mom’s trip

Traveling is good for the soul; this is absolutely a fundamental belief of mine. I love to go places and experience new things; without hesitation, quality time is my love language and what better way to spend quality time with people than to head off on an adventure.

If you’re looking for ‘proof in the pudding’ … I do not have an engagement ring or a wedding band. My husband and I traveled to Vietnam in lieu of an engagement ring and spent two glorious weeks trekking through that beautiful country. Chicago was a little trip that took place of the wedding bands. While my husband is my favorite travel companion, I was able to travel to meet my dear friend this past week.

She and her family moved to Florida over the summer and the prospect of heading someplace other than Kansas was great. We decided to ‘meet in the middle’ and spent a few days in Charleston, SC. Holy moly — what a beautiful, quaint town. When I returned home, my son asked what we did the whole time and I told him that I talked so much, I lost my voice.

It’s true — we walked 20+ miles in 3.5 days, talked, took a tour of the Aiken-Rhett House, moseyed around The Battery, walked through outdoor markets, and met up for rooftop drinks with my first DC roommate. It was a great way to celebrate 16 years of friendship and the much needed friend time I so badly desired.

Charleston was a breath of fresh air: It was in the upper 70s and was super sunny each day; had some issues with our hotel but they compensated us with prosecco and cake; and we were picked up Friday night by my old roomie in his golf cart and then got to meet his girlfriend and her son.

Everything that went right could have and I returned home to hugs and a visit from my parents (they got to our house about 30 minutes after I did). Friendships are something that I cherish and I try to stay in touch with people the best I can, so this trip where I got to spend a few days with my DC bestie and then get to meet up with another old friend was great.

We all knew each other before significant others — there’s nothing like the people you navigated the waters of your early 20s with. We’d all moved to DC at the same time; I met my bf at the Steelers’ bar my first weekend there and as the only two girls in the bar, we became fast friends. Then, I found a place in Georgetown but needed a roommate: Enter, Roommate — he was the first out of 16 people I’d met who I didn’t think would murder me in my sleep (or when I was awake for that matter). We spent our earliest twenties bar hopping and making not the greatest choices at times. It’s great to reconnect with those we know at different parts of our lives and was fun to reminisce about what life was like before kids and a dog.

I always feel like I’m the best wife and mom I can be when I have time to be ME instead of always H’s wife or 4’s mom and what a better way to be true to yourself than spend a few days with the people who knew you before any of the big life changes did. In a couple weeks, I am taking 4 to DC to get together with friends of mine — these are people in his village who love him and support him from afar. They are also people who knew single me and love me just the same.

Being a stay at home mom certainly can have its challenges. For me, those challenges have nothing to do with my child but rather the difficulties around maintaining my own personal identity and it really is great to have that time which always allows me to come home feeling like I can take on the world … or at least my household.

mental illness

A lot has been happening the last few weeks. I had lunch with my brother after yoga that week and returned to work in a daze: It was bomb after bomb after bomb — erratic and dangerous behavior, sleeplessness, weight loss, wild ideas. I was overwhelmed and underprepared for what would ensue.

Without going into great detail, the remainder of that week involved many phone calls with my parents, a trip to my former IVF therapist for any tips/insights/suggestions, a call to the national suicide prevention hotline for resources, little sleep or food, and an abundance of stress I never knew was even possible.

The following week, my parents visited. I’d created a timeline of dangerous and erratic behaviors that span the course of the last several years. My parents have added much to it. Through discussion with them, I realized that my concerns were really just the tip of deep iceberg.

I am now trying to draw boundaries with my parents so that they understand that while I love my brother, my top priority has to remain with my own family. I have three kids to raise and their mental, emotional, and physical needs are at the top of my decision making around these topics.

I’ve been so distracted reading about mental illness [bipolar], looking for potential apartments for my parents (should they relocate), and processing all of this while maintaining structure and safety at home as I try to help my brother regain autonomy in his own life.

Still, I am trying to prioritize my health because I think it keeps me focused or distracted and honestly, I’m so exhausted lately that I’m not sure which. While I am not engaging with my family as I typically do (I am clearly distracted), I am trying to maintain a sense of calm at home — staying with our routines, meals, dog walks, and activities. I feel like all of this is burning me out but at the same time, I need my own level of normalcy as well.

I’m not sure if anyone has been in a position where they were completely caught off guard by concern that someone close would cause severe self-harm. It’s really scary and I feel like I just needed a space to throw some of this energy into the universe and hope that a little of the stress leaves my shoulders while trying to be as supportive to my own family, my parents, and of course my brother in the meantime.