The Ebb and Flow of Life

‘And the worst of it is, you understand, that I can’t leave him: there are the children, and I am bound. Yet I can’t live with him. Anna Karenina

How strange to be living a quote from my favorite book. How well I understand the meaning of being bound, and the desperate longing to be free. I am living a life of single independence, for the most part, yet I share a home with a man who is still legally my husband. He lives his life the way he chooses, yet he sleeps every night on his wife’s sofa. Through it all, I try to create a sense of normalcy and safety for my children.

There is an ebb and flow to Mr. Wrong’s and my relationship. We pass between friendship to mortal enemies and back again so quickly sometimes even I don’t know where we are in that spectrum some days. Truly, if I think about the things that have been said and done in this past year, and throughout our marriage, I can be overcome with rage so intense that it scares me. I know that he feels the same way, and again I will say, I am not perfect and I have made mistakes.
However, if we can sit in the same room together and not argue, I have to admit that I am bound by more than my children, more even than finances, and my stubborn refusal to give in to him ever again. There are 20 years between us. Twenty years of almost daily contact. I was still little more than a child twenty years ago. We have grown up together. There is a friendship that cannot be denied between us. I hope that we can come through whatever comes next in this process and be friends, not only for our children, but for us as well.

The lack of feelings

I feel like I have been living in a bubble of sorts, for several months now. I have the strange feeling of things happening around me, but somehow not to me. To a large extent, this is of my own doing. For too long, my feelings and emotions were out there, raw and exposed, for anyone and everyone to beat on them at will. I wanted to be that person, the open and honest person who could acknowledge feelings, and accept them. Then last year happened. Events and circumstances came hurtling towards me from all directions, with dizzying speed. From October ’08 to October ’09 I was hit, almost nonstop, with a freight train of emotional hell that left me, quite literally, in bed for weeks. I have written about that time before in this blog. Thanks to amazing friends, and incredible children, I pulled myself out of bed. I moved on. I learned some things during that time. I learned that someone who will bring you a newspaper and starbucks coffee in bed is truly your best friend forever. I learned that kids who will watch you mess up their world and love you anyway are the most precious gift God can give you. And I learned that if you don’t want to be in bed listening to All by Myself and wallowing in self pity, you need to put your feelings and emotions away. Far away. Push them down, jump a couple of times to make sure they stay, and build those damn walls high.

So that is exactly what I did. I gotta say, it works pretty well. I no longer get hit with freight trains, I knock them out of the way, or run like hell to safety. This week marked several anniversaries for me, that would make most people sad. The thing is, I’m not. The mere fact that I am not, haven’t shed a single tear, is amazing to me, and got me a bit curious. I think I overbuilt my armour. I think that, while trying to give my battered feelings a well deserved break, I have made myself incapable of feeling anything at all. Is that even possible? And if it is possible, what the hell does that say about me?

As final proof of my lack of feelings, I was in the grocery store today, shopping for the rest of the weeks meals. On the music that is piped throughout the store, Goodbye Girl came on. This song has always brought me to tears, it reminds me of my grandfather, who died about a year ago. This time? Nothing. Nada. Am I a cold hearted bitch? It makes me wonder….

Cat turns 13

Today my little girl turns 13.

Wow, what an amazing thing. I truly feel like I have been lied to somehow, that my little girl is still the beautiful blonde baby that wakes up each morning singing, yes singing, in her crib. Sadly, this is no lie, no dream, Alley Cat has become a teenager.

I worried when each of my older girls became 13. I was concerned that they would choose the wrong path, the wrong friends. I worried about drinking and drugs, all the usual teenage acts of rebellion. I am not as worried about Cat.

Cat has the most mature set of morals of any child I have ever known. She is quick to correct her siblings, and occasionally me, if she feels we have done something wrong. She disapproves of cursing. She is adamantly anti smoking. She thinks people who drink or do drugs are stupid and not worth her time.

She has a quick temper, inherited from me, and forgives and forgets just as quickly. She loves fiercely, and will defend those she loves with everything in her. She worries and over thinks everything, also inherited from me, and will lose nights of sleep worrying about things that are important to her.

Cat has always made friends easily, and has many that she loves like family. She enjoys life every day, and it is a joy to watch.

So, happy birthday Cat. I love you more than you will ever know.