I’ve been trying to figure out why I haven’t been writing here like I really want to. There are plenty of excuses, a couple of GOOD excuses, but…
Life has been a waiting game for the family around here for, oh, three years and three days and, um, two hours and eight, no, nine minutes. Exactly three years, three days, yak yak ago, my employment as a computer systems analyst was terminated. It wasn’t a bad thing. I expected it, because exactly six months earlier I left the office trying to figure out how to do my job full time plus someone else’s job full time, plus fix another someone else’s code bugs and re-introduce the corrected code to system testing. If you’re a computer geek, or propeller head (as my first boss said) then you know how easy it is to get into someone else’s head and try to figure out what s/he was thinking when writing the nasty code in the first place. NOT. And the people who wrote the bad code I was supposed to fix, in my spare time, were in Missouri. I’d never met them face to face, never conferenced in w/ them when they were writing code.
No one person could possibly do all that stuff even if s/he worked 24/7. And I was supposed to have a life outside of work: husband, children, music, church. So, I came home to find my phone ringing and my daughter looking at caller ID and asking me if she should answer it. I didn’t recognize the number, but I did recognize the place and told her to answer while I got myself in the door, dropped my briefcase and laptop, and got myself to the phone. It was my mom. My dad had a stroke that afternoon. It was serious. I needed to come now. I did. Daddy died 4 days later.
That was the proverbial straw the broke this camel’s back. Life changed in an instant.
During the time from then up to now, I’ve spent time in a mental hospital behavioral health center, in counseling, being poked and prodded because the fibromyalgia. I’ve been in a barn, a poverty-stricken barrio outside Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, the emergency room (twice); Slidell, Louisiana and Biloxi, Mississippi after Katrina. I’ve vacationed at the beach, in the mountains; counseled teens at summer camp three years straight. Taught Sunday School, taken an art class, read tons of books, knitted socks.
I don’t know how to be me. I’m not sure I KNOW me. I’ve taken care of myself since I was 7, took care of my parents (translate: cooked, cleaned, etc.) while in elementary, middle, high school, and college. I got married, took care of our financial requirements while my husband looked for himself. Took care of my son and my daughter. Taken care of my mom since my dad died and she moved here.
I’m not saying that I’ve done nothing else in my life except this “taking care of”.
I’m not saying that I was a caretaker for everyone all the time, 24/7.
I am saying that I made tons and tons and TONS of mistakes.
I am saying that I love all of these people more than I can describe in mere words.
My son is about to graduate from high school and venture off into the scary world of ultra-left wing liberal college. My daughter is finishing middle school and heading to high school. My husband is excelling in his chosen profession. My mom is venturing back into the world of relationships three+ years after my dad’s death, and she was with him for 43 years.
And I realize that a lot of that caretaking that I’ve done is not pressing on me as hard now as it once was. I feel lighter, more relaxed, more OK with myself and my world.
But I still don’t know me, don’t know how to be me without the constant “worrying about everyone else” part of me totally engaged.
It’s new territory for me. I don’t know what it is yet, but I know it’s what I’ve been waiting for.
Back in January I received a favorable decision on SSI disability, after 3 years of waiting. The benefit isn’t bad; the back benefits have helped us with some financial issues we desperately needed to address. But it took another five months of waiting for all of that to establish itself.
Another load off my mind.
So, here I am, after all this caretaking and waiting and mistakes and rabbit trails and….
What am I saying?
That maybe the waiting can be over now. That maybe I can look back and finally reclaim the parts of me that weren’t fed and watered during all those years and see what grows.
Look at what I just said. “Feed and water it and see what grows.”
You know what that means?