Sunday, April 9, 2017

If My Life/Spring Break Were A TV Show

This past week was our spring break. 

"Where are we going?," Lucy asked me. 
"We aren't going anywhere, but we are going to have so much fun," I told her with a very strained smile that was met with an eye roll. "You shouldn't be surprised, we never go anywhere for spring break," I reminded her. "But we always have fun," I added, again with the strained, trying-too-hard smile. 

The weeks leading up to spring break sucked. There is no other way to say it that would describe it more accurately. It was full of a bad back, sinus infections, a few cavities filled, a case of the flu, unexpected bills, a flat tire, rejection from both potential sponsors of my show and from my own teenagers not wanting to spend time with me. It was full of over sensitivity and hormones and hurt feelings and exhaustion.

I admit to feeling very sorry for myself. Social media didn't help. I was falling victim to what I desperately try to keep my kids from doing...comparing my life to the pictures of my friends on Instagram and Facebook. I mean, waaaaaaa. Ugh.

It wasn't just people going on trips however. It was EVERYTHING and EVERYWHERE. We live in a very nice area. The homes are beautiful. It is safe. The schools are amazing. It's a great place to live. But it sometimes feels like an episode of HBO's Big Little Lies. And duh, I'm Jane, the character played by Shailene Woodley. If you didn't watch the series, just know it's about a bunch of complicated but fabulous women with fabulous homes and lives. Jane is the character that isn't quite as fabulous as the other women. 

When I'm feeling sick and tired and a little sorry for myself and it's Spring Break and I check Facebook or Instagram, it is the perfect recipe to feel like I'm less than. Like I'm not enough. Then it builds and I feel like I'm not providing enough for the kids, my job, or anyone. I feel like a BIG FAT FAILURE. And then I cry.

This year's spring break wasn't the first time I've felt this way. Just like I told Lucy, I should not have been surprised. It's like the recurring storyline on your favorite long-running TV show. You know when the writers keep going back to the same plot line and you get annoyed and say things like "can't they come up with any new material" under your breath. I need new material. Or maybe those truly talented TV writers are on to something. Maybe life has recurring plot lines all the time because maybe like another TV inspiration Dr. Phil says "we are getting something from it." What am I getting from feeling like a disaster that is failing at being a human? Why do I keep feeling like I'm fucking up and failing everybody that I love and society in general every few months?  Why does it seem to reach a breaking point again and again at Christmas time and spring break time?

Here's what I know:

Sticking with the TV theme, the timing is a like a very special episode or maybe a two-part episode of your favorite prime time soap opera. The holiday show and the season finale. The build up of the regular episodes, I mean life, and the expectations of gifts and spirituality and busy schedules and busy lives and trips (or no trips) and all the rest lead to these episodes, I mean breaking points. 

This spring break, just like a TV show, the weather helped support the plot line. It was cold and rainy/snowy most of our spring break. But as the week ended, just as I was figuring out how grateful I am and how much I love my life, the sun came out from the clouds and it warmed up.

Looking back at pictures I took over the week, I don't look miserable. I look happy. I was happy. It actually felt really good to get a break from everything sucking, even if it wasn't on the beach. Maybe I needed this break to really remember all the good stuff.

At the beginning of the week, my sister asked us to come to Kentucky where she lives and I'm so glad we made it work. We drove down for a couple days and it was so nice to be together, see my sister and her family and just to get away.

We did sparklers in her driveway because why not?

 My sister is really into working out now and it's awesome. We used to sit and talk and take care of all of our babies and small kids together. Now we hit stuff at the local boxing center together and talk and laugh and sweat it out while our big kids sleep in. My older sister has always been pretty awesome/perfect at everything she does. I think Nicole Kidman would probably play her in a show. She told me she feels younger and stronger now than in her 20s. I can't even wrap my head around that because I'm fatter, slower and throw my back out when I move funny and that was NOT the case in my 20s. But just like I feel about Nicole Kidman, I can't not like her. I even came up with a new nickname for her "Benjamin Button." Ha! My big sister is pretty great and does not judge me for my failures or insecurities. 
It was a good visit.

This was how the boys watched Rogue One together on the couch.
I love them.

I slept in a few days and then stayed in bed and watched TV, and I liked it.

 When the kids were younger and we couldn't afford a fancy trip to the beach, I would distract them with craft projects. Since they are older now, they aren't as distracted or impressed by glitter and glue. So instead of crafts, I put them to work. One night dinner was their responsibility. They had to pick the recipe online and shop for the ingredients. Of course they picked a super expensive recipe that stressed me out a bit. BUT they did it. They shopped, they worked together, they made dinner. And it was really, really good. 

At one point we talked about getting tickets to all the games in our area for our stay-cation--Pistons, Tigers and maybe even Red Wings. But guys, those tickets are super expensive. So instead we celebrated the home opener at home. It was fun. 

Lucy and I had a fun mom/daughter date one night. We saw Beauty and the Beast. The theater was in a mall. I hate malls. Lucy loves them. She was happy. She bought stuff with her babysitting money. It made me happy that she was happy and then we took selfies.

Toward the end of the week, JT and I went to volunteer at an organization in Detroit. We met Isaac. He was unemployed and homeless but through this organization got a job and is working hard. Now he is also college student studying to be a social worker. Together the three of us made mud mats out of recycled tires and we talked about the environment, our neighborhoods, God, positive energy and love.

Isaac was a great listener. I told him I'd been feeling overwhelmed and unworthy and just like I was letting people down and wasn't doing enough in the world and how maybe I'm not living in the right town. I felt ridiculous telling this man who had seen so much hard life, how I was feeling. I apologized. "Nah life is funny that way," he said. "Maybe God put you right where you need to be, around people that you need to learn from and that need to learn from you. Lessons are everywhere. Keep putting that love out there. You might just be where you need to be."

See what God/universe/TV show director did right there? Inserted a wise, compassionate character that spoke some truth just at the right moment.

Maybe what I'm getting from these breaking points/special episodes where I feel like I'm not enough is appreciation for all of it. It's like the whole you have to see/experience the darkness to appreciate the light kind of thing. Maybe.

Whatever it is I guess after this episode, I just feel gratitude and a little more peace. This spring break I was able to take a few minutes and take a few breaths and try to give myself a break (ish). I look at the pictures and think about the good stuff that happened. I'm definitely the less fabulous character in my town but maybe I am where I'm supposed to be. Keeping it real. Fucking up. Having a blast. Doing the best I can. Getting overwhelmed. Dancing in my kitchen. Feeling it all. Putting the love out there. I don't think I will ever stop worrying and feeling like I didn't do enough for my family, or the world. But boy, I am always trying and most importantly I know that my kids know that I love them more than anything. And maybe that's enough.

The last Saturday before spring break ended it was beautiful outside. The kids begged to play a family baseball game at the field close to our house. "It's a real three strikes you are out game," exclaimed Wade excitedly. 

Just like a scene before the credits roll, we all played three versus three. A few people stopped and watched us play. We laughed. We encouraged each other and we trash talked each other. We had a blast. It was like we had figured some shit out and were just enjoying each other and the day and being alive.

My team won!

End scene.

Credits roll on this very special episode while we have our first bonfire of the season.

Maybe this song would roll during the baseball scene? I love it.

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