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We spent most of the day at my in-laws’. They are having a Fourth of July party on Thursday, and my mother-in-law wanted me to make cookies (I don’t cook, but love to bake). We had lunch, went swimming, hung out, ate dinner and finally made the cookies. It was a lovely day, and for most of it I got to feel normal, whatever that is. No phone left on and shoved into a chair to avoid collection agencies, no stacks of unpaid bills leering at me. I got to shake off the hairshirt of failure I am perpetually cloaked in here. At the end of the evening, Chris’ dad wanted to discuss MONEY with him, which he did, in their kitchen.

I tend to avoid those conversations like the plague. They are trying to help us, as best as they can. But there’s an incredible amount of tension on both ends, and the conversations are by their nature unpleasant. Also, as much as I consider Chris’ parents my family, when the money discussion starts it becomes all about blood ties. I have no say, and I sense that, but as I am inextricably tied to what they are saying, it is excruciating to be anywhere in the vicinity when it’s happening. I am powerless. When I can hear them talking, I get extremely emotional and want to run away. Tonight I started cleaning up our stuff, packing the car… anything I could do to get out of range. In the end, out of options, I went into their bathroom and put my hands over my ears. Then all I could hear then was the sound of myself, hyperventilating.

I felt like a child. I often feel like that in relation to all of this. I can send out resumes, go on interviews when I am lucky enough to get that far… I do my best. But it hasn’t been enough. It’s hard to own the fact that I can’t fix my own life. Hiding in the bathroom is not a terrific feeling, but they don’t want my input, not really. Listening to them deciding my future is just too much. When I heard the line, “What’s the situation with your house,” I just couldn’t hold it together any longer.

The situation is that we are behind on our mortgage. We weren’t, for awhile, in spite of everything. We had family help, unemployment… we stretched things out. Finally I liquidated my mutual funds and then my IRA, stretching things further. There isn’t anything left I can do. I have used up every resource I had trying to save my home. My home.

I have lived here for 10 years now, longer than I have lived anywhere else in my life. I moved four times in the first 10 years of my life. I went to two high schools and two colleges. I rented three different homes in my 20’s and 30’s, one with Chris. When we bought this house, with help from his parents, I was exceedingly pregnant with Braeden. We moved in just a few weeks before his birth. This is MY home. It’s small, and it has its issues, but it’s mine. I love it here. It’s the only home my children have ever known, and God damn it I want that for them. Stability, security. The stuff I never had. My kids weren’t supposed to go through that. It was never supposed to happen. I want to fix this… Jesus, I need to fix this. I am literally coming apart with the need to fix this.  But I feel like the universe doesn’t want me to. Every time it seems we’ve been thrown a lifeline, its ripped from us again with enough force to leave wounds.

I am exhausted. I feel damaged. If one more person tells me Braeden will be fine because he has two parents who love him, I will throw up. I’ve been watching my kid in the last year or so, since things have gotten really bad. He is not the same kid he used to be. He’s not as carefree. He seems more emotional, more cautious. I don’t think he feels safe. I don’t think ripping him from his entire fucking life is apt to improve that.

Hindsight is perfect, but it’s hard not to think that if I had gone back to work when he was two or three, which had been the original plan, this might not be happening. I loved being at home with him so much I fought it, and fought it hard. Now I have been out of the job market so long it appears I am unemployable. So in the end, did my unwillingness to stick with the plan, my selfish desire to stay with him, cause this? Dwelling on past choices doesn’t fix anything, I know it. I’m just so angry, so frustrated, and so sad.

So I’m writing, because even I can only eat so much. I’ve been making myself physically uncomfortable lately as it is. I don’t drink, or do drugs or engage in any physically self-destructive behavior, aside from the eating. So here I am, pouring my pain onto the page, or the screen. Is it uncomfortable to read? You can’t imagine how uncomfortable it is to live with. The isolation it creates is devastating all by itself. I think it probably makes me even more emotionally high maintenance than usual… I feel like a black hole of need. Yep, sign right up, folks. Get your ringside seats. At least you can be glad it’s not happening to your family.