I’d call it “white people problems,” but technically, I’m not white, so there goes that. I’m very lackadaisical with a side order of malaise today, can’t tell you why.
I’m weirded out that I’m so weirded out about being a parent. Two nights ago I realized how painful I find it to think about the happy times I had when I was a divorced dad* to my nephew. Very painful. So painful I end up crying, no matter where, no matter when I think about my sweet pseudo-son and the great fun we had. I used to feel good about those times because I knew what I was doing! I had instincts! I loved him and led him and didn’t have to think twice or second-guess or freak out! So I thought I’d be a good parent. Then I lost him in the divorce and despite missing him all the time, I can’t really think about him too much (see the previous part about pain). Over time, then, I’ve forgotten that once upon a time I had instincts and fun and general awesomeness with a kid even though I was responsible for him and (let’s be honest) he was a hard kid to guide given his shitty home situation.
I would like to get past that and feel confident about my parenting future, but I don’t think I can without getting through the painfulness and figuring out a way to live with it.
My job is kind of ridiculous, but I’m good at it. I help people get past the stuckness and silliness and bad direction they’re veering toward. I make them play nice and show them the right way to go about getting real decisions made at the appropriate levels of the organization in a big complex matrixed corporation. But I spend all my time being frustrated that my skills are even needed. I need to find a way to reframe my perspective so I can be proud of what I do, not annoyed that I have to do it. I’m good at it, after all. Therapists don’t bemoan the fact that people need them, right? Or Orthopedists that people break legs?
So, yea, that.
Something else is going on that I can’t put my finger on. It could be that I’ll be out of town for fifteen days in a row. Might be that our lives are being shaken up a bit at home, but we’re actually handling it really well, so maybe not. I don’t think it’s hormonal, but who knows? I don’t know.
*My nephew (by marriage to my first husband) had a shitty, unstable home life. I was nineteen and full of confidence, enough that I stepped into the void because I could. He spent weekends with me from the time he was four until we moved away five years later, and I loved him more than I’ve ever loved anyone. We just fit together. He’d join me in whatever I was doing — shopping, building, reading, studying, visiting my family, whatever — and I’d enjoy it all that much more because he was with me. He didn’t like to be touched so I didn’t; I allowed no leeway for punkiness so he wasn’t. I was “his people,” the ones you can count on to love you and defend you no matter way, especially important if you’re a kid and therefore often lack say in the matter. He trusted me enough to ask the hard questions; I loved him enough to answer them all honestly.
I gave him up when we divorced, choosing to lose him rather than force him to choose between my ex- and I. I think that was a mistake, not fighting — even through messiness — to get to stay in his life, but at the time I thought it best. Now I struggle to be okay with that decision and force myself to trust in his innate awesomeness to help him raise himself the rest of the way. Out of rough childhoods come really great people, and he’ll be one of those.