day 16, gratitude.

I am going to have a weekly post to reflect on things (big and small) that I am grateful for.

Here is my list this week:

Having a (mostly) healthy household again.  My husband thought he had some kind of food poisoning last week.  Whatever it was – my poor baby was next.  Try keeping a toddler calm while she is unwillingly vomiting and having diarrhea of the worst kind all over the place is impossible.  (The laundromat made some serious money off of us this week.) Your whole life flashes before your eyes and all you can think is why her? why not me instead? until it happens to you. (A good example of be careful of what you wish for.)  I spent a day and a half feeling like I was having the world’s worst hangover without drinking.  After I got over that hurdle, I spent the following days feeling like my body was a phone with the last 5% of power with no charger available.  It was really bad.  Today was the first day I ate real food – vanilla yogurt, plain toasted bagel, chicken noodle soup – and while it wasn’t exciting stuff, I am glad it stayed down.  I am even happier we are all back to mostly normal. (My son, the newly minted teenager, was smart and hid in his room to avoid getting the plague. Although he’s fighting a cold but he is way better off than we were.)

Getting a raise.  I wasn’t expecting one but it is appreciated.  This small increase will go directly into savings so I can save a little bit without feeling like I am taking away from my debt crushing goal.

Sticking to the budget.  I set the goal of tackling my credit debt this year which is feasible as long as I get a full-time job before summer ends.* One of my strategies to getting there is not charging anything brand new that can be paid for in cash… and if I can’t pay cash for it, I have to really evaluate if it is necessary.  I am using cash to pay for things I got comfortable putting on my cards (e.g., lunches on days I am at work, subway rides, personal care items, etc.) to break this bad habit of mindless spending I developed and to stay within the amounts I budgeted for each thing.  I am also logging in my cash spending on an app so I can see where else I can cut corners.  Baby steps but I am focused!

*If I don’t get a full-time job before this year is over, I am aiming for at least 65% of the debt being gone which is still pretty significant and requires discipline considering I am only working part-time.

day 11, cling.

 

Tomorrow my son turns 13 years old.

Yikes!

We will have a teenager in the house.

…and it’s complicated because these years are hard enough as it is but with social media I feel there’s a whole other level of madness during these years.

I still think back to being pregnant with him and patiently awaiting his arrival. He was eight days late but managed to arrive the day before the scheduled induction. He introduced himself by letting us know he is on his own timeline.

One of my favorite memories of that day was once everyone left, I held him tightly and took a picture of us using a disposable camera.  To this day, I hold on to the moment because it was the one where I told him about what our life would be like together. I promised to always love him, take care of him, not judge him and always do my best to understand even when I don’t relate or agree.

It’s a good thing that I hold on to this moment because tomorrow will really be the beginning of having to honor that moment and those values.  12 has not been smooth sailing for many reasons but at the core of things, he is still a good kid, which keeps me going because we are doing something right even when there’s a lot of frustration.  These will be the years of him wanting more Independence, us giving him independence and finding the appropriate balance for everything.

My only hope is that he always clings to my love for him, especially when things get tough, as much as I cling to how much I love him.

 

(Today’s daily writing prompt: cling)

day 10, uneven.

Our relationship is like a wobbly table that can only be even when someone slides a book under the shakiest leg.

Let’s be honest, the fact that we didn’t grow up together and are a decade apart probably doesn’t help the emotional distance between us.  But neither does your inability to let me have a moment or to be a consistent presence in my life.

On the day I graduated from a grueling program for gifted students, you call our mother after almost five years of not one word from you, and that day becomes more about your return into our lives than my accomplishment.

I had my son and on the day I brought him home from the hospital, your son tells me you are pregnant with your third child. It makes me feel weird. It is good news but somehow feels to be biting at the heels of my son’s moment.

In a way you have unintentionally stolen my moments with your timing, but I looked at the positives.  

You were back in my life to be my big sister right as I was going to enter my teenage years. You were for a few years there until you weren’t. 

You were having another baby. I was happy because I thought maybe having kids this close in age would bring us close as grown women – sisters who were mothers. Our kids would practically be siblings.

It didn’t quite happen that way.

Once we weren’t living in the same building anymore, the distance grew.  You kept up with my son by updates from our mother.  I would see your kids at family gatherings.  Our mother is the glue between us passing little tidbits of information to each of us.

A few years later, I would get the call that would stop time – you had cancer.  I told you that you would beat the shit out of cancer and I prayed every day not only for your health but that after cancer you would put a higher value on relationships, with our mom, with me and remove the things that weren’t benefitting you from your life.  

Our mom was a rock for you during this time. She sat with you through every chemo session and through every appointment with your medical team, being strong for you but carrying a deep fear of what would happen if she lost you.  I did my best to try to get closer but you didn’t seem to need me and I knew this moment wasn’t about me – it was about you getting better.  I was okay with being more supportive from a distance – helping write letters and making calls in the background or caring for your younger son to give you a chance to rest.

You made it – and I am grateful for that.

I became pregnant with my daughter,  I never saw you the whole time.  You never called me once to see how I was doing or to ask if I needed anything.  I called you to tell you when she was born – but of course you already knew, you called our mother.

