Thursday, May 25, 2017

Hotel Room, Alone

Hotel Room Alone
Really I don’t need to say anymore. 
That's it.
End of blog.

Every mother I know thinks about this on a regular basis. 
We dream of the tranquility it would bring.
What would it be like to have total peace and quiet for 24 hours? 
How awesome would it be to be able to go to the bathroom with no one yelling through,  sniffing underneath or banging on the door? 
Wouldn’t it be phenomenal not to have anyone asking you to do anything for just one day? 

"Mom where is my …blah blah blah?"  
"Mom! Can you help me yadda, yadda, yadda? "
Mom who? 
My name is not mom.
I can’t remember exactly what my name is, but it’s definitely not Mom for the next 24 hours.

Wouldn’t it be incredible to sleep in complete quiet, not listening to anyone else snore, with no preordained wake-up time?
When you decide to get up, you could go down to the lobby, braless (maybe that's just me) and people watch. Maybe you could find a quiet, sunny spot on the patio, the terrace or by the pool and have coffee …alone.

Conversation? Who needs it? I’ve had plenty of coffee conversations in my life. I've had more conversations than I ever wanted to have. Talking is overrated --played out. 

Sure, you could just have a pot of coffee delivered to your room…you know, where it’s quiet. 
I know they usually have a coffeemaker in the room, but who wants to pour the water and make the coffee? I do that every day. I want to do NOTHING that requires labor. Besides, I want fresh cream. Yes. I'm spoiled. 

Just think...  
What would it be like to only think about myself and what I want? 
What would it be like to NOT be in a hurry? 
What would it be like not to worry about a got-damned thing for a day?

Hey! I’m not disappointing anyone! This is cool. It feels great! 
No one is looking for me. Weird...but good. 
It’s like I’ve disappeared off the face of the earth. How awesome is that? 
Don't you want to just disappear sometimes?  

What would it be like to have my own agenda? 
Or no agenda at all, if I that's what I choose. 

Every since I had kids and moved to hot-ass freaking Texas, I’ve had this fantasy of going back to California (No -I can’t tell you why I ever left) and renting a beach house or an apartment, okay, maybe just a hotel room with an ocean view and a patio or a porch where I could just sit just and listen to the sound of the waves...alone.
Did I say, alone? You did get that part, right? 

It doesn't have to be California. The beaches are mostly cold there. Beautiful, but cold. It could be Florida. I owe some friends in Miami a visit (Elena and Caryn).
Better yet, while I'm dreaming, it could be South France.  But then it would have to be more than a day. It would absolutely have to be for at least a month.
Alone, for a month?
Could I do it?
Hell yeah! I could totally do it.
It's amazing how motherhood changes you. 

So a few weeks ago, I went home to Los Angeles for my brother’s memorial service.  (He passed last November.  That's a whole other story, which I won't get into now.) I was tired. I had no energy for running all over town like I usually do when I'm in the city where I grew up. I wanted to spend time and support my siblings during this difficult time. I just wished I could have done it without actually having to talk to anyone for any extended period of time. Yes. I was that kind of tired. 

I wanted to see my friends, but I also desperately needed some rest --a short sabbatical from life, worries, caregiving, and taking care of everyone except for me. I needed a break from All of the Thoughts. I felt emotionally drained from literally taking on all of the feelings and emotions of those in my care. My empathy meter is way out of whack.  It has been for a long time. 

When I go home, I am usually in constant motion. I end up spending a lot of time driving from my one brother’s house in Los Alamitos to my siblings in Los Angeles. I usually go to see my friends in the San Fernando Valley, the hood where I spent my young adult days living and hanging out.  I travel up and down the 405 Freeway (which is code for you will spend at least 4 or 5 hours every time I go to L.A.)

This time, after two nights at my brother's lovely home in Los Alamitos, I talked my husband into reserving a room for me at the airport Hilton, a party of one, for not one but two nights. I wanted to be in the middle to reduce my driving. It was a self-care boundary that I set for myself. My therapist is slowly teaching me how to do this after years of NOT having boundaries. 

You see, my husband travels often for work. I consider his business travel to be a luxury.  (He would disagree, but who cares?)

He gets to leave home once or twice a month and check into a quiet hotel room, alone.  There is a door that shuts and locks with a “do not disturb” sign if he chooses to use it.  Late at night, children do not interrupt him with questions. He doesn’t have to stop listening to his music to break up a fight or to prevent a meltdown.  There are no phone calls from school telling him, “Hey! Your kid is losing it. Can you come pick him up?” There are no therapy appointments to attend.

