Recovering From The Chaos…

The past few weeks have been… interesting.

First, I had the long-awaited visit from my mother and my aunt, which went well for the most part. My mother and my aunt are the middle and youngest children, respectively, and they are very different in their opinions. Yet, they are both very talkative and competitive of each other, but neither would admit to this. Both women are in their mid-to-late 60’s , overweight, and they love me dearly. I was glad to see my mother and my aunt, but I  was disappointed when my mother became somewhat jealous of me and my aunt talking, as I enjoyed hearing stories about my uncle and eight cousins that I had not previously heard. My mother would interrupt, add to the conversation in ways that didn’t may sense and would throw zingers at both me and my aunt, which Boyfriend witnessed, rather than telling us how she really felt. There were even moments when my mother channeled my father’s impatience, disagreeableness and negativity, which surprised me. Boyfriend and I tried to plan a few things to do and places to go that would allow us all to spend time together, see some sights and eat good food.  The high points, for me, were their appreciate for Boyfriend and for his patience, good nature and how good he is to me, and learning about my family. The low points were two arguments with my mother because she said I was being negative.  To me, sometimes an apple is just an apple, not the most beautiful, tasty red apple ever! All I did was share my account of an event, so I walked away for a few minutes to collect myself, and the second time, when I actually told her how I felt, and she threw a fit in front of the Texas State Capital because I was being real rather than in the clouds. I love both of my parents but I continue to have trouble with the fact that they take it personally if I happen to agree with the other parent on something about which they disagree. Thank God for my aunt, who was not only understanding but able to somewhat mediate and salvage the day. Overall, it was nice to see my mother and my aunt after not being home to see the family for almost two years, and it felt good to share some of my life in Texas with them. My mother and I have talked since, and I think we now having a better understanding of each other.

Next, Boyfriend starts getting calls from relatives about his mother and some problems caused by his older brother. His mother and brother, as mentioned in a previous post, are both narcissists, and are enemies and best friends depending on the day. Boyfriend limits contact with both of them but did talk to his mother for her birthday (in March), Easter and Mother’s Day. The calls from relatives came somewhere in between, and culminated in Boyfriend’s decision to fly home for a few days to see for himself about his mother’s health and the accusations about his brother’s, um, shenanigans. The stories changed a little once Boyfriend started investigating and he found out the truth, which he already suspected. Let’s just say that, due to my dealings with these people over 12 years, I have much respect and admiration for Boyfriend being courageous enough to ask tough questions and stand up for himself in the presence of a women who does not deserve the title of mother due to her blatant favoritism, manipulation and standard  narcissist behavior, and he still put a plan in place for his mother to be cared for and helped. I don’t think I could have done it, but Boyfriend is the strongest person I know.

This has been a lot of stress on both of us. Then, there is work. Boyfriend started a new job about two weeks ago, and they were kind enough to allow him the time to go home. I had several days off recently while preparing for and during my family visit, and I have felt emotionally drained from everything.  While I am grateful to have a job, but it has its own set of challenges. Working as somewhat of a team has it perks and its drawbacks. Sometimes it is nice to have someone there to help with complicated cases but you don’t get to make decisions on your own, and you have to do what the team agrees with. Also, it is tough when each person has a different relationship with the boss, and there is some favoritism from time to time. I realize that I have not handled my stress the best as of late, but it makes things even tougher when you don’t get the same benefit of the doubt or the same information as others do. I know I must do better and work harder, and accept things as they are.

While it has been hard for Boyfriend to be gone due to concerns about how he would be treated by his family, I am glad to hear that he gained support from a few surprising sources. I hope that, in between his chaos, he got a little time to himself that is hard to get living in a 650 square foot apartment with me and the Cat, and I was glad to get a little time to recover from my chaos by talking on the phone to family and watching a few favorite movies, You’ve Got Mail and keeping the Faith. The best recovery for me, though, will be picking Boyfriend up from the airport tonight.

© 2015 blogdaysofchrell

 

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Grown Up

When was the first time you really felt like a grown up (if ever)?

Bear

Being well into my 30’s, I think I should feel like a grown all the time but I don’t.  I think I have always had an idea of what being a grown should be like and yet, it doesn’t seem to fit. I have a full-time job, a long-term relationship, a car, an apartment, a cat, and small signs of growing older (a few random grey hairs, sunspots and creases). I can think of a few moments when I thought to myself, “Wow! I feel like an adult, I did it,” and then the moment passes. Maybe it is because I still like a lot of things I did when I was younger: hair band music, stuffed animals, Beavis and Butthead, Charlie Brown cartoons, ice cream and I somewhat resist dressing like an adult unless the occasions calls for it. Maybe it is because I viewed being grown-up as being like my parents and though I have commonalities with them, I am very different.

The moment that stands out for me as me feeling like a grown-up was buying my first car. With a little assistance, I bought the car, cleaned it, maintained it and eventually paid it off. I was fully responsible for the car and it enabled me to get to and from work, allowed me the freedom to travel and it gave me solitude at times I needed it. I loved driving around the city between work appointments, listening to news or music, and sometimes provided an escape on a stressful day.

Co-workers and I celebrated 7 years together
Co-workers and I celebrated 7 years together

I again felt like a grown-up when Boyfriend and I packed up our lives and moved to the Great State of Texas to start a new life. My Boyfriend finished his Associate’s degree two weeks before I finished the rest of my agency’s contract with the City of Chicago and we left for Texas two days later. We spent the next few weeks driving back and forth to find an apartment in a town we had never visited before, to find a job for me and for Boyfriend to explore the continuation his education and other opportunities. I further felt like a grown-up when we returned home a few weeks later to retrieve the rest of our belongings and my car, which after $600 in repairs, died and needed replacing. Grown-ups deal with frequent problems, right? So I bought a new car, eventually found a job, and Boyfriend determined that he would stop at an Associate’s degree to pursue other options. Everything worked out for us, though not without a little sweating.

 In my previous job as a juvenile case manager, I had flashes of feeling grown-up as I strived to be a positive influence on trouble youth and families. I reached out as an understanding voice that tried to show youth the value of hard work, the importance of making good choices and planning for their futures, while in the presence of their daily challenges. I sometimes had flashbacks to what my parents and coaches told me, and I felt proud to pass on that knowledge.

Maybe I have more in common with my parents and the “grown-ups” who affected me, positively and negatively. I get up, some days begrudgingly, to do the best I can for that day, trying to be responsible, pay my bills and find a bit of joy and fun when boyfriend and I can, though I’m not sure when the “grown-up” thing will really stick. 

© blogdaysofchrell 2015