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More grey hairs

After a nice restful Christmas and a vow to have a better new year  – we have started looking for a new place to move to.  And my anxiety has gone through the roof.  I’ve been dipping into my ativan supply.  Now I had always imagined that getting older would bring me serenity, wisdom and a certain degree of security, confidence and strength.  I’ve got wisdom up the wazoo and I have no doubt of my strength, but what I didn’t see coming was a degree of vulnerability that I feel, particularly with motherhood.  Or maybe it’s just my age, my mid life crisis or even my life condition.  Motherhood has revealed a whole new level of insecurities that I never knew I had.  Entrusted with the care of this amazing child, I feel confident that I can feed him and keep him alive (ha! more on that later), but I’m not sure I can be the well dressed mother of grace  and giggles that I assumed I’d be.

So far, what we’ve seen in housing has been an education.  We are trying to pay less rent and get more space which in this city means moving further away.  I’m trying to keep my husband’s commute to work by transit manageable and also find a neighbourhood that provides me with nearby community centres, a place to walk my dog and sidewalks that lead to a coffee shop and a liquor store.  Believe it or not, I’ve never lived in a place where I haven’t had this.  I’m stubborn.  I keep thinking I can get this for a reasonable price.  I’m afraid I have champagne tastes on a beer budget.

Our present home has been challenging on a few levels, but we prefer not to go through another winter here.  Compromises are going to have to be made. I’m just afraid of making the wrong choice.  We saw a house that was really nice, but the basement was going to be rented out as well, and it was located near the bottom of a very steep street which would prove problematic.  We drive a lot but we also walk an hour in the the forest almost daily, walk to nearby playgrounds and parks and to Tim Horton’s and Dairy Queen of course.  And sometimes we just walk around the neighbourhood with the Precious riding his bike.  I don’t have to cross a highway.  We have sufficient street lights. Time to chant for a new home.

Also to chant for my kid’s safety.  I know, I know, kids break bones, get scars, etc.    Five minutes into a walk and of course, the kid had his hands in his pockets (and we keep telling him not to do that) and he was running, tripped and fell on gravel and loosened his front teeth.  Screaming, blood everywhere I try to calm him down and assess the damage.  I carried him home piggyback style.  Thank goodness, we weren’t that far from home, my back groaned but didn’t give out.   I cleaned out his mouth, and gave him a popsicle and all seemed to be well until I insisted we go out again later.  Really, it was such a gorgeous day and I was absolutely did not want to spend the rest of the day in the house.  He threw what the Brits like to call a “wobbly”, (i.e. a defcon 5 fit) and 10 minutes later, he fell fast asleep in my lap. That fall took more out of him than I first realized and I gave him some Tylenol when he woke up to ease the pain.   I got a dentist appointment for him a couple days later, and luckily the dentist didn’t remove his teeth.  I just have to put some antibacterial rinse on his gums (there was some damage to that little bit under the top lip) and hope his teeth firm up in a month.   Holy cow, I worried myself into a tizzy.  Not sure I can make it til he grows up.  A cut knee I can take, but anything that takes dental surgery (I HATE dentists – not personally – but I’m the type of person who sweats through a cleaning) makes me want to take to my bed with the vapours.  Of course, what does hubby do a few days later?  Takes him to a gymnastics drop in with his buddy’s kids – after I explicitly told him NOT to!   His teeth are still wobbly!  He needs them to for a couple more years til they’re good and ready to fall out.   This kid has a wee overbite so when he falls over or runs into something cause he leads with his HEAD, he almost cuts his lip.  Sigh.  Pass me the bubble wrap.

No, no, no, he’s not going to be a hockey player.  PLEASSSSSE, NOOOOO! I couldn’t take it.

 

 

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Trying not to suck

Work-wise, November is slower that I thought it would be.  I was first choice for that role I hoped to get, but they couldn’t make the schedule work.  Figures, once a year I go away, and that’s when somebody wants me for a good role.  Sigh.  I wouldn’t have made enough to warrant cancelling the trip, so… moving on.  I have a couple days of typing coming up so that’s something.  And of course, my little boy’s 3rd birthday.  He’s excited to have a party and invite his friends.  I’ve arranged to rent a place for his party as we don’t have the room to host one at home.

