My nose is all sneezy and itchy and my allergies are starting to act up so all the snow on the ground is not helping cover up what makes me go AH-CHOO. I imagined living on the planet Hoth would have it’s advantages and no allergies would be one of them but alas, nope.
Spring time means different things to me now that I am a mother of a teenager and preteen. It means soon I will not have the buffer of school between me and the inevitable meltdown I have when my kids argue with me for the 1,398,345 time that they don’t want to 1.take a shower 2.walk the dog 3. empty/fill dishwasher 4. eat any dinner 5. eat any breakfast 6. or do what the other one wants to do…there is more to the list but I just sound like a whiney douche so I will stop at 6.
Spring means my oldest boy, my previous little chicken of a baby indeed does have chin hair, body odor, smelly feet, a girlfriend, zits and aspirations that do not include me or my time. Thankfully his future plans include things I have been whispering to him since he was a baby….grow up, be independent, travel, do something meaningful and it doesn’t have to make you a lot of money, friends are important, love people and have fun.
He is really surly right now so it is hard to tell if he is having fun but it seems likely he should be so I just go with that.
So the irritating transition from winter to spring will spin out slowly and the ground will warm, ice will melt, crocus will start to sprout, birds will sing at the first glimpse of daybreak and our son and daughter will continue to march off, straight ahead into the day.
I thought nursing school would prepare me for my career but nursing is a job learned while doing. Nursing is like someone telling you exactly how a particular jigsaw puzzle should be put together, step by step, best strategies for completion, what to do while laying all the pieces and describing what it will look like when you are done but you are missing 3 pieces and have less than 5 minutes to put it all together. But your puzzle has feelings, friends, family and personal barriers to be putting back together. The puzzle wants to be together but only if it doesn’t have to do anything it doesn’t really want to do. The puzzle wants to be exactly as it was before but it’s missing crucial pieces that are lost forever. And the puzzles friends and family don’t believe you care because you need the puzzle to change and not be the same.
In the middle of the puzzle you realize you really don’t like puzzles.
Motherhood for Sale: Good condition, some mileage, could use some body work and paint. Interior stuffing uneven in seat, some cracks on the surface. Drives well but can be slow. Sturdy, rarely breaks down. Its not sexy but it gets you where you need to go. Maybe be covered in vomit and poop stains that will not come out but it has been professionally cleaned. Dents have been cosmetically covered but not repaired. It looked really great before all those people were in it. Not showroom quality but its decent and means well.
I have never allowed this many months to pass without writing. Never. Not one time since I started this almost 10 years ago.
Maybe because I was happy. Maybe because I didn’t think I had anything to say. Maybe I was just avoiding the idea of writing down things.
I didn’t forget.
There are so many things that are changing so fast. So many life experiences I am moving so fast far away from and simultaneously fast-moving towards. I look at friends with infants and toddlers and the reality that I will never again have one of those, never nurse a baby in the middle of the night who has a fever, never try to rationally talk to a 3-year-old barely formed person about the idea of ownership and being careful, never cleaning up pee or vomit out of someones bed or my own after cleaning their bed, never teaching anyone to tie their shoes, pick out their own clothes, wash someones hair or brush their teeth. No lap time story time, no swings and parks and playgrounds and no carrying a thousand snacks and drinks in my purse. No small people who fit perfectly into my arms sleeping next to them in bed.
It might be easier to forget about that, that time but there are so many things that will always remind me. My children still smell delicious usually except for the boy’s room-it smells like feet of dead people and we just try to keep the door closed and sometimes the stink slips out from under his door. The girl is like a hurricane all whiney wind and debris everywhere and sometimes it is easier to just stay a safe distance away.
Despite the individual repellent qualities of my children something draws me to them despite myself and innate self-preservation. The compulsion of motherhood is confounding. I keep thinking I am at the end. This is it but it’s just the constant penultimate. Its like ground hogs day the movie, the same day compelled to live over and over again like bad karma. Or good karma.
The key, I am finding is that I am not relieving my own life over and over in the lives my children but side by side with them as they carve out a life of their own and knowing that pulling them into my lap, closing the door and keeping them close won’t change a damn thing.
