Changing Perspective

I got up at five this morning, the first time in a month or more that I have gotten up this early. When I still had to go to work every day, I got up early to have my time with coffee and quiet before waking the kids and starting the morning routine, but I have gotten out of the habit. Instead, I have been waking up just long enough to make sure Steve has gotten up and then I pull the baby closer and we sleep until six or, on occasion, even seven. Moving back to the town where the kids go to school, plus not having to be at work, has given me a full two hours of extra time in the mornings (and of course school is not in session right now) and I have been taking advantage of it.

Still, I have been off the last little while, feeling the first blooming of resentment in my heart. It’s hard to be home with kids all day, especially with a baby like Josie who, for lack of a better word, remains difficult. The boys get bored and fight, they don’t want to help with chores and defy me at every turn, and when Steve gets home at night he is tired and doesn’t want to hear all about the trials of my day. There is a lot more work and a lot less appreciation than when I went to a job every day. The list goes on, and yes, I am aware of how selfish and petty it all is. This is what I wanted and hoped for and never thought I would get.

So I had and epiphany last night when Steve came home, ate dinner, and went to bed at 8:45 (in his defense, this isn’t usual; he had been up since four and wasn’t feeling well to boot; he was tired). I sat downstairs silently stewing until I realized that part of what is going on is that I miss my husband. We are parents and work well together; he gets up and goes to work in order to make it so I can stay home and take care of our family, and when he comes home in the evening he usually plays ball with the boys and hangs out with Josie and does what he can to catch up on the things he has missed during the day. We are more than parents, though, and that is what has been missing, that feeling of being US. When we both worked, we had our morning routine together of coffee and making lunches and just being together, and it seems funny that an hour would make that much difference but it surely does.

Also,I have missed being ME. I have been so caught up in the kids and this new lifestyle and trying to do everything just right that I have been neglecting some of the things that I need to do in order to make sure I am not just okay but good. I have let my spiritual and physical well-being slide, and the result is that emotionally and mentally, I am all sorts of wonky.

The great thing? All of this is fixable, it is just a matter of changing my perspective. I have a good life, and I am not really complaining. I just need to get back to a place of gratitude and steer clear of my resentments. There are things I can do in order to change how I perceive things, there are ways I can reconnect with my husband, there are ways I can feel fulfilled and happy with where I am. So today, this morning, is all about remembering who I am, who Steve and I together are, and how far we both have come.

Dead Squirrel

So we have all these pine trees at our house, therefore we have a little population of squirrels. I also have a bird feeder, which attracts all sorts of really neat birds but ALSO attracts these squirrels. I know we shouldn’t feed them, these interlopers, but I can’t resist the charm of bushy tails and bright eyes, nor can I help from laughing as they disappear head-first into the feeder to get a few seeds. I have been putting some unsalted peanuts (in the shell) on the edge of the feeder and on the ground around it, and that seems to keep them away from the seeds for the most part.

We got home last night and there was a freshly dead squirrel on the road in front of our house. There was some consternation about it, worries that one of “ours” had been hit, but it wasn’t; squirrels don’t all look the same any more than black people do, right? I secretly think “our” squirrels were over on our side of the road saying,”Yo,dude! Free food over here, why don’t you come join the party?” but it was a clear plot to eliminate the competition. The Dead Squirrel was clearly a robust specimen, far more than our young scrappy ones. I think they beckoned him over at just the right time, and as he got hit they were all doing little squirrel high-fives and saying “Well played.”

After dinner Steve was talking about needing to go remove Dead Squirrel’s carcass before it got completely squished. Owen volunteered, and armed himself with paper towels with which to hold the tail and throw him into our garbage can. After about ten minutes, he came back in the house, a grim expression and watery eyes. He told me that was the most disgusting thing he had ever done and it smelled so bad he almost vomited. I said sorry, next time one of us adults would do it, so sorry etc…and he looked at me and said, “It wasn’t the squirrel that made me want to vomit, it was the garbage can.”

No Apologies

There are some who would like me to apologize for my life now, having given up the strong, single mother personae for this one of marriage and new baby and quitting my job to stay at home with my younger children. The thing is, all those years I was a single parent, it wasn’t because I wanted to be. I never wanted to become some poster child for how to BE a single mom, never wanted to set some example of how to get along without a man and be happy. I did get along without a man for a long time, and there are times I WAS happy, wildly so. I never pretended, however, that I wasn’t hoping for a different life, never pretended that I did not want, someday, to be married again. I was not a single parent by choice; circumstance dictated that I needed to make the decisions I made, and it happened that I had to become a single parent in order to save myself and my children. It isn’t like I woke up one morning and thought, “You know, I really think I would like to do this parenting gig alone.” Life happens, you know?

And now I have this:

I have all of that, and more, and I cannot figure out why anyone who genuinely cared for me would want me to apologize. Someone commented recently on my Facebook page that I am living the dream, and it made me laugh but it is actually true. School is out for the summer and there are swimming lessons and t-ball (which I still can’t stand) and afternoons at the pool, there are dishes and laundry and a baby who is, well, hard. There are fights between the kids and I often feel like I suck at this stay-at-home-mom gig, and yet this IS my dream, in so many ways.

No more apologies from me, even though I haven’t said any of them out loud. This is my life, and I love my life. It isn’t great all the time, there are still problems and issues and struggles, but I love it anyway. It is hard and I struggle, with being married and having a high needs baby and trying to figure out who I am now that I don’t have my job to help define me. I struggle with having older children and learning to walk the fine line between guidance and control. I have a hard time learning how to share my life with someone, and I have a hard time with admitting how much baggage I am still carrying around from my past. Easy? No, none of this is easy for me-but I love it anyway.

So tonight I am feeling a little bit freer for having said here on my blog that I am happy and I will not apologize for that. I did not betray single mothers everywhere by getting married, did not let anyone down by choosing a different life. It IS my life, and I am just going to live it  as best as I can.