Gifts I Give

I am a firm believer that it’s not about what you drink or how much but about how often you THINK about drinking that could unveil signs of alcoholism or problem drinking.  Even before I was drinking every night I was thinking obsessively about how and when I’d be able to drink again.  I had my “rules” which meant I couldn’t drink at home or at family functions but that didn’t stop me from getting my drink on.  Let’s just say that the hubs and I ate out A LOT before the kids were born.  All at fine restaurants that served really good wine.

I’m reminded of this because I’ve been thinking about two people from a former life that I’ve heard from/about in the last couple of weeks.  Neither of these individuals had been to rehab.  One went to AA on a regular basis, the other did not.  One was a beer drinker, one a wine drinker.  Neither had any DUI’s, jail time or lost jobs.  Neither had lost family or been on the street.  Both called themselves alcoholics.

In other words, they were just like me.

Both are moderately drinking now.

Both say they are able to moderate with success by keeping a close eye on how much and how often they drink.  They have friends and family who keep an eye on how much they are drinking and alert them if they’re going over their limit of frequency or amount.  They stay hyper vigilant and are always aware.

In no universe is this how I want to live.

I will fully admit to missing my Chardonnay.  I will also admit to occasionally throwing the random hissy fit, pity party and pouting marathon because I can’t have a class of that cool yellow nectar.  But there are no days on the planet that I would trade my sweet and beautiful peace of mind for all the wine in California and France put together.

The quiet that goes on in my head is worth everything to me.  Not to have my every waking moment tangled all up in when, how much, and with whom I will drink is a fucking miracle.  To not have to worry about the money I’m spending or will spend or what it’s doing to my body or my kids is a blessing.  To not have to panic when it snows or over a three-day weekend is liberating.  It’s a gift I’ve given myself and it’s worth everything.

Then if that’s not enough, to have lifted that burden from my family is the satin bow that completes the wrapping of this gift.  To relieve them of having to police me, worry about me, keep an eye on me and the wine bottles, make sure I’m moderating or making it to bed when I slip is a beautiful thing.

That’s the gift I’ve given to them.  Anything less robs them of their own piece of mind and I couldn’t live with myself if I did that to them again.  Alcoholism isn’t a singular disease (condition…whatever) that only impacts the alcoholic (no matter how much we tell ourselves that it is); it’s a cancer that spreads and infects everyone around the alcoholic in some way.  To somehow make my family responsible for MY alcoholism by asking them to help me moderate is, in my opinion, a goddamn sin.

One I am not willing to commit.

Everyone walks their own path.  Everyone’s journey through this darkness is different.  I can’t speak for anyone else but myself and I won’t speak for anyone else.  I did not share any of this with them nor will I but because, quite frankly, what they do is none of my damn business.

But since this is my blog, I get to share it here and that…is therapy.

Namaste

 

I did it!!!

I did it you guys!!!  Thanks for all the lovely words of encouragement.  It was much harder than I thought it would be (because I’m way more out of shape then I knew) and I’m not lying when I say that my main motivation to keep going was that I wanted to make my family and all of YOU proud.  So when I thought I would puke, when my legs wanted to give out, when my lungs were at capacity, I just thought of this post right here and kept going.  Thank you thank you thank you.

My coworker and friend Sunny, without whom I probably would have stayed in bed instead of participating.
My coworker and friend Sunny, without whom I probably would have stayed in bed instead of participating.

My goal was to finish in an hour and to not be the last person…oh…and not die.

My time was 1:00:51 and I was not last!

That’s a win-win in my book considering I’ve never run a day in my life and I’ve never walked a course quite this difficult (lots and lots of hills).

I hurt today but it’s a very, very good hurt.  I’m going to start a Couch to 5K program on the treadmill (I can set it to “street” so it’s not so cushiony and more like a real road) tomorrow (certainly not today) and try to improve my breathing which is the main reason I walked way more than I ran.  My niece also told me that her drill sergeant when she was in boot camp told her to chew a stick of gum when she ran.  She said for some reason it helped her immensely with breath control.  I’ll give anything a try.

