What’s that word?

It’s a long story.  Too long.  Let me sum up.

1. Advanced Fat Camp started yesterday.  That’s not even a good name for it.  Technically, it’s not Fat Camp anymore.  It’s the “I’m too strong for Fat Camp” or maybe “It’s time to bust my ass again Camp”.  I don’t know.  It needs a new name.  Class is in the morning, nutrition on Fridays.  So far, there are only six of us.

All women.  One is also a ‘graduate’ of my original fat camp.  Out of the six, three are older and two are younger.  Roughly.  I’m guessing.  Two of us have had abdominal surgery in the last three years.  We all have kids.  One has OCD (and she was my partner). (At least our mat was clean.) (And our water bottles were exactly perpendicular to the mat at all times.)

The class is based around strength training and we are expected to do 2 hours of cardio on our own.  Which sounds great.  Fantastic.  We all need more strength training.  When you have more lean muscle mass, your resting metabolic rate is higher.  Which is to say that you burn more fat when you are asleep because your muscles need more nutrition.  Fun.  I could do strength training all day.

The problem is that it doesn’t help my mood.  I don’t get the high.  I crave the strength but I need the cardio.  I need to focus on nothing but “When the fuck do I get to quit?”  Good stuff.

2. Ella is gone for the week.  She went, somewhat reluctantly it turned out, with Stephen’s dad and stepmom on Monday and they are bringing her back on Saturday.  As grateful as I am to have 50 percent less parental responsibility, Amelia is lost.  And expects me to entertain her.  I’m beginning to be of the opinion that the taking of the children needs to be a package deal.  I witnessed an epic tantrum tonight and all I could do was laugh as I picked her up and put her in her room and closed the door.  Who is this child?  My kids don’t tantrum for the most part.  Is it because Ella is gone?  Is it because we have had too much time together in the last month? 

3. Amelia is four years old.  Her birthday was Monday.  I feel like I should write her a letter too but…I can’t.  I really want to write out her birth story.  I’m not sure that I ever have.  I’ll have to check.  I would write a letter to her but I’m afraid that she would actually read it.  I know, I know…if it’s not one kid it’s the other.  And Amelia and I are bound to have a ton of together time this school year.  She is two years away from kindergarten (darn July 31 birthday cutoff…) and I hope we make it that far, intact.

4.  I?  Am not cut out for single parenthood.  Please know that I am not looking for suggestions or solutions.  I am merely venting.  But this sucks.  I love my kids.  I know that.  Everyone knows that.  They are smart and cute and polite and active.  What’s not to love?  But I don’t play.  I give them experiences outside the house: we travel and have museum and zoo memberships, they are exposed to things like church and theatre and ballet.  Some of their favorite people are gay or have a different skin color.  They have tried sushi and call classical music “Dance Music”.  I think I’m doing lots of things right. 

But I hate it.

I really do.  And it’s not getting better.  It’s getting easier, for sure.  They are older.  Everyone wipes their own ass and buckles their own seatbelt.  We’ve come a long way. 

But I hate it. 

I don’t hate being a mom.  I love being a mom. 

I just didn’t sign up to be the dad too.  And it is tiring to keep on trying. 

Don’t think for a second that I haven’t thanked God that I have all girls instead of all boys.  I’d be in the county lockup with a green vest if that were the case.

Maybe it’s the heat,  the unrelenting weather  juicing the fluids out of my body every time I go out to get the mail. 

Or maybe it’s the impending fall countdown that begins every year on Amelia’s birthday and how every year all I can think about is how we spent her first birthday, both of us, in the hospital.  Separately.  But recovering on the same floor.  And how what had happened to get him there will haunt me forever.  Longer than his final moments.  Longer than the moment we knew that this would not end well.  I know at this time of the year that it is time to live it again. 

Fuzzier than last year of course.  Soft edges.  Voices muted.  Smells tempered by three years of wanting to wake up and have it all a terrible, terrible dream.

It might even be a little first day of school anxiety that I have for Ella.  She absolutely must have a good year.  I want to help her have a good year.  I want to know that I made the right decision for her.  I want her to be happy and develop friendships and love each day.  I want so much for her.  For both girls.  We all want our kids to have more, do more, be more than we ever had or did ourselves.  Isn’t that what each generation gives to the next?  What I need to get over (because it doesn’t seem to affect the littles at this point) is that they have started life with a deficit.  A dead father and brother.  And a mom who just can’t do it all.

You have to know this…please, please understand that these years are so hard.  Every single day is more work than I had ever imagined. 

This is my reality.  It’s not even self-pity at this point.   I’m past that. 

I’m not angry.  Or even all that tired (thankyouverymuch exercise endorphins). 

I don’t even have words for this.  Does one exist?

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