The Struggle

Posted on | November 28, 2018 | 6 Comments

I’m struggling.

I’d like to tell you that I’m doing great; that things are rolling along in a wonderfully smooth manner and life is one great big joyous cloud of non-methamphetamine cotton candy…. but alas, that is not the case.

I come home every day exhausted. Not the normal “I just worked a 9 hour day at a desk” exhausted, but the bone tired that comes with age and pregnancy at 40 and abject amounts of fear and anxiety that sit on my heart and leave their mark on every moment of my day.

 

Most days I get up exhausted, no matter how long or how hard I sleep. I lose at least one thing on the path towards leaving for work each morning… sometimes keys, sometimes a cell phone, sometimes just my mind. I try not to snap at the kids on the way to school, but I don’t often succeed. I get to work tired. I work, exhausted, trying not to cry at the drop of a hat over someone saying “hello” to me. By lunch, I’m too nauseated to eat so I close my door and cry a little to relieve some of the pressure that seems to constantly sit at the back of my throat. Then it’s back to work for another four hours or so until I climb, exhausted, down the back stairs and into my car, drive the short drive across the street to pick up C, then head to get J.

If I’m lucky, I manage not to cry on the way home because it scares the kids. If I’m really lucky, I can focus enough on the drive home to plan something for dinner.

Banks usually doesn’t get home until 6 or 6:30, and by then everyone is fed and often bathed and in pajamas. I’m too exhausted to do much more than give him half a smile before starting the bedtime process at 7 for C, followed by 8 for J… both of whom still want Momma to handle all the night time rituals. Tuck, rock, read, talk…. whatever they need to relax and get to sleep.

And then it’s 9 and I’m still so tired, and my brain is whizzing around like crazy because the house is a mess and there are clothes to wash and I can’t remember if I put gas in the car or checked over J’s homework. All I really want to do is crawl into bed, but then there’s no time for my marriage or the house or the laundry or the Christmas decorating and honestly, I just can’t with all of this anymore.

There has to be a secret I’m missing, right? There has to be an “A-HA!” moment around some proverbial corner where I’ll turn and realize there’s just a much easier way to handle all of this, right? Tell me it’s coming. Because right now?

I’m struggling.

Happy Thanksgibbing!

Posted on | November 21, 2018 | No Comments

I can’t really say why I’ve not liked Thanksgiving for a while. Maybe it’s because we always spent the day in the car as a kid, driving the three hours to the small town of Tarboro, NC to visit much loved Grandparents. Maybe it’s because everything was very “hurry up and wait” as we piled into the house and smelled all the cooking for what seemed like hours before being allowed to grab a heavy duty paper plate and make our way through the line.

Maybe it’s that we always ended up sitting in the laundry room, perched on the high bar stools, the only grandkids for a while… and then the oldest by far. The grownups would laugh and chatter and there we’d be, my sister and I back in the laundry room, behind the saloon style door, eating our lunches alone. Then my brother came along and our bar stool perches became a kids table, still in the laundry room as there weren’t many other options in the small house my Grandfather built.

But maybe it’s not because those things were wrong… but because they were so right. I loved being able to hear my Uncle David laughing at something my father said. I loved my Grandmother covering her mouth and pretending to be shocked but secretly laughing. I loved the sound my Granddaddy made when he pushed back from the table and patted his stomach with a happy groan. I loved the hurried prayer and the rumble of chairs pushing against the floor as we all crammed into the small house, filling it to the brim with turkey and dressing and collards and love… so much love.

Maybe it’s the absence of all that, all of those strong, faded photograph memories, that makes Thanksgiving so terrible now. It’s strange to think I won’t go back to that house, with the kitchen that stayed a few degrees warmer and the smell that was part Grandma’s heavy powder with a twist of Granddaddy’s country ham biscuits. Maybe that’s what has made Thanksgiving so strange these last few years… the absence of family: the disappearance of a generation who shaped me into who I am, who cradled me from birth. Perhaps it’s a longing for a time I can’t get back, for people I can’t have back. But still… I want my children to grow up embracing the idea behind Thanksgiving… the family togetherness, the love, the food… all of it.