All in all I’m really proud of what I accomplished but, being the highly competitive person that I am, I know I’m committed to improving…especially for the 5K part of my triathlon in June.

Namaste

Searching for Sobriety

 

I just caught sight of what people are putting into Google this week that brings them to my blog.  The number one search?

please god help me quit drinking

When I first started blogging in 2012 and I was setting up my tags (can’t remember what Blogger called them), I made sure that these six words, in that order, were in there.  I knew I’d get to people this way because this is what I always put into Google when I was desperately seeking an answer into why in the hell I drank so much.  It was part search tool and mostly prayer.

please god help me quit drinking

Now when I see it pop up it makes my heart hurt because I can feel, way down deep in my soul, exactly what those people typing out there in internet land are feeling.  I know the anguish and the pain.  The inability to see your way around what feels like a 2,000 pound boulder.  The humiliation and shame of whatever you did to make you type those words.  The worry about what you’re doing to your children.  The fear of what you’re doing to your body.  The terror of being “found out” and all your lies exposed.  The hopelessness of feeling like this will only end when you die.

The wish to make that happen as quickly as possible.

Or maybe you’re not there…yet.  Maybe you’re just beginning to question why you don’t seem to want to quit drinking when everyone else does.  You’re wondering why, even though you probably haven’t admitted it to yourself, you think about drinking almost all the time.  Why there’s a sense of panic when you realize that you don’t have enough wine to get you through the weekend and they’re calling for snow.  You’re wondering if your kids know why you won’t let them go to their friend’s house after a certain time of night or only if they are going to spend the night…you wonder if they know it’s because you don’t want to worry about driving after “wine o’clock”.  You wonder if the parents of the soccer or little league or dance team can smell it on your breath or seeping out of your pores on a hot day.

You’ve promised yourself time and time again that you’ll quit only to feel the pull, hear the nagging thoughts and stop at the store on the way home to pick up some booze.  Just this one you say…then one turns into two which turns into a bottle and then…

Well…you know the rest.

Guess what?  You don’t have to die.  You don’t have to feel this way any longer.  There is an answer but it means you’ll have to get dirty.  It’s not easy.  In fact it’s probably the hardest thing you’ll ever do.  It will take commitment.  It will take guts.  It will take rigorous honesty not only to other people but to yourself.  You will be left stripped bare and raw.  You won’t know who you are or why you started this goddamned journey in the first place.  You’ll hate me and all of us out here telling you “You can do this!  You’re doing great!  It’s soooo worth it!”

In fact, your desire to kill every recovering alcoholic on the planet will only be surpassed by your desire to kill every normal drinking person in the galaxy.

Because IT’S NOT FAIR!

It’s not fair that you can’t drink like a normal person!!!!  It’s just not fair!

So what.  Grow up.  Life’s not fair.  It’s just life.  On its own terms.  It doesn’t come with an owner’s manual and even if it did it wouldn’t matter because you’re not in control.

But if you can manage 24 and then 48 and maybe even 72 hours, you’ll begin to see how good life can be without alcohol.  You’ll see, probably for the first time in your life, the full and complete meaning of the word JOY or GLORIOUS.  You’ll catch a glimpse of sunlight in the darkness that leads to love and peace of mind.  That leads to family and forgiveness and new beginnings.

That leads to hope.

It’s up to you whether or not you walk toward the light or stay in the darkness.  Just know that if you do, we’re all out here to love you through it.

Namaste

 

Powerful Words

When my kids were little and trying on profanity as children do, I used to tell them that profanity was just a group of words to which society had given power.  The only power curse words had was what we gave them.  That was usually followed immediately by, “In this house they still hold power so you won’t be using them.”  I also let them know that there was a time and place for those words and that time and place was never around adults or in public places.  I knew they would be using it with their friends because, let’s face it, it’s a right of passage but with those rights came the responsibility to know how and when to let fly with an f-bomb.  I never had one issue with them using inappropriate language and to this day they blush if they say “damn” in my presence.  I like that.

