The Sanest

Self-confidence has never been my strong suit, but when I feel I’m right, I’m right!

This comes from a mini argument I had with Tristan. Now I realize that most 18 year old boys think they know everything. Some boys think they know more about parenting than their mothers do! Yes, that is the crux of this argument. Now we are not talking parenting him, but his little sister, Allison, aged 12.

Allison is in the throes of a rebellious phase and consequently had her galaxy phone (I never wanted her to have it in the first place) and all electronics taken away for two weeks.

She was just on the verge of getting the electronics back. Tonight I discovered she had only deleted the Instagram app, not the actual account she was not allowed to have. She had been logging onto her account from my phone! I found out because the notifications of people viewing her photos were popping up! I played around with several more punishments and let Tristan in on them. Shouldn’t have done that.

Now, the sanest one in the house doubts me! Tristan thinks I am being too hard on her, although he is the one who discovered how to track down her Instagram account. I believe he was feeling a little guilty ratting her out. Even as much as he calls her crazy and fights with her nonstop he must have felt that he had betrayed CAPA (Children Against the Parents Alliance).

I called him arrogant and he called me delusional. I said something like, “Whatever”. And the next thing I looked up from the phone and he was gone.

Had I hurt his feelings? You never know with him, he cried last year over being grounded.

I called downstairs, “Goodnight, Tristan.”

“Goodnight, Mom”

There is a reason I think he’s the sanest.


Puzzle From Hell

Oh, how we persevered, puzzle from hell!

As I was picking it out at Barnes and Noble, Emily said, “No, Mom, it’s too complicated and too many pieces.”

No, I thought, I like the picture and that is all I could focus on.  The fact it was 1000 pieces of 100 cartoon horses seemed to be a non-issue.

I feel like I do this a lot; in fact I have kind of a reputation in my family of not seeing the big picture.  To me it doesn’t seem to have any rhyme or reason so it is hard for me to correct.  I know my loved ones would disagree.  They seem to see the common denominators in these situations and try to point them out to me before I take that fatal step.  Sometimes it’s something benign like the puzzle and sometimes quite severe like moving to a town with less than 800 people.

Well, this puzzle has become a metaphor for mine and Emily’s life together.

We persevered until it was done.  Even though it took up half the dining room table and we made everyone squish at one end to eat, we did not give in.  After two days, we did not give in. We did it together until we were seeing double. Then one would take a break and the other would continue.  Tristan came by and helped a bit.  Allison stuck in there for a few minutes until she announced every time, “I hate puzzles!”

When it was finally done and we realized there were three pieces missing, we felt annoyed for a minute and then let it roll off our backs.  We did everything we could do and it was enough.

The puzzle was just like us, a little broken, but we could see the big picture.

Full House

I have a full house this week of Christmas break.

And just how do you think I am handling the situation?  You would be right, not well, not well at all.  Tonight I took an anti anxiety pill I reserve for emergencies; second time in my life to use it. The first time I took one I actually had a panic attack. I was afraid what it would do to me.  Irony at it’s best, the drug is to prevent panic attacks.  Ha Ha Ha, what a crack up I am!

I wasn’t going to have a panic attack, but I was getting quite anxious knowing that my in-laws were joining my daughter, son in law and granddaughter (they were here first) at our house for a few days.  On top of that I will be entertaining a cousin and his family.  Oh, yeah then there are John’s friends.  I tend to be a bit of an introvert so having this many people and for so long is wearing my nerves down.

They mean well, but when my sister-in-law starts telling me about people she knows, their names, their children’s names, their spouse’s names and their pets’ names, breed, age and gender.  After I learn all of that there is the list of jobs each of them has, how great the jobs are and their co-workers.  Half way through the evening I am so agitated from boredom, but trying to be polite and pay attention even by asking pertinent questions when I think appropriate. After two hours of this I feel like drowning myself in the kitchen sink.

Tonight I couldn’t take it, even though I had mother’s little helper swimming through my blood stream I begged off saying I was too tired and must go to bed.  I sneaked the laptop into the bedroom and here I sit with headphones on writing to save my sanity for tomorrow.

I do most of this for my husband. I have to step up. Wait a minute, he was gone a suspiciously long time getting groceries just after they arrived.  He didn’t have a good explanation of why it took one and half hours to spend $100 dollars. Coward.

