Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Coming Home.

In the 2.5 years I've lived in this valley, I've done some pretty impressive things. I started a roller derby team, I designed costumes and sets for the local theatre, I produced and co-hosted fundraisers which brought in thousands of dollars. I coached a basketball team with a winning season. I assisted with art shows. I performed in Nationally-Affiliated read-outs and started moving toward my MFA. It all sounds pretty impressive, doesn't it?

Well, it means absolutely shit when your son can't read. It means nothing when your tween tells you that you're never around. It means absolutely nothing when you can't find the lost library books. It means diddly squat when it's February and you're using strings of Christmas lights as an extension cord for your laptop.

I'm tapped out. I feel like a deflated teat with nothing else to offer, and the ones who need the most support have gotten the shaft.

In my valiant effort to find validity in my own life, I've lost sight of the little beings who have needed the most validation. My children are bussed and tousled from here to there, spilling sports jerseys and homework all the while. Exciting pizza night event notices get stuffed between the seat cushions of the day and forgotten because of high-profile meetings or art events. In small towns we all take turns entertaining each other, and I simply thought I was paying my dues to the community.

But at what cost?

My son's teacher has no tolerance for him. "He's failing," she told me. "He shouldn't be in this class." The words stung. I wanted to scream and cry, but I didn't think that I was capable of doing anything about his situation. Do we let our children suffer through classes that they despise and say, "welcome to the real world, kid," or do we take them out of places that make them pouty and then slather them with personal accolades for flushing the toilet after twosies and  then celebrate with cake?

This is where I found myself today--a day where I had far more insipid blogs to write.

Instead of going and taking on more community volunteer services, I cleaned my home, hoping that some semblance of order would right the wrongs I've done in the last two-and-a-half years of service. I looked at myself and wondered where the hell this social paranoia came from. Does the sweat for my community even matter when my future is not even twitching an eye on the couch in front of the computer?

"I just need a hug, Mom."

My daughter, writhing in her own hyper-hormonal skin looked up at me for help, maybe hope, or relief from the crazy dancing the Watusi through her veins.

My children have had it rough in the last two years. Their mother has tried to find distraction from a painful divorce by creating a web of support in the community. Social nesting, maybe. They lost their family units in the breakup and then they lost their mother to social obligations.

We hugged tonight. All of us hugged. We made corn dogs and toast for dinner. We did homework. Somewhere between  spelling the word "again" and "there" (both spelled with a "q," mind you) I came home. I found my feet under my body and wrangled my personal fears of dealing with my divorce. Homework has a new meaning.

I cancelled all of my social obligations (save one last one coming up) and felt our family gel and hold. "The world can wait," a friend told me. She was so right.

So scoff or do what you will. I'm okay with that. I don't need any validation in this endeavor. But sometimes begin a grownup means saying "no" to all of those things that validate your self and saying "yes" to those things that fart on your lap.

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