Like We Used To

mother and son

Image by 'PixelPlacebo' via Flickr

It’s a different page in the book, the old chapter ended abruptly. Now, there’s a new chapter that really doesn’t seem to fit in with the rest. But, since I have no choice but to continue reading, whether I want to or not, I will learn something in the end. I’m not sure if I will like the ending or if I will hate it but it is not an ending that I get to write. Not anymore. It’s no longer my story. I’m so low on energy today with the temperature and the humidity so high it hurts to breathe and I am feeling daggers of chest pain. Tears are sliding down my cheeks but I don’t bother to wipe them away; it’s all out of my control. I wish I could hide away somewhere, or go on vacation alone and relearn who I am.

It would be nice to be able to talk to my eighteen and a half-year old son with the same ease, joy, warmth and humor that we used to have. Now, he is readying himself for camp and college and independence; I understand that but still, sometimes what he does or says sting. I am sure he will come back, at least that’s what other parents of older children have told me. I’m his mother, I will wait. New words entered our vocabulary last year, things like beer pong and prom, girlfriend, college, admissions and honor programs. Maybe there is still a little kid inside him also trying to deal with changes too. Maybe he doesn’t know how he’s acting or how different he seems. It’s a little rocky in the beginning when things change so dramatically but eventually we all learn to adjust to everything. The ability to adjust is what keeps people alive; we have no other option but to adapt.

I have pains in my chest; I feel weak and sad and  fragile and everything in my body hurts from Fibromyalgia and my heart hurts too. My body, is stiff and unyielding. I’m tired of being tired and I feel everything and nothing. Today, nothing trumps everything. There were many things that used to make me happy. More importantly, I used to make myself feel happy but I don’t anymore. Does the true essence of my self still exist if I can’t feel it?

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The Object Of Being Left

Dandelion gone to seed.

Image via Wikipedia

I sprayed after shave cologne on my wrists today, it was an old bottle with maybe an inch of liquid left inside it. I found it at my mother’s home, in an abandoned bathroom drawer, where she had hidden it after my father died. They were three odd-shaped bottles left, pushed back in a drawer like teenagers hiding beer or vodka. I took those almost empty bottles home with me and today I used one. The smell was so powerful and so familiar that tears immediately welled up in my eyes. I longed to see my father wearing his  soft plain purple and blue striped shirt and feel his  arms hugging me. I willed it to happen, almost believing it and then reality took over and left me alone with a sharp pain in my heart. I miss the one person in our family who knew me best with just a faint wink of an eye or a hint of a smile. I felt lost; I felt alone.

My dad died ten years ago and I don’t feel this way all the time but the pain goes away completely. I can feel fine for weeks or months and then some memory, a scent, the sight of his old shirt crumpled up in my closet will remind me harshly of my loss. When one is young no one tells you about all the pain you have ahead of you. When you are young you think you want to be grown-up and mature but you have no idea what that really feels like. There are times when it never feels good, not even for half of a single second of any one day.

I went grocery shopping today and met a friend whose son just graduated with my son. We talked about how their graduation from High School was hitting us both hard and in unexpected times and places. She said that once in a while she has to pull off on the side of the road to just cry and then, as if nothing happened, she puts her turn signal  back on and continue her journey. I have been on that road too. While I was in the grocery store I passed water guns and felt that same feeling of loss, I wanted to cry but I wouldn’t let myself. I thought about my son and his friends and the water gun fights, one tiny water gun pistol still sitting in the back of our old, big family car, moving from one side of the car to the other.

I came home and marched up the stairs to get to my room, as fast as I could hobble, to reach for my computer and for a bunch of tissues from a yellow box. The color yellow comforts me; it makes me feel happier. I thought about my son, who is a Counselor, away at camp. He left a week ago; I feel bereft. I don’t want to call him, though eventually I will. I’d rather wait to hear his voice on the phone, starting off with the same low-key “Hey.”I am being widely immature and over emotional, part of me knows that. He is not making the transition from home to camp to college easy for me. I wonder, if at college, will he forget about us as much? When he is at camp, his second home, we really do not exist and while I am proud of my independent son, today I feel sad and lonely. Here I am, at home, opening up the window of his musty room, surrounded by half eaten boxes of cookies. Pain, like accumulated  laundry that sits in the middle of his blue carpet, taunts me.

The Brownie Smuggler (A Foodie Blog)

I knew that I would snack at 10:45pm. I wish I could say I tried to stop myself but that would be really lame. Sometimes, you just have to eat. This was one of those times. I started off my “snack”, okay, second meal with the leftover piece of barbecued chicken I didn’t finish for dinner. I can totally justify that, I had half the portion at dinner. What I can’t rationalize are the brown rice, sea salt crackers to go along with it.  Or the watermelon that followed. I am ashamed and I am not. Now I am nibbling on a brownie in my bedroom and no-one is supposed to know. No one DOES know except for my dog, Callie and now you. She sits up in perfect form, her warm brown eyes staring at me, begging to be fed. “I can’t” I say to her out loud, you are not allowed to have chocolate.” She lies down on the carpet as if she understood what I was saying; maybe she did. It isn’t even a really good brownie, it’s the type that you pack in your kids’ lunches, pre-made and wrapped individually. But still, I had to have it and I am not sure that I am done eating and I am okay with that.

