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Archive for the ‘Heartbreak’ Category

I think when I pictured coming back to work everything would be on a smooth schedule.

I’d wake up refreshed, after Brooklyn slept through the night, in her crib, in her own room. I’d say bye to her and she’d give me a big smile and I’d head to work, excited to get a little me time again. I’d come home, excited to see her, play with her, read her a book before putting her to bed then having a little me time to eat dinner and relax before bed.

HA-HA.

Monday I started work again. To say I was (am) a big ball of emotions is an understatement.

For one, I’m exhausted. Long story short, we determined a few weeks ago that Brooklyn has silent reflux. She started to refuse to eat – basically she would eat an ounce or two then scream bloody murder for an hour. It became alarming when it happened with every bottle, and worse when the ounces she was eating started to dwindle day by day. 5+ weeks of trial and error – doctor visits (including one amazing doctor at Children’s hospital), medications, tears, and a lot of patience (i.e. keeping her elevated 30 minutes post eating and when sleeping, feeding her slowly and burping her lots), and we’re in a better place (still not 100% but MUCH better). Anyway, because of this, she’s still eating much smaller amounts more frequently – I’m talking practically newborn state again. I’m thankful that this is something she will grow out of and blessed that while it may be a tough few months, overall she’s healthy.

Anyway, she’s actually sleeping in our room, in our bed. She “goes” to sleep (on me/in my arms) around 8, up to eat again around 10:30, asleep around 11, up again at 2, asleep around 3, up again at 5 and sometimes back asleep, sometimes not. Meaning I’m averaging truthfully, about 5 hours of broken sleep a night.

So right now…this is a new day in the life…

2:00am – Brooklyn stirs. Quickly pick her up before she goes into full on screaming mode. Feed her 4 ounces. (This is usually the largest feed she’ll take since she’s half asleep. During the day we’re still only getting 2-3 ounces in her at a time.)

2:40am – Lay Brooklyn back down after finishing bottle, burping her, holding her upright for at least 20 minutes.

3:00am – Finally drift back off to sleep.

4:30am – Stirring. Not sure if it’s the medications or just the immaturity still of her digestive system but she writhes quite a bit in her sleep. Always wakes me up.

5:00am – Scream fest begins. Feed her another 2 ounces. Try to settle her but she just isn’t settling.

5:45am – She finally drifts off. I contemplate sleeping another 20 minutes or just getting up. Try to lay down but all I can think about is work so I get up and shower.

6:00-7:20am – Shower, dry hair, get dressed, get Brooklyn’s medications out, wash and fill bottles for my MIL who is taking care of her most afternoons once the Husband goes to work until we start a few days of daycare in June. Lay out clothes for her. Throw laundry in. Throw dishes in dishwasher. Drink coffee…x2

7:30am – Leave for train station. Cry en route. Strange mix of emotions – on one hand I love my job and it feels good to work again. But there’s this inner struggle – I feel guilty for wanting to work. I feed sad for missing out on moments with Brooklyn. And really, I just plain miss her. I’m so overwhelmed with emotions and exhaustion that I wish I could just drive to a secluded island by myself.

7:50am – Train to the city.

8:40am – Starbucks en route to my office. Try to order a grande blonde roast, only twice it came out as a Blondey roast. Barista laughs at me and asks if I want a venti instead.

8:50am – Sit down at my desk..with my venti.

9:00-4:00ish – Work, work, work. Go into the bathroom and cry twice (hey I expected more!) Connect with other new moms at work and get confirmation that the first month is really hard and that’s normal. Check in with my MIL a few times, ask for pictures. Hear all the new drama, get a crap ton of new work, and try to ease back in. There are moments where it just feels really good to be working again.

4:25pm – Train home. My manager leaves by 4 and comes in later than me so as long as I can, I plan on being efficient enough (I skip lunch anyway) to leave at the same time too.

5:15pm – Walk in the door and immediately grab my girl. Slightly heartbroken she doesn’t seem more excited but I know 5pm starts her fussy time and at least I get a smile. (Also, I’m not sure what I’m expecting from a 14 week old, ha.)

5:30pm – Changed out of my work outfit, took Bentley outside and get updates from my MIL before she leaves.

