We went to Cincinnati with my grandparents this past weekend. It was Ok. The trip made me realize how much things have changed. My grandpa has alzheimmers. He’s had it for quite some time now. He’s going to be 70 this year and by the time he’s 75, he won’t be my grandpa anymore. The aracept is no longer working for him that well. He’s just had it too long. I noticed it when we went out to restaurants and he couldn’t remember what he wanted to order, when we talked about things we had done when I was little and he couldn’t remember where we went, and then when you question him on something he gets very upset. Grandpa never used to get mad. He also makes racist comments when we’re out in public and worse when we’re at home. He never used to do that. Not even at home. But he’s slowly getting worse and I was really nervous a couple times that someone would hear him. They didn’t pay for our meals and such like they would have done four years ago. They couldn’t walk nearly as far as they could have four years ago. They got tired more quickly. In fact, we were back at the hotel by 7:30 each night because they were too tired to continue being out.
Other things are changing too. I looked in the mirror on the trip and didn’t really recognize myself. I look at pictures of myself when I was younger, even when we got married and I no longer look the same. My face has changed so much in the eight years since high school. Sometimes I wonder what I will look like when I’m 30. I can’t even imagine myself at 40. I feel like I don’t know who this person is who looks back at me from the mirror. She wears a wedding ring, but doesn’t feel married. And yet, without her husband she’d be totally and completely lost. And still at times she thinks about what her life would be like right now witout him. Most of the time she’s completely and totally in love with him and happy to be married and where they are right now. But sometimes? Sometimes she still wonders what life would be like if she was with her first love. And then she kicks herself for wondering. And worries that it’s not normal. That it means she doesn’t love him. I don’t know what my personal style is anymore. In the summer I’m all jeans and t-shirts. In the fall and winter I’m dress pants and heels. Or jeans and heels. And Noah wants me to be someone else. Someone different. And sometimes? Sometimes I want him to be someone different too. Like this morning when he had a temper tantrum before I was even finished drying off from my shower. And I got mad. And I didn’t want to be mad, but I just had not patience or consideration for someone who was going to throw my morning off quite so badly. Sometimes I think of all the things he holds me back from and I get frustrated and I get upset. And sometimes I think of all the things he opened me up to and how much he’s helped me become a better person and I’m thankful and want to hug him. Sometimes I step back from myself and I don’t recognize the person that’s been a harpy to her students all summer. I never used to be that bad. I know I get upset with my kids easily, but it’s because I have such high expectations for them, I get disappointed and my feelings get hurt when the kids don’t live up to them. But this person? This person is antagonizing the bully in the classroom because she knows she can. This person isn’t being compassionate to students she LOVES. Students she herself got placed in the summer program because she knows they need her. This person is impatient and cranky. Tired and fussy. Sharp tongued and quick to yell at the kids. That’s not me. I can only hope I get this figured out before school starts or this year is going to be miserable. Add that stress on top of the stress of a new principal.
Do you ever really understand yourself? Do you ever look in the mirror and fully know that person? Does the romance wear off and routine set in with a marriage? Is that normal? Is it normal to have doubts about your marriage? Your job? Your ability to be a teacher, wife, mother, friend?