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Hugging Them Tighter Today

Did I hug my children tighter tonight? You better damn well believe it…

I watched the story in Newtown, CT unfold on Facebook today…I couldn’t take my eyes off of it…say what you want about our President, but when he cried, so did I…when I heard the children’s death toll went from 18 to 20, I cried harder…something about those two little babies’ deaths made it even worse…

Like any parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, person who happens to tolerate small children, I immediately thought of my own boys…I thought of how I never worry about them going to school…well, I worry, but not of them being killed by a crazy person…

School should be the one place I know I can send my children and they will remain relatively safe…I can only imagine the horror of the adults who tried to protect those children and failed…without knowing all of the details, I imagine the six adults died protecting their charges, their pseudo-children…I’ve seen Aidan’s teachers love him in their own way…I believe that most teachers love their students…I just can’t imagine…

In other tragedies, I often wait and wonder what kind of person the gunman was…what happened in their life, what made them this way…this is one of the few times that I could care less…murder is horrific…murdering family is horrific – but the people who do always think they have reasons…opening fire on small, innocent children in the middle of a school, killing children and adults? That is unfathomable, and I don’t care what happened in his life, what twisted him…whatever…I don’t want to understand the person who could do this…

I also don’t want to talk about gun control, God in schools, politics, or whatever else anyone wants to spout off about right now…tomorrow, maybe…today? Today, I want to hug my children tighter and grieve for the loss the families and the school have suffered…

Filters

I had the privilege to see a lovely Facebook friend of mine today…she’s going through a rough period, and I was happy to see her out and about…as we were talking, she characterized my blog posts as fairly blunt…I chuckled…I couldn’t help it…I admitted, for the first time, that no, I’m not blunt when I write these posts – I actually filter myself a great deal…

I started wondering what would happen if I removed the filter…what would happen if I just didn’t care and let it all hang out? The good, the bad, the ugly…would people think less of me? Would the persona I present to the world have less meaning?  What if I, and others, don’t like the person behind the filter?  What would I say with no filter?

This evening was rough…Friday’s always are…if I have no firm, set plans for the boys, I dread the weekends…when I’m broker than broke, I dread the weekends – I start to feel nauseous and the worry creeps in – what do I do if they need something? how will I keep them occupied? what if an emergency comes up?…if I had the luxury, I would have kept working long after closing time just to avoid starting the weekend…

The Ex and I had a slight confrontation this afternoon…I’ve decided to use the state’s help in getting some amount of child support…he actually had the audacity to ask me if I would call them and ask them to drop it…wait, what?  He’s scared of going to jail, having his wages garnished, whatever…I’m scared of not being able to take care of my children! His fears are not my damn problem!

With that in my head, I drove to pick up Sean while The Ex picked up Aidan…he didn’t offer (don’t be silly)…I told him that Aidan had been missing him, would he please go pick him up? So, on my way to get Sean, I’m sitting at a red light, and I see a movement out of my rearview mirror…I looked closer, and the driver, a man, was sitting next to a little boy, about Aidan’s age, playing, pretending to arm wrestle…they were clearly having a wonderful time…it was sweet…it was touching…I started to cry…that’s what Aidan should have, damn it!  That’s what both Aidan and Sean deserve

Made it home, The Ex was five minutes behind me…Aidan came running in and I sent him back out to help The Ex bring in the groceries he buys each week…I’m trying to teach Aidan to help, to be responsible…The Ex comes in, talks about crap the boys shouldn’t need to hear about (as usual), and wants to know:

My answer is always, “Fine.”

The reality is that my head was pounding because I barely ate today (the downside of keeping myself extremely busy and productive)…I was freaking out because I have just a few dollars between now and payday…I don’t want to go anywhere this weekend because it will use up more gas, and I’m trying to conserve gas until payday, but I cannot be trapped in the house with the boys all weekend – we’ll all go crazy…the only thought that runs through my mind when The Ex is near is, “Go away, go away, goawaygoaway!”

