Winter is hard on everyone, but I feel especially crazy right now. I'm trying to take one of my last college classes actually in-class, and every single time I have to go it's like the hardest thing in the world. I seriously cry on my way there, cry trying to walk in the doors, cry if I think the teacher might talk to me...
I am really lucky that I finally bit the bullet and went to disability services to ask for help getting my degree finished up. Otherwise I'm almost sure I would have just given up this semester entirely.
Unfortunately for me, the worst month of the year is also when my birthday is. And for some really immature, selfish reason... it always makes me feel like absolute garbage when no one goes out of their way to celebrate with me. I'm one of those annoying birthday people who just REALLY WANTS someone to make it into a big deal, and then when it doesn't happen I get unreasonably upset, even though I have been reminding myself for the whole month that it's OK if people forget and it's not their fault, (IT'S MY PARENT'S FAULT FOR NOT THINKING THE TIMING THROUGH WHEN THEY GOT PREGNANT I WILL ON PURPOSE SCHEDULE ALL FUTURE BIRTHS SEPT-NOV or APRIL-JUNE BECAUSE THOSE ARE THE ONLY GOOD BIRTHDAYS GAAAAAAAH) and then I have totally lost it and am sobbing because my dad remembered to buy me a cake, but it was 5 days late and not just because he couldn't see me before then but because he honestly didn't think about it and I am crying and want to throw a tantrum although I know it is totally stupid because I DON'T EVEN LIKE CAKE SO WHO CARES???
Anyway, like I said, this is a crazy time of year for me. I also have a terrible driving phobia (which of course gets worse in the winter) so I try not to drive on the highway because I'm convinced it will equal immediate death... so when every few weeks I have to drive out past Stevens Point to go pick up Shi from his dad I start panicking a day in advance. This inevitably ends with me calling Shiloh's dad and begging him to drive Shi back, which for whatever reason he refuses to do (seriously, how can you "honestly only have $7 to last you the next 2 weeks" every time I ask? If that is true, you need to figure out a different way of life, and fast) and then I cry in the car while clenching my hands around the steering wheel and tensing my shoulders up so high that by the time I am actually back home 2 hours later, I am in immense pain as well as on the verge of mental breakdown.
I want to be healed. I know it's a process, I know I'm making progress, but it just feels so slow and painful that often it seems like I'm not getting anywhere. Frustrating.
A small sample of entries on Facebook about the ever stressful Valentine's Day:
Gross. I hate this day. The idea of a day where you have to show some unnatural display of affection... whether you are really feeling in love that day or not, whether you are in a relationship that is slowly dying or in a brand new one or in a wonderful one... or not in one at all! And the idea that if I'm not in a relationship it's because I need to "try harder" or "pedal forward for my love" makes me want to punch people.
I'm just gonna admit it, guys. This year, I was not looking forward to Christmas. It was a bunch of little things, really.
1) I hate that damn Elf on the Shelf more than anything else in the entire world! If I wake up in a cold sweat at 3am one more time, just to stumble blearily around the house trying to find something clever to do with him I'll... well, do nothing. Because Buddy is still amazed by him, even though his friends are a little more world wise and have started to mention to him that gosh his elf just looks like a doll.
The elf on a tire swing
2) I hate shopping. Especially when I don't have much $, so I feel obligated to somehow find a creative lovely gift for under $20, instead of just being able to buy things that are on (increasingly more expensive) Christmas lists.
Ninja Buddy with his new K'nex
3) I hate planning for all my family obligations. This year I did my mom's house and my dad's house on Christmas Eve, then my mom's family on Christmas day and shipped Buddy off to his dad's for the rest of the day. Which actually is a lot less than I've had some years, but the simple act of making the plans is so stressful... and of course no one can ever plan anything in advance. I was seriously still up in the air as to what was happening when until the 23rd, which means days 10-23 of December were just full of worry as I called family over and over, asking about plans.
I'm a whiner, I know. It's just been a frustrating holiday season. Buddy got back from spending the weekend with his dad's family and is just in a beast of a mood, exhausted and over-stimulated and mean. But I haven't gotten to actually spend enjoyable time with him yet this break, so I'm desperate to cram one more activity into his time... and if I didn't, then he would just be cranky and mean at home.
