The Toilet Paper Connection

Is this a mid-life crisis?

Like many of you I’ve had a million things on my mind, the bulk of which involve my husband R.

While I cannot go into detail about what we face in the next few months, he will undeniably be going through many changes in his career and health. His right thyroid will be removed next month as it is playing piggyback with a benign tumor the size of a tennis ball. His left thyroid has a cyst that doctors will be testing at the same time they take that damn thing out of his throat.

He’ll be home in two weeks on leave. R will be able to see A receive her first holy communion, an important step in our Catholic faith.

I nearly fainted at the prospect of buying her a new gown for the event. While a gorgeous new white gown is certainly not mandatory by any means, tradition and Filipino Catholic mom guilt (by my mom, not me) have prevailed.

Oh man, we had to get a veil too!

I am happy to say that I found a discount store and for the price of a dress at a popular bridal store, I was able to buy a dress, a veil, and four pairs of shoes for the kids!

But money is just one of the things I’ve been stressing over. The dog’s bills went up to four figures but thankfully we have been able to pay for most of it off in full. (Hey, that’s money too!)

I can’t help but feel total anxiety over yet more life changes and granted, these are wonderful changes, but they are stressful nonetheless. I really have a lot of respect and admiration for fellow military spouses and their families who keep it together. I cannot imagine a world where I actually live with my husband, where my kids get to see and hug and kiss their father every single day.

Will we seek therapy? I hope so! It would be unrealistic to expect an easy transition. In some ways I feel like I’m being demoted, from the sole decision maker and primary caretaker to an actual partnership with someone I’ve been married to for almost thirteen years but really have lived under same roof for less than half of that time.

And it is in this partnership that I have anxiety. I suspect I will fail on more than on occasion.

The transition to married-single-motherhood is fast, change quickly or you’ll drown. There is no learning curve, no time to whine, no one to quite confide in anyone as everyone around you is in the same boat.

So you adjust, you adapt, you change, you survive.

Now in the coming months I can do this with my husband but do I want to?

Don’t get it twisted. I’m not saying I don’t want him around nor am I saying I don’t want to be married anymore. Oh, hell no!

I’m just saying this next transition as he retires, as he moves back home with roommates he’s barely lived with will be stressful, which I’m sorry to say will mostly be on him. I just hope that the kids and I can help make this as easy as possible.

I know the kids are very excited. They love him to pieces and my existence sort of disappears when he is around. I don’t mind. Better that than being angry with him for his frequent absence in their lives.

I worry that they’ll take advantage of Daddy who is torn between wanting to do everything for his children yet not wanting to them to become too dependent on him.

Case in point: the toilet paper incident. L was about four years old when R came home for recovery. I came home from a sub job to hear L in the bathroom while R sat on the couch watching TV.

“Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaddy!” she called. “I need tooooooooooooiiiiiiiiiiiilet paper!” R started to get up.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

“She needs toilet paper,” he said.

I leaned over on the couch to peek in the bathroom. “She’s got a full roll.”

He said, “Yeah, but she needs me to hand it to her.”

I laughed and laughed to which he replied, “Aw man! I got played!”

And there you have it. My regular-life crisis.

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