Saturday, March 29, 2008

I Appreciate The Irony of this Blog - March 29, 2007

The bad thing about rediscovering myself and being single is that I have been thinking far too much about myself lately. I turn the most simple of conversations into an exploration into "Vanessa." Is that not a symptom of the decline of our civilization? When one thinks about themselves over the needs of others, does that not spell disaster for the collective well-being of the world? These kinds of questions shuffle through my brain, along with more selfish concerns. I feel much like a child--wondering who will care for me, love me, hug me, hold me, talk to me, and entertain me. I wept in the shower this morning because I felt so alone. I should be worried about more global concerns, but those self-indulgent tears were comforting.

When I think about how I was before the ex, I was pretty much on auto pilot. I worried over the daily things, like the children, bills, chores, paying the mortgage; my insides largely ignored. I did not evaluate my marriage in terms of my happiness level, but in terms of "our" mutal happiness. I did not scrutinize my ex-husband too much because a fault in his treatment of me or of our relationship would have been a condemnation of myself as well (after all, I could see the ill treatment, and yet I stayed). (Come to think about it, when I was going to school from 2004-2005, I never really talked to anyone. I was going to school in the day--full time, got 3 hours of time with my sons and to breathe, and then I worked till 11p.m. at night. I did not really speak to anyone.) Now it is all I seem to do. How am I feeling? What do I want? What do I need? It is too much sometimes. I cannot answer my own questions, and yet I cannot retreat back to the automaton that I once was. It is very frustrating, delightful at times, but more than anything, frightening. I do not know who I am, and I do not know who I want to become.

But thinking about me, me, me has been tiresome. I want to get this over with already. I want to stop wondering when I will feel normal again. (Have I ever been normal?) If not normal, at least past this soul-crunching self-awareness. (I do appreciate the irony that this whole blog is just another "me, me" blog, of which I am complaining of.) And so, in my conversations with friends online and in the big bad world, I am trying to insert the following disclaimer, "If you want to talk about something else, please do." Interrupt me, change the subject, tease me, and joke with me. If I open and close my mouth like a fish for a few minutes, or turn red in embarrassment, it's okay. Blushing is my natural state anyway. *grin*

Switching the Gears --- Admist Screetches and Groans

I am not an entity all to myself. My sons are big players in the world of Vanessa. They are the witnesses to all my good and bad moments. The biggest choices in my life revolve around whether they will be adversely affected. I am Mother. I cannot just take off and do what I like, or go out with whomever, or take off on a vacation. Their needs come first. Thinking about myself is detracting from thinking about them, and that is not acceptable.

I am trying to balance this situation. I have started to extend myself further out into the lives of my children. I owe it to them to make sure they are well-adjusted and not scarred irrevocably by me leaving their father. I do not want to sit idly by and let life transform them as it will. I have written long emails to their teachers asking the teachers how they are behaving in class, their academic and social progress, and if they need to share anything with me. They have responded with long emails in return. I have been playing with them more outside, taking them on walks, having them clean the house with me. Just yesterday, I took one of our guinea pigs, George, with me to pick up my son. It made my son shine and beam with pride. Having him feel that way and knowing that I caused that made me soooo happy. In fact, I feel great knowing that I am taking active steps to be more involved.

They are usually bright and happy boys, but there are times when I see the sadness in their eyes when they ask about their Dad, when he forgets to call, or when he breaks promises. It is heart-wrenching. I am working on making sure they are stronger from the experience--not weaker. I am trying to do what so many set out to do when they have children: not make the mistakes of their parents

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Waking Up

She lay in her bed waiting. Her long hair artfully splayed across the pillow - dark curls ringletting themselves in upturned hands. Each shallow breath seemed a shout in the quiet of the house; each shift of her legs like a siren. Still she waited patiently as the dark bedroom changed shifts and the shadows gave their coveted nooks and crannies to the light. She heard her mother's bedroom door opening and listened as her delicate feet padded to the kitchen to prepare breakfast and lunch for her step father. The low murmurs wafted to the room- carried by the scent of chorizo and eggs.

When the back door closed and her stepfather's car was heard leaving, her heart raced. Her legs and feet quivered in anticipation. Such joy filled her heart. Her mother entered her bedroom and awoke everyone for school. But still the girl did not move. Her brother and little sister groggily went to get their clothes and use the restroom.

Her mother was game today.

"Voy hacer las camas."

Barely containing a giggle, she waited for her mother's next move. Suddenly, the blankets were thrown to the floor, and the sheet was pulled off as well.

With a practiced snap, the sheet was unfurled over the bed. As soft as the cool air that preceded the sheet, the girl imagined that it was her mother's love that was embalming her. The sheet slowly made contact with her body and she finally let her self smile. The blanket quickly followed.

"Ya levántate."

The girl knew she had to get ready for school. She carefully pulled herself out of the bed and gave her mother a kiss on the cheek.

"Gracias, mamá."

Friday, March 14, 2008

Update on this Stranger Called Vanessa - Entry for March 14, 2008

The New Place and Job
I have been living a completely different life since I moved. The stress level that I felt before the move has all but evaporated. I no longer have the 3-4 hour daily commute, and I get home with plenty of time to help with homework, play with, eat dinner with, and bathe my boys. My furniture has been put in storage. That was a bittersweet moment because I worked so hard to buy it. My commute is actually 12-30 minutes now.

My new employer and colleagues are great! I feel so appreciated here and have a lot to offer their office. They want me to redesign the website, the internal site, and to implement new procedures to streamline their projects. As the Project Coordinator, I set the pace in how projects get processed. It’s an exciting feeling.

Aunt
My aunt has facilitated my new move greatly. She cares for me and for my children as though we were her children. I have never felt so cared for in my life. I fear displeasing her and making her not love me anymore – the reaction of a child. In many ways, she has shown me more consideration and affection than my own mother.

I wish I could do more to make her life easier. She has taken on the task of caring for my sons after they get out of school, and is also the nurse of my grandmother. I try to make sure my boys get out of both their way, but my aunt says they are a break from caring for her mother.

Grandmother
My grandmother has had a problem with her blood pressure for 2 years now and was diagnosed 2 days ago with Stage 3 kidney disease, bordering on Stage 4. Her condition has depressed and demoralized her because she used to be so active. She was part of the Red Hat Society, and they would go to various events, take trips to different parts of the world, and march in parades.
Being around my grandmother has been good despite her illness. She has seen so much in this world and is so accomplished. She was a nurse in WWII, then a nurse in doctors’ offices and hospitals, eventually becoming the head nurse of her hospital. When she was 60-something, she got her Master’s degree in hospital administration. She’s traveled to every continent except Antarctica. It is fascinating to talk with her.

Niece
My younger sister had a baby girl. I hope I can take a trip to see her in the near future. Very exciting stuff.

Sons
My younger boy has begun reading! He has always been a bit behind the other children his age, but he has started taking an interest in reading. I am so very proud of him. I have been giving him spelling tests at home, and twice he has gotten 9/10 correct. WOW! This new school/teacher has given him so much confidence. They believe he can do more than what he was doing before just as I believed it. I just never had the time to show him more. Now I do! We do homework together every night, and he writes, reads, and sight reads many words.

My older son, the one who thinks he is 20 years old, has plunged himself in Neopets, a website where you create virtual pets. I limit his time on this game website because I know of certain individuals who immerse themselves at the detriment to all else. He loves it and I believe it has unlocked his creativity. He wrote a story about a 3-foot butterfly that became the protector of all the butterflies. He battled an eagle, then a whole eagle army. I am so proud of both of them.

Those are all the updates for now.