“Are you socializing him?”

When I was a kid, I remember my mother getting off the phone with my grandma and remarking to my step-devil, “She is repeating her stories, again”.

At that age, I loved my grandmother’s stories. Over and over. I loved the way she talked to me about the same things. I had no idea why my mom was so irritated.

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I don’t call my mom after 4:30. She is usually on her way to drunk after that time. I now know why my mom was irritated all those years ago. It’s because talking to an alcoholic is annoying. They hold onto one subject and find a way to say their piece every time a window opens. I know this because now, my mother does it to me.

“Are you socializing him”? My mother asks….. AGAIN. It’s almost drunk:30, and I am fucking sick of this conversation with her.

“Mom, seriously, he is fine. He is in basketball, and Lego Club. We just moved here, friends take time to make”. Please leave it alone.

“It’s a big deal”, she replies. I am so fucking pissed that she even questions my parenting given the obvious deficits in her own ability to mother me.

“Mom, you are going too far, I don’t keep him locked in a basement, we get out, we do stuff”.

She continues with her psyco-babble until I finally put my foot down. When I say finally, I mean we have had this damn conversation at least a dozen times since I moved here. Seriously. No joke. A dozen times. Conservatively.

“Mom, I can’t talk to you about this anymore, I am getting off the phone”.

“Alright bye”, she replies, words starting to slur.

Then she texts me: I LOVE YOU.

I give no reply. It is so condescending and coming on the heels of her tequila filled state, I can’t reply.  The next day, she texts the same, and a 31 year old woman, parent to two replies, “I love you too Mom, I will not discuss my children’s socialization with you again. I am doing a fine job of giving them what they need, If you can’t trust that and move on, there is not much else I can say”.

She texts back, “I’m sorry, you are the best Mom ,wish I were u”.

Yes, thanks for that mother, it’s four hours past drunk:30, that means a lot.

Holiday Mourning

My friends were the last people to see us before we drove away. It wasn’t my family who busted ass with us to move; it was them. Faithful them, loving them. They are beautiful.

When someone comes from a toxic family like mine, good friendships are precious. We spend holidays together, home school together, we plan camping trips, hiking adventures, and cry together. I have great friends in spades, five hundred miles away.

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I hit all three goals from last week. My last one, I hit as I rode my bike into town for my session. Coming in sweaty, ever the good student. I completed my tasks. Check.

Settling into her office, Max jumped on my lap. We covered the week’s events, and how I had TWO good weeks in a row.

“You know, the holidays are approaching us”, Jill starts.

“Yeah,” I reply, not giving much thought to it, assuming we would be moving on.

“What were your holidays like in WA?”

I describe to her how idyllic my friendships are. We plan our holidays so we can be together. We coined the term Framily. We are gangsters of friendship.

She replied, “You know, you aren’t going to have those experiences this year. It is only going to be you four”.

Instantly, the tears well up. The pain of leaving my people fills my body, and runs down my cheeks. I fight back the sorrow, but it’s useless. Grabbing a tissue, I have nothing to say except, “You are great at making a girl cry, Jill”.

“My job is to help you see the road ahead, so you aren’t blindsided. I’d like you to start thinking of some new traditions you can include in your holidays. So this time joyous, not lonely. Remember, you still have your friends; you can call on them anytime you need. To start making this place your home, brainstorm on new memories you can create”.

“That will take me awhile”, I blubber through tears and snot. Thinking to myself, I don’t want new fucking traditions, I want my old ones. I want my friends.

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What are your favorite traditions, maybe you can help me make new ones.

image(2)On my ride home. My bike was tired, so I walked it up that hill.

Anxiety Comes

{four weeks ago}

When I feel it coming on, I brace for it. If you have ever been in a car accident, you know the brace I am talking about. My muscles tighten so fiercely, my bones ache. My brain scrambles for the coping strategies we are familiar with.

“Slow down. Breathe. Nita, Breathe. Slowly, you can get a hang of this one”. Heart racing. “Breathe. You got this”.

Most of the time, I am able to lean into it until it passes. Usually, I get through it with a modicum of control. Sometimes, control is lost in the wave of heat, pain, and illogical panic. Sometimes, the deafening, paralyzing sensations get a hold of me, and I succumb to its wrath.

In our bedroom, I was folding laundry, and Tim was packing. His work was keeping him super commuting between Boise, and Seattle. Seattle, my home, my comfort. Here in Boise, I feel like a foreigner. The kids and I are settling into this new (beautiful) life largely alone, and apart from Tim. Making friends isn’t easy in my thirties.

My mind starts racing. School, laundry, the dogs, sports, housekeeping, dinner, breakfast. No friends, all alone. My only adult connection is packing. He is packing. Oh God, he is packing and leaving me here. With all this. This laundry never ends.

Heart racing. “Keep it together, girl”, but no one hears me, not even myself. My body is rebelling against my urges to control the anxiety.

I drop the shirt I was folding. Suddenly I’m on the floor in a puddle of panic. It’s hot. Control is lost, I cry, yell at my sweet husband, who is not equipped for these moments. I’m rubbing my foot on the floor, as if the stroking will calm the pain.

10 minutes pass.

He holds me. I weep.

Then he continues to pack.