Being Grown Up

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029I began a post yesterday about growing up and of course with computer issues comes the loss of blogs to the ether… I’ve always been grown up. I didn’t have the opportunity to have a “normal” childhood but it is okay because I never knew any different. Coming from a family of dysfunction it is okay for me to admit that today, but as a kid, you always think of yourself as “different” and so you don’t admit that to others. What we don’t know as we are growing up is that others are living a life of dysfunction just as much as we are. I’m not sure if there is such a thing as really “normal”…I think there are just varying degrees of dysfunction and we each learn how to hide what we don’t want others to know about us. I’m reminded of this after a high school reunion that took place this past weekend. It was for the class ahead of me and was open to multi-year classes, so while it was a 30th reunion for that class, it would only be 29 years since I graduated. Seeing these folks in the pics (because my son is deploying I didn’t get to go because I wanted to stay here with him this weekend…family always comes first to me) I’ve enjoyed seeing the photos. I must say that the men seemed to have changed the most. The ladies, they look a little older, have different hairstyles and some are a little heavier, but they all looked fabulous! The guys though I realized I couldn’t recognize. This of course made me think about a lot of things that are long gone and happened in another lifetime…I don’t think we get just one lifetime…I think our lives are made up of several lifetimes…or chapters…since I’m a writer, I think in chapters it seems. When I was in high school I was the responsible one. I was a loner with a lot of acquaintances and only a handful of close friends. For the most part, all of those close friends are still the same close friends I have today. Just because I was the responsible one doesn’t mean I didn’t do my fair share of acting stupid, but I did it in controlled and measured ways which isn’t the norm for most teenagers. By the time I was 17 though that was pretty much over. I was an adult in my mind and have been ever since. Now as I look back at that time, I realize that being a grown up was the only thing I knew how to be. It is still the only thing I know how to be. I also know that being a grown up sucks most of the time. Being a grown up means having to make the right and responsible decisions. It means you pay the bills and forget the luxuries if you struggle financially as I seem to always be doing. I’ve always lived paycheck to paycheck and that hasn’t changed. Being grown up means having the common sense God gave you and not acting like an idiot when you get angry or sad or upset in any way. It means you don’t throw things at people or punch them when you get angry at them. It means you make hard decisions about relationships, your kids and basically just about life. I’ve always wanted to be able to let go with complete abandon, but the adult in me always says, “No, you have to think of a contingency plan!” How I’ve always envied others who were and still can let loose with their feelings and lives. I didn’t go out when I was 19, 20, 21, 22 and party and go to bars. By then I was divorced and remarried with a step-daughter and pregnant with my son at 23. Even after my son and I were on our own when I was in my late 20’s and early 30’s I tried to go to bars a couple of times with girls I worked with or was friends with and I just hated it. I didn’t understand why everyone wanted to go. I was happy sitting at home with my son, watching Disney movies or Power Rangers and reading or painting. I loved going to Little League games and Cub Scout meetings and doing things for PTA. Now, I’m at an age where I should be able to let myself “GO & DO” whatever I want and I still find myself unable to cut loose. I wonder if I’m doomed forever to always be the grown up? I hope that maybe as I get older, I’ll be able to let go a little more and have some fun. For now, I’ll be the grown up I’m supposed to be. I’ll pay the bills on time, (YUCK) and I’ll make the hard decisions and I’ll be the “Mom” to everyone I’ve always ‘mama’d’ and hopefully, I’ll have my ‘second childhood’ when I hit 50! That would be nice! So be on the lookout if I start doing irrational things in the future, like buying an extravagant car (I can’t see me EVER doing that) or taking a crazy trip around the world (or that either) or running away and not telling at least one person where I am in case of emergency! I can guarantee at least one thing…if I ever get married again, please check my pulse and see if my heart is still beating…because right now, I’d only do that over my dead body! Peace friends~

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Cha-cha-changes

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I’m not someone who likes change…AT ALL! Yet, here I am with so much change happening in my life that I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed at the moment. I talked with my therapist yesterday about it…yes, I see a therapist…I think most people who are creative probably at some point in their lives have seen one simply because we tend to internalize a lot because we feel the need to people please. After all, when we write, paint, play music, act or any other type of artist we are doing it to an audience most times. We want our work to be appreciated and liked. I digress…I’ll talk about therapy in another post…this one is about change.

