I chose two images because they both reflect how I have been feeling lately.
The camel is this morning when the straw broke it’s back…
The chains breaking is my freedom to do what I want to do in regards to how I want to do it. I do not live for others anymore.
The last couple of days have been emotionally and physically draining for me. As one who is empathic, this is my burden and blessing being able to feel other’s emotions. We have been struggling financially for the last two almost three years, actually when we started building our family is when the money problems started. Having to be resourceful to get funds, borrowing, putting some here instead of there, the list goes on and on; but you have to do what you have to do to feed your family and keep a roof over your heads. Sacrifices must be made for the bigger picture. Don’t get me wrong, I adore being a mom; it was an arduous and emotional journey for me because I thought I couldn’t have children, but it can be hard, sometimes to the point where you just want to say “Stop World, I wanna get off!” Because you need a reset button, but there isn’t one, you find yourself sinking, drowning in “how”, and “why”, and “not now”.
You get those days when the straw will break the camel’s back; that little piece of straw carries the heaviest weight. This week has been like that for us. Watching my husband struggle to be breadwinner when I’m able to work is heartbreaking. I don’t work right now because financially it was the most feasible option- stay home and take care of the kids, but once again many sacrifices are manifested each month in order for us to stay afloat. We smile through rent time and laugh when I miraculously (through God’s Grace) make twenty dollars stretch for another week in groceries. It’s wonderful what you can whip up in the kitchen when you are low on resources, but as long as we eat, we’re happy. But again, you get those moments when the straw piles up and continuously does so until…you find yourself crying.
My family is in back in my home state. They have no want to go anywhere, do anything. Growing up, I always said I would get out and go someplace warm and I was blessed to find someone who felt the same way. So after we became married, we packed up on faith and hopes of exploring someplace new leaving our families behind; we have been gone 14 years and have no need to move back. Before the babies, we traveled back and forth home to visit or go on our vacations; post babies, traveling is few and far between. I’m constantly bombarded with “when are you coming home?”, “I want to see my grandbabies!”, “if only you were here, things would be easier”. All of these statements are from my mother.
Previous posts I have discussed my relationship with my mother and it’s strained (the easiest way to describe it) for the most part. My mother is a headstrong, controlling woman with narcissistic tendencies that border on, in my opinion, BPD (borderline personality disorder). A condition that will never be acknowledged so help won’t be sought. She makes all the decisions in her house and her mood dictates the mood of the other inhabitants (my father, brother, and baby sister). Three adults that can’t do anything unless my mother has her say so in the matter; this is why I could never live with her and can only visit for a couple of days at a time.
When I started to build my family, I would dream of family visits all the time. Babies laughing at my silly dad, my mom cooking a huge dinner, laughing and sharing memories with my siblings, you know family stuff; well, not this isn’t the case in my family. My mother wants to see my kids but not bad enough where she will make the first move; it has always been her way or that’s it. I have been shunned for all the major holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc) for family to gather where I am, where it is warm and sunny, for material happiness (Christmas gifts, her house being decorated, etc). Although she has decided to replace my presence with material things, I still here the statements I mentioned above. It sickens me, it annoys me, and it’s borderline gaslighting because in some roundabout way it’s my fault. “If you were up here…”, “why don’t you come home?” and all other statements used to guilt trip someone into doing something you want; I’m over it.
We were to go back home to visit because my mother-in-law who isn’t able to leave the state due to age and health would love to see her grandchildren, while my immediate family who is unable to leave due to misplacement of priorities is waiting to see my kids. There’s a difference. So while we have been struggling to make ends meet, we have ultimately decided to forgo the trip. It’s easiest. We have to do what’s best for us.
Why won’t my family come to see us?
I’ve asked myself constantly. At one point, it consumed me. Thoughts of trying to understand why my family puts me last on their list racked my brain. ‘They should want to come where the weather is nice’, ‘they should want to get out of town’, ‘they get to see how well we are doing’…well, none of those reasons play apart in their decision-making process and you know what? That’s perfectly alright with me. I have to focus on my family- my kids and husband. We can make fun for our family. We won’t live for anyone else. I’m not looking forward to the call where I tell them this news, but it is what it is and I’ll be wearing a nonchalant shrug while doing so. If my family are only able to see my kids via FB and whatever pictures I send them, so be it. It’ll be that way until someone decides to make the same trek we have been making for years. Family is reciprocal- it should be anyway.
Until that happens we are moving forward.