Wednesday, May 7, 2008

For those who asked (crossroads)...

Or who don't know me, or who don't feel like reading all my back posts for further clarification...

For those who do, please feel free to IGNORE this entry. LOL.

I'm a So Cal girl, born & raised. Left for college when I was 19 and didn't move back to CA until the fall of 2000 when my mom's Alzheimer's became more difficult for dad to handle. From 1986 until that time, I lived mostly in Tucson AZ (where I went to university) as well as in upstate NY, Harrisburg PA, London UK, and Salzburg Austria.

I moved back to my hometown of Long Beach to be closer to my mom & dad while I still had them (they were born in 1929 and 1924 respectively) as mom was already about 4 yrs into an Alzheimer's diagnosis at that point. I bought a little 1940's house, had my two dogs, my childhood friends (Long Beach is very provincial that way), got to hang out w/ my mom, worked in private industry for the first time in a long time (worked @ the UofA for almost 11 years), traveled very little, went back to Al-Anon to help me deal w/ being in proximity to my qualifying alcoholics, found a spiritual life I'd never had before, made new & wonderful friends, watchedchildhood friends get married & have kids. Basically I just kind of settled into a more quiet & adult life. It was nice. I was happy. Things with mom were hard, but all in all, I managed to be fairly sane.

Always figured though that as soon as mom was gone, I'd be gone too. I had plans. I wanted to move to the Pacific NW, be where the weather & the politics are more to my liking. I was going to build a home, have my dogs & some chickens, meet some awesomely smart nerd who loved music/books/baseball as much as I do, travel the world, get married, have kids. You know?

But of course, life has a way of throwing you a big old curve ball while you're busy making other plans.

Oops! I got pregnant at 38, something my docs told me was unlikely to ever happen given my thyroid issues. Not that I was *planning* to be a Single Mom, lest you think I'm a careless whore. But it happened, and I was thrilled. I was finally going to have the baby I'd always wanted. She arrived a few months after I turned 39. Her dad & I tried to make a go of it, but that ended about a month ago (another story for another day). Please note that I feel absolutely blessed for that ENTIRE experience. No regrets; I don't believe in them.

Last March, I sold my little house to friends (lucky!) & moved in w/ my dad. It was going to be a temporary gig, beneficial to dad & to me. Then my beloved dogs of 11 yrs died the first week of July & my mom died 2 weeks later. There was property to sell, funerals to plan, SO many things to do. I was overwhelmed at work & started resenting everything, a lot.

Dad's health took a bad turn in September & I left my PR job at Epson to take care of him. By February my brother & I made the hard decision to put him in an assisted living place (as we'd done for my mother 2 years prior almost to the day) b/c he was no longer able to be left alone or care for himself at all. I felt trapped, taking care of him AND my kid all by myself. Was afraid to leave the house for fear he'd fall, or set something on fire accidentally, or worse die in front of my baby girl (bad enough he was already so verbally abusive to both Declan & I).

Well, he's on hospice now & I don't imagine he'll live out the rest of the year. Could he surprise me? Yeah... but I don't think he'll rally this time. He has given up on all basic decorum &/or self-care. He just wants someone to feed him, bathe him, toilet him, etc. I wish he wanted to stick around, to be present for his grandkids, for my brother & I, etc. but this is HIS life journey, not mine. I can't control, cure, or change an old alcoholic. Especially one that didn't ask me to.

Mom is gone. Doggies gone. Dad not doing well. I just wanted to move somewhere that is less expensive than CA, a nice little college town where there is always stuff to do (music, art, food, festivals, zoo, museums, interesting architecture, culture, history) & where my kid can grow up safely far away from all the crap that LA has become.

That's why I'm in Austin. My biological sister (I'm a reunited adoptee) has lived here for close to 20 years. I have always enjoyed this town, & I really like my sister, her hubby & my nephew. They are GOOD people.

Frankly, Austin is exactly the kind of place that would rock for both Declan & I, for many of the same reasons I love Portland OR or Tucson AZ with the added benefit of having family nearby. It would be so nice for her to grow up w/ her cousin, especially since my adoptive brother seems to have ZERO interest in us being in his life, or vice versa. I'd be less lonely for the comfort of family -- something I've always felt lacking in (my mom was the glue that kept things from disintegrating). Blah, blah, blah.

Guess I should have bought a place here 5 years ago b/c lawd knows this is NOT an affordable town anymore. That's why we're cutting our trip short & going back to CA this Saturday night. We're also sick, which doesn't help. Add to that equation some BS that went down w/ the place we're renting in South Austin, and I just need to just be back at HOME where I can sit still & breathe. Where I have friends for support. Where she has daycare & her pals there that she's comfortable with (yes, so I can catch a little break). I miss my bed, my car, Trader Joes, Schooners for breakfast, the beach, my friends, and yes, I even miss my dad's dumb little dog Zoe.

I'd like to go back to work, even if it's only part time. Have some adult interaction again. Use my brain, my stellar vocabulary, my skills (yes, I do have some skills). But I want to do something different, in preparation for building my own business.

Most of all, I'd like to NOT be a caretaker for the first time in 20+ years (except my daughter of course). I'd like to learn how to take care of me, something I've never really done. I'd like to learn how to be okay with WHO I am, right WHERE I am.

We're going home. I'm relieved, though of course I'm also a little disappointed. I really did have high hopes for a fresh start here in Austin. And who knows? Maybe it'll work out at some later juncture. It's just really clear today that NOW is NOT the time.

And if I've learned nothing else on my life journey thus far, I've learned that it's always a good idea to pay attention when things ain't falling into place. There have been too many road blocks, obstacles, snafus, and just plain weird "coincidences" for this to work out the way I thought it was going to. Better I should call it a wash, take what I've got left, dust myself off, regroup & see where the chips fall down the road.

That's it. In a very large & long winded nutshell.

Baby sleeping. HOORAY! I'm going to sit outside in the balmy air and have myself a beer.

The end.

6 comments:

Lizzie said...

I think it takes a stronger woman to recognize when the plans you make aren't necessarily the plans you ought to proceed with than someone who sticks it out just because they made the plans.

Congrats on being the strong woman.

I love Austin, its a wonderful little city... but comfort and familiarity sometimes trump everything else.

To Think is to Create said...

I often take it for granted, though I try not to, that I have my husband to bounce things off of. When we make crazy decisions, at least I have him to go through it with. I don't know you (just found your blog!) or if you even want someone to go through all this with, but I think you are so strong to know when things are working and when they aren't, and go where you need and want to be in life. Brava.

YatPundit said...

what a great post! thanks for sharing all that in your blog again. As someone who's enjoying you in Twitter and is awfully lazy, I appreciate learning more about you the easy way :-)

jb0301 said...

It's hard for a fish to stay still, but it does seem that is what you need to do. Just settle in, and relax for awhile. You have been on a dead run and one hell of a roller coaster ride. And remember to smile now and then.

Lizzie said...

I think it takes a stronger woman to recognize when the plans you make aren't necessarily the plans you ought to proceed with than someone who sticks it out just because they made the plans.

Congrats on being the strong woman.

I love Austin, its a wonderful little city... but comfort and familiarity sometimes trump everything else.

To Think is to Create said...

I often take it for granted, though I try not to, that I have my husband to bounce things off of. When we make crazy decisions, at least I have him to go through it with. I don't know you (just found your blog!) or if you even want someone to go through all this with, but I think you are so strong to know when things are working and when they aren't, and go where you need and want to be in life. Brava.