Happy F*cking Valentine's Day.
[The 11 children under the age of 3 who are now members of "the family" - (back row in mama's arms: Sadie, Elio, Griffin, Matthew Michael, Marina. Chillin on couch: Soen, Baxter, Jack, Peter, Adler, Sylvia).]
For the past few weeks I have been horrible at keeping in touch with friends and family. I could say that it’s because my semester started and now I actually have work that has to be done each day… and I’m sure that’s partially true – but it’s something else, too. Navigating old connections in my new world has proved challenging. Not because it’s awkward or unpleasant when I do finally talk to people, but … the anticipation of it brings me heaviness.
There are a few different things at play, I think. One is that my dearest friends are all such an intimate part of my relationship with Mike that being with them opens the wound again. And while this pain lessens with each new experience without Mike there, it’s still hard to want to jump into it each time. Another is that most of my friends who have tiny kids are a part of a couple, and while I’m ok with being a single mom, it does make my newly acquired solo-status salient in my mind.
Another is that in a weird way I’m regressing a bit – dating, going out, trying to rediscover who I am as a single woman – and that puts me in an entirely different world from my closest friends who are just starting their families, enjoying the nesting process and envisioning their lives growing old together with their kids. I feel embarrassed sometimes about where I’m at – that my new life brings out the juvenile in me – the romantic who goes from one crush to the next. I am a passionate person and whatever I’m doing dominates my thoughts. I imagine that all the minutia about this whole scene is going to nauseate my friends. Maybe I’m projecting, who knows.
This gets at another thing that is weighing on me. Trying to balance my role as mother and my role as a single woman trying to meet people. I’ve always been a bit like a pendulum in my life, swinging from one extreme to the next with moods, hobbies, activity level, productivity… It was Mike who brought me balance. Now I’m trying to find it for myself. Part of me wants to abandon the search for a new partner and just invest all my time and energy in Baxter and my career. Perhaps I should just wait and see what happens in terms of love schtuff. It would certainly be a lot safer. Retreating to my home life would be more peaceful, but a hell of a lot less fun. And, waiting around is not my forte. I’m not a “wait and see what happens” kind of gal. I make things happen. Not in an “I’m so great” kind of way – but in an impatient and impulsive kind of way.
I remember as a kid being bored to the point of depression sometimes – usually Sunday afternoons. Hated it. I would get so desperate for some sense of purpose that it would bring me to tears. So, I would brainstorm a plan – some big idea to move me forward and get me to shut of the freaking television. I would play piano, write stories, draw, build an entire city out of shoe boxes for my “my little ponies,” do some craft project, catalog and order my Archie comics by price, year, and then by title – and then there was rearranging my room – which I did all the freaking time.
That is me now.
As I sat in David’s chair this morning, crying hard and repeating my mantra, “I hate this. I just hate it. All of it.” My brain was moving a million miles an hour, grasping for anything. Anything at all to pull me out. As I’m sobbing, the little gerbil on the wheel in my head is sweating bullets, going through people, activities, projects, research ideas, outings. ANYTHING to save me from my head. And the crazy thing is – it works. I started talking about how I have a coffee date later this week with a new person I’ve been in touch with. I started thinking about how I was going to spend my afternoon with Baxter baking for his class’s valentine’s day party, how my agent is submitting the blog manuscript to a new round of editors and that could be exciting, how I’m meeting with JoJo on Thursday about the final rounds of revisions on the dissertation and that I’ll be defending it soon. I thought about spring – and how I can’t fucking wait to plant things – to rake, to prune, to reseed my lawn. I’m serious.
Anyhow, point is – please don’t be upset if I’m not in touch. If I don’t return your calls or emails --- it’s just where I’m at. For whatever reason it’s hard for me. That’s it. If you really want to be in touch, though, email is the best way. I can reply on my own watch – even several days later. The phone is my nemesis right now. So, I never answer it.
It’s not you, it’s me.
Oh yeah. Happy Fucking Valentine’s day.