Crappy birthday to me

Siiiiiigggghhhhh…..  Okay, fair warning: this blog post will be one long whining rant, ’cause that’s just how I feel.  So if you don’t want to be subjected to my negativity tonight, then just skip to the next feed on your Bloglines, ‘kay?  🙂

So it’s my birthday.  I’m 36 today.  Finally completely out of that 25-35 age bracket, though I was kind of borderline for the last year, where some people cut it off at 34 and others at 35.  Guess I’m officially in middle age now, though according to my spiritual director, I’ve been doing the work of midlife for over ten years.  It’s gotten old, but I will say I’m not ready for the work of old age, so I guess that’s something.

But today was the worst birthday I’ve had since… well, since last year.  Last year, I spent the weekend on a silent retreat, and I returned home Sunday around 11am on my birthday.  Shortly after I dropped my bags in the foyer, the kids snuck up behind me and set off crackers.  Needless to say, this did not make me happy, after two and a half days of silence.  We went out for lunch (after the typical debate about crowdedness, prices, and looking up menus online so everyone would know what they were going to order before we went out the front door), and then came back home.  I don’t know exactly why, but just a couple hours later, I was in tears of frustration and impotent rage (though I didn’t recognize that component until much later).

This year, I’ve been suffering mightily with the tree pollens that are spiking our pollen counts through the roof here in southeastern Virginia.  Last night, I woke up three times with sneezes and runny nose from the hay fever, so once my doctor’s office was open this morning, I called for an appointment.  That’s how I spent the middle part of the day.  My first “happy birthday” of the day came not from my daughter, who was here with me this morning, but came on my voice mail this afternoon from the general manager of the dealership where I bought my car last fall.   I did get a gift in the mail from my fiancé, but the only card I’ve received came from the grandmother I’m mostly estranged from.

My apartment is in complete disarray right now, because I move to the new house on Friday.  My fiancé flies in Thursday night to help with the move, so really, I have tonight and tomorrow night to get everything packed, before the movers come at 7am Friday morning.  I miss my beautiful pictures from my walls, my soothing surroundings, the books from my bookshelf, and the little mementos I have here and there.  And I’m tired – I’m not sleeping well, what with my nerves being jangled from the disorder around me, and with my brain going a mile a minute reminding me of everything I need to remember and do and keep track of this week… and oh yeah, the allergies.

I haven’t eaten a home-cooked meal since before I left for my Canada trip, which would be eighteen days ago.  Before that, I’d been trying to use up things so I wouldn’t have to throw them away, and since then, I’ve been packing.  Everything has been take-out or eat-out since then, and it’s getting old.  (Not to mention costing me on the waistline – I’m not looking forward to my next weighing at Weight Watchers.)  Of course, it’s not like I have the energy to fix anything anyway.  But I miss the comfort of my favorite meals, made the way I like them.

And then there have been the little frustrations.  I had a buy-one-get-one-free coupon at Bennigan’s for my birthday, but I forgot to say something to my daughter before she warmed up some leftovers for her supper.  So my birthday dinner is on its way from Domino’s now.  Also, my ex doesn’t remember it, but our separation agreement says that each of us is supposed to have the children on our birthday and on Mother’s/Father’s Day.  But I didn’t even get to see our son today at all.  He rode the bus straight home to his dad’s house – when he usually rides the bus here to hang out and do homework until his dad gets off from work – because his dad was home sick from work today.  I didn’t remind him of it, and I know I should have, but it really sucks that he couldn’t remember that, or even suggest it for himself.  And I’m not going into any of the other little inconsiderations and ways that he’s not living up to his end of our agreement.  No, I’ll take another deep breath (or ten), and I’ll remind myself to keep on trying to be the bigger person.

