There was lots of talk about how everything is okay even though it’s different than what we’d expected. I do believe that but sometimes things just suck. It’s really hard to look your kids in their eyeballs and say “This just f-in’ sucks.” It’s almost impossible to fall apart when you are the mom. It can happen and those moms usually end up on the news. I only want to be on the news for a film premiere or a lottery win.

I’ve been talking Lucy Maye off the ledge a lot lately. Their dad and his wife have bought a house. It’s good but they are selling the old house that the girls came home to when they were born. Lucy Maye is very sentimental. Emma Jean doesn’t really care. Their stepmom was apologizing to them for not having their rooms set up the other day and Emma Jean told her to just get some waffles. Honestly, Emma Jean really just wants waffles and she doesn’t care where she eats them. She is easier this way. Lucy Maye will mourn every chip of paint. She and I are sitting in the same boat with that, except I have to be all Zen about it. This is because I am Superhero Mom. This house about to go on market was my dream house. I got engaged, married, and had babies in this house. I gardened and planned new bathrooms and an outdoor shower in this house. I dreamed of kitchen renovation and half moon shutters in this house. I watched both daughters take first steps in this house and I grieved my neighbor in this house. I left this house when I left my husband. I left all the potential that I just couldn’t make happen. I fretted as his new wife moved in and I asked him not to paint the naturally distressed front door. Even with my leaving, it still felt like my house. Now it’s going to be sold and I can’t be the one to buy it. I have to be careful about my loss. I can only tell Lucy Maye that it’s okay and we should welcome change no matter how hard it is to be in transition. My dog is buried in that yard.

The pre-school that belonged to my ex-husband’s family for more than 30 years closed on May 21. The actual building burned down last year and they’ve been in a temporary location ever since. It was just too much to try to rebuild or buy or lease and renovate so they’ve closed it. Lucy Maye wept a lot as we left for the last time. There goes her little school and all I can say is that it will be okay. It will be okay. Emma Jean didn’t miss a beat and just made sure I had phone numbers for all her friend’s moms. She’s resilient and is really looking forward to kindergarten anyway. The new wife has been running the pre-school because the former in-laws both had health problems. She essentially moved to town last year on a tsunami that hit her with in-laws with major health problems, a burned school, two little girls and me. She should have done some research before she signed the deal but I’m glad she didn’t. I like her. I got the new wife, whom I fondly referred to as my stepwife, a bottle of wine for the closing reception/school play, which was the day before the last day. I gave it to her and she said that I didn’t have to do that and I said that it was better her than me and she might as well have the wine. We high-fived. I went to a party. She went home with my family. Thursday is the night the girls spend at their dads. Everything turns out okay.

In my younger days, I embraced the idea that my life would eventually settle down. I’d check off this list and be able to relax into adulthood. I didn’t believe it when the old folks told me that youth was actually simpler. Now I know they were right. When I was young I just didn’t have the skills to see it that way. I looked to the future as a place of serenity and success. Maybe that success is the wisdom to know that it all comes out in the wash. You just have to make the best choices you can. Of course, I still make choices I know won’t work out. I am an optimist with a bad track record. I tend to believe people and I tend to think that the best-case scenario could happen. The best-case scenario does actually happen to some people and I’m standing in line for that. I keep getting back up on the horse for the best-case scenario.

May has been a little rough. I’m coming up on my 13th wedding anniversary. It’s still the anniversary of my wedding even though I’m not married any more. My ex-husband always sends me a sweet text on this day. I picture him hiding in the closet or something. I really don’t think that’s the case. My stepwife is cool and I can’t imagine that even in the most grandiose of imaginations, she could be jealous of me. This anniversary is something to celebrate if for no other reason than it’s an example of my belief in the best-case scenario. Of course, I have a bad track record. It has been May all month long.

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