Hubby and are I getting along better, we’re both making more efforts to be gentler with one another.  I’m reaching out more, it’s tough, but I’m trying. One night I was freezing so I actually slept snuggled up next to him and he was absolutely delighted.  Such a simple thing but it meant so much to him.

I’m still dealing with a lot of anxiety when it comes to things like visiting my mum and staying at home all day with the Precious.  Seems like my little guy could spend all our rainy days just watching the Lion King and The Wild and playing with his cars.  I have to practically drag him out of the house on non preschool days.  Correction, I have to chase, yell, threaten to call dad, joke, negotiate, bribe him to get him to put on his boots and coat.  This can take anywhere from 10 – 20 minutes.  This means I’m supremely aggravated before 9 am in the morning.  Sigh. This child is designed to teach my patience apparently.  On occasion, I just pick him up like a sack of potatoes and put him in the car without shoes or a coat.  At least, he knows I’m not kidding around when I say we have to go.  He does not do this with his dad or his grandparents,oh, yes he saves this delightful game for mum.  It’s just routine he wants.    I kiss and hug him more and tell him how much I love him and I remind myself to lower my expectations of what I’d like to get done during the day (and in the order I’d like them done).

I  read a post the other day about a mother experiencing difficulty with her child wanting constant interaction with her.  Heck, I once even googled “my kid won’t leave me alone”  and found dozens of women who were desperate for answers.    I could understand, it can be overwhelming, parenting 24/7 can be mentally and physically taxing.   I  learned the importance of structure and routine and different ways of interacting.  For example,  I let my son help me make scrambled eggs, as long as I don’t micromanage the way he does it and accept that it will be messy.  I would prefer a brisk  1 hr walk through the woods with the dog with music in my ears, but that’s not going to happen, so we meander a couple of blocks and walk through a local boardwalk through a bog.  I have also let my son know that everyone (including the dog) needs quiet time.  Most people find it quite distressing to be physically tugged on most of the day.  I haven’t met a mum yet who has not admitted eagerly anticipating naptime or bed time or to clock watching, waiting for hubby to come home.

Then I remind myself that  no matter how depressed or miserable I feel on any given day, I am still responsible for loving the heck out that little boy, and not just in the way that it is easy for me to do, but in the way that he needs.  In my core, I can recall my childhood need for unconditional love, and suddenly it is crystal clear to me that  hormonal mood swings, fatigue or anxiety can make my days seem like I’m walking through water so I need to take care of myself as well.   Still considering meds and when I get more money, I’ll go back to counselling.

My sisters or I did not grow up in a loving, peaceful atmosphere.  We were not encouraged to show our true feelings, we were to be seen and not heard for the most part.  My parents did the best they could, but they were busy working and trying not to get crushed by the man.  But my mother fought to give her girls the best she could.  She was a fighter.  Oh, yes, I witnessed her degradation and her breakdowns, but I also saw her get up every time.  She kept all my crappy artwork and threw me birthday parties.  Right up until the time she had a stroke, she would call me on my birthday and sing me happy birthday.

So I owe it to myself and to my kid to try and do better every day.  I kinda hate being smooched and hugged as my husband’s family can attest.  It drives me nuts that they gotta give cheery good mornings and hugs and kisses before bed time or when they walk out of the door.  My family barely touches each other even when we say goodbye at airports.  But I smile when Boo walks in the room and I hold his hand when we cozy up together and I kiss him even after he’s stepped on my last nerve.  As a matter of fact, this has also been related to me as Buddhist guidance for my husband.  Mmmm. I’m not going to lie, I’m no Suzy Homemaker.  I don’t find creativity in all things domestic, unless it’s a domestic red if you know what I mean.  I am however, finding creative ways to be present in my parenting, staying true to my word and cutting myself some slack.

