Monday, August 13, 2012

Sink or Swim

I've been quiet. Not writing much. Just living.

Single froggymama living.

By the time I get Froggy into bed (she's a night-owl, inherited from my father's side where 2am rolls around and we all say, "It's getting late, better hit the hay in an hour or two.") So, by the time my little nocturnal amphibian falls asleep,  I check emails, do dishes, boil nebulizers,  and only have enough energy to lie horizontal on the sofa with a glass of wine to glutton myself for an hour of bad reality programming (ones so heinous I will not admit to them in writing). However, I am getting rather good at drinking while lying down. A talent tragically overlooked in the last Olympics. Harder than synchronized swimming. Synchronized drinking. Not for the weak of heart, or weak of liver.

I am just now starting to get my writing mojo back. I wrote a spec script, a few essays and I'm currently working on a television treatment. This sounds like a bad excerpt from my writing bio, but where do I begin after I've ignored you so long, little blog? Little frog blog. It's been too long.

So much has happened the last couple years, but most was better kept to myself. The transition from married to divorced, from family to single parenthood...well I could write a book. But I won't. (Communal sigh of relief) I think you need clarity to write, confidence in what you're experiencing, and I hadn't either. Clarity and confidence - those are hard ones to find once you've lost them. Harder than drinking wine while lying down and simultaneously watching Teen Mom (oh damn, I said too much).

But we survived. And what comes next is very exciting. Get ready for this...

I'm happy.

I've found someone who not only makes me very happy, but my little Froggy too.

Enter "Atticus," a handsome Midwestern attorney who can recite a soliloquy while baitin' a hook, teach a six year old to walk on the ceiling, while grilling up a mean wild salmon and asparagus, and looks just as debonair on a hike in Topanga as he does in his city attorney duds.  He's a smarty pants who uses big words- like cattywanpus and delivers clever puns in his sleep. He's funny, and even more importantly, laughs at all my jokes. He has the patience, endurance and stamina for Froggy, and incredible ability to save the day; when mama's hit the wall and Froggy has just thrown a naked barbie at my last nerve. We love the same books (although disagree wholeheartedly on  Shadow of the Wind - seriously a fantastic book, what is the matter with him!), but find common ground in To Kill a Mockingbird and Let the Great World Spin. He has a cabin in the Missouri woods and a great love of nature, poetry, and Shakespeare. He also happens to think I'm the bee's knees. So much so, he asked me to marry him -on the beach where we had our first kiss. I can't believe how lucky I am.

As wonderful as this last year has been, it's also been one of major transition. Finding the time and energy for another person when I don't have enough for myself is even harder than drinking vino while lying down and throwing a javelin with one hand and a shot put from the other.

I am also learning that I am not the best partner. The Olympic judges gave me a 5.3 and the dismount from the singlehood beam was a sad and wobbly stumble off the mat. I was so green, I didn't even throw my hands in the air in triumphant defeat, just sulked to the bench for my Russian coach to give me a "That's the best you got?," look.

I've made the decisions, all the decisions for as long as I can remember. I did the work, the research, made the calls, set the schedule, took Froggy on trips, ordered and planned, delegated and enabled. Turns out in a partnership, those Napoleon qualities... not so healthy. What was my life raft in the last ten years was dragging me out to sea in this one.

Just let go.

What if I allowed myself to be happy? Let go of the heavy raft and just floated, trusted the current to take me to shore?

Oh no. I couldn't do that. What if happy bleeds into spoiled? What if I can't survive without this? I already know how to play the angry martyr role. I mastered that part, received my PhD in throwing my hands in the air while stating, "Find, I'll do it myself!" But allowing someone to help? Allowing someone to love me and say, "Sit down, while I do the dishes, read the kiddo her bedtime story." Well, I couldn't possibly do that.

When it was just me and the Frog, I enjoyed the lack of audience.  There was no partner, and there was no choice. I was exhausted, but I could do it.  No one on the sidelines making comments or affecting the outcome of us. If Froggy didn't get a meal from scratch, if our house was a mess, it was my fault and I only had myself to blame. There was a strange comfort in that.

