This post could have been called a lot of things. I considered calling it, ‘Accepting that I’m an okay parent’, I considered calling it ‘Survival’ (which, for all its cheese, seemed fitting), I even considered calling it something along the line of ‘How I barely avoided a complete effing nervous breakdown.’ Instead, well… Here’s the tale.
We’re moved. It’s done.
In the month of November, work wasn’t all that busy. I mean, it was busy enough, but not total-ass crazy. For some reason, the week before I moved – the biggest move of my life – where I moved a full house, on my own, with not much lead time, with my folks (who, frankly are the backbone of most successful endeavours in my life) in China visiting my brother and his family, work got all-fired busy.
I packed while on Blackberry, and carried boxes while on conference calls. All our stuff was moved from Place A to Place B, without any of the drama of the last move.
BUT, the next morning as I was trying to figure out just how I was going to unpack a colossal mountain of boxes, The Ex called to tell me, “It started.” What? What started? “Labour.”
So, as I’m unpacking boxes in my new home, Ex’s new baby is coming. It’s not the baby’s fault. Or even Ex’s, as much as I’d like to pin it on him. But here I was, unpacking, knowing that Bean could be brought home any time as all the guts of our existence is blurthing out all over the place. And a baby that I’d been dreading for months, one which would be – at least verbally – brought regularly into my home as a reminder of a life I so sincerely wanted and painfully lost, was on its way.
And so I lost it. And by lost, I mean eyes rolling back in my head, crying so hard I couldn’t breathe or see, Qurathsy.* And I was sick (bronchitis), my brand new appliances weren’t working properly and NOBODY from the company called me back despite numerous calls. AND my HD PVR didn’t work (and frankly, if you know me in real life, you know what a punch to the gut that is). Somewhere in there, I ended up having a conversation with a person who tried to convince me what a lovely and generous person Ex’s partner is (#timingfail). Then, that first weekend after the move, Bean didn’t go to bed until after 11 p.m. on a Sunday, which put us on a crap track for the week to come.
And Bean’s sibling is the world. At the time, Bean was not yet 3-years-old.
That was just eight weeks ago. Since then, I got a Christmas tree, and I decorated it. I had a third birthday celebration for Bean. Took Bean to her first Ballet with friends. I got all my shopping done and hosted Christmas at my new place. I also hosted a (if I do say so) pretty fun New Year’s Eve party with all the awesome kids in our life, and we counted down at 8 p.m. so that we could all be with our kids. I righted myself at work from faltering a little in December. We’ve been working on Bean’s sleep, which is still a bit wonky. We’ve also been working on some behaviorial stuff – which I’ll blog about in a separate post – which I think has come up for her as all of the dust settles on all of this monumental change. I’ve started back to the gym.
I have accepted that I’m an okay mum. Why? Because I didn’t have a nervous breakdown. I had a choice. As a parent, if you have a choice to have a nervous breakdown or persevere (and that’s not always the case), you persevere. You make positive choices. As a close friend told me over the holidays, you choose joy.
Not a word about the cake, K? We just moved. Stop judging.
Choosing joy doesn’t mean that things don’t hurt. They do. A lot. These are real events with bald consequences. I cry regularly. I feel the pain as it creeps in and out. But I find that the more I choose joy, the less it creeps. I may not feel sometimes like it’s less, but I know it is.
Once again, strength found me when I felt I had none. My life with Bean has hit some kind of cruise control where everything is working and working well. Where stress is coming from other places, but not from how we’re coping and getting from Monday to Friday. These things have settled. They work. We’re now, at very least (and it does feel small and scary), at a place from which we can rebuild. Where we – I, really – am not being clobbered with weekly emotional upsets, and even if I do, I have a good foundation. I can cope. I can still breathe.
*While I was teaching in Japan, this is how a student spelled crazy. I feel it phonetically explains the word really well.