Vacation

This is a Really Real Widow Post.

But also a bit of Mental Health thrown in there.

We never took vacations.

It’s one of my big regrets from Parker and I, but also from Kidlet’s childhood.

There was the year we traveled from Maryland to Florida to see our families.  That was our only family vacation in the 8 years we were together.

I think once we came from Florida, to Maryland, tagging along with my mom.  I guess that was a vacation. During that trip we managed to go over to DC for part of a day. Parker had never been to D.C. and she absolutely loved it.

A few years later when we were living in the homeless shelter up here, we met her family in D.C. for the day while they were on their vacation.

But vacations weren’t really on our radar.

Keeping the lights on, paying off the rent before the eviction notice expired, stretching the food stamps by making it to the food pantries on time. Making it to countless doctors appointments.

Those were the things we worried about.

But not vacations.

Wonder Woman and I leave for vacation tonight. I can’t count the number of overnight trips and vacations we’ve had in the 2 years we’ve been together. This is a belated anniversary trip, something we wanted to do, but couldn’t quite afford to do in September, so we were able to put aside some money and make it happen a bit late.

We’re going to a cabin in the mountains. The mountains are Wonder Woman’s place, she loves the cold. Mine is the beach and the warmth.

We’ve done lots of beach trips, it’s time to hit the mountains. I guess I can bundle up for a few days.

We have a fireplace in our cabin, and there are fire pits in the resort.

I guess I can handle that.

I still have great memories of going to the beach over Christmas on our first vacation. Hanging out in front of the fire together.

I look forward to repeating that.

I still feel weird taking vacations. I still have to remind myself that I deserve nice things. That I deserve happiness. That I deserve to travel and have these experiences.

That I deserve stability.

I’m so used to struggle that it’s hard to settle into stability.

It’s hard to feel comfortable with packing for a trip. It’s hard to avoid overthinking it.

It’s hard to find the balance between “bring absolutely everything you might need” and “if you forget something you can just buy it.”

It’s hard to find the balance between over planning/letting anxiety win and waiting for the last minute/letting anxiety win.

It’s hard to find the balance between being thankful for what I have now, and grieving what I didn’t have then.

We never took vacations.

I deserve this life.

Adultier Adult

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

I had a conversation in therapy about the fact that I don’t feel like an adult.

My therapist asked why I don’t see myself as a grown up. I started listing off reasons.

I don’t have a car.

I don’t have a job.

I’ve always needed financial help.

I’m not independent.

I can’t budget my own money successfully.

I’m not successful.

I haven’t finished college.

I can’t hold a job even when I get them.

I can’t finish anything I start.

I just kept listing off one thing after another.

I told her I felt that my son was more of an adult than I am. He is truly, the adultier adult, like we always joked about needing when he was younger.

She pointed out that I raised him.

I told her that was easy, he was an easy kid to raise, mostly. He did a lot of it himself, unfortunately, while I was busy helping us survive whatever bullshit I had gotten us into that week, or month, or year.

She asked me if I’d judge anyone else so harshly.

Of course not.

But this is me, and I’m “so smart” and “so intelligent” and I “should be making more of myself” and I’m not.

So how can I really be an adult.

I can’t even keep my sink clear of dishes. I can’t even stay caught up on school work (and it’s at a community college, it’s not like I’m working a full time job at the same time, most of the students are).  I can’t even pay my bills on my own without spending too much money and needing to be bailed out again, and again, and again.

This all sounds very whiny.

I want to be so much more than I am. I want to be functional. I want to be . . . typical, for lack of a better word.

I want to be able to spend money on things I need and not get carried away by emotional spending to the point that I end up staring at a negative bank account for the third time in a month, begging for help, again. I want to be able to focus on the things I need to focus on and stop hyperfocusing on the things that don’t matter. I want a fucking car. I want to finish school. I want to be able to work and actually hold down a job.

I want to be a fucking adult.

I want to accomplish more in life then just surviving and keeping a kid alive until 18.

I want to do more.

I just want to grow up.

Give Them Wings

This is a Really Real Parenting Post.

“Landed.”

“Are you in another country now?”

“Yep”

Kidlet is 19 years old and he just took a solo trip out of the country. He planned it, got his passport, paid for the tickets, saved up the spending money, and is doing the thing.

“No time for a drink yet, the next flight boards soon.” He’s old enough to drink in Canada and is looking forward to buying his first (legal) adult beverage.

He still has 2 more flights until he arrives at his final destination, some online gaming friends he’s visiting for a few days.

And I couldn’t be prouder.

I was 21 when I made my first trip (mostly) alone, relying on some inheritance to take a road trip from Maryland to Texas. Kidlet riding along in his car seat, still in diapers. The Tarzan soundtrack kept us going through that trip. I belted out “You’ll Be In My Heart” every time it came on, singing it directly from my heart to him, unable to imagine a day that I wouldn’t be right there beside him. I couldn’t begin to see this far into the future.

But here we are.

“What’s your soundtrack for this trip?”

“Ride” (By Twenty One Pilots) “I’ve had that song playing in my head.”

I smile.

Three years ago, almost to the day, Kidlet and I took a road trip to NY. It was right after Parker died and we just needed to get away. We went to see one of my best friends, also someone I knew from online. When we started I had never heard “Ride” but we spent the trip playing music for each other and it was one that got played often. By the time we were driving back it had become one of my favorite songs. We belted out the lyrics together the whole way home.

“I love you Kidlet.”

“Love you more Mom.”

Love you more isn’t a competition, it means he loves me more than all of the miles and distance between us. It’s a reminder that no matter how far apart we are, we’re still together, we’re still close.

I realize how lucky I am to have this relationship with my son. I’m still not quite sure what I did right or how I did it in the middle of all the things that went wrong for us.

In the midst of our closeness I spent his life letting him stretch his wings whenever I could.

And he sure is using them to fly.