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Thursday, December 06, 2007

Normal

I am going to start calling my mom from now on when I need insight into myself.

I have been feeling kind of down lately and was having some trouble putting my finger on what the problem was. After all, I am happily married and a mom, and I am finally working in a job that I really love. So, last night, when I was chatting with my mom on the phone, I mentioned to her that I have been feeling...something...but couldn't figure out what it was or why I was feeling it. My mom, as always, had the answer for me. My life is normal now, and I'm not used to that. She hit the proverbial nail on the head.

My life over the past several years has been quite turbulent. In 2001, I made a life-changing decision to pick up and move to Texas, across the country and away from my family, to give my relationship with my then-boyfriend a chance. We ended up getting married, and a few short months after that, my ex was diagnosed with brain cancer. Our lives became a flurry of doctor's appointments, chemotherapy sessions, surgeries, and long nights in the hospital. I had to quit my job to care for him, so my life no longer looked at all how I had anticipated it would just months before. I remember looking around at my neighbors during this time and thinking that their lives seemed so NORMAL--they were going about their days, working, grocery shopping, eating out, and here I was, with my world falling apart.

Over the months of chemo and radiation that I went through with my ex, I noticed him slowly slipping away from me. Physically he was still there and was in remission, but mentally, he was no longer the man I married. His personality changed completely. I started to lose the ability to connect with him and the worst part of it was that is was not his fault. He had been taken away from me, not by the cancer, but because of the treatment he received to his brain. And, I was turning into a new person. I became angry, resentful, and anxious about everything.

Around this time, my ex and I moved home to Wisconsin and decided to try and have a baby. Because of the chemo he received, my ex was infertile, so we decided to try donor insemination. I got pregnant on the first try, and I was overjoyed for the first time in a long time. I was going to be bringing another person into this world. My life became consumed with nurturing and caring for this new life inside me, and I was so wrapped up in it all that I didn't notice my marriage failing. By the time my daughter was born, my marriage was all but in shambles. I put on a happy face and tried to make us into a family, but it was all for naught. My ex was used to being cared for, and he couldn't handle the fact that I had another person to care for now. He didn't want to care for Grace, so I had to do it all myself. And, he had to undergo yet another round of radiation due to a relapse of his cancer, and the treatment this time took even more of him away than the first round. There just came a point when we didn't know each other anymore, and so we split up. I can look back on it now and I see it as such a sad story...but it was what we were given, and we had to deal with it how we thought we should.

So, I became a single mother with a very young child. I had to move in with my parents for a time, so I could get myself on my feet. My ex and I had tons of debt from medical bills and I had to find a way to pick up the pieces and start to build a new life for Grace and me. I had a full time job, a college education, and an extremely supportive family on my side, so I think I started out a lot better off than a lot of single moms. I would be lying if I said it wasn't hard, though, because it was. There were plenty of nights that I stayed up wondering how Gracie and I were ever going to be able to keep our heads above the water.

When I met Aaron, I was not looking for a serious relationship. My sister set the two of us up, and from the moment he and I began exchanging emails, I knew he was different from the rest of the men in the world. Meeting him for the first time confirmed that--he didn't seem to mind the fact that I was a single mom of a toddler and lived 90 miles away from him. He seemed to look past all that and see me for ME, and he helped me to remember who I was. Before long, I found myself falling in love in spite of myself, and Aar and I decided to make a serious attempt at a long-distance relationship. And the rest, as they say, is history.

So, here I am, remarried, living in a great house in a great city, enjoying being a mom of a fantastic kid, working at a job in interpreting that I love. I couldn't understand why I have been feeling so down lately. What do I have to be depressed about??

It took my mom's comments to make me realize I'm not depressed, really. What I think I am feeling is a transition to normalcy. I finally have the life that I have always wanted...a nice, predictable, white picket fence life...and I'm finding that I have to adjust to this life. I can let myself relax and not worry what is coming up around the bend. I don't have to anticipate the worst anymore. Instead of being in overdrive all the time, I can let the gears slow down and coast along every now and then. I'm just not used to this, and I need some time to adjust. I think this is the odd feeling I have been having...I am adjusting.

Before my mom and I hung up last night, she said to me, "Normal is good. Go and pick out your Christmas tree this weekend with your family. Everything is going to be ok." Who knew my mom was so wise?

Oh, and my heart is going to be fine. Just a leaky valve, and a very minor leak at that...nothing to worry about.

2 comments:

Angie said...

Moms...who knew? :) Normal is good...bask in it. It rules.
I'm glad your hearts ok. I was worried...now I can sleep nights!

Bert said...

Glad your heart is okay! (Both literally and figuratively.) I had no idea all of that had happened in your life. You are a strong, determined woman. Congratulations on your newly-found normalcy.

When Aaron first mentioned you to me, it seemed like a good thing. Clearly, it was. :)