Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Feeling like a schmoo

I think I'm mixing Lil' Abner metaphors, it's been a life time since that strip was in our Sunday comics, but wasn't there a sad sack character that had a dark cloud following him around, it was either Joe somebody or the schmoos? I think I’m feeling like Joe somebody or a schmoo, very evocative imagery huh?
So, anyway, I've been in a funk for over a month, unusual for me, and I know it will lift, but I don't like that I can't shake it and my kids are paying the price and of course, I exact an even higher price from poor little Nora because she bugs the hell out of me and then last night, just as we got home, my mom called. I could tell immediately by her voice that she was upset. My 39-year-old cousin stepped in front of a train yesterday. She leaves behind what has apparently been a short history of untreated mental illness that, since the birth of her last child, became evident and even more severe. The treatment she was finally forced to get just failed her and her husband and four children, the youngest one the long-awaited for daughter, who just turned one year old. And most tragically, I think, she leaves her father and mother, my funny, outspoken Aunt Fay, who has now buried all three of her children. I can't think about the depth of her grief or I become undone. I need to call her, but I can’t hold it together, at all, I’ve dialed, but I can’t push the talk button.
By comparison, my worries are small and I should be and I am grateful for my health and relative mental stability. Getting that kind of news should have been one of those hold your children close moments, but it had the opposite effect on me: I just withdrew from them last night. That kind of news sometimes just makes you very tired. I was barely holding it together as Nora ran in from the front yard and peed her way into the bathroom because she waited too long and I discovered that YuYu once again failed to turn in last week’s homework and has no idea where this week’s homework is located. I couldn't sit with them at dinner and I even paid Ellie to finish washing Nora and Mimi's hair because I was just toast.
I’ll try harder tonight. I’ll also try to think of some way to move this dark cloud along so it can go hang over some other unlucky schmoo because the funk is getting old.


Rebecca said...

I'm so sorry about your cousin. That must be hard on their family. I was raised close with my cousins but barely know them now. I think I would feel the same compulsion to call and sympathize yet at the same time not know how to do it. Send something in writing if it is too hard to call right now. Mention that you will take the time to call in the near future.

You have been in a funk since school started. I think you are because you are trying too hard to be someone you're not (meaning you beat up on yourself for being who you are and feeling what you do). Just let it be. Relax and enjoy your kids (yes, you can enjoy ALL of them). Another commenter mentioned how some kids are harder than others. It's just your turn now, but it is making you tired because you keep battling yourself.

Ok - I'm off the couch now. So now I get to see if Sarita's teacher emailed me about her wearing her glasses in class (she has not been - oops). God, I love being able to email her teacher.

Rebecca M.

Anonymous said...


I, too, am so sorry about your cousin and the ripple effect it has on yhour aunt, your cousin's husband and children.

Grieving is hard work. I agree with Rebecca--send something in writing and be there for them later---when you feel up to it and everyone else is moving on and forgetting the loss.

(from Iowa)

Amy said...

I think you have reason to be in a funk; it's not like life has been easy on you all lately. I'm really sorry that your family has experienced the loss of your cousin. I'm especially sorry that her children will be grieving.

I think about the mental changes that I experienced with birthing my first two children, and how guilty I felt that I wasn't instantly happy with my life and my beautiful babies. I wasn't getting enough sleep, I'm sure I had some mild postpartum depression, and while I loved my children dearly - I didn't feel like I was living up to the "perfect family" template that I had created for myself. Pregnancy was always horrid for me, and so with adoption I was really looking forward to avoiding the physical effects of having a child. Well - guess what? Adopting, emotionally, is a lot like being pregnant. I'm emotionally jacked up, I cry easily, I don't get enough sleep, and I swear that my hormones have been wacky. Oh, and I've gained weight, which is a real bummer after losing a bunch of weight after birthing Gennie. It's emotional eating because of grad school, adoption stress, etc., and I know I can lose it again, but it just feels like "one more thing." I wouldn't be surprised if you've been experiencing something similar.

So - this advice is coming from someone who has a really hard time doing this herself - but try not to be so hard on yourself. Your children have exactly what they need: a mom who cares about them.

Just make sure to take care of yourself, too!