Sisyphus, in Greek mythology was punished by the gods with the maddening task of rolling a boulder up a hill, and just before reaching the top, the boulder would roll right down again. It was a lesson in hubris, a realization I suppose that we are not in control. No matter how strong, how determined, that boulder has a mind of it's own. We are merely human. So get over it.
I don't think I can push this boulder any longer.
This has been our reality. FD has been working a lot. He has to take what they give him because he's still considered 'part-time' and not an employee. Respiratory Therapy jobs in LA are scarce, so he takes what he gets. Sometimes he works 5 days in a row of 12.5 hour shifts. On those days, we don't see him. We are living apart. It's been a welcome separation for both of us, and soon he will find a permanent place of his own.
So for those stretches, I'm a single mom of a kiddo with CF, a dog who poops and pees everynight because of separation anxiety from FD, and two aging cats who mostly hide under the bed until the Frog is asleep and then, starved for human contact attack me on the sofa, at my first chance to sit down all day. I'm beyond exhausted. There needs to be a new word for exhaustion. My day doesn't end at 6:30pm. I don't get to call it a day and relax. There is no time clock for moms. Laundry piles up, the dishes are never done, bills to be paid, birthday parties to plan, not to mention my two part-time jobs. I am always letting someone down, I'm moody and irritated, jealous of FD's freedom and bicycle rides. And it spills out. It erupts. I can not seem to get a grip on the unfairness of it all, how parenting is 90 percent mom and 10 percent dad. And I hate that I'm a b*tch for saying it. But it's true. The bulk of life falls on the mom. And dad gets to swoop in and go for a hike, while I'm home cleaning up dog crap.
When I get a free moment, I'm ordering supplies, working, cleaning, trying to catch up, one step behind, always one step behind. My free time is not free time. It is the opposite of free time. It is occupied, taking care of business, trying to make everyone happy and failing miserably time.
I try to stay positive. I try to put this in perspective and enjoy the time I am blessed to have with Froggy. Most days she is a delightful, smart girl, other days, a pill. But I wake up in the morning, every morning with this smiling face (screaming "MOMMY GET UP") but still adorable, and I say, "I'm lucky." As the day goes on, and life piles up, I lose track, I get cloudy. I start to feel that dark boulder of resentment cast it's ugly shadow and it's goodbye gratitude.
Monday morning I was exhausted. The night before the Frog and I were stuck in three hours of traffic leaving a 4th of July day in Laguna. We arrived home at 1am. And as I was carrying up the deadweight of a tired toddler up a flight of stairs with a backpack on, and toys under my armpits, fumbling for keys in the dark, I thought, "I can't do this alone." There should always be someone to help you in at night after a long day. It shouldn't take two trips. There should be someone else carrying this weight, this physical, mental, emotional weight. It hit me hard. I cannot do this alone. And even if people come help in the day to take care of Froggy, I am still getting up three times a night to give enzymes for the feeding tube. I am still the one doing treatments. The weight of the world, the boulder, is on my shoulders.
After unpacking, doing meds, taking out the dog, blah blah blah, I hit the sheets around three. Froggy was up at 7am and our day began. No amount of coffee could wake me. I was tired and angry, because despite going out at 3am, Buddy left me a pile of sh*t on the kitchen floor. So this is how I begin my day. FD comes over after a bike ride and breakfast, not that I'm completely out of my mind jealous about how refreshed he is, but now it's 10ish. Froggy is not being helpful. I'm behind with treatments and meds. With FD there, I need to work and get some things accomplished. Froggy won't let FD do treatment and there is no sense of order or parental structure and I'm starting to lose it.
Froggy is having her b-day party this year at this indoor kid play center. She's been talking about this all year and you have to rent it way in advance. So I'm online looking up rates and trying to figure out what package we want and I ask Froggy who she wants to invite from preschool. She rattles off some names and then FD says, "Invite your whole class." There are only fifteen kids allowed or we have to pay $100 bucks more. He didn't know this, but it was the straw that not only broke the camel's back, it punctured and sent the camel off a cliff into mad hysterics. I angrily indicated that those who aren't doing the work, shouldn't offer the generous suggestions. It didn't go over well, and FD said, "Well aren't you a nice woman."
It wasn't particularly cruel and my reaction to an innocent mistake was intense, fueled by so much more than a comment. But it was the worst thing at the worst moment. Because I am trying my hardest, giving every piece of myself, and it's not enough. I'm still just a jerk who can't control her temper. I am apparently not a nice person.
I gather my things to go to work. Froggy feels the tension and doesn't want me to leave. I give her a bear hug and get in my car. At the light I sit bawling. I have to work and my mascara is down my face, I'm a red blotchy mess and this guy behind me is honking, waving his arms for me to go. I'm sitting at a red light with a sign that says, "no right turn on red," and this macho cheese head behind me is honking and yelling at me, miming 'turn' and 'go' like I'm an idiot. I'm sobbing and have an out of body experience where I picture getting out of my car, pulling the jerk out of his seat and punching him in the face. Wow, she really isn't a nice person.
Everything is a blur, I give the guy the finger (nice huh?), and look straight ahead. These sweet neighbors who I chit-chat with on our dog walks are also sitting at the light, watching me bawl and give this guy the bird. Wow, it's verified now, what a nice woman.
I am not better than this. I know life challenges some people and they rise to the challenge. They become better for it and handle their lives with grace. I've lost grace. Grace left me a year ago. And wine and bitterness has taken her place. I can't do this. I can't. I am a nice person, or atleast I used to be, but I'm not anymore. I don't know. Maybe this life has gotten to me. Maybe I am so overwhelmed and pissed off I can't even find nice.
There is that obnoxious expression that people show their true colors under stress. Well great. Here are my true colors. A big jerk who yells, sobs and gives people the finger. That's me. Boy would I love to be that mom who finds a way, who writes heartwarming pieces about how it's all worth it and life is inspirational. But I don't feel like a hallmark card. I feel like sh*t. I feel like Sisyphus and no matter how hard I push that boulder up the mountain it will always be there, this weight I cannot lift alone. Maybe that's what Sisyphus needed all along, a partner, someone to carry the boulder, the toddler up the stairs and up the mountain. Maybe it wasn't a lesson in hubris, maybe it was an invitation for others to step up. I don't know. But I'm tired. I'm very tired and feeling a bit hopeless.
Being a nice person was the last thing I was holding onto. Despite everything I still felt like a good person. I don't know anymore. I want to take a nap, a long nap, to wake and have the divorce final, Froggy adjusted, the boulder over the mountain. Just over the mountain. I don't know how much more I can handle.