I also modeled the behavior and offer them the same respect I expected of them.  Told you I was only a potty-mouth on my blog.

Anyway, after reading all the wonderful comments from my post yesterday, it occurred to me that I have assigned way to much power to what amounts to a group of vowels and consonants strung together to form a word.  Society has also given the word way too much clout and most of it is negative, which makes a lot of us “non-drinkers” recoil when the word is used to describe us while others embrace it like a long-lost friend that has finally returned home.

Read that last, very long and run-on sentence again.  The important part is that some of us recoil and some do not.  WE decide how we will react to words.  WE have the power…no one else.

Hmmmm….

The fact is that I have a negative connotation with that word and always will.  To me it represents ruined holidays, turbulent birthdays, arguments, drama and turmoil.  It means lies and selfishness, separation and divorce, illness and eventually death.  It scares me.  It’s ugly.

I don’t do ugly.

So I’ve decided to “drop the rope” when it comes to that word.  Since I have and always will give it power, I’m going to stop trying to make it something it’s not.  For me, it’s not a warm and fuzzy word.  It’s comes with baggage and I’ve got enough of that thank you very much.  No more fighting with it.  It’s just a word.  No more and no less.

Hi, I’m Sherry and I don’t fucking drink.  That is all.

(You knew I had to drop an f-bomb before the end of the post right?)

Namaste

A Quick Interlude

I’m working on a new post about an experience I had yesterday while volunteering at Operation Christmas Child.  In the meantime, here’s a link to an article just published on the Florida Beach Rehab site. I am loving writing for these guys!!!

http://www.floridabeachrehab.com/i-know-what-an-alcoholic-looks-like/

Namaste

The Before

There is always a lot of discussion about our lives after we got sober or what particular “bottom” resulted in us getting sober.  There’s talk about our drinking careers, lives ruined, people pissed, DUI’s, jobs lost, blah, blah, blah.  Then there’s talk about the first day, the second day, the first weekend, the first birthday, first Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving and all other reasons we alcoholics loved to get our drink on but were no longer allowed.  We cheer for milestones because, let’s face it, if this were a cake walk I wouldn’t be blogging and I suspect neither would a lot of my friends.  We even discuss our methods of staying sober whether it’s AA, SMART, blogging, therapy or some form of medication.  It’s awesome that it’s out here, for anyone to read and to take what they need and leave the rest.

Recently however, I’ve noticed a gap in all of these heartfelt and thought-provoking discussions.  I call it “The Before”.  For me The Before was the time when I knew I had a problem but hadn’t yet truly committed to sobriety.  I was still drinking, or relapsing, or drinking or relapsing.  What’s more I was thinking and thinking and THINKING about how I needed to maybe be sober for like…forever but not today.  Maybe tomorrow.  Or next week – on Monday.  Or Thanksgiving – no wait…the Holidays are hard maybe New Year’s day since I’ll already have a hangover.

See what I mean.

When I look back I see that this was the most difficult part of my journey.  Not the first few days or the first weekend or the first birthday or the first anything.  It was The Before.  The Before was the toughest because I had no peace of mind.  Hell…I had no peace of anything during that time.  My brain chattered on and on and on and just would not be still.  No matter what I did I could not convince it to just shut the fuck up and leave me the hell alone.

It’s a funny thing about my brain, or higher power or conscience or whatever.  Once an idea that is fundamentally right has been awakened it will not rest until I’ve done something about it.  The thing is that this can conceivably go on for years and years and years before I actually get around to doing something about it.

