I've tried just letting him cry it out. He'll scream and cry for an hour, until he vomits. So I just sit with him. And some nights, like Wednesday night, it takes forever. I sat there for an hour, until I heard him start to snore a little, then I stood up.
"Mama! Lay down!"
Another half an hour, another escape attempt. I made it to the doorway before he got hysterical. Another hour. Still not asleep. My eyes were burning. It had been such a long day - classes, meetings. I'd made two separate students cry. I just wanted the day to be over. I just wanted him to sleep so I could shower and go to bed.
I went to the kitchen and ate whatever I could grab, and just stood at the counter, shoveling, needing that chewing sensation to soothe the anxiety rising in me while my son screamed his head off ten feet away. It didn't get him to go to bed any earlier. Eventually, like almost every night, it got to a point where I was so tired, I couldn't fight him anymore, so I grabbed him and his blanket, brought him into my room, and we both passed out immediately. I don't know what the solution is, but I guarantee snacking isn't it.
So, I was crabby. I was tired. I was frustrated. I wanted to just bring him to daycare, some back, and take a nap. But I got my gym clothes on anyway and headed right to the park. Gray skies, a light sprinkle, didn't care. I figured, I'd do some walking, then come home and crash. I managed to get two laps in before the ran started to pick up. I was thoroughly wet but not drenched, so I got in the car, turned on my audiobook, and just drove around for a few hours. I ended up at a few different thrift stores, looking for the Pyrex pattern I collect, looking for pickling crocks for my sister, looking for vinyl records for my other sister.
On the drive, I saw something that reminded me of my husband, but I never told him about it and I didn't write it down myself, so I don't remember now. It must not have been too significant.
That happens a lot. (The "I should tell him about X," not the memory troubles.)
We moved to South Carolina blindly for my job, and for a very long time, it was just us. No family here, no friends. So everywhere I go, I see reminders of him, of day trips, of facts he recited and stories I told. I live in our apartment. I sleep in our bed. His bookshelf is here, empty. Don't get me wrong - I don't want him here. Even with all the trouble it brings, having him a thousand miles away suits me just fine. But it's hard sometimes to be optimistic about the future when your present is still saturated with reminders of such a big, painful part of your past.
Because of this, I find that my mind frequently drifts back to California - mainly due to the fact that it's a place where he didn't exist. I knew him then, we talked often, I visited him in Chicago and we visited San Francisco together - but actual presence in Merced, my small city in the middle of nowhere ... that was all mine, for better or for worse.
Sometimes I wish that my family had been able to visit me there. That maybe it would've changed something, or maybe they would have at least understood why I was so desperate to leave, why I wanted so badly to be back with the boy I knew in Chicago, why he seemed like a good choice at the time. My father drove to California with me, so he's the only one close to me who ever saw my apartment, the school where I worked, the town where I lived. He's the only one who met the man I loved so deeply there, and I'll never forget coming home from my first date with him and the joy on my dad's face as he exclaimed, "Not even a week here, and my daughter meets a handsome doctor!" It's hard not to think about that whole situation, especially knowing what happened next for me, and not feel like I let my dad down.
Last year, I made a resolution to write a poem every single day. My life felt so stagnant and uncreative, I needed to do something to find my way back to my happiest self. At the end of the year, I sent them off, and now I have a nice 300+ page professional-looking book of my work, a diary documenting such an incredibly full year of my life. Frustrations about work, family arguments, depression about my weight, parenting exhaustion - they're all there. There's a poem for the day I told my husband I wanted a divorce, there's a poem for the day he left, and there are many, many more detailing every emotion fueled by these events and their aftermath.
I have a few poems about California, mainly in the beginning of the year, for reasons I explored - where else? - in one of my poems. Without further ado:
something that strikes me:
noticeably absence from my mind these days
is time spent and tears shed
thinking about california and all its regrets.
in a painful and loveless marriage,
some days, my only joy came
from revisiting memories
of an equally imperfect and difficult time
now softened by years of distance.
there was love there,
but also heartache -
but also betrayals,
like the many i've had in my marriage.
and when the pain of the present
outgrows the hurts of the past,
it can be easy to romanticize a time
all-too-frequently cried myself to sleep.
but now that separation is imminent
and divorce is inevitable,
the power has been given back to my present.
my eyes are wide on horizons
and despite my short-term anxieties
i am overall optimistic
for a future with genuine love
and a today so fantastic
that i don't have to daydream
about the lesser of my evil situations.
Some days are easy, and my mind is focused on the here and now and nothing and nowhere else. But I can't wait to close the book on some days, and sometimes, on those tough days, I still think softly about California, and the woulda-coulda-shouldas from there. Denise, who gets me like few other people in the world, said "It's super easy to get caught up in. You can imagine your could-have-been however you want because it's just hanging out in the past without any fights or madness in it."
She's right. It's like eating too many snacks because your kid won't fall asleep. It doesn't change the situation, but it makes right now feel a little better. When I binge, I'm not thinking about the bigger picture, I'm not remembering previous bad experiences. I remember the bliss, I forget about the remorse.
I deserve a life free of binges, and fantasies free of rehashing the moments I wish I'd done differently, the things I should have said. Not every day is beautifully positive - and even the beautifully positive days are rarely 100% so. A lot of days are this kind of messy - a little, or a lot. But I'm getting through them, and I'm pushing forward.
Down a few more pounds this week, to 317. I'll take it.
I never did get a nap in. Maybe tomorrow.