Thursday, December 24, 2015

A little lacking in holiday spirits.

I vividly remember my childhood Christmases.  On Christmas Eve my parents would take me and my siblings to the water park and let us run ourselves absolutely ragged as we swam, splashed and rode the hydroslides.  Then we'd pick up some sort of takeaways on the way home and eat picnic-style on the living room floor.  Then with our bellies full and our bodies exhausted, we'd crash out around 8pm to dream of what Santa would bring.

We'd be up at the crack of dawn, the stockings that had been empty when we laid them over the foot of our beds now magically full of presents, more under the tree.  The snacks we left for Santa had been consumed and so we'd haul our stockings into our parent's room and bounce on their bed.  They would watch with sleepy indulgence as we ripped into the presents, exclaiming in delight at the wonders contained within that wrapping.  And once the stockings were emptied, we were dismissed back out to the living room to play with our new treasures while mum and dad grabbed a couple more hours sleep.

Breakfast, then the big presents under the tree were opened and we'd have a few hours to play before getting dressed and heading to my grandmother's house where all of my dad's side of the family would gather.  More presents then us children would be banished outside to play while the adults finished getting lunch ready and chatted.  It was always a huge feast and we'd all go home in desperate need of a nap from how much we'd eaten.

It was noisy, boisterous, fun and above all, magical.

I'm 30 now.  Over time the magic has rubbed off, leaving Christmas a little dull and flat.  It didn't use to be this way.  I used to start getting excited in December, used to love hearing the carols, loved wrapping the gifts and seeing the look on people's faces when they unwrapped a gift I picked for them and it turned out to be absolutely perfect.  But over the last couple of years, it just feels like, I'm not really getting the return on investment.  My daughter isn't quite at the age where it's all sparkly and magical so right now it just feels like a hell of a lot of work for very little.  Especially when there's traveling involved.  I don't seem to travel as well as I did when I was younger.  Now even a short 3 hour drive leaves me utterly exhausted and that's on top of looking after a very energetic toddler.

Plus it doesn't help that the one thing guaranteed to make you feel old, fat and frumpy is being around your young, willow-thin, drop-dead-gorgeous step-sister-in-law.

It's Christmas Eve.  I'm hoping that watching my daughter rip into some presents will give some small amount of satisfaction.

Holiday blues suck.

Hope everyone else have a merry Christmas.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Rant Rant Rant

I am SO pissed off right now.  But it's more than simple fury.  There's a good deal of hurt and a bone-deep emotional weariness that all combine to leave me alternately fuming and wanting to punch something and feeling horribly depressed and miserable.

Before I get into the details, a little bit of background is in order.  So, I have this sister who is 5 years younger than me and when we were growing up, it's probably not a stretch to say we didn't get along at all, and in fact it's probably fair to say that I tended to make her life a bit of a misery at times.  The thing was, despite her wanting to play the same games as myself and my brother, she never really 'got' the rules and ALWAYS wanted things her way so she would get frustrated when we wouldn't just let her win and we'd get frustrated because she'd hold things up and needless to say it got to the point where it was easier to just exclude her.

And I'm sorry for that, I really am.  But to be fair, kids can be absolute dicks that way.  The thing was, I had no idea how much resentment she was harboring from it until a few years back when we had a huge emotional dialogue through Facebook messages and she basically told me, made me feel awful and made me apologize (take a note of this, it's kinda important in the upcoming story).

So anyway, after we somehow managed to put that behind us, our relationship began to improve and become more, well, sisterly.  And then she started dating this guy.  Before I knew it, she began to fall back into old patterns, becoming defensive at the slightest implied criticism of either her or her new boyfriend, taking things the wrong way or reading things in what you say that weren't even there.  And to be honest, I blamed her new boyfriend and his family because they were helping to feed this new paranoia.

Well long story short, fast forward 7 years and they're still together.  Engaged even.  And that's fine, I've made my peace with the fact that even though I still don't totally like the guy, he makes my sister happy and that's the most important part.  So whatever.

