Saturday, January 10, 2009

Snow Day!

Today there has been a little bit of a break from the routine. The snow yesterday and today has prohibited me from going to see the boys at their away sporting event, which is an all day affair. (I just don't drive long distances in bad weather if I can help it). They left the house this morning at 6:00 a.m. and I have been relishing the alone time and quiet (no quarreling brothers, no loud music, no pounding on the drum set). There is plenty of food in the pantry so no need to venture out to the store. To relax and putter around the house is one of my most favorite simple life pleasures. I hope to read a bit and do some knitting and crochet, which despite my best intentions to do more of, I don't do enough. It is so relaxing to look out the window at the snow piling up and to feel warm, safe and secure. These are feelings that are often lacking in my life in part because I have so little free "me time." It is also extremely draining to always be worried about the boys and to have no one to share that burden with. And although some might think that life in general has gotten easier since the boys have gotten older, it does and does not. Now I have to worry more about who the boys are hanging around with (and what their intentions are) as well as being a chauffeur, often later at night. The fun will really begin when my oldest gets his driving license this May!

But back to alone time. A few years ago, a close girlfriend's ex-husband took their three children on a three-week vacation of the California coast. I remember feeling insanely jealous of her ability to sit at Starbucks and leisurely paint her living room during this time, which also served as a break for her. My free time is snatched in between parenting and household duties. And somewhat guiltily too, because in my life when I take free time it usually means that something is left undone (like dishes) while I'm taking a few hours off. One of the very few indulgences that I allow myself is a pedicure about once a month. The last three times I have gone, my foot massage has been interrupted because of some calamity at home. I've had to shorten my pedicure forgoing the massage (which is the best part) to get home to let in a son who forgot his key, or to pick one up in an emergency situation ("Hurry up mom, the police were called!"). It is both funny and sad. And I would have let the one who forgot his key wait outside but it was too cold.

I never remember feeling this drained and fatigued when my husband was alive. He was very active with the boys, often taking them out for batting/hitting practice and then to lunch. Or he'd take them to the school where he taught for a Saturday afternoon where they'd play in the gym. I in turn gave him time to pursue his own interests of singing in a local semi-professional group and attending one or two-week long educational seminars over the summer, which were out of town. It was a good balance and worked for us. I knew I could always ask him for free time and he would be there for me.

There are many demands on "only parents." No one to confer with on what to do when your son just lost a game and tosses some of his equipment on the floor of the school gym in anger (which happened last night). I sure miss having a male perspective and often think that I am too soft or lenient with the boys. Just having someone to discuss the situation with is helpful - getting a different viewpoint helps. I think kids benefit from this balance too. I once read a description of widowed parents that described it as having to do the work of two but with only the resources, time and energy level of one. The tiredness and drain is what is most difficult for me. Always having to be on 24-7. Never having even a short break from the constant worry. Today, I am assured that the boys are safe since they are at a school event. So I am taking full advantage of my "break." Not only do we need a break from the outside world and its demands but also some peace from the psychological demands resulting from our situation as only parents.

Today I am thankful:

1. For snow days that force us to slow down.
2. That despite the hardships, I am able to be strong for my boys.
3. For simple pleasures like a strong cup of tea - which go a long way in restoring one's soul.
4. That my sons took 3rd and 4th place in today's athletic event and called to tell me.
5. That I can tell my boys that I love them and that they are able to say it back without being embarrassed. Likewise with exchanging hugs.

1 comment:

  1. I love how you end all your posts with a gratitude list! That is SO important. I want to attach something I wrote a while ago. I appologize for how long it is, in fact it may not fit. . . but I think you will be able to relate.

    Confessions of a Capable Woman

    “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.' You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
    ~ Eleanor Roosevelt~

    I used this quote by Eleanor Roosevelt when I spoke to my high school graduating class nearly 30 years ago. I had no idea what I was talking about! The only horror I had lived through was Chemistry class and the only hard thing I had to make myself do was my homework!

    Thirty years later I have a much different perspective. I know horror. I have looked fear in the face and I have made myself do, what I didn’t think I could.

    I am that strong capable woman that people talk of; that woman who keeps on going when others are sidelined by pain. The woman, when asked to do something always says yes. I am the woman who goes to work five days a week, cleans house and does all the yard work on Saturday, attends church at least 3 hours every Sunday and works on her Master’s degree in her spare time. My house is clean and organized - I could find anything you might ask for within 10 minutes.

    I am woman hear me roar!

    But if you listen closely to that roar, what you’ll hear is the rage of a woman who doesn’t want to be “strong” or “capable”, someone who feels cheated beyond words of the promise to be taken care of. Only another strong, capable woman could understand the weariness of having to do it all; to be the one other’s always depend on.

    Almost everyone understands the complexities of everyday life; car’s that cease to function, bill’s that come unexpectedly, children who take and take and take, schedules that need planning, faucets that drip. . . the details of life that can not be overlooked. Someone must see to them, and that someone is me . . . always me. But that’s ok. I’m capable, I’m strong.

    Only, for just one moment, I would love not to be. I would love to be able to say to someone else . . . handle this please . . . Could you please be sure there is enough money in the bank this month? Could you please choose and purchase a new car for me, and while you are at it, come back monthly to make sure I have the right pressure in the tires and enough fluid in the various tanks? The lawn needs to be mowed, and the party needs to be planned. The report needs to be filed in two days and while you are at it, change the sheets and water all the plants ‘cause they’re drooping.

    Only for a moment . . . just now and then. . . . let me be Blanche DuBois and depend upon the kindness of strangers. Let someone else take care of me . . . only for a moment . . . just now and then.

    Then I can accept the title of “capable”. Then I can accept that I have strength that I don’t want.

    Even the hardest stone, will shatter under enough pressure.

    written 01/07