I’ve been looking after my mother’s house while she’s out of town for an extended period of time. She’s done this to me a lot over the years, so it’s nothing new. It’s a sweet little house with a lovely patio. But until today, you could barely walk or sit anywhere because it was so cluttered with fake plants of all sizes, dusty old candles, and cobwebbed children’s toys that were salvaged from garage sales so my kids could have something fun to play with at Grammy’s. Sadly, I’ve never once seen my kids play outside there. And the yard was looking like an overgrown jungle, if that’s even possible. Even the spiders were so freaked out by the outdoor jungle that they started seeking shelter in the fake plants on the patio, alongside the lizards. Poor little guys.
I woke up tired and hungover again today after another ‘wine night’ (that sounds a bit more classy and a less self-destructive than booze binge, don’t ya think?). I’ve been trying to limit these occurrences but almost every day, after I’m home for the night with the kids, I uncork and unWINEd. I hide some of it from my husband, finding clever and deceptive ways to cover up how much I’m actually drinking. He knows I have some wine most nights – we even laugh about it sometimes. And occasionally he’ll join me for a glass with dinner, or have his own whiskey cocktail or two. Nothing wrong with that, right? With three kids ages 4 and under, what parents don’t need some escape? Right? The truth is he has no idea I’ve throwing back a bottle of wine – more often give than take – almost every night. Ouch. When I actually say it that way, my head starts hurting and my liver starts telling me to run to the doctor.
So I clearly wasn’t feeling so great this morning, but convinced myself I was just exhausted from staying up late with the baby and getting up early with the kids. Oh, and apparently my new melatonin supplements give me hangovers. Ha, good one. But I forced myself to go to my mother’s empty house and take matters into my own hands, whether she likes it or not. Besides, she’s not around to tell me what to do and I’m the one taking care of things. So at her expense, my yard guys spent two full days there and it looks great. Now it was my turn to completely clean and declutter the patio. I moved things around, threw some nasty stuff away, killed every spider I met, swept every inch of the floor and corners full of cobwebs, and made friends with a few lizards (those I don’t kill; I just pretend to try to catch them even though I’m too chicken and let them get away). Over two hours later, it looked great and I felt really good about that. I was proud of myself for pushing through and making a positive change today. And then it hit me.
I realized what I was doing was trying to take control. Over everything. Past, present, future. Ok, this isn’t really that shocking since I’m already a self-proclaimed control-freak. But there was something about this moment that made me think a little more seriously about where this compulsion came from. There are so many deep rooted issues in my family’s history it’s not even funny. Actually, it’s so flippin’ hilarious it could easily become America’s next big dramady (drama? comedy? you decide). You seriously couldn’t make this juicy shit up.
But more on all that later. For now, I’ve come to realize two critical things:
1) I DO NOT want to keep binge-drinking, feeling like crap, and making excuses all the time. I want to, and need to, become a better me, a better wife, and the best mom I can be. I owe it to my childhood self (that dreamed of having the perfect family someday), and especially to my three perfect babies and loving husband, with all of his ‘perfect imperfections’ – ha.
2) It’s time I start sorting everything out, both figuratively and literally. I need to better manage the stress and eliminate the dead weight in my life. Purge and revamp. And through this process I need to start talking and telling my stories to sort it all out… and even laugh about it. The memories, the experiences, the pain, the feelings, the dreams. It’s not all bad. In fact, I’m incredibly blessed and fortunate in so many ways. But I need to start living my life accordingly, hold myself accountable, and find the silver linings.
So, it’s time. Time to work through the tangled cobwebs and remove them from the dark corners so that each day is clearer, more meaningful, and happier than the last.
After all, it is October.