So this year, I think I’ll start a new tradition. No more Thanksgiving. No more wishing for Grandma’s dressing or Grandaddy’s stew. If I want them, I’ll make them. No more hiding in the wings and wishing someone would recreate that feeling of bursting at the seams with family.

No.

From now on, we start our own traditions, whatever they may be. From now on, I cook what feels right, I do what feels right, WE do what feels right. For our family… the soon to be five of us.

No more Thanksgiving.

This year? We’re celebrating Thanksgibbing.  And I think Grandma and Granddaddy would totally approve.

 

Geriatric Motherhood

Posted on | November 20, 2018 | 3 Comments

I thought I had it all figured out when I was pregnant with C. I was “advanced maternal age.” I was going to have a harder time, right? I resigned myself to being slightly less spry during my pregnancy than I was with J.

And yes, there were heart palpitations to deal with and they were pretty awful. But other than that, it felt like business as usual for me for most of the pregnancy. When we found out we were pregnant with this little Booshka, our third and FINAL baby, you can understand why I thought it would be more of the same. I thought I’d be fine. I wouldn’t miss much work. I’d smile my way through until around 37 weeks when things would begin to feel seriously miserable, and then there would be a baby.

But… No.

Now we don’t know gender yet so I’m not holding anything back. But I have sneaking suspicion I’m dealing with a girl in there because this pregnancy is the worst. Don’t get me wrong… it’s still pretty darn amazing that there’s another life growing inside me. But from about week 4 straight through … three days ago, I was violently ill. We’re talking “threw up in the trashcan while my boss was talking to me” ill. I’ve been on Diclegis and Zofran and bland food and no food and basically anything I could think of. Finally a few days ago it seemed to quell a bit only to be replaced with what can only be called the “I’ve been hit by a bus so please just leave me lying here and also bring me a warm blanket and pillow” phase of my pregnancy. It’s around 3:30 in the afternoon right now and it feels like 2:00 in the morning. I can barely keep my eyes open. I’m struggling to complete sentences. I’m struggling to complete breathing. And this doesn’t even take into consideration all the other crazy stuff that’s come with this “life-creating.” When I climb stairs, I sound emphysemic. I wake up in the morning, and instead of stretching, my body groans “SCIATICAAAAAA” like Rocky yelling for his girl.  My boobs feel like 40 pound weights strapped to my chest that, oh by the way, hurt to exist.

I feel like this is why you’re supposed to be young when you have your babies. Young women can still glow through this. I am not glowing, guys. I am straight up sweating to the oldies.

I’m holding out hope that the second trimester will arrive next week and usher in some glorious phase of this pregnancy that will remind me that I can handle this, but I dunno…. I’m starting to wonder if I can make it through 6 more months of this.

Send help. And by help, I mean a walker, an oxygen tank, elastic waist pants, and whatever those sweet ortho shoes are that nurses wear.

Grading on a Curve

Posted on | November 19, 2018 | 1 Comment

I’ve sat down at my keyboard a few times over the past few weeks, feeling that strange plastic push back from the keys. I’ve started and stopped and nearly given up on trying to find time to dust off this space and see what remains in the back of my mind… what words still linger there in need of escape.

It’s been a strange year. Not a bad year, just a curious one. I’ve changed jobs, I’m pregnant again… yep… you read that right, and I feel like I’m pulled in at least five different directions on every single day. Was I a good mom today? How’s my grade as “wife”? Did I get my volunteer hours in at J’s school? Have I met my billable requirement at work? Seems like everyone has a different grade sheet for me, a different measure of how I’m doing at life. Report cards with often indiscernible requirements… Needs Improvement for wifedom based on lack of communication and inability to find a minute to share with my husband; Meets Expectations for motherhood, but doesn’t quite hit that Outstanding that lingers at the margin. How’s my cooking? Did I write a good brief? Can anyone tell me if I remembered to unplug the flat iron I used on my hair this morning? Did I tithe to the church? How’s my charitable giving this year? How much time did I spend singing The Itsy Bitsy Spider to C and was it more or less than the time I spent reading with J?

