Get busy. Just get busy.
Those were the words that kept me going when all I wanted to do was to curl up in a ball and hide. Hide from myself and from the world. I was so embarrassed to be where I was in life.
But there I was, 46 years old and wanting out of my three-month marriage. Not knowing what to do, I got busy. I’d just moved into a new project known as “my ‘70s house” and threw myself into remodeling it.
It was the day “we” were moving in that I realized I had made an enormous mistake and wanted out of my quickie marriage. He didn’t move in with me, but I was paralyzed with fear of what other people would think of me. What I really wanted to do was: Get a quickie divorce.
But instead, I just worked. I scraped popcorn ceilings and tore off 35-year-old wallpaper. I knocked down walls and tiled bathrooms. I pulled up red/orange shag carpeting and resurfaced floors. And I turned a small bedroom into my dream closet, calling it “My Oprah Closet”.
My oldest son helped me until his drag racing team picked back up after having the season off. When he left, I was alone in that house. It was then all of the fears and sadness I had stuffed away came crashing down on me.
I had spent so much time running from my own doubts and fears, that all of a sudden, in my solitude, I could feel it all. Some days I didn’t even go to work, I just stayed in my house in my jammies, crying.
Some mornings I would wake up at 2:00 in tears.
I’d find myself sitting in my Oprah closet surrounded by lovely things and would just start crying. I felt completely lost. How did I get there? Why was I making decisions that weren’t right for me?
And how did my identity get so wrapped up in being a mother?
Ah, now you’re getting to the bottom of it, Loretta.
Sitting on my overstuffed chair in my sunken living room with my lava rock fireplace blazing, the truth of it hit me. I didn’t know how to “be” without my Mom title.
My kids didn’t need me anymore. They were grown men out in the world creating their own lives…without me. For a moment, I envied both of them. How wonderful to be at the beginning and have the world in front of you with unlimited choices.
In that moment I wanted to sell everything and run. Just start driving somewhere, anywhere other than Bend Oregon. But then the practical, sensible me took over and said, “That’s just running. Act like a grown up and stay here and fix this mess you are in.”
And so I that’s what I started doing.