Uncle Dave teasing a cranky Buddy
Tonight is New Year's Eve. I'm refusing to make any plans. I guess my resolution for this next year is to manage my stress better, to notice the things that are making me feel overwhelmed and angry and either find a way to make them work or just let them go. This applies to people as well, there are some people in my life that I spend a great deal of time thinking and planning and worrying about, and there is absolutely no point. I don't want to be frustrated and crabby all the time anymore. I want to enjoy the activities that I am involved in, not just go because I feel obligated. This is my resolution.
As many of you all know, for the past few years our family tradition has been going up north to my grandparent's house to cook Thanksgiving dinner for them. That is what we did again this year, and it was fantastic as usual.
I am not a person who cooks, generally. The schedule that my son and I are on (because of my work and his school) means that we only eat breakfast together, and often I am not hungry yet so he just eats cereal or oatmeal. But for whatever reason, cooking Thanksgiving is one of my favorite things to do!
I say "for whatever reason", but really I know why. My dad and I do it together, and my Buddy 'helps' with a lot of stuff (as long as we aren't in a hurry, because of course his 'help' makes everything take twice as long) and my grandparents wander in and out of the kitchen, and it makes for a wonderful family time.
This year my brother and I made that ever popular alcoholic drink "apple pie" and we were maybe way too proud of ourselves considering it was actually super easy, but I don't get to hang out and do stuff with my bro very often so I loved it even if it was totally lame.
I am always embarrassingly proud of whatever dishes I cook, since as I said I mostly only make pasta and chicken at home.
One of the best parts of going up north is visiting with my grandparents. My grandma has tons of albums of pictures of our family history, and as soon as I get up there I always make her sit down and tell me about the pictures in one book or another. She is one of the wisest people I know, and listening to the stories about her life gives me hope for mine, as well as even more respect for her. Also, she is hilarious when she talks about what a snot my father was as a child.
Shiloh also loves going up north, since he gets to see his Great Grandparents who he absolutely loves. He is constantly talking to (or bugging) Grandma Betty or Grandpa Ray to watch him do something, or to play with him, or to sing a song, or... anything so that he can interact with them. The fact that he can have that kind of relationship with his Great Grandparents makes my heart do that thing where it feels like it doesn't fit inside my ribcage anymore.
Anyway, of course things are never perfect. Somewhere between Wednesday afternoon and Thursday evening I picked up a nasty cold, and now I've been coughing my lungs out and shivering and blowing my nose for the last 2 days. But it was totally worth it, especially since I don't have any pressing responsibilities until Monday afternoon :)
Shiloh has really gotten into sports and physical activity lately, and it makes me so proud! After playing basketball at every recess all fall, talking about it non-stop, and playing wherever there was a hoop in his free time, he convinced me to sign him up for a basketball session at the Y. And I am so glad I did!
Unlike in past units with the YMCA, his coach seriously knows what she is talking about. I also may have a serious case of hero worship! She is a tall, fit, pretty woman and she is great at basketball and great at working with 1st and 2nd graders who are still learning the basics of the game.
Also unlike in past units, Shiloh is actually really serious about his practicing. He listens really hard and gets super into whatever skill they are practicing. It is awesome to watch!
He also signed up for swimming lessons this fall, and that's going really well also. But it's not as easy for me to judge that, since I only ever made it one level higher in swimming than he is in right now!
You guys, I forgot that summer vacation isn't idyllic! I dream of summer all winter long, then it gets here and I find myself stressed and crazy.
This year, a lot of it is about Shiloh. Our schedule last school year was so insane, we were running around from 7 am to 8 pm almost every day. Shiloh was at a different babysitter's almost every day of the week, so he was constantly playing with new friends or doing different cool activities. Although this wasn't ideal, it worked for us and I was ok with it, just dreaming of summer when we would have tons more free time and be able to relax and have fun together.
Well, he doesn't know how to relax! He has been so scheduled constantly that he literally cannot figure out how to go play with his toys for an hour, or ride his bike around the block, or anything that isn't a planned activity. For the first few weeks this was HORRIBLE, but we've started to figure it out now.
Our new agreement is that I will plan 1 fun thing per day, be it a picnic, a long bike ride, a trip to the library/pool/museum etc. But other than that, he needs to entertain himself! I of course will be around to read with him sometimes, or help him draw a city out of chalk in our driveway, or whatever. But he is expected to fill in the time without constantly asking for me to play, or saying "I'm booooreddddd..." etc.
I know all parents struggle with this each summer, but this one has been way worse than any others that I can remember!