I feel like I sit down each week and pour through these report cards I’ve made for myself, all these self-imposed regulations of things I should be doing and people I should be paying more attention to. Each week is a shrug and sigh of “well I did this right, but screwed that up.” It’s a balancing act… a tedious and terrifying balancing act that could topple over at any minute and leave me firmly rooted in the dreaded “U” for Unsatisfactory realm.

If I’m being honest, I feel unsatisfactory a lot of the time. There’s always so much to do. There’s always so much more to give. There’s always too little time. I’ve been letting it all pile up on my shoulders until I’m literally drowning in the worry of it. Am I screwing up my kids? Does my husband regret marrying me? Is my house going to be taped up and labeled “CONDEMNED” when I get home for the crazy overflow of dust and toys and dirty laundry?

I went to lunch with a new friend last week, and she said something that has stuck with me. She said a former Governor of North Carolina never told people they had bad ideas. He never made people feel inferior or stupid for offering up a suggestion, instead he told them “I like where your head is” or “That’s a great first step.”

So I think I’ll try to incorporate that into my weekly report cards. Was my head in the right place? How about my heart? Was it a great first step? And if the answer to those three questions is yes, then I’ll give myself a “Satisfactory” and postpone my quest for “Outstanding” for another week when maybe the laundry isn’t so overwhelming or there isn’t sport practice three nights out of the week. If the answer to any of those questions is no, then I should work on voicing my apologies and admitting my need for improvement. Because if nothing else, the answer to those particular questions should be a resounding “yes,” right?

It’s hard right now, in the trenches. Things feel overwhelming. But I think my head is in the right place. And I know my heart is. And maybe, just maybe, putting this here is a great first step.

Insecure

Posted on | June 1, 2018 | No Comments

“What’s wrong?” He asked, as I moped through my morning routine of layering product on my skin. “Is it work?”

I shook my head.

“Did I do something?”

I shook my head again, answering in a small voice:

“You don’t want to hear it.”

He sighed. He knew what was wrong with me now… it was the same thing that often was wrong: I was feeling fat.

I know it frustrates him. I know he hates to hear me belittle and talk down to myself. I know that I’m supposed to love myself in all my faults. I know that being the feminist I am, means I’m supposed to love myself even and especially when my body and face isn’t perfectly airbrushed like the cover of a magazine. I know all those things.

And yet I still find myself pinching and pulling at loose skin and rolls of fat where no rolls used to be. I still find myself inspecting cellulite, pulling taut the skin of my thighs and wondering when they became so “other.”

I don’t often recognize my body in the mirror any more. It is soft and pliable. It is rounded in the places society wants straight. It is curved where magazines tell me it should not be. I remember the 22 year old in her white pants and crop top and I wonder where she went and if she’s hiding in the folds that seem to be all I see when I look at myself these days. I wonder if she’s gone forever. I wonder if I’m supposed to want her back or if I’m supposed to age gracefully into my size 10 jeans, pulling them rough over my too wide thighs and squatting down, again and again to be sure they pull all the way up. I wonder if I’m supposed to be content with the body that three pregnancies, two children, and one food-filled divorce left me with.

I want to smile when I see my reflection.

I want to notice the curves and fluffs of my body and appreciate that it is who I am. I want to tell you that I’m learning to appreciate myself as I am, that I feel comfortable in a bathing suit… that I don’t care that there are two numbers in my size.  But then… I also want to starve myself for several weeks in the hopes that 20 pounds magically disappear. I don’t know how to tie the two together. Sometimes I think that only thin people can get away with telling the rest of us to “love ourselves.” I see Pink on the Grammys in no make up and sweats telling me that Wild Hearts Can’t be Broken and while part of me says “YASS GIRL” the rest of me says “Easy for you to say, you svelte b!tch.”

Maybe I can be happier if I exercise more.

Maybe I can be happier when I am thinner.

