Smug Mug

I met up with some friends that had been out of town for almost a year, this last weekend. About 30 minutes into catching up, nothing too deep, they said “My goodness you are so much happier than you were last time we talked!” I paused and smiled and agreed.

This compliment is huge to me for a lot of reasons.

I’ve been actively working on staying in the moment, being grateful for what I have and where I am and looking for what I need and want. If there is one thing I’ve learned the most in the last year it’s don’t pile on tomorrow when you’re still in today. There’s plenty to worry about today, or not worry about.

Though I’m currently pretty peaceful, I laugh with my mouth wide open so much more now, and I’m falling in love with one of the most thoughtful men I’ve ever known, in my darker moments I still get nervous and anxious that I’m not “healed” yet. That I’m in a dream I’m going to wake up and have to go through the last year all over again. That I’m not good enough for this great man, that I am damaged. I suppose this is some leftover from a childhood spent worrying about the other shoe dropping, but it’s in me and I battle with it. So hearing a friend that doesn’t see me often compliment how happy I am after just 30 minutes of pleasantries is a HUGE thing. I wasn’t faking it, or even able to hide my genuine joy in life. I’m happy.

With depression I always thought I’d get medicine to make me at least able to fake it more on the days I really couldn’t chemically. That just didn’t seem good enough though. I want real happiness, I want real joy, I want real love.

I have handwritten signs up all over the place. In my wallet, on my desk at work that say things like “You are good enough right now.” Or “You are doing this, be proud and watchful.” The one I love the most that I laminated says this:

“Please let what I need show up and help me to remain grateful for what I have, always.”

It really is true, if you don’t love yourself how can anyone else.

I recently completed a “How to CoParent in Divorce” class that was mandatory for our divorce. I went in dragging my feet, having only slept 3-4 hours the night before because we had went to a concert (whoever said divorce was all bad didn’t take advantage of their free nights with no kids!). I was exhausted and smug, thinking I wasn’t going to learn a thing, that I was already doing this. We hadn’t fought, we shared her, we were able to talk, etc.

Yea. The universe sure likes telling me I’m a smug asshole but that’s why I love her. 

We watched this sad video of kids that had parents who didn’t co-parent well, we read literature, we got into small groups where I heard a very young woman talk about her ex and how if he’d just stop drinking they’d get back together, etc. It was scary and sad and eye-opening. I texted my ex halfway through and thanked him for doing this with me for our daughter. Then I took a shit load of notes.

Kids, just like us, have to go through the mourning process eventually. Either early, late or in their adult life, but they will have to and we need to make space for them to do this openly with love. I thought I was in the clear because my daughter was so young, but not the case. And rightly so. I can’t put one over on her just because she’s young. Not like I do with hiding veggies in her mac & cheese or telling her my beer is Mama’s yucky juice box so she won’t drink it. So now I know to look for signs and to encourage her to ask whatever questions she has, feel whatever she needs to feel. God I hope it’s earlier rather than later.

I also learned that the hardest part for kids, at any age, is the transition period. The time when they switch houses back and forth. That it’s best to make a ritual out of it. Like go to the same restaurant on that day or do something special routinely on the day they go back and forth. It creates a pattern they can rely on even at a young age. This made a boatload of sense after hearing it.

My daughter still sleeps with me and has no interest in her own bed. I bought a toddler bed and put it in my room. It’s been a raging success. She falls asleep with me, I put her in it and she’s fine all night. EXCEPT the nights she comes home after being at her dad’s. She will wake up out of a dead sleep as I put her little body on her blanket and yell “MAMA’s BED!!” Before I was frustrated that we were going back in our progress. Now I get it. So I don’t fight it. Those nights she needs to feel close, so she can.

I am totally new at this, so test it yourself, but it sure seems if you open yourself up you can get exactly what you need. Whether it be a person, information, or understanding. If we’re lucky, all three.

-Lulu

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