Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Crazy on You

Once again, it's been too long since I updated. In the past ten days or so, I learned my grandfather was sick, drove the four-hour trip to see him three times in one week, cried, reminisced, got drunk on margaritas and belted karaoke with my beautiful, baby sister, said goodbye to my grandpa for the last time, and drove my sister to the airport shuttle before heading over to see my grandma in the nursing home, then driving an hour home. On top of all that, Chris has been working nonstop all week, so Charlotte and I have been on our own most of the week, missing him. Basically, what I'm saying is that I have good excuses as to why I haven't written. And to say that isn't exactly true. When I've been able to squeeze in a few moments to myself, I've sat down to write. And nothing comes out the way I want it to, so I delete it. It's silly. But, I feel guilty for not blogging because I made a commitment to myself to do it more regularly, and I put so much pressure on myself that I am frustrated by the drivel that comes out when I'm too busy/distracted/upset to properly clear my head of these thoughts. It's just a blog, Megan.

One of my more annoying qualities is my huge guilt complex. If I'm relaxed, happy, or just having a good time, I can't shake the feeling that I am doing something wrong. Obviously, not being able to enjoy myself ever is a huge bummer for me, but it can also range from obnoxious to downright infuriating to the people in my life. Just ask my husband how he likes to constantly reassure me that I am not a bad mother or wife just because I left them to go to the movies with a friend. Or ask him how super fun it is when I overextend myself because I "felt bad" for too many people on the same day. But, I wager what he likes best is when I ask him if he's mad at me every time I'm drunk.

What was the point of all this? Oh, right. Guilt. So, I tend to feel guilty about being a stay-at-home mom whose husband is also home most of the day. I get help with the baby. I don't have to go grocery shopping alone. He makes me breakfast. And we get to go on little coffee and lunch dates at least once a week. So, I feel guilty for not having a full-time job like he does or for letting him help out as much as he does. I can't even enjoy a perfectly good situation, because our life doesn't fit into my perception of what is "normal".

Because the truth is, I may have my lazy days, but generally speaking, I do a lot around here. And I am on my own every evening, Charlotte's fussiest, and for one hellish month, most colicky, time. So no matter how idyllic my day has been, my evening is sure to be full of laundry, dinner, bath time, cleaning, etc. all squeezed in between Charlotte's whining, fussing, and separation anxiety nonsense. And the drawback to our arrangement is that while everyone else is returning to their family or welcoming their spouse home, I am just starting my day. And I get really lonely.

So, I shouldn't feel guilty. But I do.

And the pressure. Oh, the pressure I put on myself to prove my own worth. Thursday is a perfect example. Chris was working the day shift and thought he'd be home in the evening to spend time with us. I was really excited because he's been so busy at work, we've hardly been able to talk on the phone, and also because he misses Charlotte so much. I wanted to make it special. So, after spending three hours in the car to visit my grandma (and sneak some Chardonnay up to the roof of her nursing home), I returned home, went to the grocery store to buy ingredients for dinner, cleaned the house, and started prepping the food. This was all very difficult thanks to Charlotte's insistence that I be in the same room as her, and preferably holding her at all times. I had to get creative in order to get anything done, by putting her in front of the mirror in the office so she could laugh at herself and talk to her reflection while I dusted, or by mashing some banana for her to play with in her high chair while I chopped onions and garlic in the kitchen. By the end of the day, I was exhausted. The kind of tired where your whole body aches, and I've pretty much felt that way since then. So, you can imagine how disappointed I was when Chris informed me he probably wouldn't be home for dinner after all. I KNOW, RIGHT?

I felt disappointment like I haven't known since I was a kid and my mom wouldn't stop and get me a soda at the gas station. You know that completely unfounded disappointment that is based more on hormones and fatigue than actual logic and reason? I cried the day I was denied that soda, and thirteen years later I cried because Chris was going to be late. Again.

I cried a lot this past week. Monday night I held Charlotte in my arms after five unsuccessful attempts at putting her to bed, and I cried out of frustration, disappointment, and mostly from a deep sense of melancholy brought on by remembering my grandparents and knowing the years of ice cream sundaes and Yahtzee were behind us forever.

Sitting here now, I'm amazed at how hard I've been on myself this week. Looking in the mirror, I see someone who is feeling the loss of her grandfather, someone who is exhausted and sore, someone whose eyes are dry and raw. Someone who yelled at herself all week like an angry football coach to keep going, push harder, do more. I need to be kinder to this person. And, I am making progress. Last night my friend, Sarah, took me to a Heart concert at the Greek. Before the show we stuffed ourselves full of pasta, wine, and tiramisu. We stood up and danced and sang along...Ooooh, Barracuda! And not once did I let myself feel guilty for being out, having a good time while Chris stayed at home with the baby. He was happy to be spending some overdue quality time with her, and I was taking some much-needed time to myself.

Thanks, Sarah, for rescuing me last night. It means the world to me.

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