I’ve had to take a break from the church choir, because I’ve had conflicts on rehearsal nights for the last month.  I didn’t think it would be fair to the choir to show up on Sundays to sing anthems that I don’t know, so I emailed our organist a few times to let him know.  Some of the other choir members have told me they miss me and stuff, and I got a really sweet email from the real “Mom” of the choir this morning – she had no idea why I haven’t been participating the last month, had no idea that it was temporary and not health-related, told me that the organist hadn’t shared with the choir what was going on.  Of course, I know he had been dealing with his own health crisis this winter, but now I don’t even know for sure that he’d gotten my emails.  So I’m torn between feeling bad for the other choir members and feeling frustrated with our director.

And, worst of all perhaps…  My ex called our daughter and had a long talk at her, the kind she hates.  And even after she’d told me a couple months ago that she didn’t want to live with him any more, now she has decided and is sticking to her decision that she doesn’t want to live with me any more once I’m remarried.  She’ll still spend every other weekend with us, but doesn’t want to have alternate months with us.  And I don’t know how to respond to this.  He is a classic emotional abuser (and quite the misogynist, too), and he’s dumping his emotional baggage on our daughter now that I’m not there to dump on any more.  I so badly want to protect her from that, to help her learn how to deal with it, but now I’m not going to be able to any more.  And she’s thirteen – she’s old enough to make this kind of decision for herself.  I just feel so rejected, like she wants me to choose between her and my fiancé, and as awful as it sounds, I don’t know how to make that choice.

So for now, I really want to go curl up in my bed, cry until I’m cried out, roll up in a fetal ball and suck my thumb, and sleep for about a decade.  And when I wake up, I want it to be in my new house, all unpacked and decorated and peaceful and beautiful.  Instead, I have more boxes to pack.  More things to hand-carry to the house.  Just more work… and I am seriously lacking in the resources to handle it.

So please, if you can spare a moment, can you send up a prayer for me?  In the meantime, I’ll be packing and packing and packing.  Thanks!

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7 thoughts on “Crappy birthday to me

  1. I pray that you will feel like the beloved child of God that you are. I pray that upcoming birthdays will soothe the pain from this one and other ones. And I pray the move with be smooth, and that the promises of the new house and second chances will be fulfilled beyond your wildest expectations.

    Peace.

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  2. Ah, thank you, Elizabeth! You sure know how to find my (happy) buttons, don’t you? 🙂

    {{{{{{{{{{ Elizabeth }}}}}}}}}}

    I needed that moment of sanity – it really helped recolor last night, after dumping all the crap from my head.

    Thanks again!
    Hedwyg

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  3. Heather – I’m so sorry to hear about things going so badly for you. I had a birthday like that when I was going through a divorce. My family actually made plans with me, and cancelled in favor of a soccer game. I was devastated because I literally felt like I had no one. I think the way to look at it might be to realize that other people aren’t thinking about how your feelings may have been hurt. It isn’t that they don’t care about you….they’re just unintentionally being thoughtless. I have learned not to expect my kids to do anything for me. When they do, it’s exciting! One of the best gifts the kids have given me have been cards and letters saying, “I love you.”

    As for the ex and your daughter, I can only say that I know how difficult that must be. My ex made my older two NOT want to live with him. Maybe the best thing is to let her go do what she thinks is best, and maybe she’ll return (prodigal son story).

    If you need anyone to talk to, I’m here. Years may have passed, but I still remember you (even back to Junior High). It saddens me to know that people I grew up with are going through emotional and physical pain. Keep your head up, and know that good things will happen for you.

    PS- I’ll be a Weight Watchers buddy with you after my surgery (give me until the end of April for recovery). We can nag each other about doing “bad” things like ordering Domino’s…and I have to say, I haven’t seen a Domino’s for YEARS, and I MISS IT!

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  4. Sending love and prayers.

    And, I ‘ll be a weight watchers buddy for you. But, right now, I’m not losing. ..been on that flat line chart for several months now. Summer with the fresh veggies will be good for us.

    Moving is stressful, too, and I’m sending you what energy I can and lots of patience, too. Remember the beauty – and that beauty often takes work.

