Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Elephant In the Room

I sit here at the kitchen table in the dark with three battery-operated candles and one too-hot-to-sip cup of unsweetened Celestial Seasonings Tension Tamer tea surrounding my keyboard. The candles aren't those little tea light size ones you typically see. These are each about six inches high by about three inches in diameter and actually have a waxed outer coating so that they look like real candles. And the faux flames inside even flicker gently as if there is a slight breeze in the room. The candles aren’t “lit” due to a lack of electricity but actually as an attempt to save a few dollars by not turning on a light. They are nice.

I was tired two hours ago and even went to bed. Then something happened. We've done this particular something a few times before but never quite like this. It all started with a simple acknowledgement of feelings. Feelings about being stressed and wanting a release for that stress. I know, I can be subtle and vague about things when I feel the need. I feel the need. Give me a couple more paragraphs and I might open up some more. Brief, I am usually not, when writing.

You spoke and I listened but I did not want to hear.
Quiet distance erupted.
I replied and the response was not accepted.
Distance quietly erupted.
Orchids and apologies were one sided.
Something relaxed?
Thoughts still circled inside you.
Something tensed.
Desires perceived unattainable.
Thoughts spoken aloud.
Voices raised, defenses too.
Fences begin to build themselves.
The elephant in the room has been revealed.
Can we build a howdah and ride it into the sunset?
Only if there is time.

It has been a long time since I’ve written poetry or prose. It is an emotional reaction for me. One usually filled with either love or heartbreak. Right now, it is threateningly near the latter.

I’m sipping the tea now and my feet are cold. I’ve moved my writing over into a Word document because composing within my blog doesn’t allow me to see as much of my writing. I need to see my writing tonight.

Emotions are strong in this one. They lie dormant and then they seep through the tips of the fingers until a magical ink appears on a mysteriously lit page where the story begins to form.

Oh my, I am tired as I am sure you surmise by my romanticized delusions. But my mind is spinning far too much for sleep to come.

And here it begins. In the next room she lies asleep after the pillow talk we had before I came out to the living room to read and ended up here at the keyboard spilling my guts. More time. That is what she wishes for. She wishes for more time. And I can’t promise it to her because my time is split between my children and her. I share my children with their father an equal amount of time. He has them Friday evening through the following Friday evening and then I have them the next seven days.

But when I don’t have my kids, my life is spent entirely with her. I eat, breathe, live at her house, with her and I spend hours working on Zazzle while I wait for her to come home from work. When I do have my kids, my life is spent entirely with them. I eat, breathe, live at my house with my kids and I make breakfast, drive Tristan to school, play with Ellie, pick Tristan up from school, make dinner, help Tristan with homework, put the kids in bed, read them a story and I fit Zazzle in when I can.

Yes, we have done the evenings where she comes over for dinner, but that’s not the time for which she is yearning. She is yearning for the freedom one does not have when they have children. She is yearning for time to take a two or three week trip to explore Europe or take a leisurely ten day riverboat cruise through the Amazon. Or even something as simple as go on an adult only weekend camping trip with friends.

This has all been brought up by a four day weekend event we’ve been planning on attending for over seven months now and I am just now securing a sitter. We still have a little over four months to plan, but if we don’t secure a sitter, I can’t go as it is one of those adult only events.

I have asked my best friend to cover, but she can only do two and a half of the days. That leaves me with trying to find someone for the other day and a half. I’ve asked my sitter if she can do it, but she doesn’t know as her daytime job is as a nanny for a family and she won’t know her August schedule until July. This brought up the fact that I only have one sitter and there have been times when I couldn’t do things because she was unavailable. That… and paying a sitter can get tremendously expensive.

This was only the catalyst to a whole Pandora’s Box of “Does this mean that for the next ten or more years, we can’t go on a vacation longer than a week?”

I would absolutely love to go on a long vacation, save for a few little glitches.
1) I don’t want to go too long without seeing my kids. If we go on a ten day trip, and it happens to fall on my week, I wouldn’t see them for about 20 days. If we went on a three week trip, it could be anywhere from three to five weeks before I see them again depending on where the trip falls on our parenting plan calendar. That is far too long! I think I would have to ask to see them on both sides of the trip even if it didn’t fall on my days. Of course, that would require the collaboration of my kids’ father and I can’t count on him like I did after we first divorced.

2) It would cost at least three thousand dollars to pay a sitter to watch them if we took a ten day trip and that’s being conservative in the Seattle market today. I don’t even want to calculate how much it would be for a three week trip.

3) I don’t have a sitter willing or able to do that at this time. How many people do?

4) Vacationing with young children is not relaxing, so taking them with us until they are older is not an option.

I find myself wishing I had the mother I've never had. The one who lives a mile down the road, gives my kids too much sugar when I'm not looking and tries to tell me how to make meat loaf. But that story is for another time.

I’m left struggling to figure out if the elephant that escaped Pandora’s Box is one we can ride and I’m scared to death that it is not. What if this elephant can’t carry all of us? What if we get part way through our trip and the elephant falls to its knees? What if the haudah falls off its back tossing us all awry? What if we can't figure out how to build the haudah in the first place?
It feels like the elephant is hovering over my shoulder just waiting for me to make a mistake.

There is an ache in my chest right now as I watch the battery candles emit their falsely flickering glow; I notice my teacup is empty.

I began to write on one side of midnight; it is now on the other. It is always three o’clock somewhere. Tea time again. I’ll make crumpets to go along this time. Maybe butter and strawberry jam will mend the hurt I feel right now.

See, I told you that after a few more paragraphs, I would likely open up.

Until Next Time,

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