Saturday, December 28, 2013


Right now, I can't see the forest for the trees.  End of year reflections,  new goals and objectives for the new year, resolutions to blog more and more often. ...I can't.  I can't seem to see beyond the situations circling me.

Let me start by saying I'm fine. D. is amazing. Me and D, we're solid. He is truly the Best Baby Ever. (Don't believe me? Ask his grandparents. No bias here. Natch) Xmas rocked. Many visits with family and friends.  Many outings before the weather turned frigid. I think he finally figured out the whole opening presents thing, now that there aren't any left to open. D dazzled everyone with his walking (!) and new front tooth (!) But some other family members are weighing down my heart, and my shoulders. Heavy. Both feel so, so heavy.

Let's start with the easy one (it's all relative, isn't it.) M got a promotion at work. A pretty huge one. As in, he is now kind of a public figure. A pretty visible member of our little community.  For some, this is a dream job, a career goal, something to aim for and hope that you're in the right place at the right time when a position opens.

For M, it is not exactly that. In fact,  some days it feels like torture. Constant and steady torture. It is nothing he asked for, nothing he actually ever wanted. But he was in the right place at the right time and didn't really have a choice in the matter. As in, "can I go home and think about it?" "Not really, we're making a public announcement at the end of the week." "Oh." A painfully shy person with some serious social anxiety and remnants of PTSD who is pretty averse to confrontation is now managing a staff of 20, most of whom have been in his field for 20+ years and are, shall we say, pretty set in their ways.

You would know NONE of this if I didn't tell you. M puts on a helluva a front. And by all external accounts is kicking ass in this new role.  So, if you know us in real life, ixnay on the ob-jay talk. Mums the word, ok? For all you know, all is well. The new job is "challenging," but that's it.

To the world, he's confident, knows what he's talking about, has his shit together. And he does! But he doesn't think he does. Every step is filled with doubt and apprehension. He dreads most days (And nights since he's pretty much on call 24/7 now.) If you break it down to an hourly wage,  it might not be worth it. And when I say "it," I mean losing the person I love.

Moments of joy and laughter feel rare. Even with the Best Baby Ever at his feet. At the end of the day, he's just not sure this is what he wants to do, how he wants to spend his time and more importantly, his mental and emotional capital on.

So, we're dealing with this. Do you owe it to your son to stick it out and provide for him? Have a job that he would be proud to tell his friends about? Or do you owe it to your family to understand that what some people define as success is not necessarily what works for you? Is it brave to leave a job that is sucking out your soul, or cowardly? I'm not sure.  Neither is he.

When I started this draft, it was 11 pm on a Saturday night and M was in front of 3 computer screens and 2 laptops with his cell phone on hand. Taking calls.

This is success?

It's selfish, but I want my husband back. And I would like to have just a portion of my brain back to not think about this 24/7.  I can't speak for M, but I had a dad who put "providing for the family" first, before anything else. And I can tell you it harbored resentment, not pride. I would seethe when he actually showed up for any awards ceremony in grade school, because in my mind, what did he do to help me get there?

And yes, I know. He put food on the table and a roof over my head. But he never let me forget that either. Food and shelter, essential, yes. But I think there is more to life than the first row of Maslow's pyramid.

But right now, another family member is pretty focused on maintaining that first level. My brother, through every fault of his own, lost his girlfriend, his job and fears he could lose his house. All in the course of a few short weeks.

I'm not going to go into it, because, well I'm tired of hearing about it and I'm tired of talking about it. But let me just say this, yes, it's important for someone to admit, "I f-ed up." But the next step, and this is an important one, is to STOP F-ING UP.  Like, now.

He's said things to others about borrowing money from me, or moving in with us. Both of those statements make me laugh. Out loud. Ain't happening, dude. I will change my locks first.

I had offered a month's mortgage payment when I heard the first version of the sob story, but as further editions were refined, and more info was gathered from other versions others had heard, that offer is off the table.

Because what is the line between compassion and enabling? How gray is that space? How fuzzy is the boundary? I am probably the last member of my family still in the gray. Everyone else is on the "you've made your bed...." side.  Even my mom.

But I spend my days trying to get people the resources and help that they need, so I can't really shut that off when a situation presents itself so close to home.  But I can only open the door. My brother still needs to walk through it.

And here's a little tip: one should probably lay off the FB status updates with pics of nights on the town if they conflict with the tales of woe you are feeding your family members, who are also on FB.


But he's my brother. So how far do I watch him fall? How far is he going to fall? And more importantly, will that fallout hurt me? My family? Because when my brother feels helpless or frustrated,  that's when threats of violence emerge.  His reaction to feeling out of control is to regain some sense of control through intimidation. And as much as I claim that I'm used to it, these are the things that fill my mind on these days off work once D is asleep.

I hope this explains my silence. My absence lately.  I know these things will work themselves out.  I do.  M will find peace and, dare I dream,  satisfaction in his new role.  Or he won't.  My brother will dig himself out,  or he won't. And the world will keep turning and I will remember to be thankful for all of the things we have.  But right now,  I feel like I'm going through most days without my glasses,  and I can only see as far as the emotions in front of and around me.