Shrinky 10-24

A week ago, I had a birthday. Well, almost a week ago. It was hard. I tend to cope by avoiding my birthday. This year, I really wanted to avoid it. I miss my Grandparents so much, it still hurts. Bea, however, had other plans.

Wednesday, October 24……..

I walk into Bea’s office, acting like it is any other day. I have stuff to deal with, namely this collision of attachment stuff and my mom and my Grandparents and my uncle dying unexpectedly and Kat’s challenges, and all of this, and the time of year have collided to trigger the teen like nothing else. Of course, there’s a part of me that doesn’t want to deal with any of this. It’s painful.

Bea greets me like normal, and when I am settled on the couch, she hands me a small bag. “I don’t usually do this, but I was thinking about you yesterday, and so I did.”

I take it and open the bag to find a carrot cake cupcake. My heart feels warm. “Thank you,” I tell her.

“You’re welcome,” she says, and then I start talking about Kat, and regular things. Bea tries to interject a few times, to switch the subject, but I don’t let her. At one point she makes the observation that while I had been really, really far away on Monday (I had just come back from a three day trip with my mother), today I am far away, but it is more of that here-not here variety, where I seem very present but am really still far away and talking nonstop seems to be a way of controlling what is happening around me. I ignore her observation, though it isn’t wrong. Before I know it, she is telling me we have about 15 minutes or so left, and she wants to make sure we haven’t missed anything because she will be out of town Monday.

I sigh. Pick my fingers. Look at the floor. Whisper, “I did write.”

“Do you want me to read it?” Bea asks.

“I dunno. I don’t, there isn’t time to talk about it now.” Suddenly, I just want the hour (yeah, we only got an hour today which is unusual) to be over.

“Well, we could take this opportunity to do some work in the present moment. We talk about reach, and grab or push, and attach in SP. I gave you a cupcake for your birthday, and that is a type reaching.” Bea is speaking slowly, and I don’t like it. I don’t like what she is saying, and I want to tell her to shut up. But I don’t. I don’t say anything at all. So she continues, “What did it feel like when I gave you the cupcake?”

I shrug. I don’t say anything. It’s a cupcake. It was a nice thought. The little girl and the teen liked that she thinks about me even when I’m not right there. That meant something to them.

“Well, I want you to know that you don’t have to take the cupcake, you could tell me no. And I guess I should tell you, it was from my heart, I wanted to do something for you, but also, I guess I was thinking that it is sad you don’t want to acknowledge your birthday, and I wanted the little girl and the teen to know it’s not forgotten and your day still matters.” She says the last part gently, carefully, as if she knows it could set the teen off.

And it does set the teen off. “Stop it. Stop being shrinky! I hate it when you get all stupid and shrinky! Why are you making a thing out of something that wasn’t even a thing? You always do this. Just stop talking. I have to go.” I start to sit up, to put my new perfect fall boots on.

“Will you wait? For a minute? Please. I’m sorry. I wasn’t trying to be shrinky. I really wasn’t. It was shrinky though. I just wanted you to know you didn’t have to take something from me, that whatever reaction you had was okay, and that there weren’t expectations around it.” Bea says. She is calm, grounded and so very much here and present and the teen hates her for it.

“Ugh. You didn’t……you always ruin everything! Just when I was feeling like you are here and safe and it is okay, you do this! And you do it just before you are leaving so now I get to feel like you are gone (out of town) and that you aren’t even here (emotionally). I hate this. I can’t do this right now. And it’s time to go anyway.” I stand to leave. The teen wants to throw the cupcake at Bea, but instead I leave it on the couch. I don’t want it anymore.

I walk out, and Bea doesn’t try to stop me. That feels bad, too, even though I am the one leaving. If she had tried to stop me, I would have been really mad. As I leave, she gently but firmly says, “I am here. I’m not leaving you.”

The rest of the day passes by quickly, and Thursday does, too. It’s Friday before I email her, and then only to request a schedule change for Kat. Bea doesn’t respond and I am hurt, until I realize she wouldn’t just ignore an email. I email again to see if she got my first email. Bea texts me in response, and she is just so very Bea. Something has gone wonky with her email and so her emails are not being sent. But she had gotten them both. We text a bit, and she gives me a different email address to use if I want to email more this week.

