My Karmic Retribution (what did I ever do to you, karma?)

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When I was 15 I left my mother. Packed a couple of my things and left.

Now my 13 year old daughter is doing the same thing to me.

I suppose it is the most basic and direct form of karma the world has ever seen.

In hind sight, my mother was not BAD to me. She was not abusive or negligent. She was a tired, over worked single parent and she leaned on me for a lot because I was all she had. My older brother was in the Marines and then working in New York City. She was trying to keep a house hold and two young daughters afloat with very little help and even less sleep.

But I was selfish, as young girls are. I was thinking of myself. How my social life was suffering because I had to come home directly from school and baby sit for my little sister as my mother went from her first job to her second. I felt alone because she worked so much and no one else was really around to tell me otherwise. And I was angry because I saw my friends with regular, fully staffed house holds who were allowed to go to the mall and to the movies and didn’t have to check to make sure they weren’t on little sister duty that night.

So, in looking back, she was actually a super mom. A mother who still found time to make dinner (sometimes four at a time) and stick them in the refrigerator so I could warm them up for myself and my little sister Sam. On the days when she had off, although I’m sure she was beat from her 70 hour work week, she brought us to do things so we could still have family time. She made us cookies in the shapes of Christmas trees and hearts for holidays, she made sure I had hand sewn Halloween outfits and that we always had everything we needed, even though money was tight and time was even tighter.

But I left her anyways, in pursuit of more freedom and less responsibility. Funny thing is, I ended up crashing at my boyfriends house, becoming pregnant, and found myself with LESS freedom and MORE responsibility.

So now, fast forward almost 14 years later, and I finally feel like all my hard work has paid off. The many years of moving myself and my daughter from apartment to apartment, job to job, searching for the right place and time, we have arrived. I’m married, have a good job and we just bought our dream house. I was able to rest easy for once knowing that I was going to move Nev into this house and it would be her HOME from then on. Even when she went to college, she would always have her room to come back to in that house. And when she got married and had kids of her own, she would bring them to that house and they would walk around the same floors she walked around when she was a kid.

As I was breathing easy, she had plans of her own. Plans of maybe going to live with her father, because living with us has become a stressful place to live, and she isn’t happy.

This obviously hit me like a blow to my stomach. All the years that I had worked two jobs while going to school and still doing the best I could for her just so I could one day give her the life she deserved. The youth that I had sacrificed so I could be the kind of mother she deserved. How could all of that not mean anything to her at all? How was she so ready to turn her back on me when I had spent the better part of my life NOT turning my back on her.

So we fought. I took my hurt and frustration out on her with my words; biting, cruel words.

I don’t think that her logic is right or good or that it makes any sense at all, but it is her logic. My reasoning for leaving my mother when she had done so much for me was not sturdy. But when I left I wasn’t thinking about what she’d done for me, I was thinking of what she wasn’t doing for me. I was thinking of my friends who had mothers that seemed to constantly be around, interested in what they were doing in school, waving from the side lines at the soccer game. I was too young to grasp that she wasn’t at the soccer game because she was at work so we could have food that week.

And I almost have to laugh through my tears now. Your mother always tells you, “just wait till you have kids, I hope they give it back to you as good as you gave to me”, almost like a curse.

I’m getting it almost exactly as I gave it. And it hurts. Imagining that little baby girl who I held in my arms when she was born, knowing I would never be able to do anything less than give her the world. This is the type of hurt that I can imagine will never go away. The kind you have to get medicated for in order to not have it creep into your brain while you’re falling asleep.

Maybe I should let her go… I just always figured it was the two of us. No matter who came and went, it was us. We had been the original two, living together and creating our own routines and dynamics. Like a modern day Gilmore Girls, we did our own thing and it really didn’t matter what anyone else thought about it. I guess I felt that even if the dynamics changed, she would still have my back, she would still stand beside me, she would know the ways that I had sacrificed and loved her since the moment she was born.

So… maybe I should let her go. This is my current problem. Finding a way to let go of person who has always been my motivation and drive for everything I do. If she feels like she needs to be somewhere else, for her own best interests, how can I argue with that. Lock her up, throw away the key… sure. I’m thinking of it.

But, maybe I just need to let her go.

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Three Things I Can Do Better (But Probably Won’t)

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Things to Do.

1. Following through on semi-important at the time tasks:

So, there are always those things that pop up as you make your way through the day and you put a pin it them, so to speak. You think to yourself, “shoot, I can’t forget to call so and so to have this fixed”, and then you continue on the path you were already traveling hoping that this errant thought you pinned in the dark depths of your brain floats back into your immediate consciousness sometime soon.