5:45pm – Attempt to feed her, get only 2 ounces in and then she refuses more.

6:10pm – It’s beautiful out so decide to take her on a quick stroller walk around the neighborhood for some fresh air. Chat with (at?) her the whole time – people must think I’m a nuts.

6:40pm – Come home, change her diaper and “read” a book (read to her while she laughs at me / looks around), tell her about my day.

7:15pm – Give her medication and draw a bath. She’s in clingy mode so carry her around while doing all of this.

7:30pm – Tubby time! Sing her the tubby time song (“tubby time, tubbbby tubby tubby tubby time, time to wash all the yuckies away, it’s the best part of the daaay” (Don’t ask.) She truly loves tubby time and it actually is my favorite part of the day.

7:50pm – Get her in a clean diaper, put her in her jammies and settle her a bit. Carry her in one arm while eating pasta salad (my dinner) with one hand standing at the counter while Bentley begs at my feet.

8:15pm – She’s hungry. This girl goes from 0-60. Warm a bottle while she starts to pant and panic.

8:35pm – Got 3.5 ounces in, not too bad. Burp burp burp. Sway sway sway.

8:50pm – Rock her / keep her upright.

9:00pm – Lay her in the rock-n-play (since it’s more upright) and run around like a chicken with my head cut off. Pick out work outfit. Take out contacts. Go to the bathroom. Chug an emergen-c (fighting a cold). Brush teeth. Bring bottles up for nighttime feeds. Set up bedroom – nightlight, sound machine/fan. Give Bentley water/food.

9:12pm – She’s awake…

9:15pm – Walking around while carrying her, trying to resettle her.

9:30pm – Husband gets home from work. He’s had a really long day – court in the morning then a 9 hour shift.

10:00pm- Head to bed, with Brooklyn. Get about 1.5 ounces in her before calling it quits.

10:28pm – Last time I look at my phone before falling asleep…hoping for at least a 4 hour stretch. (Spoiler, I got about 3.5 hours)
****

Even though I’m exhausted, overwhelmed by emotions, sick (thanks Husband for this awful head cold), and life is just so different now…I love it. I really do. I mean I don’t love all parts of it of course, but I love this little girl, I love our new expanded family, I love shaking up what was once our routine (we thought we were “busy” before…we sure watched a lot of tv) and I love how special everything feels now. I have learned pretty quickly that each phase/hard time/new normal with a baby passes quickly. The good ones and the bad. So as much as I’m a type A, need a schedule and routine and to do lists type, I think for a while I’m ok with just enjoying this roller-coaster of a time period.

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My journey with breastfeeding has not been as easy one. In fact, almost to the day that it became easy, it became a whole lot harder.

I always knew I wanted to breastfeed, but to be honest I wasn’t looking forward to it or thinking of it as something that would be some amazing bonding experience.

But I couldn’t have been more wrong.

After quite a few lactation appointments, practice with a nipple shield (thanks flat nipples!), and a few days of excruciating pain (razor blades to my nipples pain), we got into a routine. Somewhere around 4 weeks, I started to look forward to our nursing sessions. It was 30-40 minutes of tenderness and quiet. I can’t quite explain it, and maybe a big part of it is hormonal, but I really started to enjoy it. The feeling of being needed, of nourishing her, watching her and stroking her hair. It just felt special.

Around 5 weeks I started noticing that her diapers went from normal breastfeed yellow color to a strange mucousy green color. At that same time she started to become inconsolably fussy. She would nurse, appear happy and then like clockwork, about 30 minutes later start to scream. Not a “I’m wet cry” but an “I’m in pain scream”.

After a few calls with her pediatrician I brought her in only to be told they thought it was maybe a virus, or something I ate that caused her to react like that. They reiterated she was doing okay, although her weight gain had slowed slightly. They noted that we should watch her skin – all along we were told she had “baby acne” but we should gently wash it a few times a day to hopefully help clear it up.

I left that appointment feeling like something still wasn’t right. On top of that, the fact that her weight gain slowed down made me terrified that maybe I wasn’t producing enough milk if she wasn’t gaining as fast anymore.

