Breakdown…continued

I’m still off work. It’s very therapeutic to have some unplanned time off without having to think about what has to be done next. I think I needed this for longer than I realized and should have listened earlier to those who warned me. Which reminds me, I really need to track down a counselor too. SpΓ€ter…

I have let the grass grow, I have not been tied to an alarm to wake up, and I have spent time with my mum without wanting to put her on a plane back to Australia (**). I dearly miss some aspects of my recent life but am adjusting to this new one. I think soon I am going to have to decide the past cannot be changed and start looking forward again. Easier said than done, but in the real world, there are demands on me I can’t shirk for too long. For example, the kids really like having a house over their heads.

(**) For those who are not aware, my mum and dad are polar opposites and God was clearly having a giggly day when He let the two of them line up for Cupid to take them both down with one arrow. My dad is an emotion-free, logic-only individual. He’s not mean or grumpy; he is nice and he is funny, but he will never let a feeling influence any decision he makes nor understand why a feeling upset someone else (his puzzled look is priceless). My mum, on the other hand, has no concept whatsoever of logic and lives by emotions alone. She is not flighty or prone to wild moods, she just does things that ‘feel’ right, and is ever puzzled by the frustration she generates in others. A simple example of this is that I have only two requests for visitors from Australia: if you have any free space, bring Cadbury’s Black Forest chocolate and/or Kool Mints in whatever quantity you can, and I’ll happily reimburse all costs. In 10 years of coming here regularly to the USA, with my gently-worded request ringing in her ears as she has packed for each journey, she has always thought the better of it and brought me things like Australian wine or ordinary Cadbury’s chocolate (both are available at my local grocery store), underwear (including THIS visit: something very white that I haven’t opened), casual shirts (that are always geared for an Alaskan climate in a house with broken heating), etc. If you ever think I am screwed up, try and understand that I put a great deal of effort into not being like either of my parents by trying to find some middle-ground emotional/logical mix. (Do I hear many quiet voices saying, “Well that explains a LOT”…)

My mum and the kids went off to the shopping mall today. The girls haven’t texted me any “Save me now!” messages yet, so I think they are growing up to be very resilient and understanding sweeties. My mum is still in awe of how they have grown, especially my ‘little’ Charlotte, who now towers over her grandma. I think that one reason the girls are so understanding with my mum is my runaway wife’s father died last year and we were with him shortly before the end. Perhaps they see that this grandma is getting older and slower, and know that they only have so much time to spend with her (sorry about Dog, Evie). Based on their plans for the next few weeks, I have assigned each of them different slots for “baby-sitting” (**) grandma. None have objected whereas a few years ago there would have been MAJOR groaning and complaining.

(**) “Baby-sitting” is more accurate than it should be. It’s almost like I need to child-proof my house all over again. I never realized the microwave, dishwasher, iron, and other things could be so risky for a grown person to use. I fully expect my mum to burn the house when I do go back to work; I must remember to check my house policy doesn’t have an Exclusion for dotty old parents.

I must be off, the sun has moved around a little and I think I’ll be able to watch the front lawn grow if I get out there quickly…

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About Single Dad

I married young. Now, after more than 20 years of marriage, 3 wonderful daughters, and many ups and downs, my wife has decided the marriage is over. The "About Me" and "My Background" pages on my blog have more details.
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6 Responses to Breakdown…continued

  1. I was kind of wondering when you would hit this phase….. not glad to see that you’re in it, exactly, but glad that it signals forward momentum (even though it might not feel that way to you just yet).

    The self-delusional insistence that “Look! I’m okay! We’re okay! Everything is really quite okay!” is one that I embraced heartily when I first moved out. The facade took many months to crumble. I then watched my dear friends, Annie and Katrina, go through the exact same thing. πŸ™‚ Apparently none of us is quite as clever nor quite as special as we might like to believe. πŸ™‚

    But the good news is that all that frantic “I’m okay!” stuff eventually gives way to a quieter resolution and a clearer focus. And THAT is the beginning of the road to real healing and a new life. You’re moving in that direction, and that alone should give you hope.

    xo

    • Hi TPG,

      These last few weeks have had some painful moments and shown me that I too needed some time to crumble and learn. If I had an option to ‘redo’ the last month or so, there are only a few things I would change about how I handled it all.

      I think you’re right that this failing/healing/learning time was inevitable. As you mentioned for yourself, I really did think that I was quite OK for some time. I don’t like not being in control of myself, so it was unsettling to have to let myself fall even after I realized I didn’t have much choice. But, having made that decision, I did let go (the last time I did this was in the emergency room of a hospital when I realized that I wasn’t getting out of there without surgery so I might as well stop trying to pretend to myself that I was OK).

      I hope I have started to understand myself a little better now. Whether that equates to real progress or not, only time will tell. Fortunately, I’m not in any hurry to ‘get anywhere’…

      Thanks very much for your comments and shared experiences. I’ve mentioned somewhere before that this whole process has some similarities with the grieving process for death and similar losses. Perhaps there are stages we all need to pass through to be whole again and the ‘rules’ don’t let us cheat the system, even though we’d all like to.

  2. Moving in whatever direction you go is a good thing, live it, feel it πŸ™‚ Life is so good isn`t it, especially when all of our family is there to drive you a little crazy, I embrace that part of my life every single day. Unfortunately I live about 6 hours from my parents, so I don`t see them nearly enough.

    • Hi RNP!
      There *are* times when my mum or my girls drive me a little crazy. But, you’re right, i embrace that. The love and support they offer far exceeds any annoyances and knowing that I am not alone in this big world, that they will always be there somehow, makes every single problem worthwhile.

  3. Emjayandthem says:

    Thoroughly enjoyed your descriptions of your parents .. isn’t it funny how 2 such “polar opposites” could be drawn together and co-exist? My hubbs and I are a lot like your parents .. he’s quiet, sees the world in black & white and is very set in his ways. I’m emotional, communicative and trust my gut more than anything else. Somehow .. it works.

    Glad for the update … and that you’re trusting yourself enough to take the time needed, MJ

    • Hi again MJ,
      I am, of course, grateful for my very existence that my ‘polar opposite’ parents found a way to get together. And, even though it didn’t work out for them in the long run, I do think you’re right that people that complement each other rather than are identical to each other can form very strong bonds. In the case of my runaway wife, we differed in many ways, but none of them mattered in the context of making a marriage work. At least, that theory worked out well some of the time. πŸ™‚

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