Alone in Good Company

How is it possible, to feel so alone surrounded by those you love? You can laugh and joke. You can even cackle at the crude humor being thrown around. It’s your family, and you’re finally free to talk with adults, without having to keep an eye on children and watch what you say. So why can’t I be happy?

I’ve taken a trip to visit family without my husband and kids. It’s the first time I’ve ever done this. And it’s weird. I miss them, bad. But at the same time, there is such a heavy relief that I feel. Every time I see them on Facebook chat, I immediately want to jump in the car and drive to them. I want to swoop them up and hug them tight. I want to grab my husband by the face and plant a big one on him. But I don’t. Instead I smile and keep my emotions inside. I distance myself because of the distance between us.

I’m almost five hours away from them, but it feels three times that. I need this break. I know that. And being able to sleep without sharing a bed, space, and pillows with little wiggling worms is incredible, don’t get me wrong. I still woke up every hour starting at about three this morning. I gave up at 8:40 due to the fact that my caseworker always calls at nine on Wednesday mornings.

But back on track..

I’m far away from my babies and husband for the first time. And I feel . . . unsure. I feel like I’m supposed to be either living it up, sleeping non-stop, or feeling guilty and miserable. I’m not though. I just feel unsure. I don’t know how I’m feeling. I think I feel guilty because I know how stressful it is to watch all three girls on your own and can only imagine how hard it is to do that all day and night by yourself as my husband is doing right now. I feel that since this is the first time I’m with the other family without kids, it would be rude to sleep a ton. And I don’t know if I’d be able to, honestly. I’m tired but in my soul.

As far as living it up, that’s hard to do with this low coming on. I can feel it, lurking in the shadows of my mind. It taints my laugh, holding it back a few octaves. It lightly touches my smile, holding it back from a full grin. It’s awful. I want to laugh and feel it in my gut. I want to smile so hard that my cheeks hurt. I want to sit up and watch a movie with them without thinking about the bed awaiting me. I want to call my husband every three minutes and want to hide my phone at the same time. It’s not a break if I call constantly and seeing them makes me want to come home early, which is the opposite of this trip’s purpose.

So, instead I focus on my family that I’m staying with. I talk with them. I thoroughly enjoy the time I’m spending with them. I push down the longing to go home. I live in the moment. I practice the mindfulness that my caseworker is always talking to me about. And I make it. I keep the low at bay and push through. I can still feel it, the low. It makes me want to disappear from the world, but I know I can’t. And a part of me doesn’t want to. So I focus on that part. I focus on the part that wants to be included in conversations. The part that wants to crack jokes and laugh.

There are definitely small moments when I think to myself, “It’s just too much.” There are too many conflicting emotions. How, as a human being, is it possible for so many opposite feelings to reside in my mind at the same time? How can I miss my daughters and husband, but be so relieved to be gone? How can I be so tired, but sit up at midnight and write this? My mind is weird, I know that. Usually saying that to myself is enough for me to give myself a break.

Yeah, it sucks pushing through feelings with a shadow creeping and scratching at your back. But I push through. It’s what I do. It’s not because I’m a Super Mom or anything, it’s because there is no other choice. I have to get up, I have to get dressed, I have to walk out of my room and interact like a normal human being. Every. Damn. Day. It’s exhausting, but worth it.

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