I went to six different schools before I hit the sixth grade. I didn't mind the moves so much at first--each one was a chance to start over, to become a new Angela--and I didn't realize it at the time, but the moves were hard on me. I know my parents didn't plan on them. I remember how excited we all were when they bought the house in Highland and we would live in a normal tract home and be a normal family and not some troupe of roaming gypsies. The last two places before Highland were a motel called the Goodnite Inn, where our family of five lived in one room for four months, and my dad's property in Calimesa, a dusty piece of land unconnected to the city that surrounded it. In Highland it was different. There were paved roads! And sidewalks! And neighbors!
I have always found comfort in the fact that despite my unconventional upbringing, despite all of our unconventional upbringings, I--we--could force things to be better, to be the way that we wanted them to be, with just a lot of hard work and determination. And so I got married, worked four jobs through undergraduate and then graduate school, moved back pregnant, had a baby, got a full-time job, had another baby, bought a house. All before I was 28. I have watched my other friends, sometimes enviously, taking deep breaths and moving slowly and probably enjoying things more, but I have told myself I like this whirlwind, that I thrive on challenging myself.
I am blessed and I am happy in so many ways.
But I am tired.
We are searching out every possible treatment for Elliott. We have maxed out our credit cards doing so. But, of course, I thought I had it all under control. Because I always do. It is always under control. Except it wasn't.
We had had a two-hour appointment in which we were informed of all of the problems going on inside of Elliott's body and the various and seemingly endless possibilities for treatment. It was overwhelming and it made me sad and it made me wish that none of this were true, that I would wake up and he would be fine the next day. I stumbled out in that emotional state to the reception desk. When I went to pay, my credit card was declined. A second card was declined. I tried to fight it, but tears began slipping out of my eyes and I felt helpless and I wished I could disappear. I normally am not as aware of what a big person I am, but in that office, I felt enormous, out of proportion for the tiny, clean office, a gigantic mess of an intruder. An intruder who couldn't pay.
The office girls were nice about it. "Call us," they cooed. "It's okay."
I got the hell out of there and went into hysterics in the safety of my Toyota Matrix.
I was out of control. Everything was out of control. Things needed to change.
Ryan and I have sat down and made lists and cried together. We have cried until we can't cry anymore. We are exhausted. We are sick and getting sick and our house is a mess. We haven't opened all of our mail. Our laundry has not been put away. It is chaos here.
And we have decided that we need to simplify. That we are tired of all of this fighting. We have good jobs and we have amazing kids and we have so many wonderful things in our lives.
We are thinking of walking away from our house. In fact, we are pretty sure we are going to do it.
We are thinking of starting over, of simplifying, of ignoring our pride and putting Elliott and Benjamin and our sanity first.
This is a tremendous blow to my pride, to my philosophy of forcing things to happen even when they seem impossible. I am tired of forcing it. I just want to enjoy my life and help my little boy get better.
I wanted something different than what I grew up with. I didn't want the constant moving, the lack of stability. I convinced myself that I could control all of that. But maybe I can't. I am ready to let go. I am ready to change. I am ready to start over.