Sometimes I try really hard to convince myself that since I live in sunny Southern California, my life should be all rainbows and sunshine and sparkles and what you see in movies. Right?
Then rather quickly, I realize, that’s crazy talk and the happy beautiful mess that is my life is just life and it’s challenging anywhere, beach view or not.
Does that mean I’m having a moment? Maybe, maybe not. Okay, probably, maybe. (Silent growl). How about yes. Don’t judge me.
In the past couple weeks, I’ve had a lot of loss and I’ve had a lot of changes happen, that in some ways I expected and in other ways, not at all. But that’s life, right? The unknown, the unexpected, the sad, the happy, and the stuff that falls in between, it’s all life. Although not always exciting, it entails making sure the laundry gets done, the dishes get washed and the bills are paid. It also means making lunches at Midnight while you’re still responding to work emails and making sure the dog is still alive…errr, I mean fed. I’ve never killed an animal. Maybe, a plant. But I’ll never tell. Again, that’s just life, so what’s the deal with all this anxiety I’m vibing?
“The unknown, the unexpected, the sad, the happy, and the stuff that falls in between, it’s all life.”
The loss we had was the death of my great-aunt, Alice. She was my Gram’s baby sister, the baby of 7, and one of my favorites. When I was scared of rain and thunderstorms, hiding under pillows and tables, she told me that is was “just God taking a shower.” I will never forget that.
Molly didn’t know her like I did, but I’d like to think she somehow absorbed my feelings towards this special lady. Two days before Alice passed, we visited and Molly held her hand, sang to her, told her stories and rubbed lotion on her hands and feet. After she passed, Molly said, “I don’t understand why God would let cancer happen and make people hurt so much.” I couldn’t find the words without tears falling in front of her, so I let them fall. It sucks crying in front of your kid.
So what do you say to that? I’m supposed to know the answers. I’m her Mom, her north star, her compass, her guiding light. Did I catch all the cliché’s? In all seriousness though, how can I be her Mom and not be able to fix it?
When the unexpected is thrown in, it feels like a lot to handle. Balancing all this with myself and all my own crazy and then also the needs of my kid, makes my head want to explode. I’m fine and okay, but still—it’s a lot. My days, in general and our jam-packed schedule, seem overwhelming, frustrating and leave me feeling a little off-kilter and a lot uncomfortable, like I can barely keep up or keep smiling. But then I do—keep up and keep smiling—because that’s what women do, and more specifically, that’s what mom’s do.
“…how can I be her Mom and not be able to fix it?”
Where’s the balance here? How do I find it? And how to I take care of myself so that I can give my best to my kid? In the grand scheme, she’s really the only thing that matters.
Logically, I know we were all 8 years old once, and at some point—older or younger—dealt with loss. Maybe because I dealt with so many ridiculous and unnecessary experiences as a child, I’m a little numb to what a “normal” child should feel and how they cope. I find myself questioning and second-guessing so much, and I wonder, am I the only one that has no idea what I’m doing? The struggle is to see the sadness in her eyes, filled with uncertainty and questions, that I don’t have the answers for.
My gut instinct was to keep moving, like a robot, and get things done. Which I did. But I know that stuffing my feelings inside brings no good to my life so when I was alone, I let myself sit down in the shower and just cry. Big, sad, sobbing tears that left me so out of breath I didn’t realize I needed it until in the next moment, I felt like I could finally breathe.
I don’t have many answers but in this situation, I came up with this: Life is hard and messy and beautiful and complicated and so heartbreaking at times. The beauty of it, is finding the joy in the heartbreak and the beginnings in the tragedies. Otherwise, life would lose it’s sparkle. I don’t ever want to lose my sparkle.
The changes that weighed on me, they are transitions that are right and yet, still challenging and so frustrating. I’ve worked hard in the last year to reposition my life in so many ways, and it’s paid off in spades. I’m not perfect, but I’m a pretty solid work-in-progress as to becoming the best mom, friend, partner, employee and human that I can and want to be. I’m the work in progress that may not always be progressive, but is still kind of working. That’s okay. Maybe, it’s even pretty good.
“…Life is hard and messy and beautiful and complicated and so heartbreaking at times. The beauty of it, is finding the joy in the heartbreak and the beginnings in the tragedies. Otherwise, life would lose it’s sparkle. I don’t ever want to lose my sparkle.”
After spending the last hour writing this, and working through the crazy, I already feel like life is how it’s meant to be, and regardless of the ups and downs, it’s all going to be okay. Lucky for me, tomorrow’s a new day and I have my life and my sweet Gremlin that will continue to keep me on my toes—and always thinking too much. That’s okay. Maybe, it’s even almost perfect.