Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Till the cows come home

We are still waiting for Ian.

Yet I am caught up in some sort of blurry twister, the kind that blows across the field, sucking up red golden leaves  and swinging them round and round in its super swirling vortex before dropping dropping them, breathless and dizzy, and moving on.

I feel as if I have tipped the scales towards overload somehow and I can't remember at what exact point I lost control. I've got a nasty cold. I feel tired all the time. Getting myself up and the kids out each morning feels Herculean. And the kids and the horses and the dog and the firewood and my blogging committments..... I never seem to be done or satisfied or finished, or ahead. I can't remember the last time the girls bathed. They don't smell too bad. And I never remember to badger Esther to practice her violin or do her homework. She is getting it done, not the violin part, but not as eagerly as she was before Christmas. She's flagging as well, I think.

And Isla, always begging me to read to her just at that witching hour when the fire needs to be started and the horses and dogs need to be fed and the dinner needs to be cooked, but first I have to clean the kitchen to find the sink and stove because I've been sitting at my computer most of the day. And I am so happy she is finally, finally into books and sooo guilty when I have to tell her, again, no I cannot read to you right now because if I read to you right now there will be no dinner to eat. There is no one here to fix our dinner aside from me. I'm all you got and if I knew how to read and cook dinner at the same time,  I would, but I don't so I can't.

I'm not exactly Demi Moore, yet, but sometimes I feel as if I can totally understand how easy it would be to just snap like that. To feel as if you are so far in over your head, or have climbed way too high and only just now, after all this time, bothered to look down and what you saw, how small everything looked down there, and how vulnerable you felt swaying up there in the wind, terrified you.

And the temptation to just let go and free fall, yield to the currents, is real and everpresent.

To let the dishes pile so high in the sink and the clothes so high on the laundry table and the bills so high on the kitchen table and to just say "screw it, come on kids, let's take the credit card and go out to eat and then go to New York City and see some Broadway shows, then let's not go to school for a week and go skiing every day instead. That last idea is kind of a joke considering the pathetic and extremely depressing lack of snow. Unless, of course, we went to the French alps....

And isn't it funny how my fantasy includes, rather than threatens to run away from, my children, so well trained am I at being their only hope at survival. But the fact is, I need them. They keep me from getting lonely, from feeling too sorry for myself. To think that Ian isn't even getting cuddles from a child is to realize that I have the better deal here. I don't care how much sleep he is getting, I would die if I had to be away from these kids that long. Die.

This place is drier than a popcorn fart. The land is crusty. Parched. Brittle, like my patience lately. The poor horses have sore feet from walking on their own frozen hoofprints. There is symbolism there, I know it.

Every snowfall we get is just this teasing, non-committal  one to two inches that always leaves the pointy ends of the grass poking through as if to say, na na na na na na, you can't smother me.

How did I get back to snow again?

Anyway, I realize, looking back to my last three weeks of Momformation blogs, that I've written about lice, what a mess my house is, and the confession that we are habitually late for school. You might be wondering if my confession that I'm downing two bottles of Fat Bastard pinot noir or, possibly, doing whippets, every night is coming next. But, remarkably, it isn't. I've never been into drinking alone. A tidy night cap now and then while I'm doing some late- night blogging, maybe, but really, I find no joy, or escape, in alcohol. I'm too concerned about how fat I'm already getting from all this sitting and no ice hockey, no cross country skiing, no nothing much of anything, really, other than bouncing up and down on my ball/chair and squeezing my glutes. That and dancing with the girls and the painfully sporadic, yet fulfilling, 8 a.m. walks with my neighbor.

Oh yes. I started this post to say I mailed Ian's completed Immigrant visa application yesterday. It only took us a month to get it all complete, included the translation of his French criminal record which was all of one sentence. If I knew how to say "nothing to report" in French, I would tell you that is what it said.

So now, all we can do is wait and hope and dream of one day being reunited as a family again. Esther has gotten really antsy. She keeps asking me every day when Daddy is coming home.

"In a week?" she asks.
"No," I say, irritated. 
"But you said..."
"All I said, was, maybe the visa center will review the application this week and then Daddy will get his interview appointment in Paris and he can finally come home. I did not say he was coming home in a week and I'm sorry if that is what you were hoping but it's just not true."

One day later:
"Tell me again when you think Daddy will come home."

"Soon, Esther," I say. "Soon."

It's like asking when it's going to snow.
Someday soon.
I just know it.


AdrianneP said...

I miss the snow and skiing as well : ( I have a week planned of going up to Lake George for cross-country skiing and, guess what? There's no snow ... so I guess I'll be staying warm in my hotel room reading a book and watching TV. (I'm kind of wondering if the outdoor pool will be open by then, given the way temperatures have been!)

