I imagine you (the 3 of you left checking this) have noticed I haven’t posted for some time, and it’s been even longer since I posted with more than pictures and captions. I find that when I have free time, I don’t usually want to spend it in front of a screen. I’d prefer to do something around the house or ride my trainer or even just read a book. I’m making an exception today because I’m feeling a bit under the weather and I just finished my book, so I’m at loose ends.
“Loose ends” actually describes my situation pretty accurately overall right now. I’ve had an emotionally wrenching year, and while I know that God never gives us more than we can handle, I’m feeling like I’m learning to be one of those waitresses who can balance three plates up each arm. Or, put another way, I’m having to juggle an awful lot of flaming torches, and I feel like they’re about to come crashing down around my ears at any moment. But maybe the point is that I need to let God carry the plates or juggle the torches, because ultimately no individual can carry everything that life weighs us down with. I don’t know.
Here’s what’s happened this year.
- Benji was born almost 15 months ago. Yay! He’s a joy, and I love him more than I imagined I could love any individual, but the addition of Benji alone is enough to have thrown me for a loop. A good loop, but a big one. A loop full of nursing and feeding trials, messy house and endless cleanup, poopy diapers, fights over finger-nail clipping/clothes wearing/tooth brushing/etc., and goodness knows what else to come.
- Archie Koskovich, my mom’s dad, passed away at Easter. This was kind of a surprise and kind of not, but he was an important part of my growing up years, and I wish he’d been part of Benji’s life, too. I’m sad to have lost him. I’m not verbalizing well about this, but even though we didn’t see him as often as we would’ve liked, losing him hurts.
- Ben Morrell, one of Ian’s closest friends, passed away at the beginning of May. I always imagined that Ian’s close friends and us would be raising our kids together. I don’t really have the words to express the feeling of losing a friend our age, who we loved and who had so much more to do in life.
- My two close friends, Rachel and Karissa, moved or are about to move out of state. Rachel moved to Fresno in the early summer, and Karissa is heading to Georgia as soon as she can swing it. These are the two women I’ve loved and invested in the most, the people I spent the most away-from-home time with, who I hung out with on a frequent and regular basis. Although friendships can continue and remain strong over distances, I won’t be going out for walks or meals with them any time soon. It’s lonely.
- I had a nasty “lay off” from my bike racing team at the end of October. The Internet doesn’t need details, but I’m still hurting from what happened, and no longer being on the team means I’ve lost a big group of women I liked and respected and with whom I spent baby-free discretionary time. Most of my teammates were like coworkers: You like them, and you’ll hang out when you’re at work, but when you get laid off, you aren’t going to stay in touch no matter what you intend. That’s lonely, too, and it also yanks away the big thing that shaped my coming year: the expectation of, and preparing for, racing. I can still race unattached, but now I’m rethinking what I should do with my time for fitness, and I’m really struggling to figure out what to do. I’m unmotivated to bike and unhappy that I’m not riding, and at the same time trying to understand what’s driving me to ride. Leaving my team has opened a huge can of worms about fitness and health that I had really hoped to keep sealed up.
- Last week we had to put down Carmel, our 13-year-old golden retriever. She’d been around for almost half my life, and she was the epitome of unconditional love (for the person who fed her, walked her, brushed her, and gave her treats, of course). When I was upset, she would come over and put her head in my lap and look at me, knowing something was amiss and wanting to fix it. I still can’t believe she’s gone, even though it was the right choice. I loved her.
On top of this, I’ll just say that anybody who has a baby to try to save a marriage would be sadly deluded. Ian and I are trying hard to find a balance for our relationship, our individual needs, Benji’s needs, our responsibilities… Welcome to being a grown-up, right? I thought we were grown-ups before, with real jobs and owning an home and doing regular car maintenance, but it turns out all that was just small potatoes compared to adding a kid into the mix. Although we haven’t found a sustainable balance yet, I’m sure we will. Meanwhile, teetering on the edge is scary and emotionally draining.
Oh, and we’re seeking a church community but not finding one.
Long story short (I know: “Too late!”) I’m feeling lonely, disconnected, unmotivated, heavily burdened. Most of all, lonely. We were meant to live in community. People don’t live happy, fulfilled lives by themselves, and nobody died saying, “I wish I hadn’t wasted so much time relationship-building.”