Friday, July 20, 2007
She said that sometimes therapy stirs up emotions. Stirs up things from the past that are unresolved. (Oh great. I have seven years of un-expressed, unresolved stuff!) And that sometimes this happens as the feelings come out. As they are triggered by stuff that happens now.
I asked when it would stop. She said once I get everything out. So I figured F this - I'm not spending more time feeling bad. So when I got to work I emailed J. We have to talk. Soon. I wanted any of the feelings I had. Anything that was bothering me OUT before the weekend. I wasn't going to go through another one. Plus, I mean, I was such a bitch on wheels...so aggravated by everything! I don't want to subject everybody to that. I want to have a good fun weekend!
So we talked. I told him about how alone I felt when he didn't come during the week (which was also triggered by the Wallerstein book I wrote about below. Needing somebody there, to validate you, to help you...) How I had come to really depend on those visits. Etc, etc, etc.
I felt silly telling him this. Feeling so needy. You know, we're kind of conditioned to feel like: "I can do this on my own! I'm a strong, independent woman!" And I felt like - I'm seeing him pretty much every weekend! What's the big deal! Deal with not seeing him during the week! Be strong! But ultimately I couldn't. Ultmately that weekly visit really just meant more than "seeing" him. It was the presence of caring, love, support, assistance, laughs, company.... and I needed it. I need it. And I have to stop feeling "selfish" for talking about things that I need. If I need it, then it's not silly.
And you know, I told him -- not with the purpose of having him come over - but just with the purpose of getting it out. But he said: "We will come over. I will come with R. And the dog. And we will come over."
I have no words.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
I got for myself "What About The Kids" by Judith Wallerstein. (Purchased February 14th, 2004! Valentine's Day!!!) and it was great. Well written, full of common sense, and backed up by empirical data! What more do you need!
So anyhow, fast forward to today (Three years 5 months later!!!) and I'm complaining to a friend about X, about his style of discipline, about how the kids will be with him for Five Whole Days! The friend reminds me about the book. Tells me to look at the chapter called "A New Kind of Mother." Says it will give me strength.
So I read it and Oh My Freaking G-D!!! If that chapter was not written Just For Me -- I don't know what was?!?!
She starts off by acknowledging that women really get the short end of the stick. How they take care of the home, the kids and work - and get no recognition for that. (And that's really for married couples too, methinks.)
She goes on to say how if you ask any mother where their children are at any given point in time - they will know. Just as you will know their schedule, appointments, friends, play dates. And, when you're married and your children are with your husband.. well.. you kind of feel that they're still with you. That you are in control of their care. What they eat. Where they go. What movies they see.... (I stuck that in 'cause X took them to see Monster House and Nathan is STILL talking about how scary it was!)
Plus, you can talk to your husband about the day. What they did. Who was happy/sad/good/bad...
But - and this is where my jaw dropped - she writes:
But after divorce that sense of knowing where your children are - and
feeling secure in that knowledge - is a lot harder to maintain. When
your children are off with your ex, the might as well be residing in a black
hole. Sometimes the children will tell you what they did, but not
always. You don't get a full report. Because you don't want to
coach them or nag them for details, you mostly won't know what they
did. You certainly can't ask them to tell you what your ex did with
his girlfriend. Their dad is not likely to tell you, either."
Ugh!! That's ME! That's me!!!
And ok - a bit more and then I'll stop -- before Judith tracks me down for copyright infringement. (I'm only doing this out of love Judith! Really!)
You feel bad because you can't give your child the full-time supervision and
protection that goes with your inner vision of what a mother should do.
Had the marriage stayed happy or at least functioning well enough, you would be
providing a different level of care and protection...... For a mother that
makes a world of difference. This loss of feeling in control can really
shake you up [Yes! Yes!] How can you be privy to this partial view
of your child's life"
So I'm just about yelling at the book at this point. "How do you know! Omigod! Yes!! That's so how I feel!"
But, it gets BETTER!!!
(And I'm sorry to be quoting this whole book - it's just so amazing to me that all this is so normal... and that I was obviously interviewed for a book and I don't even remember!!!)
She goes on to say: "A second big change is that you're often lonely or disoriented. One day the children are with you and you know who's in charge. Then suddenly they're gone. It's not easy to shift gears to being alone. It's all very well to say you now have time to see your lover or to write a new Broadway play [or to blog?]. But the truth is that when you're used to having the kids around and they leave, it gets lonely."
