A Creeping Loss of Normal

The week of March 15th-22ndĀ  was the last time the grocery storeĀ  I shop at had its last full shopping ad. Now it is a one page double sided ad with very little on sale and even if it’s not on sale, not much can be found. Pasta is wiped out, canned goods are gone, finding toilet paper, tissues, paper towels, and any kind of disinfectant has become like a search for the Holy Grail.

March 17th was the last day I remember being able to work in my office. Now I work from home. I do video conferences with parents who are going out of their minds trying to educate their special needs children and also get them to sit still long enough to do anything. It’s nice not to have to drive all over the place but I miss seeing my parents and kiddos in person.

Also on March 17th there were 267 people in my state diagnosed with COVID-19 and 3 had died. As of today, April 12th, there are 61,850 people diagnosed and 2,350 deaths. It took only 26 days for this virus to get so out of control. That’s not even a full month yet.

On April 4th I saw a lot more people wearing masks and gloves in the stores while shopping. Initially it was only older people who were doing this but now more people around my age were wearing them. It was unnerving to say the least. There were taped lines you could not cross. You got warned to not step over the blue line to order your food from the deli. They had put up plastic barriers between the customers and the cashiers so we didn’t breathe on one another or God forbid accidentally sneeze on one another. People with allergies were never so hated as they are now.

This past week you were not allowed into the store unless you had some sort of face covering. My husband and I shopped wearing bandanas over our faces. You also had to wait to get into the grocery store because only a few people were allowed in the store at a time. It only took about seven minutes of waiting but it was weird to stand in line just to get into the grocery store. I saw my friend in line while I was there. I couldn’t even hug her because we all had to be SIX FEET APART AT ALL TIMES (said the booming voice of the security guards by the entrance.

I am a total introvert by every standard of the word but I miss being able to go out into the world to eat out, to go to the library (WHY is a library not considered essential when we are all stuck in our houses?!), literally any reason to get out of the house. My husband and I walk a few feet from the house to get the mail during the week because it has become the most exciting part of the day where we can get out of our house and breathe fresh air.

We are not prisoners. We are allowed to be outside and take walks but I don’t feel safe doing that. I want to be outside but at the same time I feel like everyone and everything is contaminated. I feel like I am contaminated and if I so much as breathe on anyone I am going to kill them. I know that sounds ridiculous but when I see the numbers I freak out. And there is so much fear being spread that I don’t know what is true or false anymore.

I don’t know if things will ever go back to normal even once this crisis passes. I think it is going to leave an indelible mark on all of us. Some for the good. Some for the worse. But nobody is going to come out of this the same as they went into it.

Please stay safe my friends. Wash your hands, cover your face, but above all be kind and be true. There is a lot of fear out there. Be a light in this dark time.

Happy Mother’s Day!

At work I heard it. At the bank I heard it. Even just walking through the supermarket I heard it.

“Happy Mother’s Day”

Sweet and innocuous comment right? Just a stranger trying to be nice to another stranger in a world with ever lessening niceness. Well sorry my loves but I am here to tell you it is not nice to randomly walk up to someone and say Happy Mother’s Day unless you actually in fact know she’s a mother. And don’t just assume that because she is toting a little darling along that she is a mother. She could be a babysitter, a nanny, an auntie, etc.

I know some people will say I’m being ridiculous, after all it’s just a stranger trying to wish you well. Except, when I hear these words, I hurt. I hurt because I probably will never have children in the conventional way or maybe at all. I hurt for a few of my friends that have gone through infertility issues and have not been able to conceive. I hurt for the friends that have had still born babies or miscarriages. I hurt for other people, like me, who didn’t have the greatest relationship with their mother.

To all of you out there who are moms I praise and bless and pray for you. You have literally brought life into the world and (hopefully) you are molding and shaping a human being into a decent person. I acknowledge Dads are important too as I learned a lot from my father. But there is something about the bond between a mother and child that is sacred and sacrosanct. Even if you have a terrible relationship it is something that is biologically ingrained into us to seek after and something we want.

So please, I beg of you, unless you are 100% positive that the person standing near you in indeed a Mama Bear, please don’t just arbitrarily assume that they are a mother just because they are a girl.

 

What Would You Say: A Poem

*WARNING* Some parts of my poem below are pretty graphic. I apologize to anyone who is offended ahead of time. This is how I get through my depression. *

What would you say
If I told you that every day I want to die
That every step, every breath, every daily requirement
Is total torture and requires the strength of Superman
Just to get though 24 hours in one piece

What would you say
If I told you that I cry but tears never dot my cheeks
It is an internal maelstrom of rage, and hatred
Frustration, fear, anxiety, and so much more
All directed at myself but silent
So no one is bothered

What would you say
If I told you that I hated my friends all pregnant and plump
Parading their bellies full of babies like some trophy
Some unattainable prize I will never win
And that some days I just want to rip my uterus out
Because it is defective and so am I

What would you say
If I told you that I fantasize about sending letters
Full of cruel words that are stuck in my head
To parents I try to help but who are never satisfied
A system that is broken
And politicians who only care about the bottom line

What would you say
If they found me at my desk bleeding and pale
Because the expectations were too high
The pay was too low
And the praise was never enough.

You will say nothing
Because I will never say anything
And we will all pretend it’s okay
Until one of us collapses underneath the weight
Of a world too heavy to bear

So Much To Say…So Little Time to Say It

I have been absent from this blog for a bit. I’ve finally realized I am never going to be a daily blogger. I would like to, but life at this point does not allow it. I have so much I want to say but so little time to say it.

