Empty Nest PMS – Seeking Food & Wine Pairing for Change of Life

giphyI woke up crying this morning. Not bawling, just simply having what I assume to be a regular panic-overload experienced by single mothers who are watching their one and only child leave the nest.

Seriously, how can being anxious not be normal? Even when you have the best kid in the world, like mine?

Witty comforting words such as, ‘Oooooh, he’ll be fine,’ and  ‘He’s only an hour away’, do not help. It’s like telling a newly bereaved person that their loved one is in a better place now.

The appropriate response to these callous words of comfort is, “Fuck off”.

Seriously, either give me a hug or be quiet.

Not to mention the stress of it all has brought on my once-every-three-year-time-of-the-month, which, between you and I, does make me a teensy bit more emotional. Is a sarcastic, “YAY” the right reaction?

My partner, a lovely man when he’s not  MIA during golf and football season (which leaves the month of March I believe), is taking us out for a celebration dinner tonight. Please, let me know what kind of wine pairs well with lobster and PMS?

I’m also packing up our house. The last time I did that, I was 10 years younger, and a lot more, well, young.

I have discovered that my once-upon-a-time energy is a little less enthusiastic, and just the idea of sorting and packing has me wondering if I shouldn’t just have a large bonfire tonight. If you see smoke, please feel free to join us. Bring milk chocolate and graham crackers, as I found an extra bag of marshmallows this morning while I was packing up the kitchen. Also, what kind of wine goes with s’mores?

If you need to reach me during the next two weeks, I will be nose deep in tissue, surrounded by boxes and nostalgia.

After that, I’m sure I’ll be back to my she-dragon self, organizing my new home and flourishing in all of my new-found empty-nestness. What kind of wine goes with a big exhale, and swelling pride in a job well-done as a parent? Never mind. I already know that that calls for champagne.

 

Packing Day #1: It’s Official, I’m in Panic Mode

I’m better than this!

Could I really be a horder on some level? Seriously, I’m finding pay stubs from every single pay cheque I’ve received since, well, since I moved into this place ten years ago. Three plus pages of pay stubs per week, stapled through a sealed envelope really speak to the amount of good faith between employer and employee thees days. Sheesh!

This is not the time to get started on to the economy of our times, I remind myself, even though that’s what’s running through my thoughts as I watch the clock tick against my deadline.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way! I am a highly organized woman. I take care of my own business, and I boast about how often I have moved and how cathartic it is to clear out and keep moving.

This morning, to be quite honest, I feel overwhelmed. Paper is the bane of my existence as is my minor tendancy to OCD with shit that doesn’t matter. My son has the flu, and my house is a mess from summer camping trips, a pile of mis-matched cardboard boxes in the living room, and piles that I’ve left thinking that I would get to them when I pack.

Well, today is the day. Today is the day to tackle and tame piles.

My one saving grace is that my fearless and always-there-for-me-neighbour and friend Darlene has promised me a few hours of her time today – yes, on the most lovely summer day of the year. God bless her.

The garbage needs to go out, golf clubs need to be corralled into the shed, , and a run to drop-off at the thrift shop is inevitable.

In the background I hear the one hour beep from the coffee maker.

It’s been less than an hour since I started making our mess into something movable. I breath deeply. I’m not doing so bad after all. In only an hour I’ve done enough to make a dent in things, and  enough is good enough for now.

Take Naps Not Crap-Outs

nappingThe other day I was standing at work, appearing to be calm, cool, collected, and capable of being the go-to-person running the show.

What I felt like inside was anything like that. I had a fleeting vision of crumbling into a heap on the floor where I stood, and just weeping.

You may have witnessed my reference to my Mumster’s theory on the Once-Every-Six-Week-Crap-Out, or you may not. I’m not talking about a Once-Every-Six-Week-Crap-Out. No, you see, that’s a different kind of letting go. What I’m talking about here is the great giving-up. The moment when someone who has carried too much stress for far too long just collapses under the weight of it all.

But I didn’t collapse. I carried on. I smiled when I was supposed to, and did everything I needed to do in order to not be the woman on the floor.

My last post was about grace, and I guess this one is too.

In the midst of all of this change, and moving, life goes on. The financial pressure of a single income home is crushing. The physical demands of working, packing and doing everything else that needs to get done is exhausting.  Being the person who organizes and does, is a heck of a lot of pressure when more than one element of life is unstable.

I’m at my limit. After two weeks I’m still in a rental car, with a huge bill coming thanks to someone who pulled a significant hit and run on the front end of my car.  Emotionally, physically and financially, I’m launching my wonderful kiddo into the world. On top of all of that, I’m moving as well.

I am proud to say that I am not the woman  in a heap of wool-suit on the floor.

After my partner told me that he would not be helping do the physical work of packing because the weather was going to be too nice, I made a decision;

I let go; I was not going to let anyone dull the excitement of moving. I was going to look forward to a massive declutter and making my new home a cozy space for myself, my son, my kitties and our friends. I was going to carry on as usual, and do what needed to be done with a positive attitude, and most importantly, I became more determined to stop explaining my needs and wants to people who don’t give a damn anyway.