We end up touching base a few more times, and while we don’t go much below the surface, I feel more connected again. Now it’s Tuesday night, and I will see Bea in the morning. The teen’s anger has dissipated, and all that is left is embarrassment. I feel anxious about seeing Bea tomorrow. The teen is afraid Bea is mad at her for acting like a brat. She’s also afraid that Bea will bring it up, and she would rather forget it. But she wrote about it, so if Bea reads her notebook, she will see that the teen was really upset. The teen knows that it will probably be talked about, and deep down she knows it will probably be okay― uncomfortable, but okay.

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Changes…….PART Two: therapy and my birthday 

Okay. Part one left us with me needing naps because I’m not sleeping well at night. There have been a lot of nightmares since the wedding. I was dealing reasonably well during the day (although the name of the game was constant distraction), but the dreams have been haunting my nights. The hardest part for me is that these dreams haven’t been specific to one memory, they are more of the crazy, mixed up, not real stuff, variety of dreams. Those are somewhat harder for me to deal with, because there doesn’t seem to be anything to process, just this crazy nonsense and really bad feelings. Bea believes otherwise, and has suggested we talk about reoccurring dream. 

Therapy has been weird. Bea is fine, she’s herself, I’m just in this weird, locked down headspace, and I’m afraid to talk and open up more. I’m super numb and not even aware of how I feel moment to moment but at the same time I’m being bombarded by nightmares and flashbacks and overwhelmed feelings. It’s hard. My crazy hurt teen part and the little girl part have been really on the lookout for signs Bea hates them or wants them gone. Maybe two weeks ago, when Bea said we should come up with a plan of what we are working on, I freaked. I thought she was mad I had been wasting time, or she was wanting a plan so she could work towards getting rid of me. It turns out, in her mind that wasn’t the case at all, she tends to have a sort of direction we are working but had wanted to make things be more collaborative— on top of which, with me being shut down Alice for the last 3 months, Bea really didn’t have a lot to go on. So I wrote her the email I posted “where I’m at, or some thinglike that”. 

That email brought up a lot of stuff, from anger vs rage, to how I was feeling after the wedding because we didn’t really process that, to hubby and couples therapy (which we have had two sessions now, and I need to post about that, too!), feeling like no one gets it (old feelings that come up every fall), and this idea that my mother didn’t give me much space to exist– I was either the perfect daughter or the daughter who was ruining everything. We’ve had some conversations around those things, and emailed as well. Bea missed one Monday because she went up north for a quick trip, and one session was spent on my birthday. So we haven’t had a lot of time to really talk or process much of anything. I’m feeling really disconnected from therapy right now, but I see her tomorrow so that will be good.  

As for my birthday, I went back to my parents’ house to celebrate. It’s the first time I’ve been back since the last time I celebrated with my Grandpa. That last birthday was 3 years ago. it was hard, being back. Hubby knew it would be hard, and had insisted my parents keep things low key, and just them and me, hubby and Kat. It was nice, but sad. I miss the days I loved my birthday, the days where I believed everyone should celebrate for a week and have cake for breakfast everyday. I miss the days where my birthday was a party, and an event— not because I was having a huge party, but because it was a fun day, a fun week. My grandpa always said I was his birthday present, and the best present he could have been given. I think my birthday was always so full of good feelings because I believed him when he would say that, and I. That moment, for that day, I could feel that about myself– I was important and mattered enough to be the best present. Now…..I just feel sad and lonely on my birthday. I’m lonely because Grandpa is gone. I cried on the weekend, and I told my family it was hard to be back in October and that I missed grandpa, and was sad. I didn’t hide my tears or fake happiness. So that was good. And hubby was supportive and more present than he typically has been, so that was good, too. 

Too be continued……

Birthday with my parents

My parents came to celebrate my birthday. Even though it was late, even though it wasn’t the day. We still celebrated.