I got used to the silence, the resignation that this was my job. When it was 11pm and we were out of milk for breakfast, or unpacking from a weekend, carrying all her supplies and a tired, heavy child up a flight of stairs;  it became normal. And after a while, safe.

I was a single mom a kid with CF. I could do it alone. I was capable. And strong. Stronger than I ever thought I could be.

And that is where Atticus entered. When I knew I could do it alone, but realized I didn't want to anymore. I wasn't desperate or even really looking. Just putting my toes in the water, not expecting to be swept out to sea. Perfect timing. 

I'm still learning, or rather unlearning, all the terrible way of drowning in this life. I have decided to dive in head first, because I know now there is someone really there to catch me, to swim and float and fight the currents, together.

Froggy has never been healthier. She's in the 50th percentile for height and weight. She's had clean cultures. Her PFT's are in the 100's. She's thriving in school. She is a happy, happy girl.  We have family dinners and consistency. I see the joy on Froggy's face, and feel the safety she knows in us. I am backed up in my parenting and told everyday what a good mother and partner I am.

I don't know how many people find this in life. With all the blows we've been given, someone out there must be saying, "Okay kid, you've had enough. How about a lifeboat? Just sink your toes in the water, look up to the sky and let the wind take you where it will."

And I'm finally ready to say, I do.


Ratatosk said...

I'm so happy for you and le frog!

DutchMac said...

Oh, I've been missing your posts and was just about to wag my finger in your face and scold you for leaving all of us in the lurch for so long....but the wait was more than worth it! 'Congratulations' simply isn't a big enough word. If I could think of anything adequate to say, I would. But since I can't, just feel the massive hug and embarrassingly large grin beaming their way over to you from across the pond. YIPPEE for your life!

PS - I have to admit, I've tried to read Shadow of the Wind twice, giving it a good hundred-plus pages each time, and I just can't get into it. I HATE giving up on books! Maybe I'll try it one more time, because until your post, I was convinced I was the only loser on the planet who didn't fall instantly head-over-heels in love with it. What's the secret? What am I missing about it that's so darn wonderful???

Cara said...


PicklePits said...

I'm sure it was terrifying to let go of the edge but isn't the water just great once you're out and in it...really, really in it? Hooray for you, Elise! Hooray for a happy Frog! And hooray for your Atticus! He is afterall, just as lucky to have found you as you him.

Anonymous said...

I am so so so happy you are writing again my darling friend. You are a superstar. I love you madly.


Azer's Mom said...

Just so fantastically brilliant and beautiful. If you ever wrote a book, I'm sure it would be just amazing.

I read this, and read it again. Then I read it to my "Atticus". He was smiling and all, "Wow, that's just like us!". So then, I got all brave and decided to drag my post out of the draft folder. I'm not sure why I was hesitant to post it, but ... anyhow. Your post made me brave enough to do it. Lol. Congrats! I am SOOO happy for you!

Anonymous said...

YAAAAAAAY!!!!!! (that's me screaming a triumphant scream)
Just for the scoreboard, I, too, wasn't blown away by Shadow in the Wind. However, I still have your copy of said book and shall return it asap so that you can re-read it and rethink your assessment of it:)


Infidel Rooster said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Infidel Rooster said...

It's nice to hear some good news. What else to say?

ezrider67 said...

Mama...I so know what you mean about doing it all and I have an Atticus but still assumed all responsibilities. I've had to learn to ASK for help and not feel guilty about doing so. So glad you're doing the same! Congratulations on the engagement! Can't wait for the big day when you both get to say I DO!

Beverly said...

I read this post soon after you wrote it, but, for whatever reason, didn't comment.

I'm so happy for you in finding happiness. You've been through a lot, and I just hope your future will be very bright.

I'm so glad Froggy is doing well. Ella has been doing great too.