Sustainably Single Parenting

Making the most of life's journey alongside my three!!!

Oh Christmas Tree December 3, 2012

We’ve been given another gift of generosity. This time, a free live Christmas tree! I couldn’t believe it when we got the voucher, it seemed too good to be true. We’d just purchased an artificial tree on Black Friday and I’d been meaning to set it up, but time (and my reluctance to love it) kept me from opening the box. Good thing, because we got to return it after we used our voucher.

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On Saturday morning we went down to the farm where they were giving the trees away. I figured it would be some slummy setup with the poor-people-trees in a shabby corner and the others spread about the farm. I wasn’t going to complain either way. How could I? A free tree. A live tree. A guarantee that we’d have help strapping the thing to the roof of our vehicle.

XMasTree2012-2What really occurred nearly brought me to tears. We were greeted by the farm workers as though we were family. The girls giggled with Santa Claus and told him what they want for Christmas (Dinosaur Train toys and Hungry Hungry Hippos) while a woman took my voucher and showed me the stations I was supposed to visit.

At the first station we indulged in cookies, brownies, cider, and candy canes. At the next station I was given three bags of ornaments (typical gift bag sized bags, there were about 40 ornaments total). The next station had specialized ornaments, decorations, and household items (candy dishes, candle holders) that had been donated and were free for the taking (I choose two packages of purple and gold ribbons to tie on our tree). The last stations were for getting a tree stand, and choosing a tree.XMasTree2012-3

We all agreed on a chubby tree that Terra wanted. It stands about five feet so we were able to fit it into the back of the van easily. I got it into the house by myself and got the stand set up. I even found my husband’s saw and cut the branches from the bottom to make enough room for the trunk to fit securely in the stand. I could not, however, jam the trunk into the base of the stand and screw it in without assistance, so I called a friend.

XMasTree2012-5Tonight the girls and I decorated the tree. It looks amazing to me. The first tree of our new beginning. I am still holding back my tears though. This is so difficult. Being without him…trying to stay strong. Last year he decorated the place so beautifully. There were lights around our entire living room and our tree looked amazing. He bragged that we had the best decorations in the condo association, and I (more humbly) agreed.

The girls think the tree is perfect. They do not see it as small and don’t know how it compares to our previous trees. They do not notice the personalized ornaments missing. They do not know that the afghan I’m using as a tree skirt was a free gift from someone who makes them and donates them to the domestic violence center. They do not know that every time I get a whiff of the needles I am crying inside because my wedding anniversary is on Winter Solstice. They do not know how much it’s killing me to stay merry, to teach them how to appreciate everything while I’m still mourning.

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It’s good that they do not know. I want them to enjoy the tree. I want them to enjoy their Christmas. I want so badly for them to just be happy children, and not let any of this other stuff bring them down. I am very happy for our Christmas tree. It’s going to force me to cope with these painful memories, compel me to address these unhealed wounds. But it’s a beautiful tree, and I am very grateful indeed.

 

Depression Looms October 26, 2012

I feel like I’m just days away from falling into a deep depression.

I’ve refused to succumb to it, but it’s closing in on me. I know the warnings well; the hopelessness, the loneliness, the emptiness, the terror.

I find myself preoccupied with thoughts of how it came to this and I reexamine the part I played in it all. Is this all my fault? In so many ways I have to take the blame for what has become of my adult life.

It has been five months since The Big Incident and I have yet to shed a tear. Recently though, I feel my eyes brimming with them every time I am reminded of him, and everything imaginable reminds me of him. Only my strong will, my unwillingness to allow my daughters to see me crying, my stubbornness to not submit to the helplessness of having been victimized, my fear of losing what little control I maintain over my life, keeps the tears from spilling over.

There’s the obsession. I may hide it better nowadays as I am great at suppressing my deepest and most painful issues. But my resolve to stay away from him does not ward off the daily surfacing of debilitating worries over him.

There’s the uncertainty. The not knowing how things will go with the legal proceedings surrounding The Big Incident. Not knowing what to tell my children when they ask how long it will be before they see Daddy. Not being able to plan my future beyond surviving the next few days, next few weeks, next few months without breaking down.

There’s the paranoia. Everybody is out to get me. Every tall, thin, blonde-haired, pale-skinned man is a threat to me. Every glance from a stranger toward my growing belly makes me instantly subconscious that they’ll see my empty ring finger. I am no man’s woman. I must be someone’s whore. Surely they’re thinking I am nothing more than another unwed mother-to-be, ignorant of the world’s inner workings, incapable of succeeding. Poor poor pitiful me.

There are the unhealthy behaviors. I am not eating properly. I am consuming fewer vegetables than I should be. I am, however, favoring milk chocolate. I am not sleeping. Even when I don’t have class the next day I find myself awake for hours past useful brain activity. I have so much work to complete, homework to catch up on, applications to finish, approvals to attain, but so little energy for being much more than a really decent deadline artist. I am low on patience. I am nearly devoid of joy.

There’s so much sadness behind this smile. So much doubt clouding my determination. There’s an overwhelming fear of failure. There’s impossibility that I am constantly trying to defeat. On the outside, I keep smiling, but to be honest, this is all but killing me.