One of the things Ghon and I struggled with is me time. And I don’t just mean ME, but HE and US. With our work schedules and kid schedules, there really wasn’t enough time to focus on us, meaning us, or us as individuals. We struggled to find me time and us time. I often felt Ghon had more, especially once he stopped working. Sure, he was doing some work at the farm, but there was also a lot of photo work that at that point was purely creative and pleasure related.
Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not like Ghon didn’t encourage me to get some time to myself; it was the execution of that time that was hard. I also hated to pay for a sitter so I could pay for me time and even more so when Ghon wasn’t working. He wanted me to take time off work so the kids were in school, but time off doesn’t always come easy. We didn’t struggle financially, but we didn’t have a lot extra, or any really, and I always put the wants of the kids and Ghon before my own.
I’d made him so angry once when he tried to get me to do something for myself. He made an appointment at a salon in Winchester for me to go get a cut and dye. I backed out of it. The dye job he set up for me was not something I really wanted, despite joking about it. I also didn’t want to put over $100 into a dye job that I knew wouldn’t last long. To me, it was a waste. I cancelled the appointment. It took months for me to understand how upset this made him. He wanted me to do something for me and tried to encourage it, and I fought back.
And when I would do things for myself, oh the guilt I would feel. If I got my nails done and it was a tight financial week, I’d take it out on myself that I money on my nails. If I hadn’t spent that $25, I’d have $25 for Ghon to give a model gas money, buy the kid the toy they want, go to a movie, buy more gardening supplies, an extra bag of chicken feed, or adding more money to the kids lunch account. I could justify clothes as I lost weight, I needed clothes. But I’d buy thrift because, well, I love a deal and I didn’t want to spend a ton of money on me. I can’t justify massage or nails. I couldn’t make time for yoga.
"He would want you to…"
There are things I’m doing now because I know Ghon would want me to. Sometimes, it’s because I want to. I try not to let the guilt that held me back before hold me back anymore. Sure, I didn’t need to buy that key rack or basket for the kitchen. But they were on sale, worked for the house and I wanted them. I’ve said before, I don’t know who I am anymore. I always put Ghon and the kids before me. Now, it’s me and the kids. I don’t want to spoil them. I’m not spoiling me. But we all need to be taken care of. I want to be comfortable doing things because I want to, not because he would want me to. And I don’t what to justify everything with, he would want you to, even if he would, because justification means I’m not worthy or trying to suppress guilt. And I’m trying to move away from the guilt factor.
Ghon wanted me to make more time for us. It was something we’d been working on doing. I needed more time for just me. We were working on that. But now, I think it’s even more important. Ghon was a good father, but he wasn’t always the shuttle bus, the planner, the grocer getter. And while he didn’t do much of that, I don’t have him now to even think about backing me up. And with him not working, the plan was to switch some of that from me to him. Now, I’m a parenting team of one. I get up, I take care of the kids, I go to work, I get the kids, do kid stuff, go to bed. Weekends, I’m with the kids.
Now, I doubt any parents will disagree with me, but especially moms; I love my kids. I love them even when they are little snots, because I know the happy kid is still there. I’m dedicated to raising them happy and healthy. But for me to do that, I have to be happy and healthy. If I don’t have my head at least on my shoulders, how in the world can I take care of them? I always warn caretakers of sick family – you have to take care of you to take care of them. It’s time I also take my advice, and the advice Ghon was giving for us.
Two nights ago, I said something to the kids about being tired and wanting to go to bed. Jonathan tried to be my caretaker. He told me well mom, go to bed. Don’t worry about the laundry or the unpacking, just go to bed. I promised I would try, and didn’t do too bad.
I made a major decision for after school care, moving them from a caretaker, who is so much more than that to us, to a costlier after school program at Jonathan’s Tae Kwon Do studio because it is closer to my work and saves me over an hour and a half drive time at least three days a week. That time is important. I’ve created a schedule of our activities and set a work schedule that works with it all and builds in an hour or two a couple days a week that I can run errands before I have to pick-up kids. When other random events or appointments don’t get in the way, it allows me to go to one yoga class a week. I’ve had a few massages. I carry all of my tension and stress in my shoulders, and getting them to relax and sit where they are supposed to is a challenge. When stress rises, I actually feel my shoulders rise. I actually joined a massage membership program, to ensure I get at least one massage a month, because I won't waste the money, and well, I love massage.
These things will help. A lot. But it still leaves my big house kinda empty. I can’t tell you how many times people have said “it just keeps going” when I walk them around the house. My kids are loud, the dog is a crybaby, and the two cats sound like a herd of buffalo. But without Ghon, there is still a big void. Yoga and massage are also AMAZING, but leave no real time for adult conversation outside of work. I have lots of friends, but we are all busy with work or kids or both, and only a few am I really close with.
In effort to take care of me, I am going to try to plan at least a monthly mom’s night. Maybe it will be at the house and I send Jonathan and Genevieve out. Maybe it will be in town somewhere. Dinner, movies, an activity; something to get me with adults. Some time for me. And for you. :)
And if I’ve told you to stop by; come see the house anytime; I mean it. Major construction is now complete. I’m down to trim work and details and like I said before, moving the last of our stuff and figuring out where it will go. There might be a mess around, but that won’t be much different than my norm, no matter how hard I try. I’m not always the best hostess; but this home was made to be lived in. It needs to be lived in. Come, help us live. Help us define life at Hummingbird Farm without Ghon.
Help us remember him. Always.