Life Marches On

Hey, friends. I’ve been thinking about you! It’s been five months since my last blog post. The past several months have been eventful – bringing extremes of emotion, as life is wont to do.

In March, one of my nephews passed away. He had struggled for years, both with depression and alcoholism. You might say it was a shock, but not a surprise. There’s nothing remotely natural about a parent burying a child. My sister and her family will never be the same. Ironically, my nephew knew he needed help – and had scheduled an appointment for IOP (Intensive Out Patient). The appointment date? The day his body was found by his brothers.

So sad and tragic and unnecessary. It just emphasizes the point that, if you’re struggling, STOP TODAY. Time is of the essence. This may be your last chance.

Our family has also recently celebrated my husband’s retirement from 39 years as a teacher, coach, and advisor. It’s been a roller coaster of emotions for him, and I’ve been holding his hand and walking through this experience with him. We’re both so excited about the changes in our lives his retirement will bring, especially once I go back to school in the fall. I keep joking that I’ll have a wife – somehow I don’t think he’s as amused by that as I am….

Our youngest daughter and her husband are buying their first home, which is super exciting. Things seems to be looking up for them, after some rocky times and struggles.

We’re enjoying our four granddaughters and the ensuing happy chaos so, so much – and there’s another precious little one on the way next spring!

My sobriety has been a constant through all the tears and laughter – God willin’ and the creek don’t rise, I’ll have four years next month. It’s just part of who I am now – and I hardly ever miss it.  I have to admit, there are very brief flashes of – longing? Jealousy? Resentment? Typically, I don’t think about it much any more. I’m still active in my private Facebook group – I check in and read posts daily but don’t comment much.

I don’t intend to drink, ever again. I try not to think about “forever,” though.  That’s a little too daunting and overwhelming.  But for today, I’m good. Not gonna drink.

How about you?

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But for the Grace of….

The Universe? God? I don’t know what I believe. But I do have a confession to make.

I have been wallowing in self-pity and resentment. Marinating in “it’s not fair,” and, “I don’t get paid enough for this responsibility,” for the better part of this school year.

You see, I’m a Teaching Assistant. I teach more classes than the two teachers I work with -several more classes per week. I’ve had some really challenging students to deal with. I even went to the principal, who “mansplained” my job to me and basically dealt with my complaints by metaphorically patting me on the head. He even had the balls to admonish me to keep my unhappiness and frustration with my workload from affecting my relationship with my students.

This, from our Fearless Leader who is famous for not only bringing his domestic issues to work with him, but unleashing on anyone unfortunate enough to cross his path. Asshole.

So where does the Universe come in, you ask?

Well, sometimes the Divine tweaks us on the nose just when we need it most, if we’re paying attention.

Yesterday we had a long-anticipated sleepover with Darling Granddaughter #3. We kicked off the festivities with a rollicking trip to the grocery store – do we know how to show a kid a good time or WHAT?

As we enter the produce department, I notice another Grandma and Grandpa happily doting on an adorable baby in their shopping cart. The Grandma and I make eye contact and share a knowing smile.  As it happens, she and I find ourselves inspecting the same vegetables. On impulse, I say, “Isn’t being a grandparent SO much more fun than being a parent?” She laughs and replies, “I remember your husband from High School!” So I urge her to go over and say hello to him.  She does, and I follow.  I’m entertaining our granddaughter, half listening to their conversation.   I freeze when I hear him expressing condolences to her. I glean from the conversation that she’s lost a son to addiction, within the past six months or so.

My husband shares with her that we have two daughters who narrowly escaped with their lives – addicts ten years in recovery now…. He gives her a big hug, and I do too.  As we walk away I find myself fighting back tears. I know we could very easily have lost not one, but both of our daughters. I can’t even imagine what hell she’s going through.

And then it occurs to me – that could so easily have been us. And in the grand scheme of things, my problems are so minor.  I have a job with co-workers I adore. I don’t have to worry about being laid off. My husband, children, and grandchildren are healthy. All of my immediate family lives within 30 minutes of me.  I want for nothing.

I need to keep all of this in mind the next time I feel negativity start to creep in.

Because for a million and one reasons, my life could have easily become a tragedy. It’s quite the opposite.  And I’m so unbelievably grateful.

Eleven Months Sober

Wow.  Eleven months!  This just blows me away.

And the day kind of….. sucked ass.  We had my husband’s aunt, uncle, and cousin over for dinner. Plus our kids and grandchildren and my sister-in-law.  A total of 13 people.  Not a huge crowd, but – haven’t had a big group over since New Year’s Day.

I don’t know how or where the wheels fell off the bus – but I was on the verge of tears shortly before everyone arrived, and practically ripped my poor husband’s head off and handed it to him. I just wanted to crawl out of my skin.

I was worried that there wouldn’t be enough food (jeez you think seven pounds of chicken salad would be enough for 10 adults and three little ones???)

I was freaked out that there wouldn’t be enough places to sit in the family room.

I was super DUPER annoyed with my adult son.

I wanted to scream every time my husband got “that look” on his face when I commented on anything above.

But.  And this is a BIG but – never, at any point, did I want to drink over any of it.

And today I’ll vacuum and wash the floors and get over my bad self.  And try to figure out what exactly went wrong and how to head it off at the pass next time.

But I think it’s gonna be quite a while before I take on such a large crowd again.