I was talking about how irritated I’ve been lately with everybody, especially my son. The more we talked the more upset I became. Finally my therapist asked me if my irritability and anger might be a cover for something else. I hate when she is right because it was that moment that the floodgates opened and stayed that way off and on all day long (and remain that way right now too).

See, my son is about to embark on a huge adventure and a possibly dangerous one. He is a PFC in the Army and is about to be deployed for the first time to the middle east. I can’t say much about what he does or where he goes but suffice it to say the country he will go to is NOT in turmoil but everything around it is…which makes me wonder if he will eventually be dragged into all the highly charged bullsh*t that goes on over there. He will be gone for a year (or more) and will miss the birth of his next child.

All of these things are weighing heavily on my mind.

I raised my son by myself from the time he was 4 months old. I made him my entire world and dedicated myself to being his mom. It was my job…my passion in life. I tried to be the best mom I could be and knew how to be. I’m not bitter about having to raise him alone. I’m not sure I could have shared him successfully with his dad since I chose to be his mom and raise him in the most loving and stable way I could. I did this because I never had that growing up.

My childhood was tumultuous and sometimes not nice. I never got to be a really little kid because it wasn’t how I was raised. I was raised to be a little adult. I obeyed, didn’t get in the way and stayed as quiet as I possibly could. My parents’ friends all said they never minded me coming with my parents to their homes because I never touched “pretties” and I sat quietly and played with whatever toys I brought with me. I didn’t run around like a crazy little heathen and I didn’t talk out of turn. I could carry on a complete conversation with an adult by the time I was 3 years old. Many people thought this was miraculous. It wasn’t a miracle. It was simply the way I was raised.

When I became a mom, I chose to give my son the childhood I felt I never had. I did however raise him to mind, have manners and respect his elders. He was a great kid and I loved that everyone thought that he was so well behaved. I allowed him to play, dream and laugh out loud. I showered him with as much as I could in the way of material things but never to the point he thought he was owed something every time we went to a store. I also showered him with my attention…my FULL ATTENTION when he was a baby and toddler and elementary kid. I worked only to put a roof over our heads and food in our bellies. I liked being an office manager but I never had huge dreams to be something bigger…the few times I tried, I was usually squashed by whatever boss I had at the time…I personally think it was because I did more than my share (again that damned people pleaser) and I made sure every boss I had looked amazing to HIS bosses!

I kept myself in jobs that would allow me a bit of flexibility to be able to be the classroom mom in several elementary grades and be active on the PTA & in Cub Scouts and later Boy Scouts. I even took my Friday lunch break reading to his class in 3rd and 4th grades. Everything in my life was about my kid.

When he got to junior high of course he began pulling away which is what he was supposed to do and I ended up having to let him go quickly when my mom died suddenly and we moved in with my other dad. These were his grandparents that he loved almost as much as me and suddenly everything about them changed. Gone was his funny and outrageous Nana and his Papa was now only a shell of who he used to be. I know he was hurt very much by all the turmoil that surrounded those years that led into his high school days.

During this time I also became sick and went on my medical odyssey to find out what exactly was wrong and how to ‘fix’ me. I too began to become a shell of myself. We had our normal bumps in the road as any mother and high school son will have. We somehow stayed close though when things were humming along fairly well.

He moved out early to stay with a girlfriend but he never came home to take everything out of his room. Because I thought the relationship was not the healthiest I wasn’t supportive but I tried to detach with love in the end…it eventually folded and he came home for a while. Then he moved out again…this time for good…at least until he got married, had a child and joined the Army. Then I had 3 people living with me. I never minded because I adored my grandson as much as I adored his dad. I also loved my daughter-in-law so even though it felt crowded I had hope that it would all turn out okay. For the most part it did. We had some rough patches but never anything where we hated one another.

