Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night–not just an hour before I would normally wake up–no, it’s one-thirty in the morning. My eyes pop open, and within seconds my mind starts working. I lay there forcing myself to only think of the color black in hopes if I can concentrate long enough on “go to black” I will fall back to sleep. Thinking of the color black and nothing else rarely works for me, and my mind wanders all over the place, and I toss and turn.
Tonight I have found myself laying there in my warm bed, and I start to think about my life. My life has been rewarding and mostly pleasant, but at times I feel like I have walked through the valley of death with a heavy dose of discouragement. There has been a lot of disappointment in my life, but I have two beautiful children from it.
My oldest is Rebecka, she is fifteen years old and a firecracker. I was under the impression first borns were much easier to raise. Maybe I have another child somewhere I’m not aware of because Rebecka is the opposite of a saint. She loves to do just the reverse of what she is asked to do. Nothing is more important than her texting friends that may or may not be in reality. How would I know?
My youngest child, Gracie, she is thirteen and as close to a saint as a thirteen-year-old child can be. She actually listens to me. She will load the dishwasher after dinner. She is soft spoken and has a heart of gold. Unlike Rebecka, Gracie still loves to curl up with me and share a bowl of popcorn while watching old movies.
So as a single mother I have raised these two girls virtually by myself. I think I have done a pretty good job despite Rebecka’s attitude at times. Overall they are both wonderful, and I am lucky to have them, (more about that later). I am proud of both of my girls that soon enough will become women.
I lay in bed, eyes wide open and my brain grinding disconnected thoughts like a mill grinding wheat into flour. I am again reflecting back over my life before parenthood and jobs became such a priority.
Many years ago, I had a boyfriend, he was a true friend. His name was Marshall. In those days all close friends had nick names. My nickname is Crosby. I got it early on from my father. When I was younger, I always thought that was my real name. I called Marshall, Marshmallow. Don’t get me wrong this guy was not soft, mushy or even losing his hair. He worked construction installing windows and doors. He was attractive and as fit as any man I ever knew.
The connection we had in those days as best friends made it easy to be close. We had an agreement not to become sexual but stay as best friends. Boyfriend and girlfriend in the most innocent way. It worked for us even though my friends and Marshall’s “dudes” all laughed at us saying it could never work. Through sheer determination and grinding teeth persistence, we did, in fact, make it work. Maybe now that I think about it that is where Rebecka gets her stubborn obstinance which at times drives me crazy. Must be in her DNA.
Marshall and I got together several times a month. We were both single, and we spent our time eating dinner, watching movies, things that best friends always do. We were really close in those days. As I recall we hung out for about three years. Never once during that time did we discuss or even tempt ourselves with stepping into a sexual relationship. What we had was special, and it was a safe place from the pressures of our friends all groping one another at bars and parties. We watched friends meet, hang out and then date, sometimes moving in together. Inevitably they broke up and left Marshall and me to wonder where we stood with two good friends now hating each other.
I think about that part of my life sometimes, and I still smile at those amazing innocent days without all the complicated life that was to come. I have wondered at times what it would have been like if Marshall and I did have a love relationship and perhaps marriage. I silently sneak thoughts of what my life would be like if we had married and had children.
I think about my husband who has disappeared from my life and his daughter’s lives. It has been hard to keep referring to him in any kind of positive manner when attempting to answer my daughter’s constant questions of why their father left us. The most difficult question for me is how I did not see it coming, how did I not recognize the signs? It breaks my heart to think about how to answer that question honestly. I have dodged it by slipping the subject or distracting Rebecka and Gracie with anything else I could think of. Rebecka no longer is buying my deflections, and one of these days I will have to get real and tell her and Gracie the truth.
But tonight or should I say morning–1:37 a.m.–I’m awake and between thoughts reminding myself to only think of the color black, nothing else. Then thoughts, no black! I am frustrating myself, and my discipline is not strong enough. I am squeezing my eyes closed so tight it almost hurts, maybe I can go to sleep. Damn thinking only of the color black never works.