First, a BIG thank you to all my friends and family who sent me text messages, emails, and made phone calls because of my last post. I know, it was depressing. And I’m always so appreciative of my friends and family: they know how to leave me alone while simultaneously letting me know they care.
But, I’m feeling a bit better.
First, I had to really just to sit in my depression. I had to accept that yes, my life is not always wonderful, and that yes, some pretty terrible things had happened to me in the past few months. (To recap: getting my heart-broken, having to move from my home, moving into a new house with a landlord who is–I’ve decided–the devil reincarnate, going into a child support battle, and to top all that off, my son’s father went to India for 2 1/2 weeks and never told me so my son spent half that time with….hmmm, I’m still not sure [long story]).
So I sat with all this and just took it all in. Then I had to get my ass to therapy once a week again.
My therapist mentioned to me that although I was depressed, I was also “developmentally where I was supposed to be.” Which quite frankly had me thinking of my children’s doctor appointments. But as my therapist explained, people in their mid to late 30s often become depressed and feel lost: their careers are safe and moving along fine, their children are at an age where they are more independent, many are not satisfied with their relationship status, and a sense of ‘what do I do now’ settles in.
Well, check, check, check, check all of the above for me. My kids are pretty independent. My career is fine, even great right now. I’m a little lost when it comes to love and relationships. And I most definitely feel a sense of ‘what now.’ Or more to the point: what do I do with my life now that will give me and the world or at least my community meaning?
I’m struggling all right.
But I guess I’m right where I’m supposed to be developmentally.
To be honest, I’m not so sure how much better this makes me feel.
But then another life event occurred. My dear, dear friends Kirby and Sonci moved in with me. In my tiny, tiny house. But both needed a place to stay and both were in need of some care. And since I do have one core philosophy–that I can always offer friends a place to stay–then I knew having them here would be fine.
And, quite frankly, it’s been more than fine. My tiny, tiny house has become swollen with love and companionship and help. Kirby took my bedroom. Sonci took the couch. They switch places every other week. I moved into Maddie’s room and took the bottom bunk with Luke. We all share one small bathroom. Sometimes we have to maneuver around each other in the living room.
But you know what: we are all happy. Maddie and I are talking more now that we’re sharing a room. Luke is so, so, so happy that Maddie and I are all so close to him. When I get home from a long day of teaching, Kirby or Sonci has made dinner and cleaned the house and one of them will hand me a glass of wine (I’m starting to understand why men were so upset that their 1950’s lifestyle changed!).
Some people think I’m crazy. Some wonder if I miss my space. But I don’t. Partly, I think this is in my blood. My Grandma Gladys used to always have family in her house and when my mom first divorced my father, my mom, me, my sister, and my brother all moved into her house. She made room. She slept on the couch and then the floor and never complained. Also, when my mom first met my father in New York and was first introduced to his mother, my Grandma Katherine (or Mammy as we called her), she says she was appalled: in a very small New York apartment, tons of people–my dad’s and uncle’s friends–were sleeping on the floor, eating the food, and Mammy was lying on a bed in the middle of this, smiling. It’s an Irish thing I’ve been told. And even when we went to see her a few years ago, as she was slowly deteriorating in a convalescent home, she would not eat any of her dinner until she had given us all some food. My Aunt Ann explained, “It’s her way. She can’t be happy unless the kids are well-fed.”
I’d like to think that I’ve taken the best parts of my grandmas, the matriarchs of my family. I can’t do much to help the starving kids in Africa or the motherless children in India, but I can always extend my home, however small it may be, to friends in need. And when I create a space of love for my friends, it’s amazing how much our tiny home grows. As proof, we all now call out as we leave, “bye family” and when we return, “hello family.”
This has always been a magnet on my fridge, but I never understood the true meaning until this past month:
It reads: Having a place to go–is a home. Having someone to love–is a family.