Finally putting down my wine glass was no different.  I remember very clearly the first time the idea that I had a problem popped into my head.  The hubs and I had just moved in together which means I was in my early twenties.  We came home from a night out and I could barely walk.  I face planted into the bed and said, “I think I have a drinking problem.”  He thought I was kidding but I knew, way down deep in my gut, that the way I drank wasn’t normal.  I also knew that one day I’d have to do something about it but the thought was so repulsive I stuffed it down…for the next 25 years or so.

As the years went on I grew more and more aware of how much I drank and that, once I got started I was not able to quit.  What frightened me more was how much I thought about drinking.  All that planning and thinking and manipulating was not only tiresome but it signaled a much deeper problem.  One I refused to admit out loud but that my gut knew was true.  Then came the second time I saw my son cry because I was drunk.  That’s when I knew something had to be done. 

I can’t count the number of starts and stops I had after that moment but there were a lot of them.  I’d get a few days or weeks or even months under my belt before I’d proclaim myself fine and start The Before all over again.  The Before that resulted in the looks of disappointment on the faces of my family when they saw me bring in a bottle or three of wine. The constant beratement of myself because I was weak, or a fraud, or a bad person or bad mom or horrible wife until I finally just had to drink away the self-deprecation which only made me hate myself more.  The promises before my feet hit the floor the next morning that I would never drink again…followed by a loss of my resolve somewhere around 2:00 pm which led to the grocery store and more wine.  Lather, rinse, repeat.

Then there was the endless noise in my head about drinking…always about drinking.  Why, when, and how?  What it was doing to my kids.  What is was doing to my marriage.  My job.  My health.  When will I quit again? (There was no longer an issue of “if” it was now “when”.)  Planning, planning, planning for that day – only to chicken out at the 11th hour and start the planning process again.  I was unhappy no matter which way I turned.  If I didn’t quit I was horrible, if I did I was angry.  Lose-lose.  I was a loser no matter what.

Of course one day something clicked and here I am almost five years later sober as a judge and healthier and happier than I’ve ever been.  I wish I could tell you what switch finally flipped but I can’t.  I can (and have) told you what made me try…again, but I can’t explain why I stayed sober.  I guess I just got so sick and tired of the constant negativity in my head and I felt that I didn’t have any other choice.  I think I just decided that I couldn’t listen to that crap for one more goddamned day (little g).

The rest of the journey was difficult, at first, but the thought of going back to The Before is what kept me sober that first year and still, quietly, keeps me sober now.  That dark and ugly Before is not a place that anyone should be. 

Namaste

Holiday Strategy

Like most recovering alcoholics I have triggers.  Even after all this time they still pop up and bite me in the ass from time to time.  They aren’t scary to me any longer but they are uncomfortable so, when possible, I try to avoid them.

For instance, I used to entertain like a crazy woman.  Any excuse to throw a party and I was on it!  Even before I was drinking everyday, I loved having people in my home, feeding them, showing off my house, socializing and having everyone say what a wonderful hostess I was.  My kids grew up with regularly scheduled events and they love it as well.

Now the mere thought of entertaining makes me anxious.  I’ve thrown a few parties since I got sober but the amount of energy I have to expend before, during and after, is not worth the effort.  I don’t get enough out of it to justify the level of anxiety, angst and longing for a cold glass of Chardonnay to hold while I mingle and sip gulp my wine.  It’s so much more comfortable to me to attend parties thrown by others where I can show up late and leave early or, sometimes, not go at all.

One of my other HUGE triggers is “The Holiday Season”.  I’m sure it surprises no one to learn this since there are endless posts that have been written and will be written on how to survive the season of revelry and holiday “spirit”.  I refuse to pass judgement on anyone else for what, when and how much they drink especially during this season of love and goodwill because this issue is not theirs…it’s mine.  I’m the one with the drinking problem.  I’m the one that has to figure out how do deal with it.

And so I have…learned to deal with it that is.  For instance, I seldom attend anyone else’s Christmas celebration.  Since the hubs and I have gotten older, I confess that the invitations are now few and far between (thank God for small favors) but we still get one or two per season.  Some of my friends don’t even bother to invite me if they know it will be a boozy affair (which still, to this day, hurts my feelings – I’d rather turn it down then be left out – scars from high school I guess); while others invite us but understand completely when I say we won’t be there.

