I'm a full-time working mom of 3, grandmother to 2. I have one child left at home, the older two are married, each with a daughter. Like any working mom, I struggle to find a balance between work, family, friends, etc.
I have some truly amazing friends.....One of my friends & I were emailing back & forth one day last week....the day AFTER I posted about tipping my toes in the sea of depression. She offered up some "unsolicited advice" (her phrase). She had not read my blog post yet she had hit the nail on the head in her email to me. Just the thought that she knew me well enough to know what I was feeling without me coming out & telling her spoke volumes to me. A few years ago, I did not know her & now I wonder how I managed without the incredible blessing of her friendship. She is not only my friend & neighbor, she's an amazing person! She's helped me see things in a different way more than once. Her unsolicited advice was what I needed to hear. It helped me so much. Friends are such an amazing blessing....I am truly blessed by all of mine but last week, especially blessed by one sweet friend in particular! Thank you!!!!
Today I allowed myself to dip my toes into the sea of depression. Once I dipped my toes in, I found myself allowing it to swallow me and wash over me...I began to sink to the bottom. Why I allow this I have no clue...I knew where I was going when I teased that water with my toes. What brings on my sadness that I allowed to consume me? Summer. Yep. Summer is bittersweet for me. I enjoy the homework free evenings, evenings free from sporting events and the constant running. What I don't enjoy is that I am at work five days a week & gone for around 10 hours a day. I miss my daughter, I miss spending afternoons at the pool or mornings at Kings Island with her. These are the things I enjoyed when I worked from home. Had I never known that life, I probably wouldn't miss it so much. Having lived that life for 6 years, it's a tough thing to let go of. Last summer was horrible because I was adjusting to the new job, new schedule and a completely new life. It was a blur. Summer is back and today, it made me sad. I wish with all of my heart I didn't have to work a full time job outside the home. There's no way for us to make it without me working full time no matter how many corners we cut. Today, I yet again mourned the loss of my previous life and I began to wonder if I would ever not allow my mind to go there and to think about how good our family had it when I worked from home full time. I try to remind myself of the benefits of working outside the house now...that my evenings (most of the time) are mine & I am not chained to my computer working until the wee hours making up for the time I spent doing things to entertain a child who clearly wanted to be with other children not at home with me all day. My weekends are mine (most of the time), I no longer work 7 days a week as I did when I worked from home. My vacations are mine, they are no longer working vacations...that time is time that we get to be a family & the focus is on that, no work is hanging over my head. My mind wanders to the things that my child cannot do because many...well, most, of the summer camps & activities are designed for kids who have a parent at home, family that can cart them to & from or a parent with a flexible schedule. None of those are an option for our family & I feel like my daughter is missing out on things...is she? I'm not sure, she doesn't know what's out there that she's not getting to do but I do. I struggle to let go of all of these things and that's what pulls me under into that ugly sea of depression. I need to just move on from it....I'm working on it. At least I allowed myself to float back up to the top today and found myself using that frustration to accomplish some long overdue tasks.
Back in September I got a call from my then 20 yr old son (only 8 days from 21) who was deployed to Kuwait while serving in the Army Reserve. It was September 20. How do I remember....because it was 4 days before my 40th birthday. The call left me stunned, shocked and my head spinning. My son's girlfriend of a little over 2 years was pregnant. This is not what a woman that is about to turn 40 wants to hear. Turning 40 in itself brings so many thoughts & emotions. Mind you that 39 was a terrible year of my life & I was ready to say goodbye to it. In my mind, I had already declared 40 would be better. I thought to myself, this is not what I had in mind & I told my son that this was not the birthday present I was hoping for. Fast forward, I reached out to the Colonel's wife for help with the situation knowing that my son & his girlfriend wanted to get married so that they could utilize the military insurance my son was getting because he was deployed. November 10th I gained a daughter-in-law in very small & intimate ceremony at our church when my son came home for a 2 week leave from Kuwait. Still having mixed emotions, I muddle through things, mostly realizing that my son was now a man, with a wife & baby on the way. No longer my baby, no longer needing me to mother him but just be his mother & allow him to live his own life. As I have learned, it is very difficult with the first child that leaves the nest. It gets slightly easier as the next one grows up...I said SLIGHTLY! We were blessed by the fact that my son's deployment was cut short & he came home much earlier than expected. We have enjoyed having him back in the states & close to our home. I found myself becoming more excited about the arrival of a granddaughter. Mind you...I have a 7 1/2 yr old too! As the due date approached, I really began to embrace the idea of being a grandmother....I am Gigi though...not grandma. I have a first grader for crying out loud....when I envision grandma, I envision my own. She was what a grandma typically is...a sweet & fun little old lady who showers you with love & shares all of her knowledge of the world, good & bad, but mostly fun! I may be sweet, but 40 is not a little old lady, unless you ask my 7 yr old.
The evening of May 23, a call came. My daughter-in-law was in labor. The baby was coming...this was my daughter-in-law's actual due date. How often does that happen? I arrived at the hospital with my daughter around 3:30 on May 24 after getting a call from my son saying she would begin pushing at 3 (this was the time my daughter's field day would end too & I happened to be off work attending it)...expecting to get there after the baby was born. I arrived to find my daughter-in-law in labor still...still pushing. At first I thought, no big deal. But then the hours went on. I knew my daughter-in-law was exhausted...as most mothers are when they are in labor. At 8 p.m. the decision was made that a C-Section was necessary. My granddaughter was born at 8:15, however, we knew nothing until about 9 p.m. when a nurse came out & said that the baby was here and that was it. About 10 minutes later (but it seemed like an hour) my son emerged with a smile on his face to tell us that his daughter was perfect & beautiful & my daughter-in-law was beyond exhausted but doing well. Close to 9:30 we got to see sweet Evelynn Jade for the first time. I looked at that precious little extension of my son and of me and I fell head over heals in love with her at that exact moment. At that moment, I became a grandma without the little old lady. Knowing that I would love & adore her, do my best to protect and care for her, to share with her all things that grandmas are supposed to...although...I stick with Gigi and know that she'll be able to say that much sooner than grandma. I have embraced my 2nd new role within a year...first mother-in-law, now grandma & I am loving it!