Man, I am a ball of confusion and self pity and feeling gross lately. It’s really pretty ugly. I am ugly, lately.
My asthma is totally out of control; I gag and wheeze and pant every where I go. My two inhalers usually make me feel better for about an hour; then it’s back to wheezing and panting. I’ve been to the doctor several times; he doles out antibiotics that never make me feel better, and usually make me feel worse, until I’ve given up, I think.
I’ve gained some weight, which I think bothers me less than I keep telling myself it should. I’ve always done this, gained and lost and gained and lost. It’s just that when I get on the gained side of things, and I get all those surprised and pitying looks from people I haven’t seen in a while, or even from people I’ve seen recently, it gets a bit difficult. Phil through it all tells me that I am beautiful, that he will never think I’m not beautiful. He says things like, “You can probably still wear your old jeans if you just lay down on the bed to zip them.” And I can’t help but reply, “Yes, but then I’ll look like ten pounds of shit in a five pound bag. NO MUFFINTOPS.”
I’ve hit one of those walls in which every day feels like the movie Groundhog Day- I do the same things, day-in and day-out, and I’m not able to satisfy anyone around me. We run out of groceries; we need to buy groceries. All the clothes are dirty; we need to wash clothes. Reed is dirty; he needs a bath. Phil’s daughters come every other weekend and witness more than I’d like to admit my inability to handle regular, every day life that seems easy for everyone else they know.
I am especially concerned about Reed these days. He acts pretty normal, and we seem to have settled into a pretty good schedule as far as sleep and school and everything else. He got his purple belt in karate, meaning he moved up a level already. He’s learned Twinkle Twinkle Little Star in violin, and will have a recital this December. But then, about once week, he does something awful and I get totally worked up and confused about how to react. Let me be clear- he’s not abusing animals or joining the Republican Party or anything like that; he threw a rock at a passing car and scratched it. He hit a neighborhood boy in the face with a stick, scratching his face. It’s mostly just the sorts of things that can honestly be passed off as “the kind of thing growing boys do now and then”, that should be dealt with sternly and immediately, but not obsessed over.
But I’m finding myself obsessing and worrying, feeling incredibly unsure about what I’m doing right and what I’m doing wrong. I feel crippled and impotent, if you want to know the melodramatic truth.
What I wish, what I think would be best, is if Reed’s dad could actually help. As it is, he’s doling out clichés and parenting mottos from 3000 miles away. I try to explain what’s happening and it is frequently clear he’s not listening, because he either asks the same questions over and over again, or asks for details that I’ve already given him, usually stuff that I’ve actually given him in writing already. When did this happen? What did the teacher say? What has Reed said about it? Where did he do that? It usually devolves into the two of us, sitting totally silently on the phone, with nothing to say to each other.
I am absolutely not sure what I’m doing, is what I’m saying. I mostly teeter back and forth between trying to suck it up and deal with it, and collapsing on Phil at the end of the day. Phil loves me and he loves Reed and he’s here to help. He does things like picking Reed up from school or taking him in the mornings, taking Reed with him to his daughter’s soccer games, taking Reed with him to the grocery store. But neither he nor I expected that he was pretty much going to be Reed’s other parent, and it’s weighing a little heavily on all of us.
So, here’s where I try and remind myself about all the good stuff. Phil loves me, and I love him, and we’re married to each other and we live together in an apartment that we love. Reed is smart and cute and sweet, and a joy to talk to and be around. As I write this, my best friend in the world is having her baby, and I get to go and meet him tomorrow. I have a place to live with heat and air conditioning and showers and beds, and food to eat. I have a job! That I like! We got a dog about a week ago; his name is Rocky, and he is hilariously cute (read: ugly) and sweet and well-behaved. I have a few girlfriends left who still can put up with me, and I with them.
I mean, I get it: this, too, shall pass. I will get through this, and Reed will get through this, and Phil will get through this, and we will all be happier and more grown-up and more carefree when it’s over. BUT, best I can tell from other parents, it’s not over for about 15 more years, so I still can’t get too comfortable with it. I’m hoping God might bestow upon me a little bit more grit, a little bit more backbone to persevere through the hard times that will inevitably come. Until then, I’ve got Halloween candy. And American Horror Story. Seriously, what the HELL is going on in that show?