Apparently I am not living for my children. This is what my mother told me. Her exact words to me were, “We’ve been praying that a switch will flip for you soon so that you can start living for your children.” Excuse me? I am pretty fed up with people who have no idea what I have been through in the last six months, a) telling me what I need to do, and b) criticizing me for what I am doing. The way this all came about was that the kids and I, along with my sisters, brother, and parents were going to go to Branson, MO for a little post-Christmas vacation. My folks and siblings have fond memories of going to Silver Dollar City. However, I literally moved into a new home a week before Christmas. It’s been weeks of packing up the old, sorting/giving away things that we can’t use/won’t fit in the new house, and then the tedious process of unpacking the new home and figuring out where all our stuff is going to go. In between, I’ve had to get Christmas done all by myself this year. I’m exhausted, and I told my family, I just didn’t think I could face packing us all up to go away for three days. It was too much. I’d hit my emotional wall. I spent a lot of time crying around Christmas. I miss My Love so much my heart and body literally ache. But excuse me, I feel as though I’ve done nothing but live for my kids. I left for a family vacation to Montana one week after I buried my husband, and spent a hellacious trip there and back (six days in all) in the car with four grieving children and my parents who constantly bicker and criticize each other and me. I did it for the children even though I did not want to go. Everything I have done for the last six months has been for them. I do live for my kids. What I haven’t done, or can’t do, is live for myself. I can’t really grieve. I have moments yes, but I have to suck it up and get my shit together because it upsets my kids, or I just plain don’t have time for it. I’d like to be alone. My introverted self desperately NEEDS to be alone to pursue the things that refresh me (reading, writing daily, learning something new) but a majority of days I have about one hour before bed to do anything, and by that time I’m so exhausted, I can’t read anything other than a fluffy mystery novel. My intellect is parched. My emotional bank account is empty, and I do feel like I am going to flip and not in a good way.
What do I need from my family in particular, and people in general? I need my parents to take my kids to Branson and leave me here for four days of peace and quiet and yes, lots of crying, writing, and reading. I need people to understand that it takes a while for someone who was so incredibly spoiled by a husband who was in a true partnership in parenting, to just get used to having to do everything on my own. And, to let me feel like it sucks and that I hate it because you know what? It sucks and I hate it. Parenting four children is a job for two, so forgive me if I resent the fact that my kids now have only me and I am a poor substitute for a father. I’m doing the best I can.
So I am frustrated, fed up, and sad. I am hopeful for the future because I love my new house, I have counseling appointments set up with a new counseling group for me, and for all of us as a family. But never, ever, believe that I am not living for my kids, because I am. I am just not living life as easily or well as I did in the past.
~ The Reluctant Widow