My oldest daughter and granddaughter are spending the week with me while their one and only condo bathroom is being gutted and renovated. If any of you have gone through any type of home renovation, you know how stressful home remodeling can sometimes be. Despite the best laid plans, something ALWAYS goes wrong. My daughter arrived on a Saturday. Renovation was to begin on Monday but of course, something went seriously wrong. The construction crew couldn’t find the building super who happened to have the key to the water main shut off valve. If they couldn’t turn off the water to the condo apartment, they couldn’t start ripping out the old bathroom. This caused a two-day delay. And thus started my daughter’s stressful path down a rabbit hole.
Throw in the fact that her 3.5 year old daughter was rambunctious and wanted non-stop attention. This tired grandma (me!) did the best she could BUT I’m not used to entertaining a toddler 24/7. Nap time and sleep time became tug-of-war displays of a child’s attempted dominance over an overbearing mom.
By Wednesday morning, all hell broke loose here in the Cindi and Nick abode. My daughter got her period (which was a bad thing starting off because she’s been trying for a 2nd baby for two years now. Daughter is 41 years old). My daughter’s bleeding became unusually heavy unbeknownst to us and rather than disturb Nick and I she took it upon herself to drive to the pharmacy to purchase fuller feminine pads. On the way back home she bled horribly profusely in the car, drenching her clothes, winter coat and the driver’s car seat in blood. This required immediate medical intervention so she woke us up. Nick drove her to the ER where they remained most of the morning. I stayed with my granddaughter keeping her occupied till mommy returned.
Immediately the doctors put my daughter on an IV to stop the bleeding. She underwent a series of tests (she wasn’t pregnant) and to make a long story short, the doctors listed her ailment as an unusual menstrual cycle. My daughter does have fibroids, which probably have started to affect her cycle. I had the same problem when I was near her age and I wound up having a hysterectomy when I was 44. My body couldn’t sustain the unusual monthly blood losses.
There’s no doubt that my daughter is under a lot of stress. It’s not easy for families these days. Especially for those who have to live in a large metropolitan city in order to maintain a decent paying job. My daughter and SIL bought their condo 3 years ago via a bidding war. The condo needed a complete kitchen and bathroom gut job and yet despite that, several couples bid on the unit till the tune of $600,000 (1.5 bedrooms, 1 bathroom in a high-rise). They did the kitchen remodel 3 years ago, saved their money all this time geared towards the bathroom remodel. To say they are financially stressed would be an understatement.
Throw in the fact that my daughter is a professional wedding photographer and for the first time ever, she stated her business is feeling a drop. Normally she has 14 bookings per season. This year she only has 7. That’s a 50% drop in expected income. She’s supplementing the drop with other photography sessions (engagement, family, new-born). Nonetheless, she’s under stress. The financial kind and IMHO, that’s the worse kind.
Me, on the other hand, haven’t been the wisest of all. I’ve been brooding and complaining because this whole shebang has put me under stress also. I live in a smallish house and I’m a freak for minimalism. I can’t stand clutter and I can’t stand other people living inside my house making a mess, eating my food, using my facilities and just plain getting in my way. I have a set way of living and I don’t like my routine disrupted.
Throw in the fact that my youngest daughter (also a workaholic under constant stress), has also been trying for child number two and had her own medical setbacks two-three months ago. After a failed first miscarriage, she tried again to get pregnant only to have the baby medically aborted in its fifth month. The baby was not developing correctly (hole in its heart, brain not developing correctly).
There’s been a lot of crying going on in my household lately. I’ve been busy comforting both my daughters, my son-in-laws and two granddaughters. Nothing has been easy for any of us. And on top of all of this, I complain. Probably wrongfully so. A reader actually had to audacity to post a comment and state that I, a much hated baby boomer, brought all of this hardship upon myself. Um, I don’t think so. This isn’t the Felicity Huffman/William H. Macy residence. There’s no scandal here of parents bribing anyone in order to make my children’s lives any easier. Both my kids have been working since they were 16 years old. They have paid half of their own private high school educations, as well as paying off college loans. They’ve paid for their own weddings, clothes, cell phones, college cars and related insurances. All under the strain of living through a brutal parental divorce and countless child custody hearings.
Nothing has been easy for any of us since 1982 (the year of my divorce). Thankfully, Nick entered our lives in 1983, but at the age of only 26, Nick took on the burden of providing for a wife and two kids who weren’t even his. After my divorce, I got thrown out of the family business (I was 32 years old) and Nick and I have been struggling ever since. I only got $75 a week in child support (you try raising two kids on $75). I know I make my life look easy. That’s part of the mental games we people play in order to make our lives bearable. But don’t be fooled. It’s a struggle.
I complained the other day that my youngest daughter wanted new sheets on her guest bed when she comes here for Easter Sunday. She wanted me to send her photos that I actually did it because she knows, from past experiences, that I’d probably lie and not do it yet tell her I did. That’s because it’s too difficult for me to admit I might not have had the money to buy the new sheets. Maybe it’s wrong of her. And maybe it was wrong of me. I also got some slack because I bought my granddaughter a new bike. It was suggested I go to Goodwill or Craigslist and buy a used bike. I bought my granddaughter a new bike because a used bike is what would have been expected of me and this time, I wanted to get my granddaughter something new. Not a hand-me-down or somebody else’s tossed out junk. I wanted to get something for her that was hers and hers alone. A brand new bike!
I never did buy a new set of sheets. I simply don’t have the extra money for that. Instead I exchanged my newish sheets for hers while she is here, in addition to exchanging my newish bedspread. My kids, grandkids and SIL’s are going to be here daily for two weeks (not simultaneously, thank goodness!) and I have to provide 3 meals a day, plus Easter gifts etc. so I had to make financial choices. Sorry if they don’t agree with your own priorities but this is MY life. Not yours. I don’t think anyone out there has the authority to make any judgments on me and my family. If I gave you the false impression that you could, I apologize.
Everybody today, living on this planet is under some sort of stress. I call it the daily, common stress of every day living. All of us are trying to make it the best way we know how. I share with you how I do it. That doesn’t mean it’ll be the same way for you. Before you make a judgment, any type of judgment, make sure you understand that you don’t have all the facts. No one does. No one knows what goes on behind closed doors.
I have to contend with my husband’s failing health. Once a strong man, he was the steady rock of my new, blended family. Now? I can’t even ask him a financial question. All of that new burden has fallen upon me.
Despite my daughters being 41 and 36 years old respectively, they still need the guidance of a mother (me) and my grandchildren need a grandmother (my SIL’s mother committed suicide a few months ago…….I’m the only living grandmother to both of them).
We mothers are the cornerstone of our families. Much of the time, many burdens fall upon our shoulders. To say we are ‘Mothers Under Stress’ is an understatement. We empower our children. We embolden our partners or running mates. We make life, at times, palpable.
Mother’s are a source of inspiration. And I have inherited many qualities of hers — hard work, patience, humility, kindness, simplicity, perseverance, tolerance, forgiveness, understanding, farsightedness et cetera. These values are a strong foundation of my life. Mother loves her children and it can’t be described in words.
My mother died when I was 28 years old. I was 6 months pregnant with my first child when we found out my mom had a rare terminal cancer. My mother lived long enough to see my daughter born. My mom died shortly after that.
I’ve been on my own ever since.