Focused and Unfocused

If we were to keep with the curtain metaphor from the last entry, we’d call this intermission.

A new dawning had happened in our lives. Our darling son, Silly Son had been born. Suddenly what mattered didn’t and what didn’t matter did.  I went from working full time, as I had been doing for so many years up until then, to staying at home.  Sometimes I felt at a loss.

All I had learned of having kids while working with kids flew out the window.  The things you were told were right felt wrong.  Given my background in child development, I began researching.  We became an attachment parenting family and it felt right.  I honestly could write so much more about the different aspects of parenting like this, but I know it’s a tangent that will just avoid the painful topic this blog is about.

MrJJ was a loving and doting father.  At some point, that began to taper off.  He was always loving, but Silly Son began to matter less.  I began to matter less.  MrJJ began to push the boundaries we had established after Sorry.  He began to talk to female co-workers about their relationships.  This is how he told me Sorry. drew him in, by asking for a ‘guy’s perspective’.  We agreed…that was a boundary not to be crossed.  He crossed it and told me it was ok- as long as he didn’t reciprocate by talking about us.  There were other incidents of me struggling with my trust.  But I had been counseled to ‘forgive and forget’.  MrJJ had insisted I don’t show my pain, or even be overly effusive in my love.  He called it manipulative.

So I buried it.  I focused on our family.  I had already been exposed though, and the illness began to take root.  The depression that slowly grew was blamed on postpartum depression, on my Gram dying, on the lifestyle changes. Never once did anyone dig deep enough to make the connection.  Finally, on the heels of a job disappointment, MrJJ decided to take a job in Hawai’i.  He believed the sun would wash away the depression.  He refused to listen to me when I told him that it was the situation that needed to be changed.  I felt unloved and ignored.  He thought things were just fine.  My attitude needed to be adjusted.  It wasn’t him.  It couldn’t be him.  I had the cause of my pain buried so deep that even I didn’t realize what this was all about.  I just longed to be heard, to be loved.

This habit of not listening is deeply ingrained in MrJJ  I watch him totally tune out his mother.  I can’t stand for it, it’s so disrespectful to me- not acknowledging a human being is speaking to you.  He didn’t listen to me either though.  Our first home he insisted on buying.  Our first dog, a Greyhound.  The move to Hawai’i.  Even the house we bought in Hawai’i…and another Greyhound.  As though the first hadn’t been so emotionally unstable we had to return him.

We lived in Hawai’i for a year and a half.  During that time, MrJJ was pretty much in paradise.  He could play gold of his lunch breaks, go the the beach whenever.  To be honest, I don’t really know what his life was like then.  I know I suspected him of cheating, but I had on and off over the years and he still denies it to this day.  Silly Son and I were isolated.  We didn’t fit in unless we were in a tourist area.  There were very few stay-at-home-moms and those I met were hard to wedge myself in with, I was an outsider.  I was also trapped by this mild but chronic depression. I found a church, the only fellowship I got was when they learned I used to work in childcare.  Suddenly I would get phone calls asking me to volunteer.  When I sat alone during fellowship time, tears streaming down my face, I was not good enough. We did go through an intense period of lovebird nesting.  So much so that by the time we had an opportunity to move back, I was six months pregnant with our second child.

We moved back home.  The housing prices had come up.  We had to live in a rental.  I had a hard time fitting back into my old life after being isolated for so long.  Our second child was born about two months after we got back to the mainland.  Unlike Silly Son, Sweet Daughter was a fussy one.  She was great at first, but then fought sleep as I paced the rental.

I was fighting depression all the time it felt like.  I found a therapist and went onto anti-depressants.  The problem was, no dose was high enough to take away the suicidal thoughts.  I began to have full body shakes and insomnia.  The anxiety attacks were the worst though.  My therapist refused to switch me since Sweet Daughter was breastfed and she didn’t want to play with meds that were working for her.  Even when I researched other alternatives.  I eventually ended up just never going back.

After two years, MrJJ decided it was time to own our own home again.  He looked at the other side of the D.C. ‘burbs.  It wasn’t as built up there.  He found a house.  We agreed- it just wasn’t for us.  I had been watching the signs and I knew the housing market was finally falling.  No, that wasn’t to be.  MrJJ insisted on buying the house even though we had agreed not to.  So we moved.  Two hours from my closest friends.

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