I have made some decisions regarding my life and I’m still reeling from those decisions. I completed my grad school application for Social Work. All I had to do was make the payment and I would most likely have been accepted. But….I couldn’t do it. I tried, I stared, I cried, I argued with myself, but in the end I did not complete the payment. After much thought, reflection, a talk with my pastor, my husband, and a few close friends I trust my life with, I have decided that I am going to try to become a mother.

I……….AM…………TERRIFIED………….

I was miserable the day I made the decision even though I knew it was the right one. When I thought about grad school all I felt was anxiety, fear, and more fear. There was no peace about the decision, mainly due to being worried about affording it and also moving around my work schedule to accommodate all the work I would have to do. When I talked to the people closest to me and they all agreed I would completely regret not becoming a mother, I knew this was the right choice. I felt it deep in my soul. This doesn’t mean I was thrilled. Going to grad school has been a major dream for me for the last 5 years. But motherhood has been a dream basically my whole life.

I met with my therapist and we talked about it. I admitted that I was afraid I was going to lose my identity and just become so and so’s mother. Not even a name anymore, just “that kid’s mom.” I told her I was afraid I would never have time to do anything I love again and that I would never get back to school. I’m afraid I will turn out like my mother and be an abusive, miserable, life-ruining mother. I’m afraid we will become homeless because we won’t be able to afford a kid and all that comes with one. My cousin in pregnant with twins. What if that happens to me? How will we manage in this house?

Work has become hell on earth and I have multiple families that are so rude, so entitled, and so abusive to me I have taken days off of work to recover. We are now required to do something called “The Magic Seven” which I refer to as Seven Levels of Hell. Basically you have to visit with each child twice a month and call their parents every week you don’t see them, then call at least three other providers working with the child. So with my current careload of 16 children that is 32 visits, 32 calls to parents, and 42 calls to various other people connected to each child. Also every child must be seen by the 15th of the month at least once. While that may not seem too bad, keep in mind we are not supposed to work weekends (although with the time limits we get I always do), all notes must be in within 48 hours, treatment plan meetings take about 2-3 hours each then putting plans in takes another 2-3 hours. Parents like to cancel, not pick up the phone, or monopolize you for about an hour as they relay all the struggles their little darling is putting them through. You have to squeeze in supervision, team meetings, and one day a month a staff meeting during which you are not to do any work. Do you see my issue?!

I love kids, I love social work, but some days it’s too much. There are never enough resources for the kids I work with. The parents are NEVER satisfied. Success is infrequent and small at best. And yet I want to bring a kid into this whole messy, rude, crazy world. What am I thinking?!

Oh and as for the challenge at the gym. I have given up trying to win. I have achieved my own personal goals. I lowered my blood sugar levels and my A1C. I can now wear one of my bras without an extender! My jeans are fitting a little better. I am actually starting to love myself through this. So yeah I’m not going to win but I feel like a winner anyway!

 

How Snuggles Make It All Better

Hello my friends! I have spent this weekend, which I thought would be spent getting caught up on house work, instead stuck on the darn couch again. Still not quite over this being sick thing. So let me say this loud and clear:

I AM SICK OF BEING ON THE COUCH!!!!

Okay, now that I have that out of the way I feel a little better LOL. But seriously I need my strength back. I need to get back to the gym so I can get my blood sugar down after the steroids sent my sugar into major orbit. I have been getting massive headaches as well.

This morning I was feeling pretty low because all I kept thinking about was the things I needed to get done and didn’t have energy for. My husband, blessed soul that he is, intuitively sensed this and wrapped me up in my quilt and snuggled me close. He didn’t really say much but just his presence and his hugs were enough to ease some of the stress I was feeling.

I have been fielding calls after hours for my job since Thursday. The person who had the on call before me had zero calls for a whole week. Meanwhile I have seven and I’m not done until Thursday this upcoming week. And a few have not been simple fixes. Normally I don’t mind doing this because I get extra in my paycheck but when you’re already feeling sick, dealing with other people’s problems become a struggle. I do have compassion and empathy but when I’m sick I want to be left alone. But we need the money so I just keep going.

We went for Sunday dinner at my mother in law’s tonight, and while I love going because I get to see my niece and nephew who are 2 and 3 respectively, the rest of the time I feel completely inadequate. My sister in law who is my husband’s step-sister is the golden child. She has the first two grandchildren and whether my mother in law admits this or not this gives her special status. So naturally I am expected to be her. I am supposed to have kids, grow vegetables, and be this great Italian wife. But I’m not Italian. And I suck at gardening. And as for the babies thing, well, there’s a lot more to that then I am comfortable discussing right now.

So just as I was feeling pretty crappy about myself for not being this amazing person that I’m supposed to be, my niece and nephew both crawled into my lap and snuggled in. They both told me they loved me and then proceeded to just love me and be with me simply because I was there and I loved them so much my heart literally bursts to overflowing every time I am with them. They didn’t ask me to be anything other then big ol’ snuggly Zia Jenny. BTW Zia is Italian for Aunt.

Tonight I am testifying to the healing power of the snuggle. So please grab someone you love and hold them tight. Tell them you think they are precious, wonderful, and so very amazing. Let them know you love them just as is, faults and flaws included. You may not know it but it may mean the world to them as it did to me today. free_hugs