As I stated earlier,  if I decide to attend I arrive fashionably late and leave early.  I hold tight to the fact that I will be comfortably ensconced in my cozy bed before the party is over and that I will sleep the sleep of the sober people and wake without a hangover.  This remains the strongest tool in my arsenal.  Damn I love my sober sleep.

I also try to stay as cozy as possible during the holidays.  By this I mean that I have a picture in my head of what the word “cozy” means – it’s snuggled by the tree with the  lights low and a cup of hot cocoa or tea in my hand.  It’s sappy Christmas moves on the Hallmark Channel or a good book.  It’s snuggles with the hubs or the kids or the dogs.  It’s a feeling of home that I indulge in much more during this time of year.  I try to open my heart and let it flow freely both in and out so that my gas gauge stays firmly on “full”.

I try NOT to romanticize this time of year or make it something it’s not.  I’ve said many times before that far from the actual drinking part of my drinking career, I was much more in love with the “idea” of drinking.  I felt very grown up when I drank.  In my mind’s eye I was very sophisticated and worldly when I swirled a glass to examine the “legs” of the wine.  I loved the intimacy of sharing a bottle of wine in a lovely restaurant.  I felt very “Scott & Zelda” hanging out in bars and taverns where they knew us on sight and kept the drinks coming.

Instead, I try to remember that after the first drink all the romance falls away and all that is left is a sappy drunk who doesn’t know when enough is enough.  A broke drunk because wine with “legs” is usually expensive.  An isolated and alone drunk because no one wants to stick around into the wee hours and continue to drink.  An ugly drunk because the slack jawed face in the mirror with slits where her beautiful green eyes used to be is her – unrecognizable even to herself.

{{shudder}}

I try to remember nights out at holiday parties when the kids were home with grandma watching those Christmas shows I should have been watching with them.  I try to remember our own holiday parties that left me slurring and unable to be there for those same children.  I try to remember making them cry because they hated seeing me like that.

That last one is the one that really gets to me…and keeps me sober.

I wish there was some kind of magic wand that would help us all enjoy the holiday season without the triggers and the longing and the pain associated with either being drunk or trying to stay sober.  I wish I could wriggle my nose or cast a spell but, like all good things in the world, nothing will work but good, honest, nose to the grindstone hard work.  Call it stubborness, or tenacity or commitment but at the end of the day, if it keeps you sober during the holiest time of the year…I’ll call it divine.

Namaste

 

In Search of My Next “Universe Moment”…Uh…Book

God has a way of dropping books in my path just when I need them.  When I’m feeling like I am now, I find a book store and just browse.  Usually I end up staring at a bookshelf, having no idea how or why I’m in that particular section (whatever section that might be) when my eye lights on a book.  I pick it up.  I read the back.  Something clicks and I go home with the book and spend the next several days reading, still unsure as to why I’m reading it.

And then it changes my life.

I remember once being in a Barnes & Noble near work.  I thought I was killing time at lunch but I suddenly found myself in the “self-help” section.  Just at eye level was “Will I Ever Be Good Enough?: Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers” by Dr. Karyl McBride.  I didn’t even know what a narcisssist was at that time in my life but the description on the back did something to my heart.  So I bought it…and read it.  It’s hard to put into words what this book did for me except to say that it helped me tap into and begin to heal wounds I didn’t even know I had.  I recommend it to any woman who’s ever had issues with her mother even if mom isn’t a narcissist like mine was. 

During my final relapse, I found “iWant: My Journey from Addiction and Overconsumption to a Simpler, Honest Life” by Jane Velez-Mitchell.  This is from one of my former posts…

“During the time I was struggling with getting sober (in other words I was chronically relapsing), I saw Jane Velez-Mitchell on Oprah (I think) talking about her book, “iWant: My Journey from Addiction and Overconsumption to a Simpler, Honest Life“.  The more she spoke, the more I knew I had to read that book even though I didn’t want to read that book.  I really, really did not want to read that book.  I read it.”