A week later, and many more mucousy diapers, and a lot of very bad days and I just knew. I won’t lie, everyone around me thought I was overreacting. It’s “colic” they said. In fact the morning I asked the Husband to drop off a diaper at her pediatrician to look again, he flat out said I was overreacting. But something in my gut knew, no this isn’t right.

An hour later they called. Blood in her diaper. They suspected – between her skin, the lower weight gain and the mucousy/bloody diapers that she had a milk intolerance. Different from an allergy or being lactose intolerant – just that at this point apparently she was having a hard time digesting milk protein.

And so committed to still breastfeeding, I gave up everything with dairy and soy. Soy because apparently most milk intolerances come with soy intolerances as well. It wasn’t just the obvious milk, butter, cheese, yogurt, etc. but I read every single label carefully. I quickly replaced my old Siggys yogurt with Almond milk yogurt. I started to eat plain meat, eggs, veggies and fruit and actually felt pretty great.

Brooklyn’s skin started to clear a little bit, but 5 days after starting we had probably the worst day of all. 7 hours of crying – again the high pitched, I’m in pain, inconsolable crying. So bad and so long her voice went completely hoarse. At her 5am feeding I couldn’t find it in me to nurse her again only to follow it with screams so I took out the hypoallergenic formula that I made sure we had on hand for emergency purposes. She gulped it down and went to sleep. And I cried, if you can call those deep sobs just crying, for four hours straight.

The next day we went back to the pediatrician and this time they said, well it could be eggs or tree nuts also, but the only way to know is to do a total elimination diet. Eat (real) turkey breast, white rice and carrots for two weeks to see but to know that it could take up to 8 weeks to fully get out of my system and then hers. That her diaper did still have blood, but she had gained weight and she did have a visible sore inside her anus, causing the blood, a result of her GI tract being pretty messed up.

I left that appointment feeling pretty sad. I think deep down I knew what was coming.

So for two days straight I ate nothing but turkey, carrots, and white rice. I was miserable. For the most part Brooklyn was miserable too, not taking a single nap during the days. And when she tried, she would wake up screaming in pain.

And so last night, I decided to sleep on the couch with her. We co-sleep anyway – a post for another time – but I wanted to be closer to her. To nurse her through the night, knowing deep down this was likely the end of my nursing her.

It was not a decision I made lightly. In fact, I’m still on the fence about it all but deep, deep down I know this makes sense and it’s what is best for both of us. I know, after feeding her formula and watching her laugh through tummy time and then drifting off into a peaceful nap, that this is best.

I have only a few weeks left with her before I go back to work. I want to enjoy this time with her. I don’t want her in pain because I slip up or accidentally eat something that hurts her. I don’t want to spend the next few weeks on an elimination diet, only to find it doesn’t work, and to find myself completely consumed by this all and missing out on all the so many other special moments. The doctor also recommended that we make sure if we do plan to use formula that this one works (which I knew when we went back to work we would supplement anyway) before we put her in daycare. They weren’t yet sure if she would potentially need a prescription for formula.

So this morning at 10am was the last time I nursed her. To say my heart aches thinking about not getting to nurse her again is an understatement.

8 weeks we made it.

And for now, I pump and dump. Ironically, it turns out my supply is just fine, more than fine actually. Slowly I’ll have to lessen my supply.

I feed her a bottle of formula, and put a smile on my face and look her in the eyes and tell her how much I love her. That she is my world. That she is smart, and kind and perfect.

But it’s the worst heartbreak I have felt. Ever. It’s the hardest I have cried, well, ever. I sob while washing the bottles and plastic nipples.

I know in time I will feel better about my decision. I know I’m a good Mom and that I love this girl more than anything in this world – and no longer breastfeeding doesn’t change that.

But right now, I can’t help but still feel guilty. Still feel like I could always somehow do more. The breastfeeding Nazis everywhere don’t help that. Most of all I’m just sad. I’m mourning the end of this relationship. The first of many ways in which I experience heartbreak when it comes to her.

And so I want to end this post by saying. Please never judge a Mom for her decisions when it comes to breastfeeding. Breast is best is thrown around so much, but ultimately, whether by breast, expressed milk or formula, just remember you’re still feeding your child with love.

