Like most folks, I generally don’t look forward to Monday. But after this last week, I’m ready to hit the reset button. Now, as weeks go, I really shouldn’t complain. The boys and I are healthy and whole. We have a roof above our heads and food for our bodies. The cats are back to the shelter, and the shower is relatively clean. So why the funk?
It’s been an emotionally charged week, and I’m spent. The boys helped their dad and his partner move into a new home this weekend, and while I’m glad to have the kids in a house and wish my ex well in his new relationship, I’m feeling rather fragile. As my boys work their way through their rather intense and varied feelings about these coinciding changes, I’ve been picking up the pieces and trying to be a stable support. That’s my job, after all.
But I’m tired, sad, and a bit envious. Tired from the emotional surges in this house as the boys prepare to start a new chapter with their dad and his girlfriend. As much as they like her (and she seems quite kind), it’s a new relationship manage. Just as the loss of their father from our home shook our structure two years ago, this change shakes the ground for them now. It takes time to adjust when family size changes, and while my house isn’t the one directly in flux, the change occurring a half mile away is shaking my home. We’ve all lost some sleep over the past few weeks, but strong feelings are more draining than the short nights.
I’m sad. When my kids struggle with change, it’s hard on me. I know they’re resilient creatures, but it’s hard to see my older son so anxious and angry (although he quickly admits he likes his dad’s partner, he struggles mightily with any change, especially such a personal one in his new home). He’s cried himself sick this week, vented his rage at me repeatedly, and generally been moody, even for a thirteen-year-old. Also, I’m sad at the loss of extended family that’s occurred since my divorce, although the relationships were never terribly close. The loss is still painful.
Finally, and most bothering to me, is my envy. I’m envious of the new start they share, of the excitement about forming family. I’m envious of the rather carefree relationship they seem to have with the woman they’ll share a home with. For my two years solo with my boys, I’ve been the one to remind them to practice piano and do their school work. I’ve told them to brush their teeth, put away their dishes, mow the lawn, pick up their socks, get ready for church/karate/piano/errands/appointments/bed. While their father puts them through some paces, the bulk of their responsibilities occur here, at home, under my charge. In comes a new woman, not mom, not nagging, and, from all reports, fun. What’s not to like? And I do want them to like her, but I’m feeling a bit stale and boring in comparison.
So I’m trying to just ride the energy of my feelings, allowing them to come and go like waves in the ocean. The seas will calm, both in the boys’ emotions and in my own. Like my boys, transitions are hard for me, and so many transitions have entered my life in the past few months. As I’ve experimented with chant and have been reading Russill Paul’s book, The Yoga of Sound, I’ve learned the technique of picking a core mantra, a repeated phrase that I can use to enter meditation and to focus. After some consideration, I chose Om Namah Shivaya, a Sanskrit phrase basically opening one to change. So I’m trying to be open, to see these changes and inevitable and even welcome parts of life, which is personally challenging.
But tonight I’m worn. I’ll ride the wave, but I’m wishing for rest of body, spirit, and mind. I’m looking toward Monday for a week with ordinary happenings but knowing that change will continue to stir our waters. And that’s how it should be, even when I’m tired, sad, and envious. Om Namah Shivaya.