floundering

I used to think that when you were 40, you were an adult. You were old, you knew what to do. And now that I’m over 40, I realize that there are no adults. The kids who played with their cabbage patch kids are now in charge of other human beings, that’s the way it is and that’s the way it has always been. A cycle of kids getting old enough to have kids of their own, but noone is really an adult in the sense that a door is opened in the recesses of yourself and you have the answers all of the sudden.

I used to think that when you were married to your One True Love – the person that you have never doubted that you should be with – it would all be okay, you’d be happy together. I mean, this is the person for whom “how will I know?” never applied because unlike other dates or people, it was always clear with this One. I never imagined how hurtful marriage can be, how complicated it can be, how you can love someone and still want to leave them.

I used to think that if you had the number of children that you desired, if you had the wherewithal to raise them yourself and not put them in daycare or be separated with them, it would be hunky dory. I thought I’d be the Mary Poppins-esque Mama, all singing and dancing through cleanup time, never dreaming that I’d turn into a screaming banshee. Even though there is noone in the world that I want to love and understand more than I do with my children, even though there is noone in the world that I would rather be good to, a single moment has the power to strip me of everything but the need for the floor to be clean NOW, for them to listen and do as I say THIS MINUTE.

I used to think that when I had accepted myself and my disabilities, life would start shining. I thought that once I was okay – truly on good terms with – being deaf and all other quirks, things would even out. But what I’ve learned is that disability can be like pentimento: you have one layer that fades and reveals another layer that was created earlier. There can be more than one picture, it’s not always simple , nor is it cut-and-dried.

I used to think if I had the education, the power of imagination and the tools to actually produce what I want to make, I could. It never occurred to me that I could be well educated with an arsenal of dreams and projects that I would want to fly with and have the tools to make them all, and yet not be able to because of the demands of my children and the parameters of rural country living. Feeling stifled as the bi-product of a life that I chose was not something I even remotely imagined could happen.

So I’m over 40 years old. I feel like I’m floundering. Nothing is the way that I thought it would be, it’s all one unexpected maze with sharper twists and turns. I want this to end on a positive note, something about looking up, about rainbows in the rain. I know all of that is true, that rainbows come with rain, that colours come out sharper and clearer with the wet, that we can jump through and over puddles… I know that this is what I make of it, all my life is what I make of it, if this is going to swoop into something delicious from this flounderment… or what.

Is that what a mid-life crisis is all about?

If I was a guy, would this be when I grow a pony tail and buy a tiny little red car?

*****

 

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Meriah

is a deaf blogger, global nomad, tech-junkie, cat-lover, Trekkie, Celto-Teutonic-peasant-handed mom of 3 (one with Down syndrome and one gifted 2E).

She likes her coffee black and hot.


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5 Comments

  • There is no certainty. You learn to live with ambiguity or become OCD and still can’t find adequacy. Being adequate is a BIG deal. Being super mom is demoralizing because there are always at least two moms on the planet that make mothering look easy. (They are also thin, know what to do when your kid is running a 104 fever, and somehow after an exhausting day of not harming herself or any children, puts on sexy lingerie to make her man happy.). So there are the two extraordinary women. The rest of us are having conversations with ourselves about not hitting our child, haven’t had an orgasm in a year because the SO is so insensitive s/he never stops to think, “Hey, is she getting satisfied?” When you find your phone, you wonder how did it get in the refrigerator? It is never one child crying, there are at least 2 out of three crying and have no idea why. The dog is whining for reasons you can’t understand, and when you do finally fall into bed you find the jelly beans someone spat out, and discover you are starting your period. THAT is pretty much how it is for the “average mom.” Really. So, if you didn’t hit anyone, haven’t felt compelled to change your identity (I had a plan–really.) and run far, far away, you actually did have four tampons in the closet so you can make the store trip tomorrow, and not have to go out at midnight looking for a 24 hour Walmart, and if you are thankful the phone was in the fridge and not the freezer, then you are living a typical life! Really. They will grow up. Sometimes the answer to a kid question or accusation is “You can tell your therapist all about it when you grow up.”

    Most of us are striving for survival, a few can strive for adequacy, and all of us hate those two women who somehow are the class mother who makes exquisite cupcakes for every occasion. Never perspires. Looks like a model, and probably was one in her teens. She can’t figure out where her baby weight went, it just disappeared , and 98% of women hate her guts!

    Be kind to yourself. If you had a friend who was feeling this way, wouldn’t you tell her to give herself Grace ? Give yourself Grace. Be kind to you. Have everyone put on their bathing suit and make mud pies with the kids. Break the tension by doing the unexpected . Make pinwheels and put them all over to catch the wind. Screw dinner. Everyone can have PB &J and you can sit in the bathtub for ten minutes before you get mobbed, trying to give swimming lessons to two kids who are now in the tub with you. Use the nice smelling hand cream. Last child awake has to wash dishes tomorrow! Go sit in the car for ten minutes of quiet and put the air on super max for those 10 minutes, and go to bed singing your favorite song . Survival. Perhaps even adequacy. If not today, there is a whole new opportunity to do it differently tomorrow. Sleep . It is the most precious thing a mom can get. Try for a minimum of five hours. You need at least 3 REM cycles of 90 mins . Minimum. When you sleep, your brain makes the chemicals you use in the daytime to think clearly. If you don’t sleep on average 5 hrs a night, you are unable to cope as well with life because you didn’t sleep long enough to gather yourself together.

    Every last one of us, are all hoping for adequacy, but thankful for survival. You can survive . You can be adequate. Sometimes you might even be superlative. (Write those on the calendar to remind yourself they do happen.).

    When all else fails, meditate, pray, practice self hypnosis, imagine how you can do one thing to make tomorrow’s chaos at least more interesting . You can do this.

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