I’ve heard it called a mid life crisis. I pictured a 50 year old man with a bit of a gut, a receding hairline he’s trying to save, and a sports car he shouldn’t have bought. I pictured him flirting with younger women and making a fool of himself. I pictured a cheesy shirt and some jewelry he shouldn’t be wearing and a dirty martini. Its what I pictured. What crept up and slapped me square in the face was what it really is. Not so much a crisis as a stage of life. A transition. A skin shedding. A wing spreading. A death and a rebirth….and most shocking of all….not a HIM at all.
Im tired. Im very tired. Im tired of being “ok”. Of having it “all together”. Of being the wife of the dude with brain rot that is strong and works her business and leads a team and coaches cheer and stays in shape and makes people laugh and parents two kids. Im tired.
I remember the dumbest thing anyone said to me after my Dad was killed was “everything happens for a reason”. I cannot express how stupid and shitty that is to hear when you’ve lost someone. And the day my friend called to tell me her 11 year old son had died I remember hoping no one would say that shit to her. Because there is no reason. No reason. No reason. You cannot give me a reason for a boy who’s 11 years old to die. You can’t. You wont. There isn’t one. The truth is, at 44, what I don’t know is much greater than what I do know but I know this….shitty awful things happen. They just do. There doesn’t need to be a reason or an explanation or a lesson learned from every event. Sometimes we are dealt some almost unbearable tragedies. And there is nothing you can do, say, pray for, create, offer that can make it hurt any less. Walking through grief can be one of the loneliest, heart wrenching, physically and mentally painful things you’ll ever do. I just didn’t want her to walk alone.
My Mom’s retirement party was awesome. So many friends from her years as a teacher and so many friends from her most current role with the Flower Mound Police Department. She was very lucky to have two amazing careers. We were lucky to watch her navigate finishing college with 3 small kids and starting a career while taking care of a family. We surprised the crap out of her. It was so cool. She thought I’d flown back to Denver. The look on her face was great. Worth all the scheming.
There are still days I struggle to “fit in”. I know I don’t need to. I know it doesn’t matter. I know I love myself now for all that I am and am not. But I admit- there are days I still struggle to be her. The Mom of 2 with the mini-van who goes to Pilates class and church regularly and makes dinner every night and goes door to door with her kid selling girl scout cookies and can’t wait to host Thanksgiving dinner. Admitting you aren’t those things is hard. And feels vulnerable. And like every other perfect wife and Mom looks at you as if you’re a failure. As if you’re selfish and awful.
On some sunny day and always stay, Mary”
Yesterday my almost 17 year old daughter texted me from school that she didn’t feel well. I picked her up & brought her home. She laid in my lap for a bit then we both took a nap in my room. At 1:00pm on a Monday I took a nap in my big king bed with my big 16 year old, crazy smart, independent, gets straight A’s, never cries, unemotional daughter. I didn’t sleep. I mostly just started at her.
I think because maybe Im from the South, white, female, or maybe look a certain way….people assume some things about me. It’s ok. We all do it. We all assume things about people, pre judge them, think we KNOW. It’s human nature to judge, assume, think we know. It’s also human nature to push our own beliefs onto others. We think that what WE believe to be true for us is what should be true for everyone else. We do. We think our own political beliefs, religious beliefs, morals, values, reign so supreme that everyone should abide by them. Guess what…it doesn’t work that way. It just doesn’t. And just because things have always been a certain way- doesn’t mean they always should be.
I remember it like it was yesterday. I was 19 weeks along and the obstetrician said “something is wrong”. Something is wrong. There was no heartbeat. Our baby had passed away in utero. It wasn’t my first miscarriage. And it wouldn’t be my last. But damn that one hurt more than the others. I curled up in a ball and promised God or whoever that I would do whatever to have a healthy baby. Anything. I wondered what I’d done to deserve this much pain. And if I’d ever be a Mom. I thought about the kind of Mom I’d be. The kind of child I’d have. And though I’d suffer one more pregnancy loss before Maddie came along….I got to find out what being a Mom is. And I will never, EVER take that privilege for granted.