I seem to have so many lives I have to live. Woman, friend, wife and mother. They don’t fit together and work together. Living your life is not like riding a bike. Well, its like riding a bike but the bike has 3 seats and 4 sets of peddles and you have to do it all at once or you just don’t get up the hill.
Changing jobs can be a strange experience when you stretch yourself and try something different. We all have a comfort zone and when you step outside it the anxiety it produces can be intense. Recently I switched from a floor position to one in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit-SICU. The health profession loves our acroynms you know. HTN, CHF, FOG, FOS, WOB, SOB, CVVHD, CRRT, blahblahblah.
The gear shift required for this position is one that is hard for me working for so long with people, whom for the most part, are getting better and on their way home or to rehab. Now, my patients might die, actively trying to die while their families watch them helpless to persuade their bodies to keep going, hang on a little longer-have an opportunity to turn it all around and get well.
I hugged my first family member last week and I felt so funny about it. I have hugged people goodbye and hello before in my old position but not in this capacity. Who knows if someone wants a stranger to hug them? Does it help? Does it make it any better? It makes me realize how limiting our care can be for someone who is just really really sick to begin with and then have no reserves to overcome a more critical event like emergency surgery or trauma.
I watch patients sit in their beds with no visitors, with visitors who harm more then help, watch families struggle with the fact that they may hate that family member because of all the shitty things they did or wonderful things they did not do in their lifetime realizing that they can get any time back. This might be the end and the end is only regret and guilt.
Last friday was my mom’s birthday and she would have been 68 years old. My kids are 10 and 13 and have never known her. I am not known as a mama to my mama. I am without that parent to call and exuberantly brag or complain. So much regret.
I appreciated all the nurses who cared for my mom. The amazing doctors who did everything they could. I am sorry my mom was so pissed she was dying and I hope, where ever she may be she knows that it doesn’t matter now. All of the things that went before because despite every single thing-I know she loved me.
Isn’t that the only thing we can hope for in life-that someone loves us enough to miss us when we are gone?
Sassy eye rolling and endless complaints mixed with clingy hugs and kisses. One minute they are holding my hand and the next they are storming away muttering things I don’t want to hear anyway. While I realize this song and dance complete with jazz hands is just the prologue to a future filled with push and pull of maturity it still tucking hurts.
It hurts because its confusing and exhausting. It hurts because its like a slowly pulled bandaid on a tender road rash. I feel bruised and raw unprepared for their evolving journey into independence.
Its blurry and just makes me want to go to sleep and go back in time to soft cheeks and small feet.
The first day of school is always so exciting and fun but this year feels a little different. Spawn enters 8th grade this year and despite his armpit hair, deep voice, zits and surly attitude it seems impossible that the uncooked wee chicken I held on the day of his birth is the mostly manly boy who stands before me. There are certain times where the fast forward button seems to be stuck and some sort of special effect is in play to change the small, weird, funny and affectionate little man in to the large, weird, funny and affectionate young man who asks me in too deep a voice if he can have a popsicle.
Our boy’s changes felt like they were never going happen because he grew so dang slowly for the longest dang time. He was always little and at times his littleness stuck out as everyone else shot up and out around him. He is average now which seems enormous. His feet have grown at a phenomenal rate and they have been bigger than mine for over a year now. He is a teenager, officially.
Spawn’s changes keep overshadowing the physical and emotional changes in his sister, 3 years his junior because we expect her to change. Our chica has been a marvel at advanced behavior and growth her entire life and I take it for granted. Luckily for her and for me she is excited by her body changes and giggles about her boobs starting to grow and is fascinated by her older BFF’s body changes and not especially scared of them as I was at her age. I would like to think that it’s because I talk to her about them constantly-hazzard of being a nurse I think-so she feels prepared for what happens. Our girl has more inner turmoil going on and frets constantly about what will happen to her when she dies, what else is out there, what is reality and was is just a dream and how do we know what is real and what matters because we don’t believe in god.
First day of school and all I can really think about is how they are closer and closer to walking away from me into their own grown up lives.
I may have to turn to drugs and alcohol to cope. Or go crazy with longing and love. No one tells you when you sign up for this that you would all the time feel like you are teetering between the urge to push them away and the desire to hold them so tightly.