Friday, November 5, 2010

Before Monday

Monday is the day. Mr. Sunshine reports to his federal prison work camp a/k/a, jail. I have spent the past few weeks doing something that is quite uncomfortable for me. It is not in my nature, not a part of my DNA.  I have been asking for help.

The first and most important item of business was to find someone to watch my girls from the time they spill out of the bus to the time I get home from doing that which supports us all.  I sent out a broadcast email to the moms in my girls brownie troop.  I expected it to take a few days to shake out, perhaps even thought I might need to go to plan B, which was the suggestion of the school guidance counselor for us to take the request to the wider school community at large.

Within 20 minutes, all arrangements were made.  Not only that, I had extra people volunteer who had to be turned away.  The girls had people fighting over who could get to keep them. When I told them what was happening, my little Warrior Princess quickly calculated the number of people who volunteered and began to set up a schedule in her mind as to how we could accommodate them all.  I realized by the look in her eyes what she was up to.  Sweetie, I said, we can't have you bouncing all over the city to a different home everyday, don't you think that would be a bit much, perhaps too confusing? Wouldn't you forget where you are supposed to be on Wednesday? She knew I was going to logic her to death on this one so she agreed we should limit it, but added, maybe we could just arrange some play dates with our other friends on the weekends?  Yes honey, of course we will. Everything will work out, before Monday.

These dear friends, angels all of them - not only stepped up to provide the specific need I requested, but they went on to come up with additional things they could do for me on their own.  "Darling, why don't I feed them dinner and drive them back to your house so you won't have to worry about that on Tuesdays", my Australian friend said with her irresistible accent.  Then another mom who will have them on Thursdays realized we have brownie meetings twice a month on Thursdays.  "Let me feed them dinner on Thursdays then drop them off at the brownie meetings for you".

The offers poured in all day, with a few dads even stepping up to the plate to ask what they could do. Keep in mind, I haven't even begun to tap into the middle school network of support for my 12 year old son and I had dads from the girls school worrying about my son, asking me if he needed someone to spend "guy" time with. My mission is clear with my son.  I am excited for the opportunity to have these next two and a half years to stabilize him.  To give him one home, one safe place - where all his stuff is.  To hold him accountable and responsible for grades, chores, being a good big brother and being responsible to his community. But I can't go hunting with him or do other things guys like to do.  He has been begging me to go paint balling. Sorry, but no.  I take enough pelts with unexpected large balls being hurled at me in life.  I'm not going to volunteer for it.

My good friends in Green Bay have offered to have us up for ice fishing this year.  We've spent the summers with them fishing off the docks but never have I imagined the concept of ice fishing. Dave is one of those men that I want to be in my son's life. He's a retired fire fighter, tough as nails but funny and tender hearted  He can be a bit of a daredevil, tempting fate with his adventures but the twists and turns in life as well as the twists and turns in his neck have slowed him down. His most recent large toy purchase was an RV, that's a good indicator how far he's come.  (Sorry Dave, you know I love you.)

After all this love, after all this support.  After asking for help so uncomfortably and getting it so unconditionally, I cried. That's all I could really do.

Before Monday, I am spending this last weekend in a Tazmanian Devil-like organizing frenzy. I'm painting new shelves, making room for all the stuff the kids had at their dad's house, giving them some separate and clearly defined spaces of their own when they need that quiet time and in general, leaving not one thing undone as I begin this stage of full time, single mom.  Organization is my key to sanity. If you ever want to know when it's time to lock me up in the padded cell, just check to see if my house is messy.  If there are any remote signs of hoarding, or even an unorganized desktop - just put me away.  Yes, I know - it's a control issue, but it feels SO good.

I have remained stoic and strong in these weeks leading up to the day my children will lose their dad.  I have envisioned the life I will make for us as a magnificent journey. I have finally, fully dealt with the loss of Zen Boyfriend, who at first seemed to be ripped away from me like a lost limb, leaving me to bleed out until there was nothing left. Now I realize he was not the man I thought he was and most certainly not the influence I would want in my children's lives at this critical time. It seemed merciless but has ended up being merciful, a great blessing to not only have him gone but to have had five months to make sense of it before Monday.

The events leading up to Monday have stripped me down to the bone, raw and fresh, deeply gouged wounds inflicted by anger, hurt, loss, anxiety and fear.  I believe I waged a war with anger and hurt and I emerged victorious.  I will no longer stare into the detestable bitter face, that was my opponent.  If I am honest, I know fear and anxiety remain, but they are buried, like the layers of the earth somewhere around the transition region. What lies on top, on the upper mantle of my internal earth structure for now, is loss. The loss of my children's father. The loss of a little part of their innocence, the loss they will feel each time they look out into the audience from the stage of a school musical and realize their dad is gone. That cannot be processed before Monday.