Friday, December 25, 2009


I don't like spending Christmas without Ben. It doesn't matter where I'm off to tonight (that would be New York City, in case you didn't know). What matters is that my son is celebrating Christmas - possibly the most amazing day in a child's year (next to their birthday) with my ex and his girlfriend and I am feeling terribly lost without him.

Convincing myself that Christmas Eve day and Christmas eve would be just as good was the name of the game yesterday. I didn't play the game very well. Every time I talked about Christmas day, I teared up. "What's the deal?" my dad asked. "You're going to NEW YORK CITY! Your favorite place!" He didn't understand. I didn't expect him to.

Maybe only a mother can understand. A mother who walks the dog on this brilliantly sunny and clear day and watches other families enjoying the weather in the neighborhood. Kids rollerskating, biking, chasing dogs...all the things that Ben would be doing here with me today.

"I'll miss you," I told him this morning as I dropped him off with his dad. "I won't see you for a week, do you understand?" He gazed up with me with those big brown eyes and sad, "I get sad when I'm not with you Mommy. A week is a long time."

I had to get in the car quickly so that he wouldn't see my tears.

We all make choices in life and sometimes, life makes choices for us. We stay in marriages when we're not happy. We leave marriages when children are young. We leave when they are old. Children leave us. We compromise when we have to, especially where the holidays are concerned. We desperately wait for the light to shine through the darkness. And we wait. And it does.

But it's so fucking hard today.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


My grandma used to tell me, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." Does that count for writing too?

I'm going to assume that it doesn't and say that if I make it through this month without completely melting down, it will be a huge miracle. There. That's a dose of optimism.

I think this is the hardest December I've ever had. On every level. Scratch that. This IS the hardest December ever. Ever. EVER.

I'm questioning everything from my health to my job to my role as a mother all the while putting on the happiest face that I can for Ben. Every day, it's something new for him: another item in the stocking, a present under the tree, cookies to be decorated, multiple visits to Santas, holiday crafts. Yet at the same time, I'm feeling like it's not enough; it's never enough.

Is it wrong, when you feel like this, to set aside time to cry? I have been, every day. It's the only way that I can really be OK with myself; to be authentic and real and have some reassurance that everyone goes through difficult times and it will all work out. Eventually.

I already know that major changes need to occur next year.

My mother needs to move out. Our "situation" has now moved into the "unhealthy" category and it's simply not bearable. At times, her world terrifies me. Mostly, it mystifies me but in all honesty, it completely devastates me. That means, that I have to move. Which means that I need to find a studio space. Or a new job. And that I need to convince the bank to move forward with a short sale. Or not.

No easy answers in the mortgage world, I'm finding, with my daily calls to B of A. How much can you plead with a lender? How long will you spend on hold? How many people can you talk with in one phone call? Come spend an afternoon here and you'll find out.

Back to my mother because it's so damn complicated that the topic deserves another paragraph and more words than I could ever articulate. She and I need to re-establish our relationship as mother-daughter, not as roommate vying for mother role. I've lost my sense of being a daughter and at the same time, I don't know where my alpha female role is either. It's all lost and murky.

My ex-husband needs to keep his place in the past and let go of the idealized future he has for me and for Ben and for our family. The guilt keeps me up at night as does the sadness and the confusion...he's pining for me yet he's completely immersed with his girlfriend? I don't understand. But, nor do I want to.

Something has to change with my career. We simply cannot sustain a household with me in this job. There are too many downsides. The heavy reality of absolutely needing to provide for my child is crushing at times.

I didn't like our Christmas card at all this year. I look stressed. And I've been stressed, for way too long. The biggest challenge for me right now is to take some little steps out of this storm of stress that I've been under. I wish I knew where - and how - to start.