I don’t often miss being married anymore, these days full of my mess, left where I wish, my food, steady in the fridge, my couch, clean for me.
But then I spend a few days in a row with an eight year old moodier than me 2 days before my period, and one of the nights involves multiple wake ups and bad dreams and crawling in with me and I just cannot hack it. The tired, the soul destroying tired that leaves me weak at the knees and shamefully wanting to lock myself in a room where they just cannot reach me, huddled with gummi bears and peaches.
But there’s no secret room. There’s no where to hide, no way to stem the flow of tears. The reasoning fluctuates from ‘but I wanted something too!” all the way over to “my hair is so short they say I look like a boy!” and I hear my mother crawl out of my mouth with a “we can find a reason for you to cry” and then I hear that hated little girl in the back of my chest who blurts out “at your age I was worried sick about my mother, but I didn’t dare cry. What do YOU have to cry about?”
As much as I hate that I’ve said these things, I wonder if I’m so wrong. I do everything possible to make sure they have what they need, and then some. I maintain a reasonably friendly relationship with their father to make sure that stays as normal as possible. I do what I have to, and then I do some more.
And I’m tired. Good sweet crap I’m just, tired inside. Tired of their feelings. Tired of explaining and reasoning. Tired of wondering and hoping and trying to get it all right and then looking for a space to carve for myself. It never ends.
At least when their father was in the house, I could split the crying and the comfort, the need for love and understanding. Now it’s just me, every night, over and over. Vivian’s even started the little “I miss mommy” game which means I’m dealing with the crying over the phone on my days off from them. A part of me, a large part of me, feels like it’s in danger of shutting off completely, my usual compensation for when it gets too much, but I don’t want that. I’m trying to learn how to feel, like normal, how to let it flow through me and past me, around me. Shutting down won’t help, but I feel like I teeter on the edge lately.
It’s all so very much, and by the end of the day, after all the other multitude of stresses that make up normal life, I just cannot find it in my to deal with or care about a child crying. Again. Especially because she’s changed her mind about wanting a bath for the 5th time that night.
Single mommas, how in the hell do you do this?