I read you on BabyCenter but don't have an account to post (and don't want one), but I have been wanting to tell you not to fret too much about the constantly late to school thing. My Mom was the *exact* same way and, honestly, the racing to drop me off to school each day is just part of our fond memories together. And it has not effected me at all because I am perpetually early now as an adult : )

And finally, something I've found has helped my depression was getting off the computer! When I find myself getting most depressed is when I'm sitting in front of the computer getting nothing accomplished. Course, I *love* being productive (apparently).


Betsy said...

AdrianneP: Your last comment about the computer was very apt. I spend a lot of time here searching for Momformation blog topics, reading far too much drivel, and agonizing over the criminal waste of time it all is.I do think it is affecting me in a very negative way,but since it is my job, I'm not sure how to cut back. I just need to learn to use it more wisely, but that is not clear. I should buy a paper each morning and search that for ideas instead....

Sue said...

Hi, Betsy, I don't mist miss the snow at all, but the ceaseless gray winter sky brings me down. It's that time of the year again when I feel like a forgotten boxed item, sitting high on the shelf, collecting dust. I don't even have anything amiss in my life right now, unlike you, who has been living in a house with one door wide open, it seems, always waiting, never feeling safe.

One certainty you DO have is that this waiting will end one day. That's the knowledge you have to pull out when the feelings threaten to overwhelm. And when Ian does return, just imagine the hoorah of screams from the women all over the world! :-)

Johanna said...

Betsy, Betsy, Betsy,
you know this is February... in VT...bound to happen, right? I am now in FL after 39 winters up north...the sun and warmth are good. Now, clean just enough so it looks better. Think Fly Lady. Dinner needs to be store bought and easy...perhaps pesto pasta, salad, and crusty bread with lots of good butter. Get a bottle of wine, pour yourself a nice sized glass and sip it, while cooking and maybe you and the girls will listen to an audio story online or that you have already downloaded. Take time for a hot bath...the girls can have one too. You know how to do this... so do it. Let the things that can wait just wait. Ce la vie baby. Ciao for now

Liliana Holtzman said...

You are doing a great job. Be kind to yourself.

Tina G said...

I was struck by how odd and foreign this whole winter seems here in the northeast (NY neighbor, here)and how this weirdness coincides with many things that have to right themselves in due time...for your family it is Ian's homecoming. Your last bit about the snow really made me see this. It is coming. Soon. Before springtime arrives, please.

Kio said...

Oh Betsy! Who wouldn't be on the edge? So much seems to be conspiring against you, including the snow. One weekend a year my husband takes the girls to his folk's house so I can have a 'get caught up' weekend. I can't seem to get any projects started knowing the kids will be walking through the door in a couple of hours, but if I know I have a couple of days I feel energized and revel in accomplishment. Good music playing or sweet silence. Anyway, I know you live for your kids, but any chance one of your sisters could take the girls for a weekend do you can get your head above water? It may lift your spirits. I'm also a fan of my crockpot, so I'm putting it together in the AM and the witching hour is easier. I am one of many who appreciate all the hours you put in for Momfo, so you are brightening the days of others. I hope your days will be brightened soon?

Kathleen Trail said...

I hope this doesn't sound too blog-stalker-y but I've been thinking about this post since I read it yesterday morning, wishing I had something to say that would make it all even marginally better.

Then I remembered a friend of mine who was going through chemo who said to me, "Sometimes what you want people to say instead of the inspirational stuff is just to acknowledge that this really sucks. Sure I know that the sucky part will end at some point and that things will get better, but right now, it just really, really sucks."

Somehow I think that applies here. But for the record, I really do hope the sucky part ends soon. :)

Betsy said...

Thanks all: Sometimes I realize, in hindsight, that when I vent here on my blog, I'm not always giving an accurate picture of how I am and where I'm at. The things I write down here, are often the things I simply need to download in order to not get too weighed down. Just writing them down makes me feel lighter, better. In turn, it might make you all feel heavier and concerned. All this to say, don't you worry about me dear readers. I'm doin' just fine. Moment to moment, hour to hour, day to day. Fine. Not only that, we haven't been late to school once this week! Progress. I'm in grave danger of becoming a conformist...

Kathleen Trail said...

Oh I hate it when I think people are worried about me... It's not that exactly. It's just that you've been stuck in the Groundhog Day version of my own personal hell - when my husband was gone on a business trip for 2 weeks and we had lice and then I got sick and was about to lose my sh*t completely, I at least had the comfort of at least knowing he'd be back relatively soon.