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Not proud of myself.

I’m not proud of myself today. In fact, I’m actually feeling lower than I have felt in a long time.

What I’m about to write is not in hopes of getting comments to excuse my behavior. Nor is it to make myself feel better. Instead it’s to remember. To document and learn from this moment.

I could sit here and write up the whole background – the flurry of excuses – I was sick for a few days, high anxiety after not feeling baby girl kick for a day or so – exhaustion – the Husband working late every night and not helping around the house at all – cooped up in the house working from home for 13 hours straight – pouring cold rain that Bentley wouldn’t even step out to go to the bathroom in. It really doesn’t matter though. We all have bad days, but that doesn’t give us the excuse to mistreat others.

Around 7pm Bentley went into wacko mode. I’m talking he slept solidly from Wednesday night to Thursday morning then spent all Thursday day quietly laying with me while I worked on the couch. By 7pm he wanted nothing more than to play with me, grabbing toys and trying to entice me. I’ll be honest, I just wasn’t up for it. I kept saying no and nudging him away and he’d try again.

Next he went to more extreme tactics. One of his favorite things to do when he wants attention is to find something of ours in another room and come barreling in where we are with it in his mouth pretending to chew and throw it around. The comical thing is he doesn’t actually chew it – if he wanted to he’d hide with it – instead it’s strictly to get our attention. So a few times he grabbed things and I would get up and take them away and say no. Finally, he tried to grab my computer cord so I grabbed his collar, said no and told him to sit. He quickly sat, I think secretly hoping he’d done enough to engage me to play. I looked him in the eyes and just kept saying no and let go of his collar. Next he over excitedly leaped onto me and bopped his nose into my glasses.

I know it wasn’t malicious. The Husband and him play too often like this where he’ll have one of his toys and hold it above him and entice Bentley to jump on him and rough house but it’s a no-no with me.

I was set off. That pounce on my belly made my blood boil and I reacted. I screamed at him. I grabbed him by the collar and rushed him upstairs and into his crate, slamming the crate door closed.

For someone it sounds like nothing – I didn’t hit him or continuously scream at him. For others, I’m sure it sounds worse than I’m even thinking – I screamed and lost my temper with a dog who trusts me and was just trying to play.

Rather than just let him out, I knew I needed to calm down. I sat on my floor and I immediately began to cry. Out of shame mostly.

For the first time I realized there’s a meanness in me. I was cruel and mean to Bentley and I didn’t need to be. I reacted in a way that I am truly ashamed and embarrassed of, and most of all my heart hurts thinking about how he felt.

I think I cried harder last night than I have in a long, long time.

After about 5 -10 minutes I let him out quietly, and sat on the floor. At first he started to run back downstairs, but he stopped when I didn’t follow, and came over to me and just looked at me. One quick lick away of my tears, and a semi-snuggle against me before he tried to entice me to play again I hope means he hasn’t totally lost trust in me.

The truth is, would it have been that hard to play with him for 10 minutes? Would it have been that hard to grab his leash and take him on a quick walk around the block, rainy night and all?

We all make mistakes. No one can be the perfect parent (be it dog or human) ever. But at the same time, acting and responding in anger is something I truly don’t want to do. The way it makes me feel hours and even a day later hurts enough inside that I know it’s a priority for me to work on.

So today I will say I am not proud of myself and I’m ashamed of how I acted. But I promise myself, and Bentley, and my future daughter, that I will work on my patience and temper.

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It’s my four-year blogging anniversary.

Capture

Four years ago at this time, my heart was broken. It’s so funny how being heart-broken sounds like such a normal, common term, but at the time, my God I felt anything but.

I felt utter grief, physical pain, an ache so deep I remember waking up thinking my ribs were bruised.

I wasn’t eating and dropped to 125lbs at almost 5’8.

I was crying, somewhat openly to family and friends at first, then secretly, almost daily in my studio apartment.

Night time was the worst. 3am and somehow I’d always find myself crumpled and sobbing, shoulders shaking, on my bathroom floor.

I thought I would never get over B. At times I fantasized we truly were meant to be and we would get back together.

