So we had our wine party on Saturday night and it was SO much fun and I love everyone who came and it was a total highlight of my month. I want very much to tell you about it and I think you should all host your own (and invite me if you're local), and I'm even tempted to do so and pretend everything in my week is as perfect as that party, but.
This week has wrecked me. I drove home from work - early because I wasn't getting anything done anyway and the urge to crawl under my desk was too strong to ignore any longer - and wished for the first time in my life that I could go anywhere but home. I wanted to drive to an anonymous soulless hotel room, turn on the food network, take the hottest longest bath I could handle and curl up under the covers and ignore every single thing in my life besides covers and the sounds of someone else cooking food. Preferably British someones baking mysterious cakes with flavor combinations I don't understand. It's more soothing when it's British and the weird flavors don't make me hungry.
But I have children and responsibilities, so I didn't. I've never wanted to escape from my life before, but I think it says something about this week that my parents' sudden and random decision on Sunday to sell their Livingston lake house and my childhood home in Kingwood and buy another house is the least emotional thing weighing on me as I sit here not in my hotel room. I'm sad about it. I haven't lived in the Kingwood house for 15 years and have only visited a handful of times in the last decade, but every childhood memory I have is there. I learned how to ride my bike and had my first kiss on that driveway; got ready for all my first days of school, a million morning practices, prom, and my wedding in our little upstairs bathroom; ate thousands of family dinners in the kitchen; and walked in through the front door a thousand times more... I feel uprooted somehow, despite the fact that my roots have already proved to be quite portable. My childhood is more than a house; it's the memories in it and the foundation of confidence, love, and security I feel in my every day, and yet, all those memories are in that house.
I have feelings about it. Not everyone gets to return to their childhood home whenever they want and not everyone has purely happy memories when they get there. I do and I did and I won't get to go back anymore. I was taken aback by the intensity of my feelings about that. Like Miranda Lambert says, it's the house that built me. I know it was really the people and they're still here. But it's also the house and it won't be mine anymore.
~ ~ ~
Later on Sunday we found out James's dad is in the hospital, insensible and delirious, having violent outbursts, and suffering from late stage chronic hepatic encephalopathy as a complication from cirrhosis. He is unlikely to be lucid again.
James's parents are complicated and not a topic I'm going into, but as most readers know- they stopped talking to us in 2010 and we haven't seen them since May of that year, when I was pregnant with Claire and Landon was 2. He doesn't want to talk about it and for the most part, we don't.
We had to talk about it on Sunday. On Monday, he decided to call the hospital and his mom put his phone up to his dad's ear. "Hi dad," he said, for the first time in a long time.
"James. How's your swim meet?" his dad slurred.
"I'm sorry to hear you're sick."
"You need to go downstairs and let the dog out."
"...I wish things could have been different between us."
And then his mom hung up the phone.
(He does not want to talk about it.)
~ ~ ~
On Tuesday, Landon started at a new counselor. This isn't bad, I'm very pro-counseling and, as we explained to Landon, no one knows everything about everything, not even your wise parents, and we should always seek out people who know more to help us. Teachers, swim lesson instructors, lawyers, and doctors- experts! And just like how we see a doctor for our body, we can also talk to one about our mind and our feelings. I don't know if it's just being 9 and having bigger feelings than he is used to or can handle- they're certainly bigger than we're used to or can handle- but over the last year or so Landon has had outbursts or tantrums that spiral completely out of control. His control and ours. It's not that often and it's never at school or with friends, but no one in our house has any idea what we're supposed to do with them when they do pop up- including him. So we're getting help on that. Tantrum prevention and management. This is good.
It still feels shitty to basically sit down with a third party and vocalize how wrong your parenting has been and how lost you are with your own child, but along with the fact that we want to do better for him, it's important to me that he sees that when we don't know, we get help, and he should too. It's okay to not know, and it's even better to get help to do better.
But fuck it was not a great week for it. Particularly since, as James described when they got home, his stomach dropped the minute Landon went back to talk to the counselor alone and he spent 45 minutes waiting for the police to be called because we both still have serious PTSD when it comes to new health authority figures talking with our children. Never mind that there is absolutely no grounds for that, and at 9 years rather than 2 months of age, Landon would be able to say that, I understood exactly what he meant (I had my only anxiety attack of my life when Landon had to get a stomach x-ray a few years ago and I blacked out in the doctor's office) and the haunting specter of the Chicago nightmare being back in my brain was nothing we needed this week.
~ ~ ~
And later on Tuesday, James and I had one of those things that isn't a fight, it's just calm steady talk, but somehow two hours later you're both wrecked and sitting there staring at each other like what the fuck just happened? This didn't even seem like a big deal when we started talking how can I feel like the floor just fell out from under me?
(The floor is back, we have a strong foundation (which wasn't meant to be a pun, but does kind of go with the theme), but holy hell, maybe no more talking about anything that could potentially touch on anything serious or emotional until next week. Neither of us have much to give at the moment.)
~ ~ ~
And so that's the week. Or at least the first few days of it, apparently it's only Wednesday. And it's not even all bad. It's just too much.
I'd already invited over my mama friends over to help me drink all the leftover wine from Saturday by turning it into sangria on Friday while our kids run amok in our back yard. The week is going to get improve, or we're just going to wait it out and watch it die, but it will end and I will be holding sangria when it does. I'm looking forward to it.
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