I’ve dropped the kids off at school and I’m back home, sitting at the kitchen table (a.k.a: “my office”) with my back turned to the morning mess. It’s always a whirlwind in the a.m. around here, as I assume it is in all homes where kids reside but I have some deadlines to meet today so the tidying will have to wait.
My present view is of our fireplace and the surrounding brick wall that covers the disheveled living room on the other side. The kitchen and the living room hold superficial messes and I will get to them when I can. These messes are insignificant in the big picture, really, for so much of my life is in order, right now. My parents are well, my marriage is doing just fine. My kids are healthy; doing what kids do without much trouble. I’m pretty lucky.
Some of my friends have so much more on their plates right now: sick parents, trouble in their marriages, struggles with their kids, mental health challenges, the list goes on and on. So, when the phone rings I’m here, ready to listen. I am grateful to be a rock for them, this time. As they were for me when my life was less orderly. Like they will be again sometime, I’m sure. Right now, I’m like a rock in the middle of the midlife storms around me.
Two hours east, in a little home by a peaceful lake lives my sweet friend, her husband and their two daughters. She has been at work for two hours already, and it’s only 9 o’clock. Her husband made her a smoothie for the road, as he often does. He is pretty thoughtful like that, in their day-to-day life together. He has taken their kids to school and himself to work. He’s a banker. She has been a loyal employee for the same company for twenty years. For a while, when new owners came on the scene, they took her for granted. Luckily, her clients set them straight. Her work is secure now. She and her husband have had a rocky (though somewhat cleansing) year. She had an emotional affair with someone from her past though until recently her husband didn’t know about it. They separated for a while last summer. Her parents didn’t support her, at all. She was distraught by this. But she pushed on anyways. I was proud of her and I thought she was done, for good. At times it’s been hard for me to like her husband. He has hurt her, physically, in the past. Her parents know this. She wants to make it work though, so does he. I secretly wish she’d leave but I understand why she is staying. When she calls or texts. I’m here. Always. I’m grateful to be her rock.
In the centre of the city, a dear friend of mine has taken a leave of absence from a full-time job that she loves. For as long as I’ve known her, she has suffered from depression. Her mother died when she was little and her dad was an alcoholic. They lived in poverty. Her childhood was bleak at times, but she made the most of it and climbed her way up and out and off to university. Now, married and a mom to one adolescent son there are times when she feels in control but many times when she feels unsettled, worried about her son, and let down by her husband. She knows she isn’t “easy” to be with but she can’t help but wish he would try harder to have compassion for her. She wishes he would do more to support her, emotionally and in parenting their son. She almost left, a few times. She doesn’t know if her unhappiness is due to her mental illness or if being with him is the problem. Sometimes she turns inwards and decides that working on herself is where she needs to begin. For a while that works. She eats better, exercises, and sees her therapist but then… things just pile up somewhere else. Literally and figuratively. She can’t even look away for a minute and things pile up… she is struggling.
She takes her meds and tries to look for the positives in her marriage. She knows she needs to go back to work. She wants to but her son has been really difficult and defiant, lately. He needs her to be calm and healthy in order to be the mom he needs: A patient mom not an exhausted mom. Diagnosed with general anxiety and ADD, her son has been pushing everyone’s buttons with his behaviour, at school and at home. She needs to take better care of herself but he needs her and her husband is trying but it isn’t enough and … she needs to get back to work. Her husband is unemployed right now. His confidence is low. Tensions are high. For years my dear friend has felt like the ship is sinking and she and the rest of her family (but mostly she) is barely staying afloat. When she calls, I am here. Always. I’m grateful to be her rock.
#ThisIsmidlife #ThisIsMarriedLife #ThisIsFriendship