I spent a full year waiting, and hoping. Putting on a strong face, and being his friend. A full year trying to move past that heartache and yet one minor action, like holding my hand on our plane ride back from Ireland, or saying how much he still cared and loved me, would set me right back and I would start the heartbreak process all over.

It’s almost funny that now, I look back, and I am so incredibly thankful for that experience.

I’m thankful I felt love and loss like that, I truly am.

Sometimes I’m even nostalgic for that pain. It sounds ridiculous, but being heartbroken was the deepest emotion I have ever experienced to date.

Most of all, I’m thankful for who I became as a result of it.

I learned many wonderful things from B overall – he taught me to love myself and understand I deserved the best. He truly taught me how to communicate effectively and understand that fighting in relationships is never, and should never be about winning. He made me see an adventurous side of me that was waiting to come out.

But I learned the most out of my heartbreak time.

I learned to be independent.

I learned to love and appreciate my own time, with just me, writing, reading or relaxing.

I learned that I have the most wonderfully supportive and loving family and friends.

I learned that I could put my mind to something – finishing graduate school, getting promoted, signing up and accomplishing a triathlon – and be succesful, even without a significant other.

I learned that I could travel the world, Patagonia with a friend, for two weeks and enjoy every incredibly experience while there.

I learned, after that trip, to let go. That after experiencing the heartbreak you truly have to let go. And I remember the moment exactly… being in a bar in Chile, walking up to a cute guy and kissing him. Just like that.

I learned that opening your heart up and being vulnerable after heartbreak is harder. Much harder.

I learned that once I did, I would love deeper than I could have imagined. Because I finally found a love that loved me as me, even on bad days, and was willing and wanted to give me what I wanted most – a family.

And so it’s almost ironic, though I won’t tell her in that way, that my younger sister has found herself in the exact same place, at almost the exact same time in her life.

My sister has followed many of my footsteps, from college to even moving to Boston. At 24, just about turning 25, she and her boyfriend of about one and a half years broke up. She is utterly and completely heart-broken.

I can’t take her pain away. I can only help to support her, to distract her, and to help her pass the time. Because truly, the one and only thing that helped, was time. Time heals all.

And I hope that one day, a year, maybe four years from now, she can look back at her heartbreak and feel the same way.

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I wanted today’s post to be all happy and wonderful, with a new month, a new (birthday year) and all. Full of delicious Thanksgiving eats, beautiful wood hikes and happy one year anniversary thoughts. But instead, as usual, I have to write exactly what’s on my mind. And really what’s creating this awful pit in my stomach.

It all started on Wednesday when I got a call to my work from the dog walker at 3:00pm. I pick up and from the tone of her voice I knew something was wrong.

No one went to walk Bentley today she says.

What? He was put in the crate at 7:30am, it’s 3:00pm and you were supposed to have been there twice today?

She’s so sorry she says. A mishap between her team and schedules.

He’s been locked in a crate for over 7 hours without a bathroom break then?

I call the Husband and wake him out of sleep and he runs down to his crate. I can hear Bentley crying through the phone. The husband takes him outside quickly and says he actually appears to just be happy to be around him, and somehow, maybe because he hadn’t had water or food all day – he held it and didn’t mess his crate.

I get home Wednesday night upset and feeling awful for the poor puppy. Then I start getting anxious about the next few days of events. I don’t know why because I love seeing and spending time with my family, but I always get overly anxious near holidays with my family – the planning, the driving, trying to make everyone happy and now dealing with the puppy – can sometimes just send my anxiety through the roof.

So Thanksgiving morning the husband, Bentley and I start driving to his parents where he’ll stay in the crate for a few hours while we are at my Grandfather’s. And then we started to fight.

The sad thing is, I honestly cannot for the life of me, remember what started the fight.

All I know is not even a few miles down from our house we were screaming at each other. Saying nasty mean things. Voices getting louder and louder not even saying truthful things anymore, just saying things to hurt each other for a solid 10 minutes.

And then I turn around to a whimper and I see Bentley in the back seat. He looks at me, with sad helpless eyes, and saliva streaming down the sides of his mouth. Something is wrong, very wrong.

