On letting go

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This has been the summer of kids going away. Drew was away for camp at the end of June. Davis, this entire week for camp as well and tomorrow I put my 16-year-old on a bus bound for the airport and a plane that will not only take her out of the country; it will take her away from home for the very first time.

I can feel my heart breaking.

The logical part of my brain says, “let them go. Let them grow!” But my heart feels like there is something terribly wrong. I imagine this week will be the longest week ever. After the longest week ever following June’s longest week ever.

So fast they grow.

I hope she comes back with bright eyes. I think sometimes she thinks she going to a South American vacation; forgetting she is there to serve. She says she doesn’t but most of her excitement is thinking about the crystal blue waters and hotel night. I did see glimpses of her realizing what the trip was when she talked about her “job” there. She tried to play off her excitement doing the “dance moves” at the Kids’ Camp they’ll be running, like it was lame. I could see though, she was excited to do for those little kids and teach them the songs and moves she grew up loving. I could see her tiny 9-year-old face looking at the stage at her own kids’ camp, wanting to be the cool kids teaching the little kids all about God.

I keep going over her packing list. Over and over. Making sure her clothes are sprayed and worrying if she will be too hot or too cold or her braces will break and she will be in discomfort. I give her advice about thing like staying close to her group and as insane as it sounds, making friends with a boy to stay close with. I tell her to hand over whatever a thief wants and to make sure not to lose her passport or her money. “Stay off your phone and breathe it in”, I say knowing that what I really want is her to text me every minute of every day. She cant and even if she could, I am not sure she would. I know she’ll miss us but I fully expect she’ll be too busy living to worry about updating us. As it should be when you’re 16 and leaving the country for the first time.

I hope she comes home with a full heart. Before the teen years set in, she was the smiliest, bubbliest, caring-est kid but like most girls in the 7th grade, she got the smile kicked out of her with the general cattiness that is middle school. Her dad and I reminisce about those days a lot. The teen years have greatly changed how she relates to people. I partially blame my relationship issues with her “friend troubles”. That smiley, friend to everyone girl is in there and hope stepping outside the harshness of high school will help her revisit that girl. I hope she comes home remember how good and kind and wonderful she is.

I keep thinking in the back of my head, “why in the hell did I agree to this?” Because they grow up and you have to let go I guess? Because I want her to live life full of “I did it” and not full of “I wish I had”. I let her go, I want her to go, because I want her to do all the things. But I won’t lie, I’ve never felt more sad and afraid in my life and my turbulent relationship with faith makes it hard for me to just trust that whatever happens is in her plan. I’ve been up nights worrying about the what ifs. And hoping and praying she doesn’t become one.

All this will be over before we know it. She’ll be home sharing photos of one of the coolest things she’ll ever experience. I can’t wait to hear about it… and I can hardly let her go.

So pray for us both this week. For her safety, for her growth and for her poor mama’s breaking heart.

Hi! I'm Gail, the voice behind Mimicking Motherhood. I started blogging after the birth of my 2nd child as a way to connect with far away family. Things have definitely changed since then. Now, mama to five, this is a place to help connect with other mothers, who feel like me.I love to make and write all while trying to figure out how to be myself in the world of anxiety and depression. Glad you stopped by.

Where Do I Belong? #behindtheblogger

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Even as a little girl, I sort of felt like I was out-of-place. My parents divorced when I was young and while I don’t have a clear memory of much of it, I do remember the out-of-place feeling I felt sitting in the back of the car, knowing my family wasn’t a family anymore. In school, I never really belonged. We moved several times before settling in a town around my third grade year. I didn’t make friends easily then and I don’t now. I never felt as though I belonged and even as an adult, I still don’t really have a place.

We moved in Pennsylvania in the summer of 2008, right before Drew turned one. I had high hopes of a fresh start. I’d not done well in making adult friends in Colorado. Much of my attempts turned out ugly and the few friends I did make, I kept at an arm’s length as I was waiting for them to leave or be mean too. I struggled at the church we loved and eventually walked away because I didn’t know how to keep up relationships there. I think Kevin still gets mad at me that I burned that bridge. I wanted to be a part of that community but I didn’t know how to squeeze myself into a hole my peg body wasn’t shaped like. So when we moved here I told myself I would do everything I could to fit in.

It worked for a while. I made friends I loved and cared for and I felt like I’d begun to create a village. My kids played with their kids and I felt like I had this system I could look to should I need help and I would be there to do the same. I remember buying this sign for my house that read, “the more you love the more you’ll find that friends are good and people are kind” believing I’d really found where I belonged. Boy was I wrong. I’m not friends with a single one of those people now. Being the common denominator, I’m sure it’s me, I realize.

Now I mostly float in a limbo of not knowing where I fit in; never knowing where I belong. I’ve a few lovely friends far and a few very near. Mostly though I feel like an observer of everyone’s very normal life. And through the years of not being able to make and keep up friends, I’ve created such a tremendous wall that it will truly be a miracle if I can ever get out of my dungeon. Between wondering if I’m “friend material” and the crippling social anxiety, I’ve chosen to sit here and wonder why I can’t instead of trying to do.

Where do I belong? I don’t really know.

I’m the mother of a teen and the mother of a two. There aren’t many mothers like me. Who deal with driver’s license and Gymboree. Ones who have to chase their toddler at their twelve-year old’s baseball game. I am not a first time, twenty something mother but I have a toddler. I can’t do girls’ night out. I don’t even drink wine. I am still breastfeeding, I believe in bed sharing but if my kids want potato chips, I’m okay with it on occasion. So I am not a crunchy mom but I am not what ever the “other is either”. I don’t know where I belong in Mommy world.

I don’t know where I belong anywhere.