So, tomorrow I will try to be better, making healthier food choices but I will not beat myself up about tonight. Tonight, after a stressful day, this made me feel better, comforted me. I know it’s not a healthy living style but either is denying yourself everything. If anyone at Weight Watchers reads this, please don’t write me, I’m not interested.

I watched the show “Huge” for the first time today on Hulu. I think it’s a great show and will do for overweight people what Glee did to EVERY kind of person. It’s called validation. Finally. People come in different shapes and as my daughter showed me on an episode of “One Tree Hill” a woman (not a model) walked the runway with a tee-shirt that said “zero is not a size.” Hallelujah.

Sometimes I get ravenous and all my common sense, my willpower goes swirling down the drain like a tornado. I am the eye of the storm, and I can’t be stopped; no, I will not allow myself to stop until it’s over. Hopefully it will be months before this little extravaganza comes around again. If it does, I will deal with it, eat it and then the next day go back to being…better.

This is why I cannot watch the Food Network at night. I see the food, I want the food and then I hurl myself down the stairs for something to eat. A peanut butter and jelly sandwich with a glass of milk always does the trick (with baked potato chips on the side).  Tonight while I was watching “Huge”, I saw a plate of fries and a double chocolate milkshake and it made me hungry. Perhaps I should switch and watch game shows or old movies. It would keep me grounded. Literally.

I am dreaming now of a cheeseburger and sharing a plate of fries with my husband at a local little pub. They have killer (sorry vegetarians and vegans) burgers, inexpensive and made of incredible quality, moist, pink and thick. I am salivating just thinking about it.

Lesson to learn? Do what you have to do, don’t beat yourself up afterwards and start fresh the next day. It isn’t an easy process, for those of us with food or weight issues but it works.

Cheeseburger On The Lam (aka Dear Teenagers)

Dear Teenagers,

Today was such a stressful day from 6:30 am until 6pm that Dad and I wrote a note to you while you were still gone this afternoon and snuck out for a burger. Together. On our own.  An unexpected date night which we haven’t done for months. Nothing fancy either and with a 20% coupon in hand the stresses of our day seemed to melt like the cheese in the barely warm potato-leek soup that we shared.

We were all in foul moods: it’s that time,  you know that school is ALMOST over but there’s still a lot of stress, tests and finals etc. to get through first. We really do understand, truly, but both of you have been amping up your obnoxious quotient with your pre-camp attitudes and it’s being to wear really, really thin. Mostly, because it’s constant and in stereo, both of you, on, all the time. Supporting one another is great but we really are not the enemy.  We KNOW you can’t wait to get out of here to go to camp…..ever wonder what we think or how we feel or how that MAKES us feel?

Couple that with Dad and I being alone during the day 24/7 because of unemployment and you can hear the rumblings of claustrophobia, desperation, depression and anxiety. Not fun. With the economy the way it is, Dad has been home trying to find a job now for more than 8 months. Kids, we want you to have a good life, a happy life and you are both in High School, one a Junior, the other a Sophomore. College is hurtling itself towards us like a tsunami. We have given you both the parameters of what we can afford to pay, the rest is up to you. I wish we could do more but we can’t, that’s called reality. Times are hard, times have changed, times are actually really bad. We’re doing the very best we can.

I don’t know if you realize that you both are pushing the limits, testing boundaries and talking with utter disrespect (and yes, I do mean all the unnecessary curse words) that you both use with wild abandonment. Enough already.  We are “parents “and we are tired, really tired and we try to hide the stress from you as much as humanly possible but let’s face it at 16 and almost 18 you know that stress exists. Please try to deal with it the best way you know how.  Apparently, “parents”  are not allowed to experience stress or be tense and upset, this disturbs the teenage sensibility of “all me, all the time.” We’re sorry. Life does not work that way.

Call us lousy parents but we just needed, desperately needed a burger break. It lasted less than an hour and we didn’t even finish the crisp, salty, thin french fries between us. We did call you and ask if you wanted us to pick up ice cream for you from your favorite ice-cream store. We got one order for a cake batter milk shake for you, son, nothing for our daughter. Just being in the ice cream store and looking at new flavors and new chocolate with a twenty dollar bill made us happy. Don’t tell me food doesn’t help sometimes. Dad got coffee ice cream and I, the child-like one in the family also got cake batter ice cream with vanilla cake and chocolate Kit Kat candy added. How can you not be happy for us? An evening of American Idol and  possibly Glee, good times…

Soon you both will be away at camp for the entire summer and there is no doubt in mind that you will be considerably missed. Not a day will go by without me thinking of you and missing you. The great paradox of life, it will be too quiet when you are gone, but at least after the summer, we will be so bored with the silence and the silent hush that we will leap with great JOY and excitement for when you get back. We love you both very, very much. Don’t forget to write (yeah, right) and we can’t wait to see you on Visiting Day. Have a great time!!  Much love, Mom and Dad xoxo