Then my sister drops the bombshell on our family that she's pregnant.  At Christmas.  Oh and she's 13 weeks along.  Again I won't go into the drama that ensued shortly after that little announcement I'll give you the cliff-note version:

- Sister not impressed by parent's reaction to news of her pregnancy
- Sister hacks into mother's Facebook account and then goes and reads ALL the private message conversations mother has ever had pertaining to herself and her fiance.
- Sister gets INCREDIBLY pissed with mother for conversation with me where we made a comment about sister 'breeding' with her boyfriend.
- Sister guilts mother into apologizing for conversation. (see a pattern?)

So anyway, once mum apologized, we thought that was the end of it.  Then earlier this week I get a message through facebook from my best friend from childhood.  She told me my sister had invited her to her baby shower but since she already has time off booked so she can come down for my daughter's party she wouldn't be able to make it (my sister's baby shower is apparently the weekend before my daughter's party).  Can I give her my sister's address so she can send a little something through the post for my sister's baby?

I gave her the address and then told her that she was having a girl if that would help with the wee something she was planning on getting for my sister.  I then asked if my sister had invited her through Facebook or had actually sent out invites, because either way I hadn't received one.  She told me she had been invited through Facebook so I quickly trawled back through my notifications and messages in case I had accidentally missed an event notification or a message from my sister.  Nothing.

So after waiting a few days to see if she'd contact me, I finally sent a message to my sister casually asking how the planning for her baby shower was going.  She informed me that it was her fiance's sister who was planning/throwing the shower and that she had decided to not invite myself, my brother or our father because she had made the decision to let it just be her fiance and his family and a few friends.  To which I replied that that was cool, but it would have been nice to have been told that by her, rather than hearing about the shower from MY best friend whom she HAD invited.  Yeah ok, that may have come off as a little bitchy, but I think it was a fair enough call.

Well, she then told me that it was a year ago today that our mother and I had that fateful comment about her and her fiance 'breeding'.

Ok, yeah, I probably shouldn't have said it, but seriously? I NEVER expected her to EVER see that conversation.  Because it was PRIVATE and none of her damn business.  She had NO right to hack into our mum's Facebook account and read her messages.  And apparently while she felt 'a little guilty' about doing it, it was apparently worth it to learn the truth.

So, a few key points here:

1) I made that comment BEFORE she even became pregnant.  Like at least 6 months before she even conceived.
2) At the time of that comment, I was HEAVILY pregnant with my own daughter (who was in fact born 13 days later).  So I was fat, hormonal and probably a lot more bitchy than I realized.
3) How the HELL does a conversation I had with mum 1 year ago have any relevance to the now? See points above for how it has NO relevance.

Honestly I think she had no real comeback as to why she's excluding us (her biological family) from her baby shower.  And the thing is, since finding out she's pregnant, I have been NOTHING but supportive and excited for her.  I gave her ALL the clothes our daughter outgrew, and some of that stuff she NEVER wore because she grew so quickly and we had so much.  PLUS I GAVE her our very nice 3-in-1, 3-wheel off-road pram because I know she likes to run for fitness so she could put bubs in there when she's born and go for a run with it.

So that is why I'm angry.  And hurt.  And miserable.

And you know what? I'm going to apologize for the comment.  BUT I'm also going to tell her that the fact she's referencing a year-old conversation as a means to exclude me from her baby shower is very hurtful and I thought we'd gotten past it.  Because I've reached the point where I've just had enough.  I'm tired of letting my sister emotionally blackmail me, of her twisting EVERYTHING around so that she is ALWAYS the victim and is NEVER to blame.  And I am especially sick of having to word everything so damn carefully because I'm worried I'm going to upset her and set her off.

I'm done.  I'm not going to walk on eggshells any more.  I'm getting too old for this drama.  She needs to learn that she isn't always blameless, that the things she says and does has consequences and that damn it, she actually HURT me.  Because if I don't tell her, she'll never know.  And if she doesn't know, she won't learn.  And if she doesn't learn, she won't change.

Well she hasn't changed since she was 16, but I continue to hope.  But to be honest, I have tried SO many times in the past to mend the fences between us, that this time I think has to be the last time.  Because I can't keep reaching out to her only to have her keep slapping me in the face like this.  It's toxic and makes me feel like crap, and I'm over it.

So I'm going to carefully write a reply to her message, then try to get some sleep.  Then tomorrow when I'm less upset and a little bit more rational, I will re-read, make some tweaks and then send it to her.

And depending on what she says, I'll either continue trying, or I will just walk away.

