Shut up and be grateful.

Sometimes I feel overwhelmed and I want to stop being an employee, a parent, a taxpayer, a friend, a student, a support, a petowner, an advocate, an educator… Then, I realize there’s not much left to me when you take all of that away. And rather than feeling resentful, I feel humbled – damned near shamed.

I am truly grateful for the opportunity to be so much to so many. May I remember that feeling, and be thankful, every time I have the opportunity to decide whether I am responsible for, or responsible to. I have this knowledge, the ability to discern the difference between the two, because at least one someone made that decision about me,  as the recipient of their support and advocacy and all those things… and found me worthy of the emotional investment. (My therapist doesn’t count, because I pay him. But I pretend he would totally be my friend if I weren’t his client.)

Don’t let me not give back. Even when the sun is a teasing vixen and the temperatures could quite possibly indicate the next ice age. You can absolutely support my efforts to ditch this frozen tundra and find more temperate climes, but… Remind me that I’m here, now, for a reason, and to STFU about snow because I have some kickass boots and can make the teen carry all the groceries, and even shovel if there’s no time crunch. Even when I should absolutely be checking in daily because I know you are going through a Tough Time and I think about you every day but don’t say so. Even when the extent of my friendship is responding to your text that says, “Oh, Kirsten, hahaha” with an “Oy.” Even when I make even less sense than that, and you know that it is because of the things that make me feel like the first paragraph of this blog entry… Don’t let me get away with not giving back. Or paying forward, in a way that honors your gifts to me.

Because every time someone reads this blog, it is a gift to me. And I don’t want just the sweet and loving gifts of praise and support. Don’t get me wrong: those feel amazing and are sometimes EXACTLY what I need. But sometimes, I need someone to see what else I really need, and to call me to task. I don’t get to take a break – but I don’t need one. I just need to accept the gifts you all offer, and recognize the way they supplement what I feel are my weaknesses. Because in the moment of weakness that began this post, I found something so big. So powerful. So intrinsic to who I am. And for that, I thank you.

It’s my life.

***If you wanna cut to the “good stuff,” skip down to the bullet point list.***

I started this post in my head many hours ago. I haven’t known what all of what I’ve listed in my head should actually make it onto the blog post. But really? About 4 people read it, so I don’t think I’m gonna end up in any worse a situation for sharing than I’m in for feeling how I do.

So here we go.

Some things about my life just are. I know that people looking in from outside have strong feelings about what my life has looked like, what I’ve experienced, what I’ve escaped. I have also been SO fortunate, and have had such great love around me, and have learned from situations I couldn’t have even dreamed into existence earlier in my life.

I made choices a few years ago. They were not these, but they meant these:

* There will be 1.5 squares of TP on the roll every time you go to the bathroom.

* even a closed door isn’t really closed.

* there will only be one sip or bite left of anything I intended to eat or drink. Every. Single. Time.

* dry cereal will show up in every kitchen crevice. Forever.

* the laundry will never be done.

* I will always have to make unpopular decisions.

* I will always – at least for two more years – have to make my life decisions based on the needs of a teenage boy.

* I will do the right thing and be accused of doing the wrong thing on a regular basis.

* my life will be exponentially more expensive forever and ever amen.

* and let’s not even talk about college expenses.

But you know what?

nothing in the world could stop me, even the me from 4 years ago, from taking this on. Because you know what else is a sure bet?

* a teen boy cackling with glee over some completely absurd YouTube video

* if I ever need to know anything about anything Nintendo related, I’ve got the wicked hookup.

* even if we disagree at first, my kid and I come to an understanding, and agree on a course of action. That’s some crazy progressive shit.

and the final point is that… This is all tongue in cheek, and none of it even begins to describe the hard parts of this sister-mom/brother-son relationship. But if this is all funny… Can you imagine what the serious shit looks like?

yeah, I have some big decisions to make. But you know what? I don’t have to make them alone. My kid and I are a team. He may not be the flesh of my flesh, but he is the heart of my heart. And we will find our home following those hearts.