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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

So much to be "Thankful" for-some blog therapy for me

Sometimes I pout and I am stubborn. It often takes alot to get my emotional attention. I tend to fall into "pits". Snares that have been laid for me. I am an easy and sometimes willing target. Let me give you a maybe-not-so brief background. I have 2 marvelous, amazing kids from a previous marriage. They are 18 and 20. I am only 40. A few years ago, when my kids started driving and getting alot more independent, I admit it-I was excited! I could see the light at the end of the "parenting" tunnel. I know you never really reach the end, but you do get to a point where you can start entertaining the idea of pursuing some of your own interests, right? A point where really, honest to God, no one cares what you are doing in the bathroom and why the door is closed.
I was going to start getting back in shape, take some classes, actually figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up,  and start cooking some really delicious gourmet meals for two. Maybe travel. Then my husband-my wonderful, funny, handsome, amazing husband got an itch. To adopt. A baby. My husband came along when my kids were "half-done" (ages 8 & 10). He never really had to go through the baby/toddler stage. No diaper bags, strollers, throwing up in the bed, daycare, snotty noses, tantrums, none of it. He was thirty-two when we got married. He had traveled to Europe, done and seen things, lived his twenties well and had enjoyed being a bachelor. He was ready to settle down when we got married. I was thirty when we got married. I had spent my twenties raising two babies, doing daycare to make ends meet until they were both old enough to go to school. I had never traveled anywhere except to Minot N.D. I was ready to rock n roll, baby! The kids were getting older and I was excited at the prospect of marrying a man that did not have any children and who proclaimed he didn't want any. We could go DO things. FINALLY, I was going to have a life outside of being "just" a mom. Until the whole adoption idea came along a few years into our marriage. But, I adore my man and his enthusiasm was contagious, so we started the adoption process. It took two years. My husband was deployed twice to the middle east. I taught both of the older kids to drive, held down my full time job as a second grade teacher, attended more volleyball and basketball games than I can count. I also ate more booster club nachos and hot dogs then I care to remember. Please don't misunderstand, I was happy about the adoption. My husband was abandoned as a baby and adopted into a loving family and I know what a difference that made in his life. Being able to have that kind of positive influence on someone's life is a gift, a privilege. But while I knew what a blessing this adoption would be, I also knew what kind of sacrifices would have to be made. Any hopes or dreams I had that involved me having a "life" or "me" time would be dashed. My husband's paycheck was more than twice mine. When we brought our new daughter home and she started to exhibit some separation anxiety and attachment problems, it was a pretty cut and dry decision on who would have to quit their job to stay home with her to insure her emotional well being. And it worked. She is well adjusted and happy and extremely ATTACHED. I have had to start doing daycare again to bring in some income. We just recently put our big beautiful home up for sale and moved into a smaller one with a much more manageable mortgage. I own a Volkswagon Beetle convertible...turbo, baby blue, daisy tail lights...it is adorable and I love it. But in order for me to get anywhere I now have to drive a not so cute, not so mini, teal Chrysler Town and Country. I hate it. It's ugly. I thought I was out of that stage too. My 18 y/o sure looks cute in the beetle. I spend 10 1/2 hour days with 6 four year olds. I have a closet full of beautiful career clothes. I am sitting here writing this post in a pair of sweats and a "Life is Crap" t-shirt my husband bought as a joke. He thinks it's funny. On my pouty days, I think its appropriate. He still gets to go to his job, go out to lunch, have friends and co-workers that admire and respect him, have grown up coversations, have his efforts rewarded in tangible ways. He actually knows what is going on out in the "real" world. I can tell you what happened on Dora the Explorer and make Cream of Wheat from memory. You would think that would be a low-stress kind of life, right? Not so, at least not for me. The nagging spirit that drags me down and reminds me everyday of what I have given up eats at me constantly.Sometimes this mundane existence effects my relationships. I live vicariously through my husband's and older children's experiences. There are days when I feel like I have sacrificed so much more, lost so much of my time. My husband only has to let this whole new life affect his routine from around 6-8 each evening, and on weekends. I sometimes get resentful when he wants to go do something by himself or with a friend (like go to a football game for 4-5 hours). I get jealous if he mentions a female co-worker once too often. I feel cheated that I don't have the opportunities to interact with members of the opposite sex just to verify that I still may have some scrap of physical attraction inside of these stretched out sweat pants.  Then the mental mind games begin. I start questioning. If I am so bored with myself, maybe he is too? I am certainly not living up to all the expectations and ideals that Oprah and the media in general think I am capable of. I am my own worst enemy with this stuff. I would like Oprah to do what she does with three kids and a husband. No nannies. No housekeepers. I'd like to see how empowered she would feel then. I know alot of the crap spewed out by the media is not relevant or realistic. 99.9% of it. But once in a while that little .1% gets to me.
 My husband loves me, and I know it. He tells me many times during the day. He calls, he emails, he is faithful, he is patient and when finances allow, he spoils me.
Yes, I am having a pity party. Or I was.
Then my husband came home in the middle of me making some lame dinner with multiple types of canned beans and told me about his day. A 21 y/o young woman he works with partied too hard and lost her life driving home drunk from a party. That was in the morning. In the afternoon, one of his troops was admitted to mental health unit for PTSD, threatening to kill himself. His wife was supposedly leaving him and he felt his world was falling apart around him. A friend of the family just found out he has a rapidly advancing form of MS. I spent the last hour of my evening watching videos on  YouTube of "Gotcha" days. These are the days when family who have been waiting for adoptions to come through finally receive their babies. They are heart-wrenching. We have our own Gotcha day video. Someday I will share it, but as for right now, I am thankful for the reminder of that day and what a precious gift our daughter is. And how fortunate I am to be able to spend this time with her-it is going by so quickly. It is hard to believe she is almost 4 years old. I should be cherishing every single second that I get with her and appreciate the second chance at mommy-dom. It's so fleeting. I will still have opportunities, my car will still be waiting for me, my husband is still in love with me, all the exotic locations I am wanting to visit will still exist. My husband survived his time in Afghanistan. I have a place to call home. I have beans in my pantry to make for dinner. We are healthy. I have people willing to trust me with the care of their children to help provide for my own. My son is in college and has a job and a sweet girlfriend. My oldest daughter is a senior and a gift from God. My baby is a firecracker that keeps me on my toes and puts a smile on my face everyday. My husband is finally retiring after 24 years of service to his country. Because of his excellent work ethic and people-loving personality, he will have no problem finding a new job and it just may be overseas at one of my "exotic" locations.

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