Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Second Shift

I was in the car at 6:10 tonight after working 8 hours, looking forward to getting home and watching the finale of Hell's Kitchen. My youngest called to let me know that he needed white poster board, a cake or pie and could I also pick him up a double cheeseburger from Burger King since they are only $1.00?

The cake was needed for a "cake run" instead of "cake walk" for the Cross Country Team. Bringing a cake wasn't mandatory but if he wanted to get one to take home, he'd need one. Considering the cake walk was my favorite festival event as a child, I of course, heartily agreed to buy a cake. The cheeseburger was ok too - the poor kid can't seem to get enough to eat and for a dollar I'll pull up through the drive through (although I personally do not eat beef and until recently the boys didn't either - too many health concerns and objections over how they treat the cattle).

So as I drove, I tried to calculate where I could go for these items as quickly as possible. I stopped at a Walgreen's on the route home and that was a quick stop. But I'd left my checkbook and cash card at home so had to go there first and then it was on to the grocery store. There was not much of a selection and I called my son to describe what was there. He just told me to get a regular cake. The one I chose was decorated with the face of a Halloween monster and I thought it was too cute to pass up. I grabbed a couple other needed grocery items and stood in the one open line behind a young mom with little kids who had more items and wanted her order divided into two transactions. What should have been a quick stop in and out took far longer than anticipated.

By the time I hit Burger King and finally made it home it was 7:45 so I got to watch just over half of the two-hour special. This only parenting gig does not allow for much free time or opportunity for rest or relaxation. How I wished as I drove on these errands that I could share some of the running around with a partner. I kept trying to breathe deeply and remind myself that getting upset or frustrated with the second work shift I'd had to unexpectedly pick up wasn't going to change anything. I know I sometimes gripe and moan about the only parenting aspect of widowhood - how people just don't realize how exhausting and overwhelming it can be. But really, where does my venting get me? At the end of the day I still need to get the WHITE poster board, choose a cake high school boys will like and make a fast food stop which has become a pretty regular occurrence with teenage boys.

It is true that my parenting responsibilities are more tiring and rigorous than that of another married mom or even that of a divorced mom who shares custody with and ex-husband. But I can't change that fact. Until I get remarried or the boys are away at college this is the reality. I guess there are some days where the frustration is so great that venting is necessary for sanity. But on days like today, digging in one's heals with resignation seems the best strategy.

Today I am grateful:

1. For being able to get to know some of the other cashiers at my job and to enjoy talking to them (even though there is not much time for that).
2. For the cute Halloween lawn displays I have noticed.
3. That I saw the ending of Hell's Kitchen (and really they repeat so much of it after the commercials it was ok I started out late).
4. For making it through work today without a migraine or having to pop a Xanax.
5. For being able to watch Hell's Kitchen in the first place since we had no t.v. all summer (couldn't buy a converter (none were left) and all the lower-costing digital t.v.s were always out of stock. Just got a digital t.v. when we moved to the apt.


  1. sometimes venting is all we have to get it out of our system. you are right. nothing changes. but it's the reaching out to another human being that makes that small bit of difference. "i wrote this. when will someone read it. will they leave a comment? will it be helpful even if they can't help me directly?" at least for me, logging back on later to see if someone read what i wrote, and then see that it touched them enough to see i needed that zero beside the word "comment" to change to a counted number. 1. 3. someone saw. someone recognized. nothing changed except someone saw you and knows what you're feeling. and sometimes, just sometimes, that's all it takes to keep going.

    you are doing everything you can. you're doing the best that you can. your boys surely know it. you've written of how good they've been about these recent life changes. try to breathe and continue to look for the small graces that you do, i.e. "today i am grateful."

    thinking of you. wishing you peace.

  2. wNs - I am always grateful for your comments and input (heck, I am even grateful for the pure fact that you even read these posts and grateful for the fact that our mutual sorrows have somehow connected us).

    I will take it a step beyond your feedback to add that the real value to our venting online, may be that we are connecting with those who do have some first-hand realization of what we are experiencing and feeling vs. those in our lives who don't have a clue.

    I know I feel a little better this morning, so maybe the pure fact that venting can release some of that frustration inside us is worth the effort! Thank you for saying that I am doing the best I can do. I don't hear that much.