My dining room floor

I had no idea when I chose the name A Woman My Age that it would continue to be so appropriate.  I chose it because that’s the phrase I kept hearing over and over when I was trying to conceive.  It’s also a little play on the words “advanced maternal age”.  And now at this point in my life when I’m in a MLC (mid life crisis) and dealing with PM (perimenopause), there’s a lot of WTF going on here.  So you will see a lot of password protected posts because I’m aware that stuff is so painful and so personal that I can’t let it flap TOTALLY in the internet wind.

I washed the dining room floor the other day with a special wooden floor cleaner.  Why is this significant?  I had mentioned that maybe we needed a special cleaner cause the floor looked so dull and of course, hubby said why bother we’re only renting and we’ll be moving soon and that just stuck in my head.  I started to fixate on the dull wooden floor.  DH had taken the Precious and the dog out, so I instead of doing nothing,  I straightened up a little.  Then I looked at the floor and thought, let’s try that V.im cleaner that I bought  surreptitiously the other day.  Mmmm, well, it was a little cleaner but it didn’t really improve the dullness.  By that time, hubby was home and was surprised that I had spent the time washing the floor.  I noticed the dog hair stuck to the legs of the chairs and though I had swept up the hair moments before, when I replaced the chairs, the hair was back again.  The chairs need replacing.  The seats sag.  I got a big residual check the other day and opted to get my weave redone instead of buying a dining set.  Vanity wins every time.  If you are a black woman and reading this, this will make perfect sense to you. If you saw my head, you would have taken pity on me.

Anyways, my point is the floor.  It’s been bugging me for weeks.  Months even.  It just seemed like such a pointless task that I never attempted it.  It’s a metaphor for my life really.  Needing to be thoroughly cleaned, maybe even restripped and refinished.  Me avoiding doing it, DH saying why bother,  but knowing in my heart that the effort needs to be made.  I didn’t enjoy doing it, but I enjoyed making the attempt.  I know this sounds completely goofy,  but it mattered to me somehow.  I had the time and space to do it.  I had vacuumed, swiffered it and still there was more dirt.  More stickiness.

 

 

Losing it ***breaking news***

I had an audition yesterday – that I completely forgot about until I was washing my face and getting ready for bed.  A good one with a name and not just a job description.  My agent called me on Friday and I actually read the sides online on my smartphone and I thought, well, it`s the long weekend, I have plenty of time to study it.  And then it was the  weekend and the kid had a cold so we stuck close to home.  It`s not like we were having a gay old time somewhere exciting.  Then DH took a day off work, it was Precious first day at preschool, and my husband`s relatives were visiting and …. it went went out of my head.  I felt so bad, I cried and generally felt like shit.  Despondent. The one thing that I truly love to do and it just fell off my radar.  Embarrassed, I wrote a quick email to my agent, explaining to her that I just forgot and could you make up an excuse for my no-show.  I`m not even sure why I didn`t get a  WTF call but I`m sure she`s on vacation or something.

I`m losing it.  I`m not in a good space right now.

 

***********I guess those very expensive chocolate coated strawberries I sent to the casting directors  worked.  I have an audition for the part I missed today. Now off to google early dementia signs.

Kudos

Kudos to the Pacific Post Partum Support Society who included adoptive mums when raising awareness for post partum depression.  I went to a fundraiser a couple years ago and I found it very interesting. I originally went to support a friend of mine who had experienced post partum depression after the birth of her twins.  Now of course, since I have never given birth, I thought out of whack hormones were largely to blame for post partum.  I was surprised to hear a brief mention about adoptive mums.  I remember when Lavender Luz talked about it on her blog as post adoption depression.  I don’t think I ever had that.  Any blues I’ve ever had are more about the stuff I’ve always struggled with before adoption but were now of course compounded with the demands of motherhood and my apparent inability to be a super happy super achieving super skinny woman.   Um, err, maybe I did.  But those feelings were not associated with how well I bonded with the Precious.  Let’s face it, he was pretty darn easy as an infant.  He slept well, he ate well,he wasn’t sick, and he only cried when he had a obvious reason to do so.  What I was depressed about was how people (you know who you are) still thought I could keep a 1500 sq. ft apartment orderly, walk the dog, cook, AND take care of the Precious. That’s just crazy talk.