I immediately stop the fight, Jim stops the car and we turn around in time to see Bentley start throwing up. Twice he throws up all the while looking at us with those sad eyes.

He normally loves the car. What he clearly doesn’t love is his parents screaming at each other.

The rest of the weekend was in fact, pretty nice. The husband and I immediately regretted the fight and the words that were said. I held Bentley for the rest of the car ride, then we let him off leash to run around the Husband’s parent’s acres of backyard before feeding him a hot dog out of guilt. He seemed to easily forget the car ride. Us, not so much.

Later that night Bentley had Pesto, my cousin’s French bull-dog, sleep over. They didn’t stop playing for 24 hours straight.

photo 1 (2)

He went on 3 hikes through the woods. Friday morning with Pesto, Saturday morning with me around the 1.8 loop and then on Sunday, with me around the 1.8 mile loop plus the .4 mile climb to the summit. He played and ran along happily.

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And the husband on Sunday morning, our one year wedding anniversary, came home from work at 5am with a card, a framed wedding photo and a 1 year Christmas ornament. Thoughtful and loving. Sure makes that fight seem damn silly now. It really made us wonder how people can fight like that, often, in front of kids.

But even so, I just can’t get Bentley’s face out of my mind. The helpless, sad, slobbering face I saw as a I turned around in that car. The sickening pit in my stomach that keeps making its presence known.

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The Husband and I promised Bentley one thing. One thing that I without a doubt, know I’ll hold true to. That will not happen again anywhere near him.

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In the past few years many of the blogs I used to follow stopped posting. And then since the demise of Google reader I have only been consistently following a handful blogs. A couple of them are blogs that I have followed and connected with (commented on back and forth) for years now. These are blogs that might not even always be frequent posters, and I might not always read or comment right away, but I continue to read them because they’re real. They share the good, the bad, the frustrations, the heartache, and the random. I love them for that.

It’s rare that I’ll follow a non-food/non-home improvement blog that is always peachy keen where everything is always roses. It doesn’t feel as real. But there’s one running blog that I absolutely love, and even though 99.9% of the posts are optimistic, light and fun I have become very attached to her journey these last years. I’ve grown especially vested over the past year watching her become a Mom, raising seriously the cutest one year old girl and still killing it on her runs.

When I was catching up on blogs yesterday and I read her post that started with the fact that she filed for divorce…my heart broke for her. I know, to many it may sound ridiculous – such an attachment to someone you’ve never met in real life – but I can’t explain it. It was an utterly shocking (to many readers) and stomach-wrenching post. I haven’t stopped thinking about her today.

That’s the thing about blogging. We show only what we want to show. What we choose to show. People reading my blog get maybe 10% of my life (unless you know me on Facebook, instagram, and real life in which case you probably know a lot more).

What’s funny though is that 10% you do know as a reader, is probably the 10% I don’t share with most people in real life. Not because I don’t want to, but in day-to-day life I like focusing on the positive and being optimistic seems to just come naturally.

It’s probably why I love that my space isn’t as public as some other blogs. The public blogs seem to feel they have to always be positive, only show the good, and hide the bad as if there is none. To me, it can feel fake or too surface level to enjoy. This is my space to vent, to be frustrated, to rant, and to be introspective. For whatever reason when things are great and easy – I tend to write less. It’s happened over the past few weeks especially. I’ve struggled to find the time and energy to read my favorite blogs, let alone post on my own.

Anyway, reading what this blogger is going through, my heart breaks, it really does. I swear, I have truly only experienced heartbreak once in my life, and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. While I wouldn’t take my experience back, I learned from it, I grew from it, and I’m stronger than I could have ever imagined, it’s the darkest place I ever was for a time. I hate to think of anyone else in that same place.

I guess it’s just a good reminder. Blogging is a different type of outlet for everyone. But I would venture to say, that you never, ever, get the full picture in this little space. Something to keep in mind.

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I was just reading Thought Catalog’s article, 7 things your future self would tell you now and I loved all 7 things, but one stuck out.

Let yourself let go of what keeps you all pretzeled up inside.

