You've heard about them, and you probably know at least one of them. The super mom who makes Valentines, Easter, Halloween, and Christmas goodie bags for every student in her child's class. The mom who sends in cupcakes, cookies, and brownies. The one who volunteers for every project, every field trip, and every mission, no matter how large or small.
Today, even a few dads fit this mold, but I don't believe those people existed back in the late 60's and early 70's. If they did, it certainly wasn't to the extreme that it is today. Well, not for my mom anyway.
My mom wore full makeup every day. Her hair was always "done". My mom wore high heeled sandals and had her toes painted. She had long red fingernails and smoked cigarettes. She loved me with all her heart and soul, but she was not a mother to be spotted hanging out at my school.
But there was this one time....
My mother somehow got roped in to going with my class, on a field trip to the zoo. I believe I was in kindergarten, possibly first grade. We all wore necklaces made from construction paper and yarn. Mine was in the shape of an elephant. I still have it. The elephant had my name and school written on the front. This would be a relatively easy job. Mom was in charge of about 6 kids, and one of them was me. Each mom was given a rope with 6 big knots tied in it. Each child had to hold the rope. No one lets go, no one gets lost. It's practically a fool proof system.
Other than the elephant necklace, I have no recollection of that day or that trip to the zoo, but for many years to follow, my mother remembered. She remembered it well.
The children followed direction, and held tight to the rope, but apparently we got tired, because my mother seemed to remember having to use the knotted rope to pull us up every hill at the zoo. In those days they gave kids immunizations at school. We had all just received one, and according to my mother, one boy was fascinated by this, and kept punching kids in their sore arms. He even tried to stick some type of sharp object into one child's injection site.
While this made for a good story my mother would tell anytime the subject of chaperoning or volunteering came up, it also helped her confirm she was not cut out to be a room mother.
Both my children are teenagers now. Even though they are only 13 and 15, I am seeing them slowly but surely break away from me. There's a good chance they will both be out of town for Spring Break this year. And they will likely fly to South Florida this summer to visit their Aunt Kitty. On New Year's Eve, the party at my house was not adults. It was my son and his friends. I see an evolution in the way things are going. It is supposed to happen. It is natural. And I'm not saying it's a bad thing or that it makes me sad. I actually love watching all the kids grow and become young men and women.
The point of this is that I am having the realization that in a few years, my kids will be gone. They will be in college. Eventually they will move out. Then what?
My neighbors Sara and Marty-Marr are already planning what they will do. They are almost giddy thinking about trips they will take, and how fun it will be to be like newlyweds again. Another friend of mine, who's daughters have already graduated high school said he and his wife are planning a cruise this summer and can't wait!
Currently, I am having a very hard time envisioning that part of my life. There is no clear cut scenario that I see. The only thing I feel confident about, it that the current situation I am in, is not something I'm fantasizing or dreaming about in the years to come. There has to be a change. There has to be!
I want to spend that time between empty nest and retirement, being happy, healthy, active, and stress free. My friend Puddin recently wrote in her blog that some people don't know how to be happy. I instantly felt I was the person she was referring to, because it's true. I know that I used to be happy. Very happy. I know that I want to be happy, but I'm certainly not sure I know how to be happy.
I know have to make changes. Big ones. I just have to figure out how.
Today I had conversations with two different people about the same thing. As Madison put it, "People come in and out of your life for a reason. Some only stay a short time, some need to stay for a long time. Either way, they serve a distinct purpose in your life".
I have many meaningful friendships that have lasted decades. These people have planted roots so deep in my life, I can't fathom ever being without them. Many are readers of this journal. We have seen each other through good times and bad, several marriages, and countless lovers. Our friendships have outlasted them all. These people are my core support group.
But some people, though in and out of my life much more quickly, still left a mighty impact. There have been teachers, friends, coworkers, and lovers who fit in this category.
I've written before about Michael. A young man I dated after my first marriage ended. He came along at a time when I felt rejected and undesirable, and helped me to feel beautiful and alive again. He helped me get my groove back.
It reminds me of the story "Mary Poppins". When Mary Poppins arrived at the Banks home, the children needed her so desperately. But once their family was restored, her work there was done. The children were simply devastated to see her go, but she knew the children would be just fine without her.
God knows what we need, when we need it, and who should provide it for us. And then He decides when it's time for them to go. The problem is, when it's time for the short term people to move on, it usually saddens us very much.
We have to trust that these precious short term people came to us, fulfilled their purpose, then left as they were supposed to.
The holidays are over. Christmas Eve: Over. Christmas Day: Over. My Birthday: Over. New Year's Eve: Over. New Year's Day: Over.
I'm really glad.
It was a December to remember. Or perhaps one to forget. The month brought a lot of heartbreak and turmoil to this household. Yesterday I ripped the December page off our giant family calendar, and put it in the trash. My husband quickly removed it from the trash, crumpled it into a ball, and threw it into the fire. I think we were both glad to watch it burn.
It's clear changes must be made. That much has been agreed upon. Now it's a matter of deciding the best way to make them.
A codependent person is one who has let another person's behavior affect him or her, and who is obsessed with controlling that person's behavior.
The following two "Detach" journal entries will give you a crash course:
"An Answer to a Prayer" dated Nov 1, 2008 "How Did We Wind Up Here?" dated Nov 2, 2008
About This Journal
In 2008 I had the life changing realization that there was a name for what I'd always felt was "wrong" with me. After 20 years of thumbing through various self-help books. I learned about codependence.
I began writing this journal to document my journey out. Over time, it's evolved into something more. While I still talk about codependence (I know now, it will never totally leave me), this blog has turned into the thumbprint of my life; a therapeutic journal for me to sort out a lifetime of thoughts and memories. I believe in being honest with myself and others, and when something is bothering me, I reach out. With a support team of strong, smart women surrounding us, we can all continue to grow. I'm trying to live my best life, in pursuit of a Healthy Mind, a Healthy Body.