That’s the road in front of us. No worries, husband, Nathan, is driving.
We’re headed to our paper route. Yep, I said it, we’re adults driving a route. I didn’t know it until we met Jen (who is giving us the trailer), but rural paper routes pay decent. Right now we’re Sunday only, but the paper just offered me a 7 day route, 4 hours a day that pays better than my elderly massage stuff.
Can’t pass something like that up. Between the 2 paper routes, I’ll make double what I used to make with just massage, & if I can bear to keep doing massage with the old folks, we’ll make about 5 grand a month. Numbers I’ve never seen.
Our little family has had it hard in the last decade, and it’s not for the lack of trying.
I have a BA in art, & been trained & certified as a massage therapist, & been trained & licensed as a class B professional driver. To this point I’ve worked in all 3 fields and never broken 30grand a year. The best money to this point has been driving transit & handicap buses. A close second was when I did massage for a chiropractor, which was ok hourly wages, until he nearly worked me to death- and I fell asleep at the wheel headed home- I quit.
Enough was enough then too, and I struck out on my own. Opened a small office & ran Groupon’s/LivingSocial’s, & barely made ends meet until I solidly got into several nursing centers. Then I had my baby, closed my office, & just did nursing centers. Things were tight, but I could pay our bills & not have a 40+ hour work week, which was vital with a brand new baby.
I love Anya, but she was not a birth for me. Her mom left Nathan when Anya was just a baby, & we spent 8 years driving back & forth every 2 weeks to see Anya. Then Anya’s mom died of cancer, & the driving & those costs ceased because we got full custody.
Those were challenges in their own right, but not on the scale of giving birth & trying to work with a newborn.
Why did I have to work? I was the only one that could. Anya’s mom leaving, in my opinion literally broke Nathan’s heart. It may seem like a stretch to some, but for me it’s real. 4 years into driving for Anya, Nathan got sick. He had/has an enlarged heart, high blood pressure, & out of control diabetes. Doctors orders: don’t work, apply for disability, watch your salt & numbers. We did that & so much more. I’m confident he’ll live many more years because of all the work we did. Did we ever get disability? NO. So, I get to support us. Although, when Anya’s mom died of cancer we did get benefits for her, which have hepled more times than I can count. Never the less those benefits rightfully belong to her, & I hope to be able to replace what I’ve used one day. Regardless of the benefits, I’m really the income for the family. I make sure we have healthy food, warm clothes, & as comfortable of a home as I can create.
That last one was falling short with the bug infested apartment, so now the trailer journey. Again, enough is enough. I know I can do better, so I will.
With the apparent strength in that statement, there has been many a metaphorically dark night.
I’ve struggled with depression, literally since I was 12 years old. I currently hold western medicine responsible for that with new knowledge of my thyroid woes. Regardless, I’ve had one emotional struggle, followed by another. I talk about them now, in hopes of giving others solace that they are not alone. I’ve had many semicolons in my life, when I thought things were over. It can happen for others, but it’s not always sunshine & roses, and that perspective can sometimes actually make matters worse. Never tell someone that is suicidal that “they just need to snap out of it, it’s not as bad as you think”. That’s essentially telling an already suicidal person that they are crazy, mentally ill. And though that may be technically the case, it’s not helpful in preventing suicide. I KNOW!
It’s better to give love & support, let them know you care, that you’re there, offer to help find resources if it’s needed. And most importantly, a shoulder to cry on, that it’s ok to cry, just let it out. That’s what’s helpful.
In every case where I’ve been most lost, that is what has mattered.
There has been twice that I’ve literally almost lost the battle. Once when I first met Nathan, we were rural. I drove myself to a small lake nearby, in the middle of nowhere, corn fields. I found myself sitting in the car on the beach listening to mice chewing on the insulation of the car’s roof. Thinking I cold just hit the gas, drive in & end everything. Finally, I broke down sobbing, fell out of the car, & sat there crying for an eternity. When I finally got too cold, I crawled back into the driver’s seat & went home. Nathan told me he didn’t know where I’d gone, that he knew something was horribly wrong, but he didn’t know what to do.
The second was just after my son was born, & my thyroid had fallen WAY off. I didn’t know that’s what was happening, I just found myself screaming and screaming at “God”. Finally, headed home from work one day, I was screaming at “God” again, & when I got to the Missouri river bridge, I actually found myself thinking of driving off the side, to the extent that I even headed for the shoulder of the highway. Luckily, whatever stupid self preservation mechanism we have as humans finally kicked in & I righted the vehicle & cried my way home. When I got home crying, Nathan just held me.
Again, I offer my story for a sense of solace for those in the midst of the dark, & for perspective for those trying to help someone who is in the dark. It can shift, change for the better. The semicolon of life can be found. Hang in there.