This past Friday at work I had my very first panic attack. An actual, chest tightening, couldn’t catch my breath, choking on sobs while calling my childhood best friend in a work bathroom stall, panic attack. I was at the point of being irrational to be honest, and it’s embarrassing to even admit it (as those I know who have had them, I could never understand why they couldn’t rationally calm down) and yet there are obviously enough things I’m internalizing that made me finally snap.

The combination of my Grandfather’s girlfriend passing, work stress, not getting to see the Husband and moving were some of the bigger things you’d think caused it. But really, they weren’t. They were probably the straw that broke the camel’s back.

And my childhood friend knew the real cause… “it’s not your job to be the parent.

I carry a lot of responsibility for my sisters and by default, for my parents in a way. It’s really hard to explain but somehow I’m in this role of trying to protect my parents. I have been since they got divorced when I was about 11. I love my sisters and parents dearly, I really and truly do. But.

Last week – I sent my father and step-father their gifts that the Husband and I picked up during our honeymoon and a sweet card. I made sure it would arrive on the Friday before Father’s Day since my Dad and his Husband are always punctual about getting us our birthday or whatever celebration cards. On Friday night, my sisters ask, what did you send Dad from all of us for Father’s day? Every year, birthdays, Christmas, Father’s day, I do usually send something from the 3 of us – some years it’s just a gift card – and other years it has been hours of work on a photo calendar of sorts – I always plan it and have to pay for it – but sign it from all of us. This year, I didn’t. And somehow, it became my fault that I hadn’t sent something from them and that my Dad wouldn’t be getting anything from them (late, if at all) because of it.

Add in that my Mother was trying to get to my Grandfather’s, my older sister was avoiding riding in a car with her for other reasons which was upsetting her, my younger wasn’t happy that I couldn’t pick her up and instead I asked her to come to me (so the Husband could sleep since he had a night shift that night and the extra hour it would take to get her would be worthwhile for him to sleep) and then she started saying it was a burden for her to come to me and then just wouldn’t come (via text to my Mom, older sister and myself) and I lost it. There’s so many more details to this, but it would take weeks to write.

The worst part is that I do all of this – the planning, the gifts from all of us, the rides, biting my tongue about so, so, so many things to not cause any additional stress or chaos on my parents – because I don’t want them to be hurt. I don’t want the fact that my two sisters can’t get it together to send cards on their own to hurt my Dad’s feelings. I don’t want my Mom to be burdened with chauffeuring around my other sister when she has a million other things going on. From high-school on, because both of my sisters were so difficult (in different ways) I had to try to be perfect and fly under the radar – get perfect grades, have good friends, work practically a full-time job, don’t ask for rides, don’t ask for money and don’t cause more stress to anyone.

I stress so much about making sure my parents aren’t burdened, or their feelings aren’t hurt, or they aren’t stressed . And right now, we are all pretending and overlooking some pretty serious things– and I’m taking that stress, eating it, and letting it grow inside. For all of that to finally boil, alongside those other stressors, like a friend or two who honestly make me listen to hours upon hours of their life happenings without a single question about mine – and I’m tired.

I’m tired of playing therapist. I’m tired of playing peace maker. I’m tired of playing parent. I’m tired of always listening and helping. I’m tired of biting my tongue and not asking for what I want or need. I’m tired of trying to protect everyone’s feelings and happiness over my own.

Or maybe it’s more important to say… I’m tired of it being unfair. I’m tired of playing therapist to those people who don’t ask or care about my life. I’m tired of playing parent – because I’m not one. I’m tired of helping take away other’s stress and worries at the cost of my own happiness. I’m tired of always trying to be my best self – to those that give me their worst.

I’m surrounding by so many other good, positive, and giving people – and it’s not that everyone has to be positive all the time – more so – they don’t have to be energy drainers. Being around these good people – gives me energy. Gives me happiness. Pushes me in the best possible way. Doesn’t burden me in the slightest. It’s a 2-way relationship with them. And so for a while I’m going to try something.

I’m going to spend my time with those people. I’m going to speak up to the others, who maybe even without meaning to, or because I have enabled them, drain me. I’m going to try to be my 28-year-old self, finding my way into adulthood, focusing on my job, my husband, having some fun, saying no to things I don’t want to do, and finally, no longer being the parent of a 30 and 24-year-old.

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