    Prayers for your children, also. Hugs.

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  5. Hedwyg—I’m sorry you had such a crappy birthday…I hope the subsequent ones are infinitely better.

    On the subject of your post—I’ve gone back and forth with myself about whether I should comment about your situation. You don’t “know” me, and it’s very likely that you’ll be greatly offended by what I’m going to say. But I also suspect that everyone around you is thinking what I’m about to say, and no one in your real life wants to say it for fear of alienating you.

    I just feel so rejected, like she wants me to choose between her and my fiancé, and as awful as it sounds, I don’t know how to make that choice.

    You moved out a year ago, turning your kids’ world upside down in the process. We all do that when we leave—it’s a painful reality.

    But you are already getting married again! To someone, as I understand it, that your children don’t really know. Imagine how that must feel to them—you left their dad, upended their world, and now you are expecting them to accept this new person without any qualms.

    I think you are being very unrealistic about what your children are prepared to handle. They are still children, not little adults—and you are expecting them to be happy for you and accepting of your fiancé when all they want is for you to get back together with their father (because all kids do this) and make their lives normal again. (It’s been almost two years since I left and my daughter is still angling to get me to move back in with her dad…)

    Your daughter most likely feels that you have already chosen your fiancé over her—because choosing her would mean returning to her dad. I suspect that *she* is the one feeling rejected right now—and she doesn’t have the perspective of age and experience to mediate her feelings.

    (As an aside—why are you giving a 13-year-old the option of where she is going to live? She is not old enough to make that decision—and your giving her the power to make it and then feeling rejected when she uses that power shows who is in the driver’s seat. But I guarantee your daughter doesn’t want that kind of power–no child does. She wants *you* to be the grown-up.)

    Most people believe that “If I’m happier, my children will be happier”–but it’s patently not true. Children are completely selfish in that sense, and almost every major study on divorce that I’ve read shows that kids don’t care whether you are happy or not—they just want their parents together and their life to be stable.

    Some of us cannot stay with the parents of our children–I was certainly one of them. But, in my view, that makes it our responsibility to put the needs of our kids first.

    That doesn’t mean you can’t be happy, or in a relationship—I’m in a new relationship myself. But I think asking your children to accept a new *husband* in such a short period of time is neither fair to them, nor wise for the long-term health of your relationship with both them and your fiancé.

    If you want to spend your life with this man, what’s the rush? Why not give your children time to get used to the divorce before asking them to accept a stepfather? If your love is strong and the relationship is solid, waiting a while won’t harm it. But rushing into something when your children are very clearly signaling emotional distress may well harm your relationship with them forever.

    Your ex is certainly using this to undermine your relationship with your children. I’m sure he’s a prime jerk, or you’d still be with him—but you have to realize you have handed him a great deal of material to work with.

    You are correct that you can’t shield your kids from his emotional manipulations—but you CAN give him less leverage with them by keeping your “adult” life more separate from your children for a while.

    I strongly suggest that you get some counseling–both on your own and with your children–to deal with this situation. For one thing, the success of your new marriage may depend on being able to navigate the rocky shoals of blending families. The failure rate for second and third marriages is even higher than for first ones—largely because of the stresses of dealing with children and unresolved personal issues that appear, once again, in subsequent marriages.

    As I said, I know this will offend you, and I’m sorry for that. But I was fortunate to have some tough-talking friends who helped me to mitigate the trauma of my own separation and divorce for my children–I am, in essence, trying to “pay it forward.” I think you are on the verge of doing real damage to your relationship with your children (as well as potentially setting your new relationship up to fail), and that is why I took the liberty of speaking up.

    I will be praying for all of you, and, despite my tough words here, I *do* wish you all the love and happiness that you deserve.

    Pax,
    Doxy

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  6. ((((((Hedwyg – You’re on my prayer list…) and, when you come back down to earth, I’ve tagged you for this silly meme.

    I pray things get better soon.

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