Holding patterns

I realize that I am essentially in one long holding pattern. This is not necessarily a bad thing. But I find that I’m often trying to live in the future, which is essentially still mostly an unknown.

I keep trying to rush ahead, to plan out what is still a very uncertain future. While knowing what I’ll be doing in the future (or even where I’m going to live!) might settle my anxieties now, the question still remains: then what?

Essentially all the questions about where I’ll live—whether it’s in this country or not—are all distractions from the fact that my husband is going to die. I don’t like those thoughts very much.

But the fact of the matter is that he’s still here now and that’s the important part. I may not have the luxury that my mom does, for example, of being assured that my husband will always be around. We are unlikely to ever make it to our 50th anniversary (which my parents will celebrate in a little over 2 years I think, unless my math’s wrong.)

But J’s still here now. My challenge is to stay in the present moment as much as I can, rather than trying to look ahead to the future day when he won’t be. And although that seems simple and obvious, for me it’s a very great test of my anxiety.

I have enough going on right now to keep me busy and occupied, though. I need to get Chloe to all her appointments and then help build her confidence enough to get a job. I also have to do my own work and get my house organized. You know: life stuff.

I have to be here for Dylan as he tries to decide whether or not to stay at school or if he wants to take some time off.

I get to enjoy my relationship with Amy as she experiences truly being an adult living on her own for the first time. I just saw her yesterday and it was really enjoyable. Once again, she talked to me about how much harder it is to be on her own. Yes, there are good things that outweigh it. But she understands so much more about me and what it’s been like to be responsible for things.

For example, she now understands why I felt so panicked when I couldn’t find toilet paper last year and why I resorted to ordering an (admittedly awful) case of office-quality toilet paper.

And she and her boyfriend just upgraded their cell phones. Previously, they both had what she called “meme phones,” which they customized a lot but they sometimes didn’t work. Now that she and her boyfriend have to be in touch with each other, they realized that they had to have regular phones that aren’t customized at all.

In fact, she brought up the time when I switched to an iPhone, back when AT&T was the only carrier. I only had that contract for a couple of weeks before I realized that it just wouldn’t work because AT&T had terrible service where we lived at the time. I was working at a library whose office was in the basement and I got no service at all down there. Because my kids were home alone (because as usual my parents couldn’t be assed to babysit) I had to be reachable.

She said that at the time, she didn’t understand why that was such a big deal; she thought surely I could just go upstairs to get reception. Now she said that the idea of being unreachable was “like OH MY GOD this is an emergency!”

Interestingly, she is now at almost exactly the same age as I was when I had her. And being on her own and trying to manage it (as well as manage her own anxiety) has only strengthened her resolve not to have children of her own. I kinda knew that already so it’s not a big surprise and I’m not emotionally invested in having grandchildren, so it’s all good.

But I have to admit that it has given her a much greater appreciation for what I’ve been through as a parent and she now has an idea of how hard it must have been.

I didn’t ever try to make her (or any of my kids) feel like raising them was a hardship and I’ve always been open about the things I screwed up. But hearing my daughter say that she really gets it now is always a nice affirmation to hear.

Having all my kids reaching various stages of adulthood and independence is really rewarding. I think I’m just going to try to hang out here for a while and enjoy it as much as I can.

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