I was tired. I’ve been opening my eyes to the truth of my childhood, including the truth of my parents and how they behaved. I wasn’t in the mood to be around them. I didn’t want to smile and act perfect. I didn’t want them to find me lacking, I wanted to still be perfect in their eyes. I didn’t know what I wanted. But I knew I was too tired to clean up and organize the house to my mother’s standards. Hubby told me to hide the mess.

“Put the dishes in the oven. Hide the toys, towels, laundry, whatever in out bedroom. Shut the door,” he said.

I thought about it. The idea seemed impossible. It was a lie. I wouldn’t really be perfect, and yet, my house would appear perfect. It would be fake. As fake as my “perfect” childhood. As fake as my “perfect parents.”

I went back and forth between it. Clean up. Leave things messy and face my mom and dad’s disgust. Put the dishes in the oven.

I put the damn dishes in the oven. 🙂

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Hubby didn’t forget

It started with a text from hubby:

mom is going to pick you and Kat up and 2:00 and drop you off at my work. She’s going to watch Kat for us, I’m taking you shopping for your birthday present.

I was curious. I do love presents, and although I had been adamant that I did not really want to celebrate my birthday, Hubby’s text was intriguing. I had been considering my new iphone– I’d gotten the 5c, not the 6, I had wanted the pink/coral/peachy colored phone since it had come out– my birthday gift.

So, at 2:45, I was dropped off at his work, and we were walking to his jeep.

“And where are we going?”

He shakes his head. “I’m not telling. It’s a surprise. It’s a drive out though, so I hope you have your book, or maybe you will be able to close your eyes.”

“Huh. Can I have a hint??? Please, please, please???” I ask, dancing down the sidewalk. I feel goofy, silly, like a little kid. I’m enjoying the moment.

“Nope. No hints. I planned this good, and no hints allowed. It’s a rule.” He grins.

We reach his jeep, and we head out. The drive does end up being a bit of a long one. I read, check email, and doze intermittently. Hubby makes cryptic phone calls, where he sounds like a spy, or something and so I laugh and tease him about it.

Eventually, we pull up to a car dealership.

“Happy birthday,” Hubby says.

I look at him, blankley. I am really confused.

“A car. A car that you choose. For YOU. I did some research. I have some set aside, ready for you to test drive. I tried to find cars that should drive similar to your sunfire that you loved so much.”

I can’t speak. I’m speechless. Finally, I try to get words out, and they gush out in a mess. “What!?! How…why…thank you….mine? Just mine!?! Why!?!?”

He laughs, he is happy. “Come on, babe. Let’s go find a car.”

And so we do. It doesn’t take long. I don’t like fancy cars. I like small, and simple. I like cars that feel like they are moving. We test drive the Chevy spark, and I fall in love. All that’s left is to choose which spark, as there are several options.

I end up with a more “fancy” option in some ways. It has leather seats, with seat heaters— a must if you have fibro, in my opinion. And it has this awesome little screen with Bluetooth that connects to my phone and can play pandora, itunes, make calls, use Siri to read and send text messages, and there is a GPS app to download, and that becomes the GPS. It’s perfectly awesome. The screen is a touch screen, and there are buttons on the steering wheel as well, that work the Siri function and phone call functions. So you never even have to touch your phone to do anything. Awesome. The car is tiny. And square but slightly rounded. Cute. It’s sliver, with a darker gray interior.

It doesn’t take Hubby long to do the paperwork, he already had everything set and ready with the bank, the car insurance. All that was left was for me to find a car. I can’t believe he did this. I mean, really, who does this?

I ask Hubby, “Did you lose your mind?”

“No,” he laughs, “Kat is older, you don’t really need a ‘mom-mobile’, you like small cars, you’ve had two vehicles you haven’t gotten to choose, and I thought a big birthday present might be a nice distraction. It won’t make things better, but it might add some fun to this week, at least, for you.”

I really, really, love this man. I ask it often, but how in the world did I get so blessed to have him as my husband?

Driving home, I crank up my music, and go down the highway. I feel like me for a few minutes, even though I’m not sure who that is exactly. I sing along to Meredith Brooks’ “Bitch” and let my worries go for a while.