I have always, inexplicably, been happier when I deny myself the things I love… pizza, beer, french fries. Like I’m winning an award for self deprivation. I fear my whole life has been and will be a cycle of “don’t eat too much” and then “whatever, eat it all, fatty” when I can’t seem to reach the figure I want. Because no matter how thin I’ve been in my life, it’s never been thin enough. I will always see myself in comparison to someone else and someone else will always be thinner. Or prettier. Or smarter.

He lets me huff and puff around my make up for a while and then sighs again.

“We’ll join a gym,” he offers, trying to help. “I know you’re happier when you exercise.”

“Yeah… you ARE fat” is what I hear, no matter how many times he says otherwise, and I rip off one shirt to find another… one more forgiving… one that doesn’t stick and cling quite as much to all my insecurities.

 

The Best Years of Your Life

Posted on | May 22, 2018 | 1 Comment

When I was younger, everyone told me High School was the best years of life. At the time, I would scoff and tell them that if these were the best years, NO THANK YOU to the rest of my life. But I think that high school can only truly be appreciated by us middle aged folk who look back on it with our rose-colored bifocals, glossing over the angst and turmoil and focusing on the laughter and the late night dancing and the unexplainable love of Shania Twain’s “Any Man of Mine” complete with foot stomping. (Sidebar: I literally can’t hear that song without picturing myself on Ocean Drive at Myrtle Beach with a circle of friends and maybe a little alcohol… sorry Mom.)

I wasn’t one of those people who kept in touch with my high school friends. I see on Facebook that many people did, and they host get-togethers and know each other’s significant others and children. I watch as their lives continue to seamlessly slide in and out of their high school world and sometimes I find myself jealous that they still have people around them who see them as unlined, unmarked teenagers. And sometimes I find myself wondering how they do it; how they managed to maintain a friendship for so long, through so many different variations of themselves. But maybe not everyone does that, I guess.

Me? I find I’ve changed so many times throughout my life that I’m not sure my high school self would recognize all of the “me” that I’ve been. Certainly my high school friends wouldn’t. I’ve sort of tried out all the different shades of Karen throughout my life, but as I look at myself now, I find I’m closer to the me I was in High School than to any other me I’ve ever been. And maybe that’s what they meant, all those years ago… the person you are in your early years of high school is so much closer to the real you… so much more in tune with who you are meant to be… than you ever would have been comfortable with at the time. Did I have fun in college? Oh yes. Did I enjoy my time after college? Absolutely. Law School? A BLAST. Parenthood? So fun. But did I enjoy high school?

Not so much.

But as I look back on it, I think it was because I wanted so desperately to be all the different people I became throughout my life. I wasn’t content with just being “boring old reddish haired, pleasantly forgettable, emotional, sensitive Karen.” I wanted to be brighter, louder, more vibrant. And so I became that for a time. I let myself be all the different sorts of Karen there were out there to be and now, at forty, I realize that boring old reddish haired, pleasantly forgettable, emotional, sensitive Karen is absolutely who I want to be. So NOW and only now can I look back at High School and realize that the people who knew and loved me then, were the people who knew and loved ME… before the attempted finesse. Before the alcohol and cigarettes. Before partying into the wee hours of the morning. Before I discovered that being boring was my flavor of awesome.

Looking back at her now, I can see that high school me was pretty awesome. She cared a little too much about what people thought and a little too little about her health, but she loved big and she was open-minded and she believed she had something amazing to offer this world. She wrote from the heart. She spoke from the heart. She was, quite often, severely misunderstood especially by her own mind, and she was, I’m sure, severely mocked for her inability to see people as they truly were… only as how she believed they could be.

And she hated all of that about herself.  But all of the bits and pieces of myself that were so jumbled and confusing at 16 have ironed and pressed themselves into someone I now embrace. I’d love nothing more than to go back to tenth grade, sit on the outskirts of the circle of girls unpacking their lunch bags in front of the G Building and hug the one with the bag full of pre-counted carrots. I’d like to squeeze her perfectly normal sized body and tell her she’s wonderful. I’d like to tell her that high school girls can be mean, but they weren’t always being as mean as she imagined in her mind. I’d like to let her know that it doesn’t matter that no one in high school found her beautiful… she was beautiful anyway.