Grace is not for sissies. Grace is for  tough, badass,  middle-aged women who aren’t afraid to live fully in the swift current of change.

Naps – naps are also for those ladies as well. Try taking a break instead of going full-out-heap-on-the-floor or finding yourself in the midst of an every-six-week-crap-out. Take care of yourselves out there.

Lessons In Grace

woman-with-kittensWhat was I thinking blogging about preparing for an empty nest, making a move, and trying to sustain my creative time?!

Apparently, I’m bat-shit crazy. But bat-shit crazy works for me, or so I believe.

We (aka ‘I’) are less than a month away from moving the kiddo to his new digs at training camp. Packing up and moving, then travelling for exhibition games, and then moving him again.

As if that weren’t going to be busy enough, I ( aka ‘we’) decided that our big-move in date would be less than a month after the kiddo moves out. So, as is required, I gave my notice and began house hunting.

And then someone did a beauty job in a hit and run on my car, causing over three thousand dollars worth of damage. I’m currently in a rental.

Oh, and my health is not so great according to my latest doctors reports. I have an ulcer (surprise, surprise) and I’m packing on weight.

Lesson #1 here folks – make sure you have damn good insurance.

Lesson #2 – fat happens. Just stay positive and work on it every day.

This morning, while waiting on an offer to be approved on a second house, and a call from a mover coming to give me an estimate, I received the call from my mechanic.

I did not panic. Ok, my stomach turned, but that was about it. I got up, bathed, put on some make-up over my stress-acne, poured my coffee and got on with life…(Yah, you heard that right, on top of everything else, I’ve broken out in zits from the stress. There’s nothing like a pudgy forty-something-year-old-broad dressed in a muu-muu sporting acne to scare you into doing what she tells you to do.)…I also took a moment to snuggle my kitty cat, and look at the little garden outside of my writing window.

Grace. Somehow, with all of the ups and downs,  despair over how I will make things work, and feeling alone in the world, I’ve managed to cultivate it a bit more. And for that I am grateful.

God bless my man, his life has been a cakewalk. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a good man; a hard worker, faithful, and ranks in the top percentile of the world’s best cuddlers, but his easy life has not given him the skills to cope well with change or when real-life doesn’t read like a Disney fairytale. Coping with his anxiety and stress has also  helped me flex my ‘grace’ muscle. Sometimes I’m better at it than others, but I’m getting there.

Lesson #3 – not everyone is at the same stage of cultivating grace.

The update is that everything is up in the air. I have no where to move as of right now, but I have a deadline to clear out of here. I have no car, and haven’t seen the end of the total tally of what it’s going to take to get it on the road. I’m saying good-bye to my kiddo, the person who has kept me from despair, alive and vibrant for the past 18 years, and I’m moving in with a man for the first time in over 17 years.

Wish me luck. We’ll see how this grace thing works out…if it doesn’t, I’ll be reverting back to the ‘F’ word and  bourbon, as a plan ‘B’.

As I type this, the mover is at my dining room table writing up an estimate with my cat inspecting his paperwork…I don’t think old Portuguese men are into cats who make themselves at home on the table… My son is on speaker phone with another teenager, organizing the packing for a camping trip, and my man is panicking about the signatures required on more documents  and planning social events for the day that my kiddo is supposed to move out. Life is glorious if you let yourself enjoy it. The chaos of life makes me happy ( after all, the alternative at work is that I’m surrounded by death and loss all day).

Life is full, it’s busy, it’s like a river, always changing and revealing surprises.

I need quiet for reflection and rejuvenation. I need life to help me remember that it’s all worthwhile. Our ability to know when we need quiet, and when we need to throw ourselves into the fray is not always great. We can only try to be satisfied with our best intentions.

When all else fails; Breathe in, breathe out, move on, take the weather with you, let it be, let it go, just breathe…whatever kitschy sayings get you through, lean on those.  If that fails, cuddle some kittens, break out the bourbon and curse like a sailor.

A Beautiful Mess

drying-beach-towels-webMy son is hardly ever home now, trying to make the most of his last summer with his high school friends.

I didn’t have that kind of childhood, so there is joy in watching him live a full and joyful life. I miss him, but I’m happy for him.

And then there’s me. Trying to run a home in the middle of all that is the great upset of the non-routine of summer. There is camping gear in the hallway, towels hung to dry from swimming and football practices, and goodness knows what else. My living room is half piled with cardboard boxes which I intend to start packing this week.

And yet, I still do not have a place to live.

My partner,  is caught in that sticky web of anxiety which insights a short-temper, and blindness to the fun that can be had.

I, on the other hand am optimistic.

I’ve already chosen a name for our new fish who will make a home on the kitchen counter; Bob Dylan.

Like we have all learned over and over in the past,  life has to get messy sometimes in order to re-establish order. And right now, goodness knows life is messy. But it’s ok. This will be something like my 22nd move, and it will come. It will come with decluttering, reminiscing over the things that I have an emotional attachment to, and over the things I realize I’m not attached to any more at all.

