Sad, Unsure & Worried

I haven’t posted in awhile because I wasn’t really sure what to say. I know I said that I was going to continue with my post about friendships, but I just can’t right now. Everything is just too muddled. The world, our country, this damn virus and all of the people that are hurting.

Let me get this out of the way before I start on my post. I agree with the BLM protests. Things must change. I do not, however, agree with the violence or the riots. I have law enforcement officers in my family. My son in law is the chief of police in a small town near where we live. He is a good cop. He is a good person. But, that doesn’t mean that I think ALL cops are good. I don’t believe that you can put a blanket statement like that about any group. There are good and bad people in every part of life. It doesn’t matter what color your skin is, how you fall on the political spectrum or what religion you follow. I also want to say that I cannot possibly understand how much black people are hurting. Though I’ll never understand, please know that I DO STAND with the BLM movement. And I will listen and learn. I may not always get it right, but I’ll try. I promise this will be a continuing conversation in my house.

How am I feeling today? I just don’t know. My ex-husband died today. The father of my children. We met in high school and got married at 17. We were just babies. We were married from 1983 to 1998. That’s a lot of years. So, I’m feeling so many emotions tonight. Sadness and worry for my kids. I’m hoping they will be alright. I feel such sorrow for my former in laws. I can’t imagine burying my child. I feel so bad for his wife. She and her late ex-husband were mine & Ronnie’s best friends (it was weird at first, but that was over 20 years ago, and we all get along just fine now).

I’m not even sure how I’m supposed to feel. I know I’m so thankful for Adrian. He’s talked to the kids and has listened when I wanted to talk today. I’m grateful for his strength. Then, I feel guilty for being grateful, because, well I don’t even know why I feel guilty. Life doesn’t come with an instruction booklet. That’s a shame because it sure would be helpful. I want to support my kids and grandkids while they’re dealing with the loss of their father/grandfather and still honor my husband and marriage. I also want to make sure that I’m showing respect for Ronnie’s widow. Does any of this make sense, or is it as confusing as my feelings are right now?

My anxiety is at an all time high. So much going on in and outside of my mind. My sister told me to just let my emotions come and just honor them. She’s pretty wise, so I think that maybe I should listen to her. Maybe they’ll all just blow away like dust during a storm. But then they’d probably just show up one day as huge clumps of mud that just smears everywhere. I just don’t know. I want my mom. I wish a hug and candy made me feel all better like it did when I was younger. I wish I could go to sleep. Mostly though, I wish I knew how to feel.

When a frenemy is disguised as a friend

I’ve written quite a bit about my husband, mom and my sister being my best friends. And it’s true. I’ve never really had a “lifelong bestie” that so many people talk about. I was in my twenties when I thought I had finally found my BFF. Boy, was I wrong about that. But, in order to tell you that painful betrayal, I need to explain why making and keeping friends wasn’t easy for me as a kid. Buckle up, this is a long one. It will probably be a 3 or 4 parter.

Growing up the child of a career Marine meant moving. A lot. And moving meant new friends. I never had any problems making friends. I was excessively chatty as a kid, so I’d just barge right in full steam ahead. I know now that my talkativeness was really just anxiety. I had to fill in the silence. I couldn’t just be. So, my problem wasn’t making friends, it was keeping them. Moving away from childhood friends nowadays doesn’t mean that you can’t stay in touch. Thanks to the email, cell phones and social media, you can keep up with every person you’ve ever met and their friends too. But, it wasn’t that easy in the olden days. Well, I’m not THAT old. Just a little middle aged.

Anyway, the point is, I was not good at staying in touch. I’d have a best friend, or a group of best friends and we would swear that we would call and write each other. Then, I’d get to the new school, make new friends, have new activities and before I knew it, it’d been a month since I had talked to my old best friends. Remember, long distant phone calls used to cost money and as much as I love to write, my good intentions of writing letters just never actually happened. So I went through childhood making, and then saying goodbye, to my best friends. I’m not complaining. I loved being a military brat. My parents made sure that we got to see and do things that the majority of kids never did. But, I’ll admit to a twinge of jealousy when my husband talks about friends that he’s had since preschool. That’s such a foreign idea to me.

We moved to Texas in 1981 when my dad retired. It was a whole different world. We moved to a tiny rural town, where, to steal a line from a Nora Roberts book, the people knew each other from birth to earth. Seriously. New students were a novelty. It was 100 percent different from going to school on base. It was hard. I was going into 10th grade. My sister was a senior….imagine that! I made some friends, but not really “lifelong” friends. I never felt like I fit in. I did meet my first husband in that high school though. We got married at 17. No, I wasn’t pregnant. I was in a hurry to grow up, move away and become an adult. Part of me wishes I could slap that young Susie. But, I actually wouldn’t change a thing. Because if I didn’t travel the exact road that I did, I wouldn’t have my kids, grands or my husband now.

Anyway, back to friendship. I made quite a few “couple friends” when I was married to Ronnie. Most, or really all, were other young parents. We got married in August of 83. I had Johnnie in February of 85. Jennie came along in December of 87. We were a cozy little family of 4. Susie and Ronnie and Jennie and Johnnie. Our friends were parents of our kids’ friends. Really, everyone we hung out with was involved in a peewee football association. Remember, I live in Texas where football is treated like a religion, even for 1st graders! Ronnie coached, Johnnie played, Jennie was a cheerleader and I was on the board of directors. Our weeknights revolved around practices, quick dinners and homework. Our weekends were all about games, working concessions or gates and the Saturday night parties. Those parties involved the kids playing outside and the parents relaxing and rehashing the games. There was also a LOT of alcohol consumed.

Remember that Ronnie and I got married at 17? We grew up together. And we didn’t really like each other all that much. We divorced in 1998. And, anytime a couple divorces, custody of certain friendships inevitably goes to one spouse or the other. Very seldom both.

To be continued…….