I'm feeling needy today.
Maybe it's because of the back-to-school crud I caught from the kids. I get down any time I spend too much time sitting in one spot or, in my case last night, lying on the couch watching Monday Night Football. The crud has rendered me immobile for most of the past two days, so I've been grumpy.
Or maybe it's because I've had too much time to think. Too little on my mind (what with not moving and all)? The dark-gray, heavy-clouded day probably hasn't helped, and the steady rain patting on the windows does little to inspire. Even Fergus seems overly mellow, his mood off a bit. Because I tutor this time of year, I'm super busy in the evenings and weekends; days are thereby a little tediously filled with straightening up this and that and this and that, as well as doing the blah, blah, blah dishes, and catching up on the (yawn) email.
But needy? That's different. Perhaps enhanced by all of the above nuances, but not really a result of them. I don't like feeling needy, because it seems a gargantuan waste of my time. Nothing can really help.
I'm forty-five years old. What am I going to do when I'm feeling needy? My husband works hard and travels often, and tonight he even has a class. My kids express a surprising lack of empathy at all-things-mom's-sentiments. They're teenagers ager all, and their world is THE world, and I'm sure deep down inside they do spend a millisecond of consideration if I don't seem my normal dorky, happy self. But they're not exactly experts at "fixing" things these days . . . not the piles of towels on their bedroom floors, not the broken shower curtain liner in their bathroom, and certainly not the emotional earthquake rumbling through their naggy mother. I could reach out to a friend or two (I've got some great ones), but really, yuck. Why bring them down? They've got their own mama-crap going on.
My grandparents, all five of them (divorce equation) used to be a phone call away when feeling down; although they could not necessarily fix anything, they could tell me enough random stories and tales of the obituary to distract me long enough to help. But they're no longer a phone call away. I could call my dad, but Fixing Everything is his super-power, so he'd well meaningly jump right into action telling his "Baby" what steps to take immediately, followed by a cautionary tale of "don't worry so much." On days like this, I become acutely aware that I no longer have a mother on the planet. That. Is. Hard.
So, it's me and my dog, Fergus. It seems I've become the crazy middle-aged woman who not only baby talks to her dog, sneaks him bits of pumpkin scone, and snuggles with him on the couch when freaking out over an episode of Breaking Bad, but also truly looks forward to seeing him when she comes home. He is, after all, happy to see me in ways that few people are these days. Tail wagging, he greets and licks, and my heart kinda jumps a little bit.
When the girls were little and would come to me with eyes full of tears, I used to hold their hand, listen to their pain or frustration, and say, "I know. It's hard to be five." "I know, honey. It's hard to be seven." They used to nod and wipe their eyes, and I would cross my fingers I had done at least the tiniest thing to make their tough day a little better. One time, Cammie, curls bobbing lightly, sniffed deeply after spilling the story of a long day at preschool and said, "You wemembuh. It's just hard to be fwee, mama."
Somedays, it's hard to be a grownup. On a gross day like this, when the Netflix screen shuts down and Fergus is asleep next to me, it's just me and the rain again. Needy. Wanting something impossible to define but knowing it'll pass like most middle-age ennui does, dark and stormy, rolling onward to make room for the bright and crisp autumn days ahead. Ones that hold warm apple cider at the orchard, my girls wearing homecoming dresses (with curled eyelashes, shiny gloss, and flat-ironed hair), the swish of tennis racquets, and maybe even a few hugs along the way to make everything better.