Exit Strategy

Graduation approaches swiftly, & I’m heavily in planning mode.

OnlySon has his cap & gown, & is eagerly awaiting the day he can kick high school to the curb.

He has requested Texas chocolate cake (a much-beloved recipe of our family’s) for his graduation party, which will be held at my house after the ceremony.

And…it’s going to be a joint party for my son…with his father, my ex-husband.

I know the ex really only wants to do a joint party because he doesn’t want to be bothered with having to plan a party, buy the supplies, host the damned thing, clean up afterwards, yadda, yadda, yadda… It’s always been his MO, to make me do all the work when it came to this sort of thing, while taking a share of the credit. Asshat. 

He says he’s bringing a second cake (he works as a baker at a grocery store here in town, so OnlySon requesting a homemade scratch recipe has wounded his pride, I’m sure), but I know his family… I’m making 2 of my cakes, just to make sure there’s some left for my family.

All the while, my anxiety has me in heavy emergency exit-strategy mode.

Except…

How do you get away from someone when they’re at your home? And they bring their family with them? Their very loud, very confrontational, very Greek, family? (If you’re picturing My Big Fat Greek Wedding in your head…Yep, you’re seeing the right people).

If anyone gets up in my face, I’m going to have a tough time holding my cool.  I will try, for my son’s sake…

But, as I’m passing out pieces of cake, I might be tempted…

Living For One

I’ve never lived alone.

Oh, I’ve lived in places, and in situations, for short periods of time, where it might be said that I was alone, but even then, I really wasn’t.

Obviously, I lived with my parents for the first years of my life, till I went to college.

Then I lived with a roommate, in a dorm, for the year & a half that I spent at college.  

Then an apartment with 3 other girls for a handful of weeks.

When I left there, I went back to my parents’ home through the summer, until I moved to New Jersey for 2 months to live with a family as their nanny.

Until I found out I was pregnant with ElderDaughter, and, once again, moved home for a short span, until I could get a place of my own.

The remainder of my pregnancy, I lived in a small house that my parents owned.  That is probably the only time most would call it living alone. But even then, I wasn’t really, because I was carrying another human being around with me.

Ever since then, I’ve always had kids, and lived with 2 different husbands at different times, for the different spans of our marriages. 

Yes, my Onlyson still lives with me, at least until he graduates from high school next spring. But he spends a good amount of time with his father – most weekends, and the lion’s share of the summer.

So, you might say, this summer I’m practicing living alone.

And I can’t decide whether I like it or not.

I get to do what I want, when I want.

But I do it alone, with no one to talk to.

I can stay up as late as I want, and be as loud as I want.

But there’s no one to enjoy the fun stuff with.

I control the remote, and I can keep the house exactly how I want it.  Things don’t get up and walk away when I leave the room.  (Unless the cats decide to get ornery)

But there’s no one to share the chores with, I’m responsible for all of the work.

I can buy exactly the food I want to eat, and nothing else.

But there’s no reason to cook, because I’m eating alone.

The dog is always happiest when I come home.

But…I can’t share my day with her & have her tell me funny stories about hers. (The cats are whiners. They only bitch about the food bowl being too low, or why don’t I ever let them outside?)

I like being on my own, sometimes. No “Moooooommm! Mom. Mama. Mommy!” No demands & needs, no asking where this or that is. 

But…no one to hug. No one to smile with. No one to cry with. No one to joke around & be sarcastic with.

There has to be more than this.

And now, for the news…

ElderDaughter is going to make me a Gramma×2! It’s been confirmed, and we can expect our newest bundle of joy in late February, or early March! We’re hoping for a visit at Christmas, when they’ll come from Washington to collect all the baby things they left here. It’s been so long now, since I’ve seen her and Schnicklefritz, I’ll probably burst into tears as soon as she tells me they’ve hit the city limits…oy.

YoungerDaughter has gotten a promotion & a raise, and will soon be teaching preschool at the daycare where she works. She’s also found herself a new apartment, which will be much better for her, as right now she’s living out of her bedroom in a house with 8 girls. Oy. She’s also coming home next weekend for a visit, and I can’t wait to see her! We’re going to have to do a movie marathon night, just to catch up.

OnlySon has finally gotten his driver’s permit! Oy. The boy who hates to drive will now be forced to practice with me in the passenger seat…or maybe in the backseat, where I can pretend to be chauferred around town in the style to which I hope to become accustomed, someday when I win the lottery. He’s going to hate driving AND me by the time he’s able to get his license, but at least he’ll have plenty of practice! 

As for me? Well…still here, still waiting…still wondering what the hell I’m going to be doing. Otherwise, no news is good news, right?

Family Plot Twist

I know what I said last night.

And I know it was harsh, writing about the guilt and anger I feel towards my parents over the abuse that took place at my friend’s house when I was 16.

But, I don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea.

Because I do still love my parents.

It’s complicated.

My parents are good people. They’re”salt-of-the-earth” kind of people. The ones who would take in unwanted dogs for friends and family, and find them new, loving homes. They’ve done that many times in the past.
Hell, they’ve taken in other family member’s children, when their parents were having a tough time, or the kids needed more attention or discipline, and they weren’t listening to those at home.  Two of my cousins lived with us at different times, both for different reasons, and were sent home with a different outlook on life.

Not that my parents were hard-asses, not at all. They were, and are, hardworking, honest, and deeply moral people. They always want what’s best for those around them, and I can honestly say that, while I might never have had everything I wanted as a kid, I always had everything I needed. 

Well, except for that incident. But I’m trying to make a point, here.

My parents helped me in many ways, for many years. Especially when I was a single mom, struggling to make ends meet.  They were always willing to lend a hand, and babysat for me when I really needed a night off.  (1 weekend a month, or 2 separate nights a month, my choice)

I was never spoiled, but was taught how to be a responsible, independent human being. They taught me to think outside the box, how to care for animals as much as people, and that, as my Dad always says… “Shit washes off.”

They’re irreverent and funny.

My mom once rode a horse into a bar, because she was looking for Dad after he got done mowing some yards in town for folks who couldn’t do it themselves, and a friend dared her while holding the door open. She rode in, all the way to the table he was at with his friend, said “David, meet me outside”, and rode back out.  It’s just a good thing she was riding the Arabian gelding we had…he was much calmer than her super-tall Saddlebred mare.

And my dad once had a man (who he couldn’t stand) convinced that Dad had an imaginary friend with him for lunch. He carried on a one-way conversation for about 5 minutes, before the other man gave up and went to sit elsewhere in the cafe’, which was what my dad wanted in the first place.

My parents have both been emt’s, at separate times, they’ve helped care for elderly folks in their town, who just needed a little help from time to time, Mom helping them get to the store for groceries, mowing their lawns, cleaning their houses, etc. Dad doing plumbing for them, for nothing more than the cost of whatever parts they needed.

Dad got paid in pies, homemade egg noodles, honeycomb…all kinds of food goodies these elderly folk could, and would, press on him, because they knew he wouldn’t ask for anything else.

They are good people.

And I love them, down to the DNA they gave me.

That’s why I struggle so hard with the guilt and anger.

It’s all twisted up in love.

Goddess. That explains so much about the rest of my relationships…