It did help tremendously to have moral support and helping hands from my network of friends and family during that time, so I think that's more what I was trying to convey.

Honestly, I think you're kicking butt and taking names by even being upright throughout all this. Stay strong!

Jennifer said...

Betsy- I have been reading for years and need to ask you a specific question- but cannot find out how to email you...
can you email me at jenniferaugust at yahoo (and then delete THIS comment)? :) Thank you!

Lynette said...

I think there's not enough out there on this time in a family's life when the kids are in school and can do so much more for themselves but still need their parents so much. We moms, in particular, start working more outside the house (in whatever capacity) but still have to do all the house things and everything else that needs to get done. Even if our partners are here and do a lot, we're still "in charge". And the things that have to be done change, like the music practice and homework and after school activities and answering complex questions. Anyway, I can totally relate (except for the not having my husband around, although I did that when he was in the military). And I think we readers understand you were venting and not factually describing your life. Keep up the writing - I love having your posts to check in on.

Betsy said...

No worries Kathleen. I got what I asked for, comparing myself to Demi Moore and all....
I do so appreciate your, and everybody's support. It's wonderful.

Lauren A. said...

I'm amazed at how much i enjoy the newspaper subscription my Mom got us. It's somehow inclusive instead of isolating like the computer is. And you can share it, which you can't do with a computer screen. Therefore the girls can read the comics or upcoming events page while you read the news- you're all reading it together instead of you with your nose in a screen and them bugging you to do something with them. Plus they're good for swatting flies. So, you know, it's a multi-tasker.

My vote is get the paper. And keep making small changes. Also? My two year old picks up and helps fold laundry. Why did we even have kids if not to turn over the vast majority of chores to them?! I am just barely kidding about that, i realize as i type...

Seamingly Sarah said...

that must be hard when Esther keeps asking. it just brings it all back to the front of your mind. something like that makes me snap at my kids. it's not their fault, it's just that a sore subject was brought to mind. keep going. as my husband says "don't quit 5 minutes before the miracle." =)

mooserbeans said...

I don't think that you a teering on the edge. I think that you are a normal mother in an abnormal stressful situation. Somedays, I use my blog (when I have the time now) to unload what is pushing me down. Unfortunately, my most reugular readers are my inlaws. Try explaining to your husband why his aunt called and asked if I really needed Zoloft and is everything ok. Keep posting. I love your honesty.

-alex said...

Hi Betsy,

Keep blogging. I just celebrated our 1 year anniversary of moving back to the U.S. with a total crappy week. I haven't blogged since December and all I seem to do is whine to the few people who will listen to me.

If misery loves company, you and I can go hand and hand until Ian gets back. And now I am off to my own blog to finally post something, since you have inspired me.

Keep on keeping on.

Irishmama7 said...

Well I hope some of the snow has found you. If not dear Betsy pack up the kids and head our way as we just got blasted with lake effect (the coast of MI is good for that and awesome sunsets). When we are outside playing I think of you and the girls. My prayers are with you and Ian and the girls, I will hold you especially close the next few weeks. As a Daddy's girl myself I hurt sometimes so much reading about Ian. I cannot fathom how you feel I have a hard time going 2 days without my husband. Try to rest and unplug, if VT isn't going to give you snow then try to take advantage of something else that you can do with the girls outside. Good Luck and God Bless.

Sue Kol said...

Hi Betsy,

I just wanted to say thank you for your blogs. I've been reading them for a while now. So thanks !


Anonymous said...

I love you. You are my favorite mom blogger of all time. I think you're over-stressed and under-cared for right now, and in desparate need of your best friend. I have two suggestions:
1.) Take the girls on an inexpensive long-weekend getaway.... just for plain fun sake. Take some fantastic pictures of you and the girls to send to Ian.
2.) To bring things into perspective, please visit www.caringbridge.org/visit/broganruppert, and read Melinda's 2/15 update.
And to conclude, I love you... and don't take my #2 suggestion personally.
Keep talking, we're listening.

Betsy said...

Danielle: Is Melinda a friend of yours? What a story.

Anonymous said...

Hi Betsy,
No, Melinda is not a personal friend of mine. I do have a friend who's child died of this same type of brain tumor though (DIPG), which is how I became aware of Brogan Rupperts story. DIPG is a horrific brain tumor that takes our little people (I've followed a lot of DIPG stories, and not one of them has a happy ending). So anyway, not to be Debbie Downer, but it definitely has brought life into perspective for me over the last couple of years. Do I complain about petty things? Yep. All the time. But my brain, who is a friend of mine, sends me frequent reminders about how precious and short life is.