I’ve learned that when my son is in a relationship, hearing about its ups and downs and heartache sends my empathy into overdrive and in no time my heart is breaking as if my own relationship was in such turmoil. I actually take on his pain and walk around in the fog and agony that comes from knowing the person you love can’t and will never feel for you the way you do for them. And what good is that? It doesn’t ease his suffering and it exhausts me. Sympathy is good. Empathy is good. Putting yourself in someone else’s shoes is good. But lacing them up and wearing them is insanity.

I’ve learned that seeing my other son for any reason, a meal, a movie, a holiday, requires an exceptional amount of energy. And I’ve learned that I don’t have an exceptional amount of energy anymore. Which means no more spur of the moment visits. Dates with him need to made in advance and the night before I see him, I need sleep. Lots of sleep. The day of, I need a nap.  He needs me at my best, my most patient. And I need to have the energy to wrestle his runaway train out of the rabbit hole and toward the nearest sign of light.

I’ve learned that if I don’t put the brakes on the emotional energy I put into both boys, I will cry. More. Harder. Sometimes non-stop.

I’ve learned that I can paint a piano, but I cannot stencil a floor.

Beautiful, gray piano that once was ugly brown.

The piano, far right, used to be brown. Ugly brown. Now it’s beautiful. Notice there’s no picture of the stenciled floor.

I’ve learned that when I hop out of bed at four in the morning to (attempt to) stencil, edit, write a little something for myself, iron, and touch up paint I’ve gotten on the ceiling, all at the same time, there is something I don’t want to think about.

I’ve learned that not thinking about something I don’t want to think about will make me think, why am I crying?

I’ve learned that the answer, at least today, is that I’m worried about my kids, money, the possibility that I love the man in my life just a little too much, and I’m tired.

I’ve also learned that I’ve stenciled myself out of the bathroom where my makeup is and therefore can’t fix the mess I’ve made of my face.

And I’ve learned that I’m probably going to live, because that thought made me laugh.

So please tell me, what are some of the things you’ve learned about self-care, self-preservation, raising kids, empathy, etc. Clearly, I could use the advice.


Susan xo