Silver Linings

silver linings

Do you ever have a thought, feeling or emotion that rattles around in your head for, oh, let’s say, weeks?  Maybe months?  The problem is your not sure how to express it.  Or even if you should?  Here’s mine.

This year my son will turn twenty and I’ve missed half of his life.

Let me explain.  If I can.

I left my first husband when our son was three months old.  Within the first year I agreed (begrudgingly) to a custody arrangement that was a 50/50 split of time.  Over the years that has meant alternating house every three days, four days or seven days.  At times it was confusing (mostly for other people) but it seemed to work.  Bottom line, my son has spent half of his twenty years living away from me.

There’s no blame here.  No looking back in anger.  It was what it was and its history.

But here’s the thing.  It’s a weird feeling knowing that so many things that your child has experienced were not with you.  That during those days away you had idea where he was, who he was with or what he was thinking.  There are so many experiences, emotions and moments that I have no history of.  No pictures, no memories, no knowledge what so ever.

I’m not wallowing in pity either.  I know that he grew up loved by so many people and so far has had an amazing life.  It’s just an observation I’ve made in the past while.  I was struck one day by the fact that for days at a time I had no contact of any kind with him.

The hardest thing to do every week was not to pepper him with questions the minute he walked through the door.  Sometimes I was successful and sometimes not so much.  I just wanted to know what he had done.  What had he eaten.  How had he felt.  Had he been happy?  Had he had a hard week?

at school

Boys, as some of you may know, can be….um….lacking in details when it comes to what they’ve been doing.

“How was school?”

“Good”

“What did you do?”

“Stuff”

“Who were you with”

“Dunno”

Sound familiar?

I’m not sure if it is despite of or because of our arrangements that he has grown up to be a smart, caring, happy young man.  There have been trying times for him but I believe the same could be said for other boys his age who have grown up in a more conventional setting.

He’s not home much anymore.  Between work, school, friends and having his own car we are lucky to get a dinner once a week.  Oh and the odd “what can I eat?” at 1:00 pm after rolling out of bed.  Again, not judging, just observing.

I also know that going forward there won’t be as many family vacations, day trips or ski days and that’s okay.  I’m happy that he is happy and moving on into his adult years.  A parents job is to ready their children to make it on their own in the world and I am confident that he will do just that.  I’m hoping that when that happens there will be the odd phone call home to say, ask how long to roast a chicken?

walking away

It’s so hard to put these feelings into words.  The feeling that I’ve missed a lot but have still been given so much.

I suppose in some ways it has prepared me for the next stage of our lives.  I’m not that worried about him not being around all the time.

The Best Thing in Life is silver linings.

 

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Addicted to Organization

Or~gan~ized                                                                                                                                           efficient: working in a systematic and efficient way                                                                      large-scale: existing on a large scale and involving the systematic coordination of many different considerations

Hello my name is Susan and I’m addicted to being organized. I love to be organized. I love things in neat piles, or even better, put away in their proper place. Oh, and even better, in a box with a label on it. I love planning and making sure that all the bases are covered. Let’s face it, schedules and lists turn me on. I think I get it for my dad. My mom wouldn’t have called it it organized though. She would have called it fastidious. If there was a nail out of place on his workbench somebody was going to hear about it. Sounds vaguely familiar to me and my family would second that.

boxes

There are thousands of websites and blogs devoted to organization. People make a fortune from helping other people get organized. When I was first thinking about quiting my job and wondered what I would do, a dear friend of mine suggested that I help other people get organized. She was so impressed with how organized I was with passing on my daughters clothes to her, that she thought maybe that was my calling. I did give it some serious consideration. My only problem was that I couldn’t see other people paying me for doing it my way; and make no mistake, it would be done MY way or it would be wrong. Organization can be deeply personal.

What does this say about me? Some may say that a disorganized home indicates that the person has better things to do with their time than tidy up. That may be true for some. I know that when my life (and in turn my family’s) is organized that I feel calmer. When things are all over and untidy and well, unorganized, I feel a bit panicky. It’s probably not a very healthy or sane thing that I can’t focus on a task well until the house is in order and relatively clean. I’m sure some psychiatrist somewhere would make a case out of that and that’s okay. Everybody has their thing. I’m not like OCD organized (well maybe just a little) but I have to admit I get a teeny bit antsy when things are really out of hand in the house.

In many cases my need to organize stems from my other pastime. Procrastination. There is no better way to avoid a difficult task than to immerse yourself in cleaning out a closet. It occupies your mind so you don’t feel guilty about the fact that you should be doing something else. Plus, if you take long enough to do it then you just won’t have time to do that other horrible thing. Whatever it may be. In my mind, if the house is organized then it’s easier to find things. My husband would argue with this. “Yes, you can find it. But can anybody else?” True, I do tend to put things away and then forget where I’ve put them and forget to tell anybody else resulting in momentary panic when we need my daughters field hockey stick for the first night of practice.

Organization isn’t just about being neat and tidy though. It’s about thinking ahead and knowing where and when things need to get done. If I want my daughter to get into the swimming class that fits into our schedule then I need to know what day registration starts and it needs to be on the list so that I remember. Hear that? It’s called rationalization. And yes, lists are a big part of being organized. I wonder how many times I used the word organized in this post? Did I mention that I like lists?

Some say that an organized life means an organized mind. I don’t agreed. For all my love of organization my mind is often very messy. Thoughts running in and out, switching gears every two minutes, jumping from shopping list to vacation planning to blog writing without missing a beat. I’ve discovered that each week when I go through the process of writing a post for this blog, my mind is very scattered. Thoughts come out all over the place. Each posts starts as half a dozen random thoughts. Eventually those thoughts turn into paragraphs and in turn those paragraphs find their way into a coherent piece. It a process I’m not very comfortable with because….well, it’s not organized.

So how does this fit into my goals of finding my thing?  To be honest I didn’t know when I started writing this post, but now I think I see it. There have been times when I have thought that being organized was a bit of a detriment. (Perhaps re-read the above if you don’t see that.) I have thought that maybe I should just let things go a bit and relax. But now I realize that my little quirk has actually helped me along the way by giving me a focus. This week, the Best Thing in Life is realizing you have a problem and embracing it.