I’m hoping with age it will either change or I will come to terms with all these realities. With the fact my “belonging” place is home, alone. Eventually these little guys will be gone and I won’t have to worry about fitting in with the other mothers anymore. I’m almost pray for those days to come but know with that comes an empty nest that I don’t want. It would just be nice to have a “village”, some place, some person to call home. And to my tiny village, thank you. I know I’m a lot. But when I do “belong”, it is because of you.

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Hi! I'm Gail, the voice behind Mimicking Motherhood. I started blogging after the birth of my 2nd child as a way to connect with far away family. Things have definitely changed since then. Now, mama to five, this is a place to help connect with other mothers, who feel like me.I love to make and write all while trying to figure out how to be myself in the world of anxiety and depression. Glad you stopped by.

Hi, I’m Debbie Downer

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There are quite literally days I don’t talk to anyone but the kids and Kevin. It’s awful quiet those days and I find myself reaching out on the internet. On groups and on blogs and even Facebook (although I’ve sworn off it for a while). I don’t think I am a “dumb” girl. I don’t feel small-minded or mean. I try to look at things from both sides. But often, maybe even always, I say the most idiotic things ever.

I think it’s because I am a Debbie Downer.

My friend Jen is on an awesome 21 day health, um, plan? I think. Me, trying to be encouraging after failing miserably at my lifestyle change, made some stupid comment on her blog about how I couldn’t do it. Way to be encouraging. Um, not. You can’t delete those posts like you can on Facebook but I was forced to go back and comment what a numb nuts commenter I was. She understood. But I still felt like an asshole. I feel like an asshole a lot.

I try to think about what I am saying/typing before I say it. And often in my head it sounds genuine and kind but it’s not. It’s almost always the wrong thing. And I don’t know how to fix it.

I have the unfortunate habit of being a “half empty”. I find it hard to see the good in things because well, let’s face it, I’m sad a lot. A true Eeyore at heart really and feeling all the feels all the time takes a lot out of a person.

Fresh air they say! Get outside. So I do. I take the kids to the park and I’m then the “phone mom” or the mom whose kid pee, with his full bare bum, into the wood chips on the playground. Mortified, I generally yell at him and sweep him away in shame. Instead of just calmly explaining that we use the bathroom or at the very least a tree. I take them to the baseball games in hopes there will be kids to play with and adults to talk to but I am the mom who flies off the handle because someone pushed my stroller down a hill with my camera inside. I bust him, telling him to be more careful instead of taking the blame for leaving my camera somewhere unsafe to begin with. Then I over think it for weeks and never want to go to the park again. At least not until I’ve had parenting lessons. Fresh air doesn’t help me, it makes me more insane I think.

I thought it was free breakfast at Chick Fil A yesterday. My husband works there, you’d think I would know what was going on. I don’t. He doesn’t tell me. I don’t ask and I stopped reading the mailing list emails a long time ago. We like free breakfast, especially because the store is slow in the mornings. I can sit close to the glass enclosed play area and the kids can play while I attempt to eat a warm breakfast. But yesterday? It was not free breakfast. Instead it was BINGO.

Someone kill me.

Of course we couldn’t leave because I’d promised Dexter a sandwich and some playing and so, I rushed him to the table and then through the actual eating so that we could get the hell out of there. Bingo is my worst nightmare. All those people, all that noise and not being able to control whether we win or not. While I want my son to learn to lose gracefully, I don’t want to do it in front of 50 plus mothers and their children.   That is a lesson for another day. We left, with the promise of the park. I knew this wasn’t the best idea because I had errands to run and well, I was filthy but sometimes bribery works… except for when it doesn’t.

We got to the park that I like because it’s small but has enough for everyone to do. There was another family there, of course eating McDonald’s. McDonald’s is something Dexter asks for almost daily and I also say no to. Because let’s face it, it’s gross.  And I was hot and tired and not excited to be at the park and I have this horrible sciatic nerve injury that makes it hard to lift Dixon, let alone Dexter. So of course Dexter needed help with everything. And I finally got frustrated when he cried from the swings that he needed help up and said, if you can’t do it yourself, then you’re not big enough to do it yet.

That’s when “best mom ever” stepped in. “Do you need help buddy? You can’t get your butt up there by yourself?”

Seriously?

I took him aside and explain for probably the 12th time that my back hurt and I wasn’t gonna be able to lift him and he had to stop crying. Of course then is when Dixon runs in front of her swinging children and with a cheerful tone, she tells my 2-year-old to be more careful. I hear that as “hey asshole, watch your kids”, swoop everyone up and just go home because Debbie doesn’t need the shame of the park.

So they say think positive, read positive things, and you’ll be positive too. So I subscribe to the happy emails, I unfollowed yahoo news (because let’s face it, if I have to read about another baby dying I may need a straight jacket. Was it always like this or is it just now that the news is so available?) But now I feel disconnected and the constant stream of make your life better by following these 10 simple steps makes me feel like I can’t follow simple directions and that’s why I yell at my new driver when she can’t parallel park in front of a police officer. Image my horror when he rolled down the window to talk to us. It was all I could do not to cry.

I’m a Debbie Downer and I don’t know how to change it. I don’t know how to “be” happy. How do you just do it? Because I am really trying to choose it and I am really, really not doing so well.

What are your best tips for turning your frown, well upside down?

God that was cheesy.

Barf.  See I did it again

Signed,

Debbie Downer

 

 

 

Hi! I'm Gail, the voice behind Mimicking Motherhood. I started blogging after the birth of my 2nd child as a way to connect with far away family. Things have definitely changed since then. Now, mama to five, this is a place to help connect with other mothers, who feel like me.I love to make and write all while trying to figure out how to be myself in the world of anxiety and depression. Glad you stopped by.