Because I just can't do this any more.  And if that means I'll never get to see my niece (who is due in July), then that's a price I'll have to pay.  It'll break my heart because she is still my sister and I have loved her since the moment she was born.

But I can't keep bowing to her.  It's not healthy.  For either of us.

I just hope one day she'll be able to grow up and realize how much she's hurt her family.  And I sincerely hope that happens before it's too late.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

The first and most valuable lesson of parenthood.

One of the hardest things I've had to learn and deal with as a parent is that when it comes to anything to do with the raising/teaching of my child - whatever path I take, whatever I choose to do - it is completely and utterly WRONG.

Co sleeping? Makes them overly dependent on you and you'll never get them out of your bed again.

Leave them in their own room? You're a monster and they're never going to be able to form healthy attachments to anyone.

Formula? You're poisoning your baby.  It doesn't matter that your baby can't latch properly and is shredding your nipples with every feed, you'll get it if you just TRY hard enough.

You get the idea.  It can be an absolute trial to FINALLY find something that works for you and your baby only to have another well-meaning parent tell you that your child is going to develop irreversible psychological damage (or something) as a result.

So now basically whenever I have someone tell me that what I am doing is 'wrong' or I come across an article on the internet or whatever, I try to just take it with a grain of salt.  I know the advice is well-meant (usually) and comes from someone wanting to share their experience in the hopes I find it useful.

But no two babies are the same, so what works for one may have the completely opposite effect on another.  As an example, most babies enjoy being swaddled before naptime as it makes them feel snug and secure.  Every time I tried to swaddle my daughter, she would scream the house down until she was free.  She was NOT having a bar of that.

So disagree with my parenting style all you want.  Offer advice, sure.  But please don't be offended if I tell you just where to stick those words of wisdom.  This may be my first time in this particular race, but I think I'm picking up the pace just fine.  My daughter is a happy, social baby who may have been slightly slower on the crawling thing than her peers but is still meeting her milestones.

When she smiles at me, even if it's been a heck of a day where she's wanted to be constantly in my arms, I know I'm doing ok.

We're all doing ok.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Midlife crisis?

I don't know why, but all of a sudden it truly hit me that in less than a month, I will turn 30.

30.  And what have I got to show for it? A degree I can't do a damn thing with, a massive student loan, and a baby that seems to want to be attached to my side whenever she's awake.  Don't get me wrong, I love my daughter to bits, she is an absolute joy when she's not clinging or grizzling but...I don't know if this is how I envisioned my life.

But then, I don't really know how I envisioned my life.

I know comparing myself to my friends is the path to true madness, but at times like these, I can't help but envy people like my best friend Amanda.  When we were kids, her favourite make believe game of all time was doctors and nurses.  She has a genuine passion for caring for people.  And she turned that passion into a career by getting a nursing degree.  And now she works, travels and owns her own little slice of paradise up north.

Even my husband's the same.  He got his degree, got a job and has been pretty successful.  He's a 4th degree black belt and a pretty damn amazing dad.

I guess I just feel like I'm in this kind of limbo.  Like giving birth shattered me into a million pieces and I've been put back together with some pieces in the wrong places and some missing altogether.  I know I'm never going to be who I was, but neither do I know who I am now.  What am I good at? Can I really make writing a career? What's stopping me from trying?

I can't help missing and envying 19 year old me.  Yeah, she was an angsty, whiny little brat.  But she didn't really give a shit. She drank, smoked weed, had inappropriate (to some) relationships.  And yeah she worked full-time, but still, didn't give a shit.  Of course when relationships ended, it was the end of the world but...

I'm 30.  I don't know what I want to do for my birthday, or even what I WANT for my birthday.

Hell, I just don't know what I want in general.

I just wish I didn't feel so damn lost.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Obligatory introductions.

Hi I'm Chi.  You may remember me from such blogs as Punch-Drunk Explorer and Celebrating the Magic.

I seem to be something of a serial-blogger.  But hopefully this and Celebrating the Magic will be my main two from now on.  Sort of a yin-yang type thing.  The Magic is for things that go right.  This is for when things go wrong and I need a space to vent.

Can't think of anything to rant about, but it'll come.

In closing this brief point I'll leave you with the opening line from 'Don't Stay' by Linkin Park:

"Sometimes I, need to remember just to breathe...."

Yes, yes I do.