Today is my youngest son’s birthday. I rejoice in this day. I go out of my way every year to make my kids feel extra special on their birthdays. No matter how much money we have, what is stressing me, or what is going on in our lives. I decorate our table with party ware, hang birthday banners, either cook their favorite breakfast or surprise them with donuts. I give them a couple of gifts and sing Happy Birthday. Every year. It isn’t much but they love it.
I love their innocence. I want to keep that magic alive for them as long as possible.
We had had a rough couple of birthdays for this little guy. Money has been tight in years past, dad was working out of state, Pop Pop died the week prior. Even through these difficult times I put on a happy face and wrap him up in all my love.
That blind innocence gets harder to keep alive each year. At school not too long ago, they had a gun safety course. One day this month they have drill for what to do if there is a shooting at their school. My sweet little innocent (now) seven year old came home asking if we have guns in the house and what he should do if he found one. It broke my heart that he has that on his mind and heart. In light of recent events, I am even more sad.
It breaks my heart that my kids are growing up in a world where we have to have safety drills for a school shooter. Or a world where we have to worry about little kids getting the family gun, bringing it to school, and accidentally shooting a classmate. We live in a world where people stalk mothers in parking lots and grocery stores trying to steal their children away to sell them to the highest bidder. A world where people go to night clubs, festivals, and concerts and open fire or set off bombs on people just trying to have a good time. Our world has gone to hell in a handbasket.
This world is the one my children are growing up in. I fear for them every single day. Each birthday signifies one step closer to when they are thrust out into this big bad world all on their own.
For now though, there is nothing I can do but love them and hold them a little longer, hug them a little tighter. Most of all, I can appreciate the moments I have with them.
Today is my day. The day I celebrate my age advancement. The day I celebrate myself. The day I celebrate when I graced the world with my presence.
I have always loved my birthday. It was the one day absolutely everything was about me. I loved that as a child. I loved the attention and of course cake and presents. Even as a young adult I still loved my day. It was my second favorite day if the entire year, only second to Christmas.
That is until I became a mom. My oldest was born just a little over a month before my birthday and I have never celebrated the same since. I also don’t love that I am getting older. The birthdays still in my twenties were a little more exciting than the ones that began my thirties. In my twenties, my friends and I still got together and went out. The last few years we haven’t.
I also spent a good part of the last few years depressed around my birthday. It has most likely been a mixture of feeling my age and all the stress of having young children. The stress itself keeps me on the borderline of having my depression rear it’s ugly head. I have also felt burnt out the past few years. I have been stuck in a rut and bored with the monotony of raising babies. I have spent nearly half my life as a mother. I began to lose myself in all this and in turn began to hate anything that reminded me of yesteryear. My birthday, a day to celebrate me, a day I once looked forward to six months out of the year, had become a day of sadness and despair.
I decided at the beginning of this year to be better. I want to be happier. I want to have more good days. I want to look on the bright side of things instead of living in that comfortable darkness I have called home for so long. I decided to embrace getting older and everything it means. Therfore, Isis have actually been excited about this year’s birthday. I didn’t have anything big planned but I knew I didn’t want to sulk about it this year. I guess my brighter self through this year has been noticeable. My best friend surprised me with a movie night for my birthday and my kids threw me a party. Well, the party was just us at home and they used things around the house to decorate but the thought really touched my heart. They were so excited about it and that I didn’t downplay my birthday this year like I have previously. I let them celebrate me and be happy about it.
And It has been a good day. He had a slight bump in the morning where things were looking rough but I tried my best to work calmly through it and not let it get to me and ruin my day. Normally, those bumps can throw off my entire day. Try as I might I can’t always pull myself up and out of that downward spiral. I’m glad today stayed as a good day.
So, Happy Birthday to me! The thirties aren’t as bad as they seem. Even though I am a third of the way to forty now.
We have actually had a relatively great summer together, the kids and I. Sure, they have fought and drove me crazy. I have lost my cool. There has been some yelling and crying. By me and the kids. But we survived.
I can tell it is the ending of summer vacation though. Everyone is stir crazy and tired of each other. The anxiety levels are up. We are all becoming short tempered with each other. We need a break from our summer break.
It is hard when you are mostly stuck inside with each other all day. It has been way too hot to really do much outside for long periods of time. We don’t have a pool or a good water hose to do any water play. The parks around here aren’t very shady. Our little city doesn’t offer much entertainment wise for families either. Normally they would have spent a good bit of the summer at their grandma’s house but she has a houseguest that is keeping the kids from being able to go over. They didn’t get to go swimming at their other grandma’s apartment complex because that pool has been broken all summer.
We did get that little prehistoric adventure and had a couple birthday parties sprinkled in over the last couple months. Overall though, it has been a slow, boring summer.
I wish there were more kids in our neighborhood and that neighbors were all friendly with each other out here. When I was growing up I knew and played with everyone down my street. I was surrounded my family and cousins though. Built in friends there. I feel bad we don’t know any of our neighbors down the road. Even so, Only one has any school age children. At least the bus only stops at one other house down the road besides out next door neighbor.
So they have me and they have each other. That is about it. So together we have been. Inside playing games and watching way too much television.
At least when school starts again they will get to see different faces every day.
Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest. This is what I hear, but for me Sundays can be my most unrestful day. Not that I am physically busy, though sometimes I am. Sunday tends to be the day my anxiety and depression hit the worst. My mood swings get wild, I am overly frustrated by everything, and just downright unpleasant. There was a span of months, maybe even a year long span, that every Sunday I would be “in a mood”. Hence, why my husbands dubbed my issue “A case of the Sundays”.
I haven’t figured out why Sunday in particular was so hard. Maybe because Sunday is that day where one week ends and new one begins. It is a transitional day. My depression doesn’t know how to transition easily. It comes on full force at times. It sneaks up on me gradually other time. Then it can leave as quickly as it came or go on for months.
I have mostly learned my stressors. Stress, for instance, which is my constant state of being. I stress over everything. Literally. The stress wears me down and gives way for my depression to sneak back up. Anxiety is another friend of mine. Always there, telling me to worry about everything. Replaying every single situation I have been in as far back as I can remember. Perfection, or the perceived need to be perfect that is. I know I am not perfect and it is impossible to be but my mind needs me to be. I plan and over plan every aspect of my life. When things don’t go the way I plan it sets off a ripple effect. Add all these aspects on top of a fragile psyche and I drown. I am always inches away from going completely under.
Sundays aren’t my only hard days. Any given day can be a hard day. Any moment of any day can turn a good day into a hard day. Any slight hitch in my plan can set my mind off and turn my day upside down. Some times it is easier to hide than other times. When I am with certain people it is easier to keep that air of having it together. I can’t let anyone know I am not perfect, after all. I have invested so much into my perceived image that the world gets to see. Even my family and friends have only had glimpses into my true reality. The walls I have built are so tall and thick and heavy that they keep my true self hidden well only letting out little specks every now and then through the cracks.
This even, is only a glimpse. I could feel my mood slipping and my false happiness beginning to fade so I wanted to write it out. To let some of it go. I have never been good at “talking it out” or sharing my feelings. I usually hold back until it becomes too much and everything explodes out like a canon ball firing from a canon.
I’m working on that.
It is still early yet on my Sunday but I am striving to win this battle and have more good days than hard and less “case of the Sundays” on any day of the week.