I could be better at following through on these things. Every night when I get in the shower I kick myself because I have yet to call the property manager of our complex about the temperature in our shower. I don’t know what the heck is going on there, but all I know is that the bulk of my shower is playing with the knobs and trying to get the water temp somewhat tolerable. It is literally a hairline turn between ice bucket challenge and hellfire, there is no place in between that exists or that I can find.

So I lather and rinse off as quickly as possible, either shivering or turning my skin an unpleasant scarlet color. I curse the property manager, the woman who sits in the office and collects rents, the two guys who drive around on a golf cart supposedly fixing things and promise that as soon as I am wrapped up in a towel I will call and leave a well worded message for all of them.

BUT, before the last drop of water from my shower has dissipated from my skin, I have forgotten about it. Why?! Why are we like that.

The answer is, because it’s not an immediate concern any longer. It was when I was in the shower being greatly inconvenienced, but that was then and this is now. Now I am making a mental note to call Time Warner AGAIN, because my cable box is lagging, AGAIN. (Never got around to that either)

I still don’t know the answer to becoming better at retaining these things better, but I have developed a theory, and here it is:

They must not be that important! There are a million tasks and thoughts swirling around in our heads through out the day, and we manage to do the necessary ones like feed ourselves, feed our children, make it to work, pay the bills, feed ourselves again…

Would I like my cable box to do freeze up every time I try to DVR The Good Wife? Yes, that would be convenient, but… I’ll live.

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2. Minding Your P’s and Q’s:

Thank you notes, Holiday cards, invitations, any kind of hand-written, time sensitive correspondence is bad for me.

I know it’s polite, I know it’s “the thing to do”, but I very rarely send them out. And, I have found that a lot of people have also found themselves in this moral dilemma.

The fact is, we are in a different time than our parents were when they taught us about this unwritten rule. Now we live in the digital age where I can very easily shoot Grandma a text and say, “hey, thanks for that birthday card!”, or I can send a mass email to everyone I know that says, “MERRY CHRISTMAS!”

It sounds terrible. I have the best intentions, too. Every year I buy Christmas cards and sometimes I even fill a couple out. It never goes any further than that. The idea that I have to write essentially the same sentiment over and over again in different cards, shove those cards into envelopes that never seem big enough, LICK this envelope (who knows where it’s been) and then buy or find stamps to place on each one. Ough. The internet and cell phones have made staying in touch with each other an easy and instantaneous process, WHY ARE WE STILL PUTTING THINGS IN ENVELOPES AND MAILING THEM?!

So if any guest at my wedding wanted to know why you didn’t receive a thank you card almost until my first anniversary, there’s your answer.

For those of you who still just love getting something in the mail, and get butterflies in your stomach whilst ripping open the envelope to see what could be in there… please know that whoever sent this card was probably resenting doing so the entire time.

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3. Attending Social Functions:

So, you’re friend/coworker/cousin is having a get together at a bar/restaurant/their place.

The specifics don’t matter, cause you’re always down for a good time! Right? Right..?

Sure, at the start of your day when the world is brand new and there are a million bright and shining opportunities in front of you, you are down for ANYTHING!

But that was before you went to work, got yelled at by your boss, got a run in your stockings, realized you were having a bad hair day and the pizazz from your initial cup of coffee ran out…

I’m really not an anti-social person. I really enjoy being with other people, and I can get along with all sorts of different personalities. But I do this thing where I overextend myself. In any given day I’ll wake up ready to GO. I’ll hit the gym, get ready for work, the sun is shining and I’ve got some caffeine in my hand. I’ll make lunch plans, fit in a work meeting, tell my co-worker I’ll swing by her apartment for her birthday and commit myself to dinner with my in-laws. And this ALL seems possible at 8am.

By around three I’m wishing I could come down with ebola and be admitted to the hospital just so I could put some slippers on and go to sleep.

I think we all are guilty of this. We have way too much faith in ourselves when it comes to “doing it all”. Unfortunately, the media has portrayed these characters who easily manage high powered careers, juggle their home lives and make it to happy hour still looking flawless and awake.

Instead of being better at running myself ragged, I need to personally start having more realistic expectations when it comes to the amount of things I can do in a day. That means learning to tell people, “I’ll try” instead of “absolutely”, and not feeling guilty when all I want to do is swap out my pencil skirt for pajama pants and watch Orange is the New Black until I fall asleep.