This is the one that solidified in my mind that I HAD to quit drinking.  I still had no idea how I was going to do it…but this book nurtured the seed that had been planted with “Dry”.  I knew I had a problem.

By the way, that particular post has a list of the books that helped me in the early days in case you want to take a look.  There are some raw, honest and very brave authors out there who do really good work.

Anyway, that feeling I get when I know there’s a book out there just waiting for me to find it, is back.  I’m doing some really profound work in therapy and I think that might be why I’m feeling this itchiness since it usually comes along just before I have a really life-changing “ah-ha” moment. 

I’m also really restless when it comes to reading right now.  Usually I devour books and lately I’ve been feeling…well…meh about them.  I have several in my Kindle that are either unread or half read and every time I try to read them I get bored and detach.  Which is weird because when I read a book I ATTACH.  I dive head and heart first into them and soak up everything they have to give, barely coming up for sleep or sustenance.  I do not side glance at them and think, “Yawn…ugh…maybe tomorrow.”

So I guess it’s time to get my ass to an actual bookstore and see what the Universe has in mind for me.

I hope that whatever it is…it’s in paperback.

Namaste

UPDATE:  In searching for a picture for this post, I Googled “books on a path” and up popped (among other things) a picture of Jack Kornfield’s book “A Path With Heart”.  I have no other words except to say that it happened again…so I ordered it. 

In paperback.

Turning Point

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how and when I began to know I had a problem with alcohol.  I guess it’s because my youngest are “about that age”, or maybe it’s that I’m “about that age”.  Who knows? But the thought has been rolling around up in the old gray matter so you know what that means?

Yep – Imma be writin’ about it here.

As I’ve mentioned before, my very first alcoholic drink was Sloe Gin.  I have no idea why that vile substance was even invented and why it remains on the market (does it remain on the market?) but I was dating a guy who wanted to get in my pants and he thought the best way to do that would be to get me drunk.

Yeah I know – class act.

Fortunately his brother was the more virtuous of the two and he volunteered to take me home AND I wasn’t so drunk that I would have consented – but something tells me that consent was the last thing on this guy’s mind.

So ANYWAY, from my very first drink I didn’t know when to stop.  I was 16.

Go figure.

In my twenties I remember the thought popping up in my head from time to time (as I recall I was either very drunk or very hungover at the time) and I even voiced it on occasion to either my husband or some very close friends. Those concerns were always met with, “Don’t be silly! You’re fine!” Or, “Oh stop! You’re just having a good time.” Or my personal favorite, “You can’t have a drinking problem because if you do than I do and I KNOW I’m okay.” Really.

So I would file it in the back of my brain until the next time things got out of hand when I would begin to think about it once again.

As the kids started getting older and I began to really drink again, and things with my mom went to shit and then things at work went to shit and I started doing even more stupid shit when I was drinking, the thoughts went from whispers to full out screaming in my head. I was usually able to quiet them by getting them drunk or just sticking my fingers in my ears and singing “lalalalalalala”…you know, mature stuff like that. Sometimes I could even manage to ignore them. For awhile anyway.

They’re persistent motherfuckers.

Then. Then one day I was reading “Dry” by Augusten Burroughs. It was my first real “Drunk Book” and I thought I was reading it as a follow up to “Running With Scissors” cause I’m OCD like that when it comes to books. What I didn’t know was that the Universe brings you what you need if you just pay attention.

There I was, minding my own business when I find myself reading about August’s first AA experience. There in the middle of a perfectly harmless meeting some woman gets up and starts telling her story.

And her story was my story.