Christmas Dinners

Whatever happened to “themed” Christmas dinners? That is what my family will ask after I’m gone.

“I don’t know,” Emily will say wistfully “my favorite was the BBQ.  Even though I’m a vegetarian I loved the smell of the smoked sausage, ham and ribs cooking all day in the oven.”

Tristan will reminisce, “I remember the prime rib and frozen coconut shrimp Christmas.  The prime rib was a little cold by the time it got to the table and the shrimp was almost thawed, but Mom looked great!”

Little Allison will look longingly at the dining room table, “I remember the Italian Christmas when I was 11.  The pasta stuck together like it does on any other day, but I did get to drink sparkling apple juice from a champagne glass.”

That is what I envision as a post death conversation my resistant family will be having regarding my themed Christmas dinners.  Always being a pioneer, I started the themed Christmas dinners a few years ago to expose the children to new cultures and diversity.

Yeah, that’s a load of “stuffing”.  I started it because we had already had turkey, etc. less than four weeks earlier for Thanksgiving.  I personally don’t like turkey and how often do you get to justify a $35 piece of meat?

Rejection for Christmas

Christmas is approaching.  That’s when the old family hurts and feelings start to poke through the facade. Each year I wonder if it is easier to smile and ignore the past? So far it has been, but this year my skin feels a little thinner.

It begins when I start addressing Christmas cards. There are a few years here and there I haven’t had the mental strength to send them out and until now I haven’t realized why.

I tend to contemplate each relationship as I write the name and address on the envelope. I breeze through the names of my closest family members and friends, but then I inevitably have to write the names of those who have hurt me.  I start remembering events where I felt like an outsider, feeling misunderstood and just being downright mistreated.

And more hurtful than those names I write is the one I don’t, my mother’s.   Oh, my mother is alive and well. Physically that is.  To be kind, she is a little “off” mentally.  I don’t think this apple fell too far from the tree.  The difference is I am well and she refuses to be.  Therefore, with whatever  mental illness she suffers from she thinks she is better off without me.  I miss her. I’ve missed her for decades although it’s been only a year since I’ve seen her.

The biggest hurt was when she stopped sending me birthday cards.  That cut deep.  It’s been years and I still can’t come to terms with it.  We each have our breaking point. That is mine.

During this last year I have been tempted to contact her because, well I still miss her.  The idea will come and I will make a plan to call her.  Then the opportunity arises and I put it off.  Then I put it off again.  Next thing I know a week has gone by. I know why I don’t call, I fear the rejection.

I could go on and on about my mine and my mother’s history together, but I really don’t want to.  I’m tired of it all. Well, exhausted actually, otherwise I would dial her number again.

Betrayed by Normalcy

I don’t feel so upbeat anymore.  It doesn’t feel chemical, it feels more environmental.  I have a lot on my mind right now.

Allison in puberty…puberty or a miniature version of me?  I’m trying not to be ultra sensitive to her mood swings.  Crying, fits of anger.  It feels all too familiar and it is wearing on me. How should I handle it?

Dying friend, do I really have to say more? Sending a funny card once a week feels lame.

John’s got some health problems.  Threats and self help strategies just don’t seem to be making a dent.

Everyday life.

In the old days I would freak out for a few days, contemplate for another few and then act without any thought.  I would get it done.  These days I am so “normal” that I’m drowning in a whirlpool of practicality and cowardice. What the “old” me would do would have been brave and brilliant.  Now I am a dud, dead in the water… a wet blanket.  Feeling betrayed by my life in a different way.

I must knock myself free of the drug addled normalcy I am living.  This just doesn’t get any easier does it?

The Space Between

“Oh, no.  That’s too bad, I haven’t seen it.”

That is what I will say to my daughter when she notices her rival school’s t-shirt is missing.  She says she doesn’t care if the other kids will make comments or say something. What she doesn’t realize is that I have lived way longer than she has and I know these things will hurt.

It’s almost the same as the “nice rack” moose t-shirt exploiting women’s breasts that was inexplicably lost behind the space between the dryer and the wall until a month ago when it was miraculously found.  By then it was way too small for Tristan to wear anymore.  Darn.  Too bad.

Maybe we’ll find Allison’s t-shirt in the space between the wall and my dresser in a couple of years too.