He left to pick up a pizza for the boys and I went upstairs and cried again…I had a pity party…I wanted to be in Mississippi more than anything in that moment…I wanted my mom…I wanted BFF…I wanted This Man…I wanted anything other than what I have here…here is unbearable sometimes…here sucks…here is hard…and I don’t always know how to make it better…I can’t figure out how to fix it…I can’t make it better…I spend every moment of every day worrying…or pretending that I’m not worrying…

I came downstairs, I pulled something together to eat…and the headache dissipated…I started to feel less freaked out…The Ex came…he left…I breathed easier…

This Man called…and I started to smile again…we didn’t talk about anything heavy…I purposely don’t talk about my own feelings much…it’s too hard…it brings people down…it’s not what I want to be associated with or how I want to be remembered…when you can’t see someone too often, the last thing you want is for them to only think of the negative stuff when they think of you…

I got Sean to bed…I let Aidan stay up late (I figured if I can’t afford special little treats or go out much this weekend, I can at least offer him some special treats at home)…and I worked out…I immediately felt more normal again…I felt like I did several days ago…I felt like the Michaela that the world knows…

And I started thinking about filters again…

A Different Kind of Grief

I woke up this morning just as upset as I felt when I went to bed last night…I was barely functional…definitely not at my best…

I sobbed in the shower just so the boys wouldn’t have to be subjected to it…

And it finally dawned on me…I’m grieving…sometime between yesterday afternoon and this morning I made the decision that I wasn’t going to keep forcing The Ex to participate in the boys’ lives…if he chooses to, wonderful – I’ll never turn him away…but I’m not going to do it for him…

By making that decision, I know that I am effectively cutting the time he spends with the boys to almost nothing…I know that it’s not me doing it – this is about him and his choices…but it doesn’t make me feel any better…

They are sweet little boys who love both of us…they don’t understand why life is so different – Aidan says he wishes The Ex and I would get married again…they aren’t going to understand this…it’s going to hurt – and that’s where my grief comes from…am I ultimately doing what’s best for them? I think so…but knowing that they will feel pain because of it rips me apart…

I get the feeling that Aidan senses I’m the adult in the situation…and I worry that a day will come when he blames me – because the grown up in the room should know better (and do better)…

Clearly, The Ex is an adolescent who really thinks I invite him along because I want to be with him (I think he thinks he stands a chance with me…really?!)…and he spends the whole time focused on me, not the boys – I won’t subject us to that anymore…they deserve his attention, and when (if) he decides he wants to see them, he knows where to find them…

It doesn’t make my heart hurt any less…it doesn’t make me any less angry…it doesn’t make me grieve any less for two beautiful little boys who deserve so much more…

After

I never deal with my deep emotions in the moment…

And it’s been in the days since my dad’s remains were finally laid to rest that I’ve felt the sadness I expected to feel on Sunday…

I miss my dad.

I feel like something else is missing. I don’t know what, though.

I guess I’m just sad and lonely.

This too shall pass…it always does.

Dealing With Dear Old Dad

I thought I knew how today was going to go…I thought there would be sadness…I thought there would be awkwardness…I thought it would suck…

Like everything in life, I should have checked my expectations at the door…

After 10 years, my mom and I were finally prepared to do something with my dad – his ashes, his urn, his remains…and we could think of no better place than with my great-grandmother who he adored…

We pulled up to the cemetery (I hate cemeteries, by the way)…my aunt and uncle seemed to know exactly where to go…and my stomach immediately began to knot…this was happening…this was really happening…oh my fucking God…

Being the people we are, we immediately began tidying up…we cleaned off my great-grandparents’ headstone…we cleaned off another family headstone…we freaked out about the hole that either belonged to a snake or a mole…I apologized to all the dead people I was stepping on…and then the moment came…we were supposed to pop the cork, so to speak…and we all just looked at one another…and shuddered…

What if we were standing in the wrong direction and got sprayed with remains? What if we couldn’t pry the lid off?? What if there was something other than dust in there? OK, so that last one was just me…

So we buried his urn…yep, that’s what we did…go ahead, be horrified…call us chicken…whatever…we’ve never been the type of people to act normal in any situation…

I really thought I would be weepier…and for a second I did tear up…but I did what I usually do – I sucked it up…

I don’t need my dad in a can next to me to be able to feel him with me, to be able to talk to him…everytime I hear “Sittin’ On The Dock of the Bay” or “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown,” I know he’s with me…everytime I’m too blunt and straightforward, he’s with me…everytime I work and function through hard shit or pain, there he is…I don’t need his ashes for him to be with me…

