Monday, February 20, 2012
After breakfast we and the kids visited a nature center near where my husband works.
It is brand new and in a LEED-certified building. Not that you know this, but being involved in something like this is exactly what my education prepared me for (I have a B.S. in wildlife conservation and a M.S. in wildlife biology). So here we were at this breathtaking nature center and I'd not only had nothing to do with it, but I'd had no idea it existed. Granted, it isn't in my county, but was a bummer none-the-less. The more wonderful it was as we went through the exhibits (the trails were closed today), the more disconnected I felt from what I used to be all about, that is, before kids. This was not inappropriate, as I have been quite disconnected from my field since kids, due to the rigors of motherhood, the all-consuming nature of it, plus all the fun of deep depression and paralyzing anxiety strung-out over six years. I continued to get journals and magazines, but they sit, unread for the most part, overwhelming, in a box.
What was not rational, was the feeling of exclusion that continued to deepen as we went through the center. Here were all the tools for teaching children to love nature, the same tools that helped shape my interest in being a naturalist... a touch table with a deer skull, antlers of various sizes, different kinds of seeds, furs from a mink and muskrat and raccoon, costumes for dressing up as animals, posters of the common animals of MD.... I watched my kids enjoy everything and felt like I was on the other side of some wall between my current life and my past life. I felt sad (rational). I felt dejected (somewhat rational), I felt excluded and rejected (irrational). I felt old (not irrational, as I'm approaching a milestone birthday and have been out of the workforce for six years now) and doubted I would ever actually get to work here (not irrational, given reductions in state money etc., but kind of irrational since the feeling was really more about feeling the valid qualifications I have would be discounted for various reasons).
After we left, I was really thirsty and broke down and got a big Dr. Pepper (bad for my diet and my teeth). I am still feeling quite broken-hearted at not being able to move to a home in the development across from where my husband works. We are short a couple of hundred thousand dollars to do that comfortably. We toyed with the idea of whether we could do it if my father-in-law sold his house and came to live with us, but even then we'd be so house-poor that we'd be eating cereal for every meal and would have no extracurricular activities for anyone. We drove past the development on the way home. I can't say why I've fixated on this except for the feeling that by moving out of the house where I had all the post-partum depression and that I'm chafing so badly in and that's so cluttered and unkempt that it would be like having a hero swoop down and save me, depositing me on a clean slate.
At home after whining about the above, I somehow got on the topic of this fight I've been having with our medical insurance company, which I'd backburnered for some six months too long. I pulled out my paperwork on it and for some reason disregarded the intimidation I'd felt at buckling down and teasing out exactly what was accepted and what was rejected out of various claims in the mess of statements I had dealing with the matter. My husband made dinner, which I consider my job. I felt a bit guilty, but not too bad since it was more like we were trading-off as I was actually doing something important. The problem was that I'd let it languish too long and I had a lot of guilt about that, which of course, meant more tears. Anyway, I did figure it out and am now ready to write the letter that needs to be sent to document the whole mess. I'd intended to do that after dinner, but procrastinated instead by cleaning out my email. In doing so I also avoided a second job I have to do, I am supposed to be illustrating a children's book but need to dig in and get some real work done. I've only done one sketch, and it's not all that great. I also avoided blogging at the same time. So productive in my non-productivity!
Well at least I got to this one task tonight, writing to you. I'll have to tackle everything else tomorrow: Monday. My daughter has off of school for President's Day, but my husband does not have off of work. I guess that'll be OK, though she stresses me out. Today she was very clingy and intrusively demonstrative of affection. I was feeling depressed and when that happens my personal space needs increase. I am not super cuddly when I'm down and my daughter got in my face with demands for kisses and kissing my nose when I was trying to eat or shoving her head under my arm like a dog looking for attention when I was trying to eat or do something else. She was very needy. That sounds sad now that I see it written down. But really, it's was not all me, she really can be a bit excessive and over-dramatic. Maybe the extra attention tomorrow will cool her jets. I think she's been feeling bad knowing that her comment yesterday hurt my feelings. (I told my husband when I didn't realize she was right there. Brilliant move on my part. I am so good at this whole thing.)
But it won't be my normal Monday when she's at school and my son is at school and I get some sanity time. And on Tuesday my time is constricted by having to go to a counseling appointment, so I'm all bent out of shape about that. It seems like she is always having off or half days to me. I have a mom friend who Facebooks about how excited she is to have her daughter home on days like tomorrow. SIGH. She also has family around to help her out sometimes though. So I expect to see how they did some brilliant craft together or baked or something like that tomorrow. I worry that my kids are going to grow up feeling that I did not want to take care of them. Sometimes that's true. Can that be normal? It's not always true, really.
Anyway, that was today. As you can see, my mood has been pretty down since my bottoming-out last Thursday. I did get a bunch of sleep this weekend. Maybe that'll help this be a better week. That would be good.