Thursday, June 9, 2016

Departures are hard

A few days ago a friend of mine told me that she and her family were moving to Colorado.  It was casual, just a quick drop-in comment amid a conversation we were having, but it hit me in the gut like a punch.  I sat there, staring at my phone, trying not to cry.  I was crushed.  This was one of the only friends who didn't treat me differently after my daughter was born. She was the first person I told I was pregnant.  She has never questioned who I am, or asked me to be anyone different.  She talked me off the ledge every time I said I was afraid of being a bad mom, and she listened to every one of my crazy rants about how nervous I was, or how I felt like I was a bad person for not crying while I boxed up my daughter's newborn clothes, or not getting emotional when she hit new milestones, and each time she reassured me that I was ok, and that not everyone falls apart over little things like outgrowing an outfit.  She is my only friend who has never expected me to be more than what I am, and she's leaving.  I'm heartbroken.

I'm at this strange place in my life where all friendships are precarious.  People I loved, people I valued, people I would have given the shirt off my back, people I accepted for who they were despite their flaws, they're all disappearing.  It all started going down hill last January when my daughter was born, but it's just continued on and on to the point where my weekends are spent at home watching Netflix and communicating with no one.  If it weren't for my sister, I'd have just about no one left.  I don't know if that's my fault, or the fault of other people, or if it's just life and how people evolve, but it's sad. It's sad because I sill need people.  It's sad because I truly believe it takes a village to raise a child, and my village is gone.  It's sad because I feel like the reason is, as it is so often, because I am who I am.  I have tried, oh my goodness I have tried, so incredibly hard to be someone else, but at the end of the day I default back to this flawed and busted version of myself and it never seems to get better.  I have gone to therapy, I have done the work, I have pushed myself out of my comfort zone, and I have come up with the same conclusion each time.  At my core, I am me, and I'm learning that it's not what people want.  I try.  I try every day, in my work life, in my home life, and I'm pretty sure that every day, I fail.

Last week my family was in a state of upheaval, which is so often the case with my family, and the insult that was being wielded like a weapon was that people in my family were just like me.  Being like me was being used to insult other people.  It was clear that the general opinion is that I am the worst thing a person could possibly be, and I had to sit by and swallow that and pretend it didn't matter.  But it did.  It mattered a lot.  It just reinforced years and years of people telling me that the biggest problem with me.  Then I heard the same thing at work.  And I'm starting to wonder, some days, why I exist at all.  This isn't being said in an attempt to assign guilt, or seek some sort of pity.  It's a true and valid question I ask myself quite often.  Everyone is supposed to have a purpose.  Everyone is supposed to be here for a reason.  I just.....I can't seem to figure out what mine is, or why I'm here.  I hope it's to help my daughter to be so much better than the flawed and broken person I am, but I always fear that I'm going to pass my flaws on to her, and I'm going to leave her sitting in this same place 30 years from now, asking herself these same questions.  It's a huge fear I carry with me every day.  I've been told that my daughter deserves better, that I should be better for her sake.  The crushing thing about that statement is the assumption that I'm not trying every single day to be better, to be stronger, to be different for her.  So, if my purpose is to be a better example for my daughter than the one I had for myself, the implications here are that I'm failing at that as well.  And there are some days when I just need a win.

So....I guess that's why it hurts so much to hear that one more piece of my village is leaving.  I know we'll still have ways to communicate, but it's hard.  It's hard to know that when I need someone to celebrate with, she will be so very far away.  Her family has often included us as their own.  When her sister graduated college the same year I did, they threw a party for her, and when I arrived I saw that my name had been added to the cake.  No one had celebrated my achievement to that point, and there I was, at a party for someone else, and they thought to include me anyway, because that's who they are and that's what they do.  I will miss her.  I will miss brunches, and New Years Eve, and summer kickoff parties every year on the last day of school.  I will miss my friend.  Probably more than she will ever miss me.  She will always have her village, no matter where she goes, and I don't even know if she realizes how important she was to mine.  I just hope that distance doesn't prove to be impossible to overcome like it has in the past with other friends who have moved away.

I will miss my friend.

I miss all of them.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

What was I afraid of?

Today my husband and I met up with a friend at a local museum to see an exhibit that's housed there through the end of the summer.  We took my daughter along in her stroller, and she clapped and danced to the music playing in the exhibit.  Later we took her to an outdoor area and let her run around and look at animals on a working farm.  She seemed to have a great time, and we brought her home for her nap.  She woke up and played with her train set, shouting "Choo choo!" and rearranging the houses and trees on the train table.  She ran through the house, playing with toys, and on occasion when she'd run from one room to another, she'd do a run past me or my husband and climb up onto one of our laps and give us a big hug before going back to her playing.  At one point as she was hugging me, she said "Loooove you!" before sliding down onto the floor to run back to her toys.  I sat there for a moment, watching her look back at me with a huge grin on her face as she hugged a toy bunny and thought "Why was I so afraid of this?".

I'm always afraid of the unknown.  I'm afraid when I can't plan, can't anticipate what's going to happen, can't get ahead of the unexpected.  There were a million things about bringing a baby into our lives that scared me to death.  There were a million things about being a parent that scared me.  There was so much to be afraid of that I never had a chance to think about all of the things that wouldn't be scary.  And, if I'm being honest, even the scary things weren't all that scary.  I totally resent having to get up at 6:30 every morning, and I don't love having to work a day around nap time, but the big things I was afraid of weren't really worth being afraid of.  The payoffs you get outweigh the things to fear, and I wish I had known that.