I felt something shift in me as we covered his urn with dirt and tamped it down…it reminded me of the shift I felt when he died…that day, I immediately felt the need to take care of my mom while she grieved, the way he would have – and I was no longer willing to take anyone’s crap (unfortunately, that didn’t last forever)…

Today it was more of a feeling of strength…a desire to be less nervous about life…an urgency to make changes, to be different, to be better, to be more alive

Thanks Daddy…I love you…and in my own twisted way, I will always be a Daddy’s girl…

Today I Grieved…

It had to happen at some point, and today was the day…today, I finally grieved the end of my marriage…not all day, not for a long period of time, but it did happen…

Today, I moved…I moved from the first house I ever bought…a house that was filled with so much promise three years ago when we bought  it…we had a picnic in our empty living room the day we closed on it…we were filled with plans for it…

Three years, 6 months, and 21 days later, that chapter in my life closed…when I look around the house, I can barely remember the hopes and dreams we had for our home…I remember the fights…I remember the broken door frames…I remember the punched walls…I remember April 12, the day he lost it completely – and lost my trust in the process…

When I did the last walk through to make sure nothing needed to go into the moving van, it hurt to look at the empty rooms…I cried as I drove down the road…I sobbed…I couldn’t see the road (thank God the boys were in the other car with their grandmother)…my heart ached because it was never supposed to end like this…12 years ago when I met The Ex and 9 years ago when I married him – that was supposed to last forever…

We came back tonight for a moment (to pick up one last thing), and I felt so sad…I told the boys to say good bye to the “old house” – they aren’t going to see it again anytime soon…I immediately started referring to this new house as home…it’s not really home yet, but it will be…it’s filled with promise…it’s waiting for new memories…right now, tonight, it feels like I’m visiting someone’s house…I’m still a stranger here – but not for long…

There’s a little fear, too…it’s all on me now…everything I did before was the continuation of routines and plans from an old life…now, whatever we do here, however we do it, it’s on me to figure out the best way, find a routine that works, and help the boys adjust…but it’s a new beginning…

I’m glad I grieved for the old today…I wondered if I had any feeling left for Michaela Benjamin…Michaela Mitchell is a new girl in a new day…but Michaela Benjamin deserved to be mourned a little..I’m not a heartless person – my emotions run very deep – but I had been uncaring, unfeeling, numb through a lot of the divorce (not all, but a lot)…today it hurt…

Tomorrow will be better.

Good Grief?

Mom #2 said something interesting to me the other day when we were talking about my potential celebration…she said that everyone grieves in different ways, and that I may still have grieving left to do…and that when I do, it may come out in different ways…I consider her a resource on divorce…she’s been through it herself…so when she talks, I listen…

But…there’s always a but, right?…but, I don’t feel grief…I grieved over the way Almost Ex reacted to this…and, no, I didn’t expect anything positive from his reaction but I never expected what I received…I grieved the month leading up to asking for the divorce because I never imagined I would ever end my commitment to our marriage…

Lately, though, I’ve felt lighthearted…Eebee had me laughing so hard today, I nearly cried…of course, she had help from Monique and Mom #2…but I laughed my ass off…and it felt good…

Yeah, I’ve had my moments of word vomit: here and again here. But in the past week, I’ve felt good…I’ve been able to look positively on my future…I’ve been able to joke about possibly dating, sometime in the future…far, far into the future…

And yet (that’s just another version of “But…”by the way)…I’ve been eating my way through this divorce….I know what to do to keep my weight stable…and I want to lose a little more weight…hell, before Sean was born, I’d lost 88 lbs…yes, eighty-eight pounds…and I lost the baby weight after he was born…I know exactly what to do to…so is this my form of grieving?  Am I doing it through food and so therefore am able to laugh in other aspects in my life? I don’t know…but I know I’m getting very annoyed with myself…

So I’m going to start a new chapter in my life…I’m going to have a love affair…with a treadmill…had you going for a moment, didn’t I? My BFF has agreed to sell me her old treadmill for a low low price…and I will pick it up Saturday…Saturday night I have a date with my treadmill…I’m going to swap an old love (too much food and laziness) for a more recent love (working out, feeling strong, and being healthy)…if I’m grieving with food, I’m done…over it…ready to move on…life is too short and has WAY too much potential…

By the way, Big Brother mentioned something to me the other day that has me thinking…he said I should “date for fun.” Huh? 🙂

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