For 5 months, since my marriage ended, I have been Woe Me (hand swept across brow in 18th century damsel in distress sort of way). I’m ok with this. While I’m a glass half-full kind of person, occasionally you are allowed to admit the glass is tilting.… usually my wine glass but that’s a different blog post!
When you have devoted ten years to supporting and loving someone who then ends it to go and live a different life (one they had already had been living for some time without telling you), you stare at the on-coming lights of their car, wide eyed, open mouthed, unable to move, hoping someone pushes you off the road just in time.
I have been like a rabbit in headlights since it happened, and while my amazing friends have often had to save me from being squashed, I still sat, stunned in the onslaught. But I realise now, that while my friends will always be there to save my life, I will end up as roadkill unless I stand up, close my mouth, blink and walk off the road. Walk from where the grass was full of thorns to the side where the grass is greener and lusher and full of beautiful flowers.
The sandwich years have had lots of ups and downs. The tension of the pull between the needs of my young children and the needs of my mum and dad have wrung me dry at times. Choices, challenges and a lot of miles up the motorway.
But the tension has been eased by great times too…. everything my children do, good times with my mum and dad, and always, always the love and wine my friends bring into my life.
But these few months have pulled me stick thin… (all that wine makes this a literary description rather a literal one). My kids need me more than they ever have and my mum is deteriorating and needs me too. As I struggle to keep everyone afloat though, I have realised I was beginning to drown. Events of the last week had me gasping for my last breath.
So I have two choices. Sit, stunned, wondering what happened to Option A…. or stand, defiant and go kick the shit out of Option B.
My kids need me. My mum and dad need me. But most of all, I need me. Out of the worst time of my life, I am going to strive towards the best time of my life. The people who depend on me most, are also the ones who motivate me most. There is no bread without filling. No filling without bread. But I can decide if the Sandwich years will continue with me as a lacklustre limp petrol station pre-wrap filling, or a gorgeous gourmet 5 star restaurant filling. With relish.
For the last 5 months I have been Woe Me (hand swept across brow in distress).
For the next 50 years I am going to be Wow Me!! (hand up in the air in defiance).
Be warned you in the car – I may have been a rabbit in headlights…… but I just turned into a lion.
Glad to see you kick off those old “rabbit” boots and fit into your new “lioness” boots. Everyone has ups and downs in life, but it is those who know how to ” walk off the road” that survive in the end!
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Yes, stand defiant and strive to become Wow Me. You deserve it. Love the positivity in this post. We’re with you all the way xx
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I do feel a tad voyeuristic reading your blog – the highs and lows – the trials and tribulations – the hurt and frustration. I can relate to so much in your writing and love the way you write! I’ve been a blog lurker (? correct term), quietly reading and not commenting – I suppose because commenting brings to the fore some of my own issues but probably to no useful end! And indeed, nothing I have to say is especially unusual or poignant and my story is from some years back. On reflection the only thing we did right was to agree to never involve the children in the problem between us – not to discuss money in their ear shot – to respect our equal roles as birth parents and never to say anything negative about the other one in front of the them. Not sure how we agreed that but we did – without a lawyer! Both of our lives changed – our expensive holidays etc went – I wear old shoes (but don’t care) because actually all I wanted was for the kids to be okay. They’re now 18 and 21 and well adjusted (I think, but I would say that wouldn’t I!) and have a lovely equal relationship with us both. I’m sounding smug – sorry.
I suppose what moved me to comment now is the sense of discomfort that I feel when reading some of your blogs and having reflected and reflected I just had to be honest. I’m really upset by the mention of your lovely children by name in your blog. Children are so cruel to each other at school that I really worry that your life and that of your children is so now public that other parents and kids will read it all and work out who they are. That’s fine if the children are of an age to consent to that level of exposure but I’m not sure they are. What you’ve written is kinda there for ever now, whether the children like it or not and I suppose I come from a place of respecting a child’s right to privacy.
Anyway, just my thoughts and reflections. I’m sure I’ve not said anything that you haven’t already considered as an obviously deeply caring and loving mother trying to come to terms with a truly horrid situation.
Hi Sally, firstly I’d like to say thank you for reading (or lurking!) around my blog. Thanks for your compliments about my writing – that means a lot…. as does your more critical feedback. Being engaged, toing and froing with opinions, giving support, giving feedback, learning and listening are all part of the wonderful world of blogging – but also the amazing community that women form around each other. I’m sorry you find the blog so uncomfortable to read….. I write honestly and authentically which is why many of my readers enjoy it. I read a lot of blogs which make me flinch some times but that is my choice because I like what they say regardless of how it makes me feel. I’m not sure how you found it or came to follow it, perhaps following your own experiences. First and foremost my blog is about the sandwich years – being in the perfect storm of need, caring for young children and dependent parents. My baby was just 5 days old when mum had a stroke and so the journey I went on through the sandwich years was as acute as it could be. Recent events have filtered into the narrative but only as an additional element to my sandwich years journey. If you read most of the posts I hope you will see that the main thing I try to get across (and which my children will take from me and it, should they ever bother to read it when they’re older) is empowerment. The love my mother gave me, and the strength from other women – be they role models, women writers or friends – empowered me constantly to deal with the downs of life, and to appreciate the ups. Believe me, I am very conscious of keeping the full story private – I have not gone into details (despite the fact it would make an amazing blog!!) for that reason. I protect a lot of people right now. I hear what you say about their names… and I will absolutely give it some thought. I talk mostly without specifics, about my feelings and how to deal with the life I am living. When I write about them it is with love and wonder. If my honesty makes you uncomfortable then perhaps you are better suited to different blogs. I don’t mean that unkindly – merely that I will never please all the people all the time and everyone has a choice. I’m delighted your children have come through your separation so well… that gives me great hope. The girls are great, but going through a natural grief for the family that was. But I am so confident they will come through with two great families (and hopefully one that can sometimes merge) because they have two parents who love them and want only the best for them. Thank you again for your comment and readership.