You showed up at the hospital the day after I had her.  It was awkward.  There I was trying to get the baby to latch on and you show up like we have been talking this whole time. I couldn’t muster up a smile because your appearance caught me off guard.

You never made another effort again to see my daughter unless coming to my apartment to drop off your son to our mother counts. Then yes, you came one time to see her.

Instead you felt offended about the perceived slight at the hospital.  I didn’t seem happy to see you. Did you ever take the time to think maybe I was not able to be in the moment because the baby was three weeks early or maybe the c-section was a rough one?  Nope.  I had a rough delivery with an unexpected reaction to the anesthesia.  I felt drained and banged up. I wasn’t feeling you in the moment neither. But somehow you expected a moment to happen that there was no foundation for.

Now almost three years later, our mom calls your attention to our lack of relationship  and you say I am too busy, I never respond to you – but responding would imply you have made a real effort.  You have not.  You choose to side step me and ask our mother about me and my kids, why not just call yourself?

You are not interested.

It’s awkward for you too. Maybe you can’t admit that because then you have to acknowledge that you just let me go assuming I’d always be there.

It’s okay.  

I have thought about this a lot.  I have come to the conclusion that if we didn’t share a mother, we wouldn’t be friends with each other – not because either of us is a bad person, we are very different and that is okay.

I have told our mother that I accept that this lack of relationship is what it is.  I have let her know it is not her fault and we love her but we just don’t connect as people and that is okay.  We are able to be cordial when we see each other and there is some kind of love there but there will always be that awkwardness of what could have been hanging between us.

Until you can really reach out to me and show an interest in having a relationship that doesn’t depend on our mother being the glue. our table will always be uneven. 

day 9, gratitude.

I am going to have a weekly post to reflect on things (big and small) that I am grateful for.

Here is my list this week:

  • Taking my son out to dinner after his dentist appointment last week. While my food was awful, getting some one-on-one time outside of the house was great.
  • Having snow boots after three winters of going without any because of poor planning. I would always say next winter I will buy new boots before it snows and never get round to it. The irony is I did not go out in the snow this weekend… but still I had my boots if I needed them.
  • Ordering my textbooks early to beat the rush of last minute stuff.
  • Being more mindful about my spending and sticking to my budget without feeling too deprived.
  • Watching the speeches at the Golden Globes that touched my heart – Barry Jenkins, Traci Ellis Ross, Viola Davis, Sarah Paulson, Donald Glover, Ryan Gossling, and of course, Meryl Streep.
  • This is Us is back tomorrow night.  I expect to hold back tears at least twice during this episode. I’m not a super mushy person especially over a TV show or movie, but this show always makes me get in my feelings.
  • Writing short blurbs in my writing journal to help my short story writing goal for this year.

day 7, body.

I’m 40 and feeling it.

Not in that I got fit before I hit 40 kind of way neither.  More in the oh my god I need to get it moving before it falls off kind of way.

I can’t climb up steps without getting winded.

When I look into the mirror, I cringe at how big I have gotten all around.

Ugh…. but here’s the thing I know for sure, I can get back into shape because I have done it before.

However, I was not married, did not have kids or a full-time job (I was working as a temp) and could plan my whole day around going to the gym and eating perfectly timed meals whose nutritional breakdown I knew like a second social security number.

I have decided to start with a small goal – walk everyday for 15 minutes.

That’s it.

I need to start small to get used to moving again and to carve out that small me time without thinking of all the things I need to get done.  If I had to figure out how to get an hour of me time right now to work out at the gym (never mind commute to the gym and the price of a gym membership these days), I will get stuck on what I cannot do right now.

Let me focus on what I can do right now even if it seems to be such a small step in the right direction.

I will get there slow and steady – especially since I am looking to gain all those long term benefits from being consistent with healthy habits versus declaring a quick victory on a scale.

day 6, five.

One of my favorite blogging “traditions” is the Friday Five.  It is a group of five questions that usually have a theme. I found this week’s questions on LiveJournal.

  1. Do you make New Year’s resolutions? I have in the past and nothing has really come of them so now I make a list of goals which are a bit more measurable and keeps me motivated.  I also keep my list in a little notebook I carry with me so I can jot down idea or progress I make towards them.
  2. Are you expecting any big life changes this year? (new job, buying a house, etc.) Besides graduating from college, I will hopefully find a new full-time job before the year is over.  While I will miss the flexibility of my part-time schedule, my budget will welcome a full-time paycheck again.
  3. What are you most looking forward to this year? Graduation
  4. What are you least looking forward to this year? Job hunting – it is such a stressful process. I used to feel like people would ignore my resume despite my experience because I didn’t have a college degree now I will have one on there and will have to flush out what other things need improvement.  I also hate dealing with recruiters because I know the majority of them are cold calling to keep their numbers up. *ugh* Thankfully I won’t be job hunting from a place of desperation but still the process of pick me, pick me for the job stresses me out.
  5. Is there anything you want to try this year that you haven’t tried before? (Could be a new food, new hobby, or anything.) I want to focus on writing a series of short stories.  It’s one of those things I always say I want to do but now with graduation happening in a few months, I will have time to dedicate to this.  This break between semesters has shown me just how bored I am without school work – so a writing project will keep me busy.