How did I get here?

As usual in her literary way, P at Blood Signs is stirring things up in me.  She does that to a lot of people.

Not pregnant but expecting a child nonetheless, I  often feel bitter at 4am in the morning.  I feel bitter because I still yearn for the life I never had.  Just at that time when I get up to pee and then can’t get back to sleep.  I wonder – how did I get here?  Remember that Talking Heads song?  Once in a Lifetime?  Am I happy yet?  Where did I get this flabby midsection, who the hell am I sleeping next to?  I’m okay most of the time, but you know in daily life there is a daily parade of what could have beens.  Those nesting moments, the excitement, the ultrasounds, the innocence.  I miss the old me at 4am.  I also miss my old husband.  I miss my own expectations of who I thought I was.  I talked to my husband today and he told me that life hasn’t been fun for a long time.  Not since the whole BABY thing.  And since I drove the 2nd to 4th attempts, in my attempt to OVERCOME ALL OBSTACLES AND BE A WINNER! we still came up empty handed and so by default, I feel blamed.  Savings gone, whopping debt incurred and nothing to show for it but a prescription for an antidepressant.  I didn’t need a pill I needed a baby, but my uterus didn’t get that memo.  So much for black women being super fertile, eh?   I told him that infertility did change me.  And this adoption has also changed me.  It’s made me cautious, tentative.  I feel as if we’ve both had to jump through hoops and it makes me feel… a little like a thief.

Yeah, I know I gotta let it go. LET GO OF THE DREAM, DAMMIT!  What?  Are you kidding, when we could JUST ADOPT?  As if it was like checking out a library book.  Go to the old card catalogue,  write down the number, hand it to the librarian who goes behind the special stacks and doesn’t come back out for 2 years. And me, standing there, forgetting what book I wanted.  Out of print, you say?  Okay, how about something else, anything else.

Pam talks about expectations.  Being at the mercy of other people’s schedules and priorities, wondering where she’s supposed to fit in a life for herself. Sacrifice.  It’s something women are supposed to be good at.  Silent at.  Some of us are expected to keep the home running like a well oiled machine.  I have a confession.  It’s not a job I like.  It’s necessary because I’ve never had a 9 – 5 type work life.  Hubby made it crystal clear years ago then if I wasn’t going to be working regularly, then I had better get the laundry done, clean the house and do the dishes.  That was supposed to be my contribution.  At the time, I was suffering from a deep depression (misdiagnosed as lazy and self indulgent) and hearing that was like a death sentence.  My 18 year old self was yelling from inside of me, go tell him to go F*** himself.  I cried, I stomped my feet and I stuffed it all down and began to journal while at the laundromat.  And strangely enough, I found a kind of peace between the washer and the dryer.  You know if I had had a laptop then, I would have been blogging. Or cheating online. Yep, most likely the latter.

And man, oh man in the midst of trying to conceive, I hit my domestic stride and discovered baking.  I was serene.  I was about to embark upon my greatest creative endeavour and I was excited and determined and planning my acceptance speech.  I gritted my teeth and smiled through all the procedures as if I was starring in my own documentary.  What a trooper! Did you know her mother had a stroke?  Poor thing!

Fast forward to present day.  I don’t smile as quickly.  I watch my words.  I diet.  I watch my mum grow feeble and I change her Depends.  I don’t get drunk and go out dancing anymore cause well, I’m old and all my friends have kids.  I feel like I’m 29 years old again, talking to my therapist about my low self esteem. Except now I’m just plumb embarrassed.  Cause low self esteem for a 46 year old black woman is NOT ATTRACTIVE.  Well, in truth, it’s not so much low self esteem as it is low expectations.

It has occurred to me, as of late, that being an adult woman means enduring discomfort, sacrifice and clean floors.