I've had a really tough time adjusting back to life as usual since returning to RI on Friday night. Thankfully, my flights were both smooth and the storm didn't affect me at all; I even got into Providence about 20 minutes ahead of schedule. Unfortunately it was so cold that even though he had arranged for us to go out to dinner, my husband suggested that we just go home and order Chinese so I could get warm and unpack.
When I walked into my apartment, I felt really...disoriented (I guess that's the best word to describe it). I was here but I wasn't. I woke up in the middle of the night not exactly sure of where I was and it took a little while for me to get my things unpacked and put back where they were. I actually forgot where some of the things originally were.
All of my clothes smelled like smoke and needed to be washed again. I smelled like smoke. My mom has cut down a lot, but she has friends who come over and they smoke heavily so everywhere I went, I smelled like an ashtray. I really felt self-conscious about it when I went to church, but otherwise it wasn't really a big deal. That was easily remedied. But the feeling like things went on without me was tough to shake. Alex grew so much in that short 3 weeks, and believe it or not, he outgrew his new mittens (and lost one at Wal-Mart today...so he's getting another new set complete with a cord to connect them to each other). When I got up with Alex in the morning, he actually called out to Aaron because he didn't know I was there. It took him two days to revert back to asking for me. I couldn't exactly remember what we used to do and I was so used to my mom's schedule that I wandered around the apartment for a day or so looking for something to do and feeling like I should be doing something particular that I couldn't put my finger on.
I decided to put that to use, and took down the Christmas tree. We have new ornaments now so that required me to go through some of my storage bins to make room for the new things. I've re-organized my hall closet and gotten rid of two garbage bags full of things we don't use and I didn't want. Unfortunately, after Aaron lost his job and we got pregnant again, we were in a position to need things and not be able to afford those things. We were blessed with people who had them and gave them to us, but that means that I live with mis-matched things and I can't make my apartment come together and feel like a home. So I'm replacing the things that I was given (that I never asked for and didn't want but felt like I would offend someone if I got rid of them) with things that I want. My MIL is a very generous woman and is hugely guilty of this. She is incapable of coming over without bringing us something, even though we've expressed countless times that we don't have room for one more thing and it just clutters our space. The clutter drives my husband nuts and makes him difficult to live with sometimes. It makes us all feel anxious, and I've decided that I don't care who gave it to us or what the sentimental value of it was...if we don't use it, or I don't like it, or we just don't have room for it...it's going! I've already weeded through the kitchen utensils that she gave us that were her fathers. If I've not used them in the last 3 years since I got them, I tossed them onto the counter to be shipped to my mom. This year is about hard choices and making this place my own.
I'm officially on break from school for the next week, and I can proudly say that I have completed the last of my Gen Ed classes (yes!!). Now I only have core requirements left and I love this stuff so it should go pretty smoothly from here on out. I aced my final in my class on the Sciences, and I'm awaiting my grade in the class on the 1960's. I've got a little longer to go than I originally figured; I'm looking at about a year and a half of school left, but it'll go pretty quickly now that I'm only doing psychology related courses. I'm feeling pretty charged up about being so close to a college degree from a 4-year university. Its a goal that I always thought I wouldn't have the discipline to achieve, but I always dreamed about. My first go-round at college was just terrible and I really wasn't ready for it. But now I'm really doing it! My occupation is taking me in another direction right now, knitting commissioned pieces and designing patterns, but I know that I can do anything I want with this degree and if I don't end up working in a psych related field it still won't be a waste because I've proven something to myself. I'm a straight A student. I've made the Dean's list and the President's list every term since I started school. I'm a member of Kaplan's Honor Society, and Golden Key Honor Society. I've been invited to join three different Greek organizations (and I just might get around to doing it, lol). This has really been about making sure that I could easily provide for my children and for our retirement, and about reaching my potential and facing a challenge that I gave up on 15 years ago. And I wanted my mom to have this because she deserves to be able to watch me cross the stage after everything she sacrificed in my life, and all the crap she took from family and ignorant strangers. I want her to be able to say to those people: my child is college educated, married with children, active in church, and a productive member of society; a strong woman... what have you don with your life. Not that she would because she's a proper lady, but she deserves the option and she's gonna get it.
Now, off to bed. I'm back to work tomorrow.