He went away for basic training and then for his AIT and was gone almost 9 months but we could talk with him once he got to AIT, which helped a lot. NOW…he is about to leave the country and go to a region that is very unstable. As a mom, I know I’m worried. Sometimes when I get worried I take it out as anger and impatience. I know this is one of my shortcomings and I try to work on it as much as possible….thus the reason for a therapist to continually work on the things that aren’t the best parts of me…there are so many…again I digress.

So I have been really impatient and irritable with the person I love the most in the entire world and I feel really awful about it. It is hard for us as parents to let our kids know that we are afraid. We are the slayers of monsters under the bed and the boogeyman in the closet as well as spiders and other creepy bugs (even if they freak us out just as much) for our kids we are willing to face down those fears to appear to be invincible and strong above and beyond what we really feel.

I need to be strong for my son who is I’m sure worried himself. He knows what he signed up for. He won’t say he is afraid…he’s too much of an Army man to actually speak the words but I also know he is so much like me that his responses are beginning to come out angrily and impatient with everyone around him too. I get it.

As a mom though…I can’t imagine my life without him at least a phone call away. We don’t talk much right now, but I know that I can call him and if he doesn’t answer, I call my daughter-in-law because she’ll have him call me. I know it is only a matter of pushing a few spaces on my smart-phone screen. Now, though for a year, I won’t be able to do that. I’ll have to be on call 24/7 for a year. I’ll carry my phone everywhere with me and the ringer will always be on once he leaves. I’ll try hard not to cry when he calls and I hear his voice but I know I’ll fail miserably at that too. He isn’t even gone yet and I miss him more than anyone I’ve ever missed in my life, including my best friend when I moved away from Wichita Falls when I was 14.

So, I have a lot of changes coming up and I don’t do well with change. I will have a new grandbaby right after the first of the year. My grandson will be 3 years old in a matter of days now (where the hell did the time fly??) and my second book, God willing and the creek don’t rise, will come out in the fall and hopefully the third one will come close to the time the new baby gets here….lots of changes are happening. I also think I will lose my oldest dog, Girl before he gets home too.

There is so much that can happen in a year’s time. We can all change so much both here and there. I’m letting my fear overtake me right now because I fear change…then while I was typing this, I heard my other dad, Curtis, whisper in my ear from far away…”FEAR is this, SaDonna. False Events Appearing Real. Nothing more and nothing less…”

I know this in my heart of hearts that he will be okay. I project all kinds of horrible events because that is what I’m constantly barraged with from the media. I don’t think everything is okay over there by any means…but I do think that I project the worst possible scenario in my mind instead of hoping he learns and grows as a human being during this time. I also hope once he comes home that the 2nd place he wants to come after meeting his new child for the first time, will be to come home to Goliad and his old ma.

Change is sometimes good for us. It helps us to grow and change as people. It helps us to shed the bad and embrace the better in our lives. It allows us to find the better that we could never see. I have changed so much in the last 3 years and especially the last year that I’m almost unrecognizable even to myself…I’ll never be who I was physically over 10 years ago, but I’m where I’m supposed to be which is better than I was. I know that all of that can change on a dime too and I fear that….I need to work on wiping out that word from my vocabulary.

Change seems to be only for the strong. The weak usually fall completely apart over change or run from it as hard as they possibly can. While I don’t stretch my arms out wide and embrace it as soon as it happens, I try to learn a little more acceptance at changes…you never know when they are going to be good unless you try them.

In the case of my son being gone for a year in a dangerous place the change that is happening for me is super scary. I am going to have to rely on faith a lot more than I have been. Sometimes my faith is shaky and right now it is at that point. I know for a fact that God never ever leaves me. He never has in the past and He won’t now, even if I get mad and turn away…He will still be there with his arms stretched out wide.

Everything will work out the way it is supposed to…of this I feel certain. I will get myself under control and once again be the dragon/monster/bug slayer and when I’m alone, I will break down because the monster was so scary…in the end though, God gave me the strength to slay it for my baby boy…so he wouldn’t have to be frightened….isn’t that what moms are for?

CHANGE….it really does suck in the beginning….