Sure he’s "working," but he is also having fancy dinners that the company pays for. He is having said dinners with adults, who are not picking at or complaining about their food or the choice of restaurant.

On some trips, his company even rewards their sales people with private concerts with the likes of Bruno Mars, Bon Jovi, and well... (I won't go on. It's not like I'm envious or anything.)

He is "working" while I’m at home taking care of the details of our life —holding it down, keeping the peace, keeping our children and hope, alive.    

Over the course of our 23-year marriage, my husband has seen the world thanks to business travel. He has been all over Europe, including Spain, Germany, Hungary, and France. He has been to Australia, China and countless cities within the United States.  (Again, absolutely.No.Envy.Here.Nada!)  

Now, I admit that I have periodically benefited from his business travel. With the points that he earns, we have been able to take some vacations.  We've had upgraded seats. His travel points paid for our stay in Rome several years ago.

At least once every couple of months, we do a staycation right here in town to get away from the kids and take a break from taking care of my mom.  Taking time away as a couple has been the saving grace for our marriage. It helps us remember that we do actually like one another. Sometimes, there’s even a serious love affair between us. Sometimes.

Couple time is great, but sometimes a girl just needs to be alone. Quiet —still, as in not thinking about other people’s stuff.

In the quiet hotel room, I had the time to think about MY life —my wants and needs. Time alone is essential to my sanity.  It's not selfish. It's self-care. I do not apologize for needing it and neither should you.

The stay in the hotel was the highlight of my trip. It was nothing fancy, just small, quiet and just for me. For two days I had no deadlines. There was no one looking for me and questioning my whereabouts. There was no place I HAD to be, only places I wanted to be.  There was no one I had to please —no one to compromise with. It was heaven.

Leisurely dessert and coffee in Manhattan Beach
I got to see my girlfriends from the valley, but I didn’t get on that freakin’ 405! (That was a self-care boundary I set for myself.)  I had traveled from Texas. They came to meet me within a few minutes of my hotel. We dined, had cocktails and dessert together at our leisure. There was no one hunting me down or asking me what time I would be home. I loved feeling free, just kind of floating in the wind. When I did come back to my room, it was so lovely and quiet.

I could drink these all day!
Two nights in a quiet, hotel room, alone and it was incredible. 
Turns out that silence really is golden. I can’t wait to do it again. 

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

All of the thoughts...

So many thoughts in a given day.  So many feelings of complete overwhelm. I haven't written about my mother's troubles in great detail, but they feel huge and weighty. Perpetually occupying space in my already overcrowded head.

I can't see her without thinking all of the thoughts and feeling the sadness over this space that we're in. You know that when you're taking care of a parent, sooner or later you will be dealing with health issues, and ultimately you will have to face their mortality.  You hope that it will be short and painless, but that would be impossible. There is no such thing. You hope that you will be prepared for whatever comes. I was not prepared for this. 

She is not near death but her issues are not easily "fixed" if fixable at all. And yet, I constantly think about what I can do to help her. What will make things better? I just want to see her happy and enjoying this time in her life.

I was writing while sitting in the airport. When I got on the flight, I noticed that somehow I hit publish instead of hitting save and 71 of you have already read my incomplete thoughts so...I guess I should finish this post.

I can never make a reservation without hesitation.  Thoughts about all of the things and all of the people and details must be considered before I take off. Even this time as I head to Los Angeles for the memorial service of my brother who passed earlier this year, I have to consider my mother.

This time, it wasn't so much about my kids (who are not really kids anymore). It was more about my mom. I didn't want to leave her at home. I didn't want to take her with me. Maybe I'm lazy or maybe I'm just tired of constantly having to consider others before I go to the toilet, much less anywhere else. I didn't want to have to consider her every time I move from place to place in L.A.

Will she be okay? Will she comfortable? Will she be upset because I went here or there?

As it is at home every time I move, she is watching.  She's asking, "Where are you going? When are coming back? Why are you going upstairs?  You're going to bed now? Why can't you wait?"

I've never been a loner, but my God! My family has turned me into one.

I went ahead and purchased the ticket because of course, I should go support my other siblings as we lay my brother to rest. I'm just so peopled out right now. And as much as I want to see everyone, I also would really like some time to be completely alone and not worry about anything or anyone. 

It's weird to be going home not excited. I really don't feel like peopling.

Parenting and caregiving has turned me into someone I hardly know. I'm sure I'll get my groove when I get there.

Hopefully, I can spend some time with my feet in the ocean ...just being.