She wouldn’t have believed me. She was too busy believing what she wanted to believe… that if she lost weight some boy would like her. That if she smoked cigarettes, no one would know she felt like a fraud every day. That if she wasn’t invited to this or that girl’s party, she wasn’t “cool.” She wouldn’t have believed that one day the things she hated about herself would be the things that made her the most loveable. It’s hard to believe that at 16.

I wouldn’t say that High School years were the best years of my life. I couldn’t say that, not as a parent. But looking back, I have a new-found appreciation for the people who loved me then. The friends who rolled their eyes at me and folded slips of notebook paper notes into tiny hearts and squares. The friend who skipped creative writing to sit at Yum Yum hot dogs and eat lemon ice cream with me. The friend who drove around and around and around town on a Friday night, listening to music and singing their hearts out alongside me. The friend I shoved out of a sailboat at summer camp. The friend who taught me how to use a tampon so I could go swimming at her house. The friend who sat at a playground and cried with me when one of our teachers died. The friends who danced to Shag music with me on a moonlit night in the middle of a road in New Irving Park.

Those were my people then. They are, deep down, still my people. Even though I don’t see them every day. Even though I’m terrible at keeping in touch. Even though maybe, some of us have lost sight of who we were then because of all the people we have been in the meantime.

It was so very hard to be different at 15 or 17. I’m sure it still is hard to be different in high school.

But man is it special at 40.

 

It is Good.

Posted on | May 4, 2018 | No Comments

Somehow it gets harder to log in and write here.

I don’t know if it’s maturity coupled with the fear that something I write may have negative repercussions long in the future, or if it’s just that I’m slogging through motherhood and I can’t seem to find time. Perhaps it’s a bit of both. But I miss this space and feeling like I had a platform to come to… somewhere to voice my opinions and maybe find a few like-minded folks scattered around the world. Life seems a little smaller without this space.

But for however small it is, life is good.

My life has moved so quickly and ferociously towards middle age that somedays I don’t recognize myself in the mirror and I certainly don’t recognize my reflection in other people’s eyes or behavior towards me. I’m suddenly owed a certain amount of deference and respect because of my age and experience. People tend to listen when I talk. As if by magic, I’ve become “ma’am” and someone of wisdom, even while feeling more lost than usual on the inside.

Middle age is a curious thing, I guess. I feel more myself than I ever did when I was younger. I still give myself pep talks before going into new crowds, but now I go with my head held high and I don’t often slink to the corners to stay anonymous. I feel like this is the me I was supposed to be all along, strong-willed, emotional, certifiably crazy, but in the kind of way that says “It’s okay, I’m not going to kill you… I’ll just make you laugh a lot and then you can talk about me behind my back.”

And kids. Oh man the kids. Nothing in life can really prepare you for the heartache and happiness that is parenthood. Every day is magic and mayhem and beautiful, beautiful trauma, to borrow from P!nk. I love my boys with a fierceness that is overwhelming at times and often I have to take a step back and remind myself that they actually do have to make their own mistakes and they don’t need me to constantly come along and clean up their messes. It’s hard, though, when you love them so much, isn’t it.

Then there’s marriage and the constant struggle to find that exact right balance between time for yourself and time for yourselves. Because you’re a team, even though sometimes it feels like you’re playing different sports. I love my husband so much in spite and because of the fact that he frustrates and challenges me daily. Because life shouldn’t be easy, right? If it were easy, you’d miss all the nuance… all the joy in discovering common ground. I truly believe we are stronger because of our differences and our often oppositional ways of looking at the world. He makes me think and laugh and sometimes cry… and it’s ugly and beautiful through all of the ups and down.

So I guess what I’m saying is… I’m here. I’m breathing. I’m putting one foot in front of the other. And every day is a struggle and a challenge and an adventure. Some days I feel like I’m at the bottom of a really steep hill, just waiting to be climbed… and some days?

Some days I’m at the top, looking out over this life I’ve created… these lives I’ve created… and it is good.

It is so good.

Getting Older

Posted on | March 28, 2018 | No Comments

The thing about being forty is this:

I don’t feel forty.

