It’s so easy to feel defeated, to look back on all that has been lost and feel sorry for myself. I feel it when it comes on. I’m going to take a page out of the mobster’s book and look at it from another perspective.
I’m blessed in many ways. I have a fantastic mom who didn’t hesitate to take me and my kids into her home. I have a roof over my head and I know that my mom will do her absolute best to make sure neither of my kids do without. She was instrumental in keeping Rock Star in college when Jerry Lee “lost” his job. She’s the one that loaned Rock Star the money to buy her new car. She’s the one that runs Picasso around most of the time.
I know a lot of people don’t have that. They don’t have that safety net. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt my kids and I would have been living in a homeless shelter if not for my mom.
I know there are people out there who have had to figure out rent and where to live and how to buy food and toiletries and take care of their kids all on their own. I don’t know what I would have done if that were my situation. Well, yes, I do. I would be living in a homeless shelter.
I think of people like my friend D, who at one point was living in a garage with her four kids after her husband left her and their house had been foreclosed on. I think of people like Jennifer Ball, of the Happy Frau blog, who at one point worked three different jobs and had to shop at the food pantry because she couldn’t afford groceries. Both of those women have had it a lot worse than I have had it.
Hell, I’m blessed simply by the fact that my mom is alive and well. She’s healthy and active and loves to criticize my hair and complain that I don’t call her frequently enough when she’s away in Florida.
Her: I could have been dead for a week and you’d never know!
Me: Mom, don’t be ridiculous. You’re in Florida. Your neighbors would have noticed the stench and called the authorities. I’d know.
I’m blessed to have two children who love me no matter how much I may screw up. I’m watching as Rock Star reaches her goal of admittance to nursing school. I’m listening as Picasso talks about his plans to eventually get an apartment and be self sufficient. And to drive!
Kids get older and their lives revolve around their friends. They’re involved with other things and don’t have as much time for mom or dad. I’m fortunate in that my kids both still want to spend time with me. They both like to be around me. The mobster mentioned the last time we were together that he can tell Picasso sure does love his mom. He let me hold on tightly as we skated around the ice rink.
Both of them have been fabulous and written me many notes of encouragement. I still have Picasso’s note where he told me he wished I didn’t have to work so hard and he wanted me to have something nice for my birthday and he appreciated everything I did for him. I still have Rock Star’s message where she told me I had done such a great job of being both parents she didn’t even notice her father was gone. She even bought me an anniversary gift the first year her father and I were apart.
I do worry about them. I worry about depression and anxiety with them both, but so far neither are on drugs and both are good kids.
I’m blessed to have found the mobster. I wasn’t looking for him. I wasn’t looking for anyone. I had made peace with the fact that I would be alone for the rest of my life while Jerry Lee and Harley lived happily ever after. The anti-social fuck up whose own mother and sister never thought he’d ever find a woman to marry him would be on marriage number two while I was alone with my dogs. And then from out of nowhere he found me. He thought I was funny, resilient, strong, and beautiful.
He is a true partner to me. Years ago I mentioned to Jerry Lee that running a marathon was on my bucket list. He immediately let me know that there was no way I could ever do that. It was too hard and he knew because at West Point they had to run a marathon as part of gym class, or some other requirement. Yeah? Did you have to climb Mt. Everest and swim the English Channel, too? Maybe participate in the Tour de France?
The mobster upon hearing that thought it sounded like a great idea and immediately began planning for the day we could run one together.
I know I’ve made comments about our “exotic” getaways; the truth is we always have a great time. Chillicothe, Athens, and Columbus might not be places the masses would choose to vacation but we’ve explored almost all of the nooks and crannies of the two small towns and we’re crossing things off of our list for Columbus.
We’ve discovered wineries that we love- Rockside, Wyandotte, Chateau Morrisette, Pleasant Hill, Hocking Hills, Athens Uncorked. We’ve gone canoeing and kayaking. We’ve gone to lakes and we’ve gone to the beach. We’ve seen outdoor theater, gone to weddings together, birthday parties, the zoo. We’ve had many meals out and even in these towns 6 hours away we have favorites that are familiar to us. We’ve sat through graduations together. We’ve gone ice skating, to hockey games, to football games, and to festivals. He’s gone to my company employee appreciation party twice now. We’ve brunched at a historic mansion, gone to concerts, played Pokemon Go all over the place, and explored small towns in Indiana as well. He’s attended both Family Weekends with me at Ball State. We’ve gone bowling, played arcade games, traveled to Utah, and even watched a few movies. Our running joke is that we never see movies together because we don’t have a lot of time together. We’ve been together almost 3 years and we’ve seen 4 movies- Jumangi, Spider-Man: Far From Home, Jojo Rabbit, and Jumangi 2. We’ve taken many walks together, we’ve gone to a Dickens of a Christmas, he’s accompanied me to a funeral, he’s met more of my family than my husband of 20 years ever met, and we’ve begun running together. We’ve done puzzles, we’ve spent weekends in, he’s tried to convince me of the wonders of carrot juice, and we’ve blasted Christmas carols nonstop. We’ve watched an awful lot of Bill Burr, gone Christmas shopping, drank a whole lot of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee, and seen some amazing fireworks at the Blueberry Festival. In short, we have a blast together. He really is my best friend and the love of my life.
Finally, I can’t overlook the fact that I do have a job finally and I have my health, although I am currently taking high blood pressure medication.
I’m a fairly healthy person who doesn’t get sick very often and when I do, it’s usually not serious. I can move about. I live a pain free life. I have all my limbs and my sight, my hearing, and my sense of taste and smell. There are people out there that struggle with health problems. I’m blessed to not be in that position.
About that job thing… I know what it’s like to be looking and to never even get an interview. I know what it’s like to wonder if you’ll ever find a job. I certainly know what it’s like to have to work two jobs because both are part-time and neither one pays enough to cover your bills. The fact that I have a job and the fact that I no longer have to work two of them (thanks to support) leaves me feeling very blessed.
I’m not sure I can ever say that things are really looking up at my job. Don’t get me wrong. I like my job. It’s not difficult. It’s not physically demanding. Once I leave at the end of the day I leave it behind. On the down side, I’ve concluded that even if they gave me a 50% raise I would still not be making enough money to live without Jerry Lee’s support. Would I take it? Absolutely. Will it ever be offered? Absolutely not. But, things are looking up, bit by bit.
I just got my annual raise and I was told that before my supervisor leaves in June she wants to up my grade level so I can get more money, which means another raise in May. The way I look at it, if I do finally decide to venture outside of the bank, or even if I go to a different area of the bank, it’s that much more money I’m already making. I obviously wouldn’t be leaving my job for a lesser paying job. Not at what I’m getting paid.
There you have it. My moment of looking on the bright side and counting my blessings.