Ahhh, Judith, Judith... thank you.
Then she wrote the paragraph that when I thought of it this morning on the subway brought me to tears:
"The third change is perhaps the most difficult. Who fuels you as a mother? Who takes care of you when you need to take care of the children? Divorce leaves you stranded."
"After divorce, when you put the children to bed after a
hectic day and they seem so calm and angelic in their sleep, no one is there to put his arm around you. No one says "You did great." Or, "Sit down, let me get you a drink." So where do you get the courage, energy, love and hopefulness to keep going? The answer is simple and undeniable. It comes from you and no one else. All of your mothering comes from inside you. [Ok. Crying again.] "
Here it comes.... "
Given these incredible challenges, is it any wonder
you sometimes lose your temper? Maybe you even scream or slap on
occasion. In your worst moments, maybe you even feel that you've not done well by your children, that you've failed them or hurt them.
Or is it any wonder that in the rising passion of a love affair you give your lover priority? Sometimes a love affair can trump everything in a person's world. If you temporarily neglect your children, forgive yourself. Despite these lapses you were there when they
I feel like I can't really explain this feeling... how she hit the nail on the head absolutely with every feeling or thought I've gone through. When I first started dating I was like "kids? what kids" and felt so guilty. And ok, I don't slap - but I have been known to give a good shriek now and again... Just to have all this normalized. Just to have it written down. So precisely. Wow.
Then she ends with the best part, since I think that if my kids look the wrong way its because of the divorce & I hyper analyze everything they do or say (or what they DON'T do or say.. because that speaks volumes, dontcha know?) She says:
"Lighten up. You would have made mistakes if you
had married Prince Charming or if you had stayed married to Satan. You'll do alot that's right because you love your children. Try to forgive yourself for your real and imagined sins of commission and omission. Try to be a gentler person with yourself. Take pride in the enormity of your accomplishment. Whatever your aspirations, you can't do it all. Give yourself a break from your self-accusations."
Ahhhh..... long, deep sigh.
I'll think I'll read this to myself every night before I go to sleeep
Sorry - this is like the longest post EVER! And the formatting is all whacked....
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
I spoke to J & with a long preface about how I know this isn't logical but this is how I feel (I know -- but I just need the preface. It's like my security preface!) that with what happened with my parents/sister & now his daughter moving in with him & not seeing him as much (although really seeing him quite a bit -- but remember, this is not about logic!) that I'm feeling a bit abandoned.
Then spoke to my mom. She basically felt that I presented them with a fait a'complit (no idea if spelled correctly!) & that's why they jumped all over me. Of course I mentioned that perhaps there might have been a better way to convey that... and she agreed. But then went on to say (again) how they have things to do, how it's difficult to commit to one night, how they're getting older & it's difficult for them during the week....
We debated the point a bit & I don't know if anything was really resolved -- except for her knowing how it really really upset me. I used the "abandoned word again."
Then I (tried to) have a good cry. But you ever notice when you want to go to the bathroom for, like more than 30 seconds your children need to pee more than anything in the world! I went into the bathroom, sat down with the tissue box, started to let 'er rip... and "MOM!! I HAVE TO PEE!! I HAVE TO! RIGHT NOW!!!"
But, I feel better, and I suppose that's what really counts.
Monday, July 16, 2007
I don't think I've ever felt like this. Just sad. Teary and sad. No anxiety, just overwhelming sadness. In analyzing and hyper analyzing it ('cause that's what I do. It's how I like to spend my free time.) I think that J not being able to spend as much time with me because his daughter has moved in with him (as of last week), and the whole "discussion with my parents" (see previous post) -- has left me feeling abandoned. Abandoned and alone. I can't count on my family, and now I won't be seeing him as often...
As I read what I wrote I just feel so.... pathetic. So feeling sorry for myself. But - I can't help it.
I was alone for so long, now I have this great person in my life. I enjoy being with him, I enjoy being with his kids, my kids enjoy being with him, and totally love being with his kids -- plus having him here - in my house - on a normal day with the kids is just amazing. Not feeling that alone-ness. Having that all important extra pair of hands..
And it's where he has to be now. I know that. If he said he was coming over tomorrow I'd say "Don't you think you should stay home? Make sure R feels comfortable there? Gets settled?"