It is a crazy, full to bursting emotional, joyful, nostalgic ride called life, and I will live it fully, completely, and with the child-like wide-eyed wonder of what comes next. Yes, logistics are a nightmare. Yes, it’s stressful, but fear can go to hell. I’m on my way, and I’m going to gobble up the goodness.

Two days ago a calm came over me after letting stress do it’s thing. I’m riding this calm like a horse on a long, riverside trail. This is life. This fullness, this brimming to the top with hope and  anticipation despite the disorder;  This my darlings, is the beautiful mess we know as life.

Passionless Mediocrity = A Big Bucket of Suck

 

mrshifterI have committed to my decision to move in with my man. I can hear a gasp out there in cyber-space…

Naive?

Some may point a bony, cynical finger and accuse me of it. But they can stick it.

Years ago I decided that I was not going to let the bitter aftertaste left in the mouths of other adults taint my own optimism and lust for life. Life has tossed me around, thrown me off, and stomped me into the dirt. But I still climb up on the fickle, old beast every day  and ride – sometimes even with some grace.

Having said that, I have my own realistic concerns. I’m the consummate single woman. I’m independent, enjoy my own company, and do my best not to let fear drape it’s ugly pall over my day-to-day existense.

Fear is one thing, but the virulence of attitude is a whole different ballgame. I love deeply and completely.

This morning I had some quiet time before work, so I sank deep, down into a bubble bath, and pondered my love’s fear of life in general. Why couldn’t he just be positive and look forward to our new home? Why couldn’t he not be overwhelmed with the logistics of moving? Why couldn’t he not burst my bubble of joy by saying we’d ‘see’ how it all worked out and that moving in just made sense?

Making a home requires love, commitment and a whole lot of emotion. We’ll see and sense have no place when it comes to a huge commitment.  It’s about not wanting to be without someone, wanting to love them and be there for them. It’s about caring about them enough not to smother them in their sleep, and actually like who they are the majority of the time.

A few minutes into my bath-time meditation I realized  that expecting my man to be romantic, or at the very least, not cagey, was unrealistic. I also decided that his negativity was not really my problem. As a matter of fact, his whole attitude is just  habit.  That’s all anyone’s attitude is; habit. Just like obsessing over bad weather, he gets overwhelmed by the what-if’s. That’s not something I can help him with.

won't come with you

The only thing I can do is be me. That means giving this decision and move 100% of my commitment and enthusiasm, because without it, it is doomed to failure, or at the very least, passionless mediocrity.  And passionless mediocrity is just a big bucket of room-temperature-suck.

What’s the worse thing that can happen? I end up on my own and more thankful than ever to not be strapped to a man? Yah, that is the worst thing, and that’s not a terrible thing at all.

 

 

 

Shedding the Skin of Your Soul: Or as my Mumster Calls It – The Once Every Six Week Crap Out

crapout

It’s easy when your direction is selfish, not tangled up in the web of being bound to anyone else. But that’s not the reality of the world we live in. Not if you’re normal and not a sociopath.

So, as it were, this getting ready for the next stage; empty-nesting has been like a sleeping dragon underneath all of my false bravado.

Sitting at my little writing window this morning, I had what my mumster  refers to as the once-every-six-week-crap-out.

As I sat looking at my kiddo’s graduation photo proofs, I got a text asking about tickets to graduation. With the typical conundrum of step-parents, my son had to apply for extra tickets, each one the equivalent of a bar of gold when it comes to face time at a life milestone. The obvious answer is that I will go solo.  But that’s ok. I raised a good one on my own, so I’m going to hold my head up high in my lone chair.

Maybe it was looking at his photos and realizing that despite all of my bravado and lust for life, I’ve really not gotten any closer to my own answers about what’s next.  I’m realizing now that a gentle slope into empty-nesting is the healthier approach; some distance between baking after-school-cookies and walking around commando all evening half-smashed with a pen and paintbrush in my hand.

I’m in limbo mourning my life as a mom; already missing walking by is room and stopping to double check the sound of his  breathing, all of our little happy hours on the patio and listening to stories about his day, all of his games, the silliness of his friends and all of the shenanigans of being a young boy.

No one can know how exquisitely sadness and joy go hand in hand. After all, how lucky am I have to such a fine example of a young man to send out into the world? It is truly bittersweet.

My procrastination about ordering the graduation photos reflects a deeper reluctance; no mom wants to see her baby spread his wings and leave, and at the same time, no mom wants her baby to be unable to do that. Life does indeed go on. Time is ticking...

So this morning I sat at my little writing window and cried. I cried because I’m tired in the way that only the soul knows. I’m afraid. I’m trying to turn that fear into excitement. I’m a mom who wants to protect her boy and also a woman who recognizes she needs to move on to nurture her own creative life.

Perhaps the once-every-six-week-crap-out that my mumster talks about is really just our spirit shedding it’s skin and going through the painful beauty of transformation and growth.  Whatever it is, it happened today, in the solitude of my writing space, with the birds chirping outside, and my lace curtains softly rustling in  the breeze.