As I recall she was a highly functioning alcoholic who held down a job and all the responsibilities of life without anyone outside her own head knowing she had a problem.  She had never been arrested.  No DUI’s.  No job lost.  Some of it’s fuzzy in my memory but what I remember most vividly is the her saying that she was always the first to arrive at a party and the last to leave and that she always drank the most.  Ouch.

I read that little part of the book over and over trying NOT to see myself in those words. I did not want to be her. I did not want to be reading about me in this book about an alcoholic coming to terms. But it was too late. You can’t un-see something.

I think I read that book in 2004. I didn’t quit drinking until 2010.  Those inbetween years were filled with many starts and stops. Many late night discussions. Much soul searching. Lots of tears and even more prayer.

And a lot more denial.

But those words never left me. They stayed with me and nibbled away at my resolve until I was strong enough to battle what was left and put down the wine bottle.  Even though I was that woman at the AA meeting, I didn’t have to stay that way.  I, like she, could get sober.  I could be THAT kind of woman.

Even today, at almost five years “dry” those words cause my stomach to lurch. They still have impact.  I can still see “her” image (the one I conjured while reading) in my mind when I think about it.

I am so grateful to the Universe for putting those words in that book in my path.  I think I’ll read it again and see what my stomach does this time.

Namaste

Slow Down, You Move Too Fast…

Slow down, you move too fast,  

You’ve got to make the morning last,  

Just kickin’ down the cobble-stones,

Looking for fun and feelin’ groovy,

Feeling groovy  ~Simon & Garfunkle, 59th Street Bridge album

That has always been one of my favorite songs…I can’t tell you why but when I hear it, it just makes me feel good.  It’s a happy song, and we all know how I feel about my happy. 

As I’ve gotten older (and sober) it’s taken on new meaning.  Life moves so fast.  Don’t blink.  (I love that Kenny Chesney song too.)  Slow down.  Breathe.

Yesterday my son sent me this text…

“Do you realize that there is a point at which you and dad put us down as kids and never picked us up again?”

Wait…what?

So I sent him this text…

“I hate you so much right now.”

Followed immediately by…

“Seriously.”

Here’s a fact.  I live to embarrass my children and they live to make me cry sentimental tears.  Well played my son…well played.

These are the times when I feel blessed that my drinking didn’t interfere with the time in their lives when I could pick them up.  Snuggle them and make it all better.  Run to greet them when I returned from a business trip and swing them around in my arms.  Turn them upside down and listen as they screamed with joy.  I was present then and when I read a text like that, I thank the good Lord that I was.

I just didn’t realize how quickly time was passing.  I was too busy being in it.  I tried to slow down, to make memories, to capture moments.  But it was hard.  When the girls were young it wasn’t too bad.  Two young girls, one I only had part-time, the other an old soul who never gave anyone a moment’s concern.  Then the boys came along.  All of a sudden I had a house filled with Legos and Pokemon and things moved very fast.  Some days it was all I could do to fall into bed, exhausted, only to wake and do it all again the next day.  Lather, rinse, repeat.

I’ve never regretted one single second of time since the day the first one came into my life and I never took it for granted (okay, maybe a little with my “old soul girl” but I was young and really stupid).  When people would stop me and say, “Wow, you’ve got your hands full,” I would reply, “Yes and they are filled with love.”  I meant it too.  But time still went way too fast.  It marched on in spite of the roadblocks I put up.

Now I sit, as an almost, empty nester, shaking my head and wondering how I missed that moment.  If I had been aware that it was the last time I would ever put them down, would I have done it differently?  Would I have held on just one more minute and savored the moment just a little more?  Tried to stretch the time?

No.  I would have put them down and stepped away and let them stand on their own – because that’s my job.  And I’ve done it well. 

Still sucks though.

Unless you’re my husband.  When I read him the text yesterday his response was, “Oh yeah and when I put them down I said thank God you can walk by yourself and I don’t have to fucking carry you anymore!”

Sometimes I hate him so much right now too.

Seriously. 😉

Namaste