But isn't that just such a large part of life? Learning to negotiate your feelings/needs in relation to others?
It just... well... Ok. It sucks.
And my dad called yesterday to see how the kids' trip to Lake George w?X went. I gave the kids the phone & then hung up right after they're done. I'm angry at him (which could also be part of this feeling I'm feeling) and couldn't talk. Going to have to at some point, I know -- but I also know it will really open up a whole "thing" and not sure I really feel like going there...
It's interesting - my uncle who was with us for dinner Friday night is a psychoanalyst. When we (my parents and I) were arguing & J was attempting to get us to stop ("So, how about those Mets?") they started talking about the virtues of continuing an argument or just moving on. My Uncle said how he felt it's better to continue... and seeing how I'm feeling now ("seeing how I'm feeling now?" See, that's why you read this blog! For the great writing!!) I think he has a point. I'd probably feel much better & more settled if we did.
For now I'm going to have to get through today (it's Tuesday now - started this on Monday) and talk it all out w/my shrink tomorrow...
At least I'm getting my money's worth.
Sunday, July 15, 2007
Friday night J and I met my parents to go for Friday night Shabbat services at this synogogue we like: B'nai Jeshururn. Actually my parents' synogogue on Long Island made a field trip to NYC to go to this synogogue. It gets huge crowds & Friday night there was standing room only! It's very different than "your parents' synogogue.." It's dynamic, spiritual, musical and meaningful. Not at all the old service that you feel so detatched from... So they all came & we met my sister & uncle after and all had dinner together.
Oh - some background here: I found out a few weeks ago that they changed the time of the local public school where Max and Nathan will be attending this Fall. Last year the day started at 8 and went until 2:40 -- now breakfast/early drop off is at 8:20 & school day starts @ 8:40 - ends at 3:00 pm. Since I will only have a babysitter part-time starting September (from 2-6) that means I'll be bringing the kids in & then going to work. Before my boss was ok 'cause I'd be in by 9:30 the latest. Now.... So I was pretty panicked about it.
I don't want to work flex time, because that will mean coming home at 7-7:30 each night. I can't live like that. So, I came up with the idea of working one weekend day a month to catch up - or one night late a week. I figured one week my parents, one week my sister and one week J. I mentioned it to my boss & I have to say she's really great. She said not to worry - that she knows how difficult it is - and that we'll work it out.
So, over dinner Friday I tell them my idea. The response came at me rapid fire: "Couldn't you ask your sitter to stay longer?" "We'll pay her to stay longer for you?" "Isn't it time you've found a local sitter?" "Well, your mother and I have the theater group, the synogogue board, this and that, and this and that..." "I have stuff to do!"
So, I did what any normal person would do - I shut down. I said ok. Forget it. Let's move on. I didn't think it was such a big deal - if I did I wouldn't have brought it up at a dinner out.
My Dad looks at me with this totally angry face (you know how parents get those!) and says "I get the feeling that you think we don't do enough for you. Don't help you out. And it upsets me." I'm still shut down and just say "ok. ok. Let's move on." I just couldn't even begin to discuss this. J was there. His daughter. My Uncle.
My sister: "You never want to discuss anything. Never want to talk about it. We want to help - but you never let us."
J whispers to me: "Forget it. R & I will come over. We will stay with the kids. Don't worry."
Yeah, I guess it was that being attacked feeling that kinda made me feel like you weren't really trying to help me -- but figure out a way that you didn't have to do it yourself.
So, we get through dinner. It was fun. We go out & J, his daughter & I walk up to his apartment. J goes "You know, I don't like to get involved.... but.... if those were my parents I'd tell them if they didn't want to help that they couldn't see the kids. It's not about just playing with them -- you need help, too."
And you know - any other time something like this has happened I haven't had a Witness. So I leave feeling all battered & bruised & that it's my fault. Who am I to ask them? They have their lives. They're busy. I'm so needy. Selfish. Inconsiderate.
But now here's J telling me that I'm asking them for a one night a month commitment - and it's no big deal - and they are the ones being selfish.
We get back to his place. I cry.
We go to the beach the next day. I cry.
Sunday I wake up in a bad mood. Later in the day. I cry.
I've been trying to analyze what exactly is so upsetting to me - the anger from my dad? The abandonded feeling? The attacked feeling?
And oh. Come home. Pigeon stuck on balcony.
I need a vacation.
But who would watch the kids?