Let’s face it, when we were kids and thought about the future, forty was OLD. Like full on decrepit old. By 40 there were going to be flying cars and robot butlers and we would all be living life Jetson-style in our circular glass apartments. Forty was what we’d turn when we were established in our careers as astronauts or famous authors or whatever else… with our 2.5 kids in their pre-teen years. No one told me forty could be like this… with a one year old and an eight year old and a rickety old house with windows that let in all the cold or warmth from outside. No one told me forty was  starting over at work, starting over at marriage, starting over at being… well… me.

When I look at my life and where I am in it, I feel thirty at the most. Thirty seems a reasonable age to have a one year old and to consider more kids. Thirty seems reasonable because then my parents are in their fifties, not their sixties and I have ten years to get to that magical forty number where I’m well-established and legit. But being forty and feeling so … wayward… is strange. I don’t feel established. I don’t feel legit. I don’t feel as though I have the gravitas to tell anyone anything about life or love or how to be a lawyer. I don’t feel that I’m qualified to speak on motherhood or careers or hell, anything! So how did I get here?

Age is such a funny thing, really, isn’t it?

Forty seems so much younger than it did when I was a child. Sixty seems so much younger than it did when I was a child. I feel less like I’m middle-aged and more like I’m still coming into myself, still learning and growing and reaching towards the top of the hill. Certainly not OVER the hill.

And yet… forty.

They say that age is just a number but that’s only true when your number is over thirty. Below thirty and age feels relevant… crucial even. And then you turn 31 and suddenly it’s just a number. Just an arbitrary categorization you mark on an information sheet. Just one more box over to the right, nothing to see here, thank you very much. And then one crazy day you turn 40 and you’re marking that next box over… the one so much closer to 60… while juggling a bottle and a baby and wondering to yourself “How in the hell did I get here?” Or maybe “Am I here?” And then your body starts doing strange things that it didn’t used to do and suddenly you’re just… older. Everywhere.

But I don’t know… even with all the aches and pains, I’ve been forty for nearly four months and it still doesn’t feel real.

Maybe it’s the baby.

Fear

Posted on | March 27, 2018 | No Comments

It was cold in the emergency room.

Not the kind of frigid that makes you uncomfortable, just the kind of cold that makes you want to take a long nap under a very warm blanket. My husband was reclined back in one of those avocado green ER chairs, with an IV in his right arm but nothing attached to it. Although a nurse had come in once or twice, I’d yet to speak to a doctor of any sort. We were curtained off from the world, hidden in a sterile corner of the emergency room.

And my husband was in pain.

Not just a little pain, but pain that crumpled him from the knees to the chest. He tried not to, but occasionally he let out a soft grunting moan that I imagine would have been louder had I not been there.

Finally, they came; two surgical residents in scrubs and tied off head scarves, looking like they had just stepped out of a television drama… or an operating room. They’d let him go home, they said, everything was fine. Just a weird and rare infarction of the omentum that would heal itself. Nothing to worry about, really, they said, as my husband nodded through his pain. They stepped away to call their attending physician and said they’d be back.

It was a long time before anyone came back, pulling aside the curtain at 1:00 am, 10 hours after we arrived, to tell us he would be admitted for observation. To tell us that for some reason, his kidneys were failing and needed more fluids. For some strange reason, not in any way related to his pain, they said.

I left him there, in his avocado chair, and went to be with our boys. At 1:30 am I let the tears fall… all the many tears that had cramped and kicked their way into my chest as I watched my husband fight off pain. We slept together that night, me and both boys, all three tucked and tumbled into the same bed.

My husband slept alone.

When I arrived back at the hospital the next morning, he was still in the emergency department.

Nothing had changed.

No one had done anything to help. No one could explain the pain.

Twenty seven hours after arriving at the emergency room, my husband was finally transferred to a regular hospital room.

Twenty. Seven. Hours. Later.

Twenty seven hours of kidney numbers failing. Twenty seven hours of waiting for answers. Twenty seven hours of “any minute we’ll let you go home, oh wait no your kidneys are failing.”

Twenty seven hours of watching my husband grimace and curl with pain and discomfort, watching the fear slide slow across him, dripping down with the fluid in his IV… seeing the numbers come back lower and lower, evidencing the damage the emergency room physician had wrought on his kidneys.

“A perfect storm,” they said.

“Shouldn’t have given him that IV Contrast,” the wonderfully kind surgeon acknowledged.

“Could have been avoided,” I heard, bouncing around and around my head.

All of this. All of this pain and agony. Some his, some mine. All of this fear and worry. All of this could have been avoided.

The worst of it was the being alone. I was so alone… carrying the weight of my husband’s illness and my need. Carrying the weight and worry of two boys who need their father. Carrying the weight of a woman who needs her love. Alone. I sat alone by his bedside, watching him rest, finally, when the pain medicine kicked in. Alone. I have done alone before, my heart screamed, I can not do alone again. I wanted someone there… someone to hold my hand as I held his. But I was alone.

“I can’t lose him,” I sobbed to the nurses. “I can’t.”

He is my everything, I spoke to myself, He is my only. With him, I am not alone and I can not, I will not be alone. I wanted to scream. I wanted to kick and punch my way to answers. I wanted to save him so that he could continue to be my salvation. I can not lose him.

“You won’t,” they assured me. “Totally fixable. You won’t lose him.”

And I didn’t. We were lucky. He came home, not the same but better. He came home and still I heard the nurses in the back of my mind, reminding me that I wouldn’t lose him. Reminding me that this fear was temporary.

Their promises wove into my heart, bolstering my confidence to leave him at home, alone, without my watchful eye. But deep in the back of my mind, a voice whispers still a truth I dare not speak aloud:

“You will lose him, Karen. Someday. You will lose him. Just not today.”

And Fear reclined back, terrifyingly comfortable in his curtained off corner of my heart.

Starting Over

Posted on | February 3, 2018 | No Comments

When I looked at my life on December 31st, I felt…. stagnant.

Yes, I realize that’s a ridiculous thing to say when you’re 40 with a new-ish baby, and a new-ish husband. But I’m one of those people who needs new adventures. I need something on the horizon… something good, something bad… just SOMETHING.

So on January 1st, I wrote an email to an attorney I admire. It was nothing more than a spontaneous reach out to soothe some of the anxiety I was having at not going anywhere.

But then he responded nearly immediately.

And one week later I was sitting in an unfamiliar office with two familiar attorneys, laughing and talking about career options.

One week after that, I had a job offer and a decision to make.

For those of you who have been around a while, you may recall that when I got divorced, I had to haul it out of Savannah at rapid speed. I was so lucky to find a firm back in Macon who wanted me and I signed on the dotted line. I started to work there on June 1, 2011.

On January 19th, 2018, I sat across the desk from my boss of nearly 7 years, and told her it was time for me to move on.

It was one of the most difficult decisions I’ve made thus far in my life, and I don’t say that with a smirk.

See, when I joined the firm 7ish years ago, I didn’t just start a job; I started a new life. Shortly after I started, we hired another attorney. Then six months later, we hired a third attorney and a law clerk. Then six years went by and those three people were three of the best friends I’ve ever had. 

The thing about being a lawyer is that shit very often gets incredibly real. And nine times out of ten the only people who understand the realness that comes with being a lawyer are other lawyers. These three in particular, knew nearly exactly what my life was like for six years. They experienced the highs and lows alongside me. They were the unofficial planners/photographers/cake wrapper-uppers at my wedding. They love my boys like their own.

And leaving that sort of environment… where you work with your people… is incredibly difficult. It felt so much like closing a door instead of opening one. It felt like abandoning ship in the middle of the ocean, with no life raft, while an incredibly awesome party was taking place on deck.

But sometimes you just have to hold your nose and jump. And so I did.

I start my new job on Monday morning.

Here’s to new beginnings all over again. And if these three think they’ve seen the last of me… they are sorely mistaken. Because Goonies never say die, y’all… and dammit, I love you guys.

 

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    Spilled Milk (and Other Atrocities) by Law Momma is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
    Based on a work at http://www.law-momma.com.
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