Saturday, January 01, 2005

Out With the Old...

A New Year’s Eve Gone Awry

My mom got me a gift for Christmas that surpasses anything I’ve ever received in recent years (other than the homemade gifts from my children of course)- a spa certificate. Oh she does know me SO well! I just about cried when I opened it, and actually DID cry when I called the spa and they told me it was for $200! (To which my husband mumbled something about a waste of money under his breath). But I didn’t care. It is NEVER a waste of money to pamper yourself.

So, on December 30, I decide why wait? I call and there happens to be an opening the next day. Might as well bring in the new year on a more relaxed note, eh? So the next morning comes, and at 11:30 I wake Bret up as I’m walking out the door. Samantha had both of us up most of the night sick, so he slept in because he was first shift.

The entire drive over I felt guilty. How dare I go off and pamper myself when my baby is sick at home? That is not what a good mother does….etc. I hate feeling guilt all the time. But I went, because I knew I needed it, and somewhere deep down I do know I deserved this.

I love this spa! The waiting area are all these cushy couches, and they bring you a drink and a lavender-scented heat wrap for your neck while you wait. You are also sitting behind a wall of water enclosed in glass. Of course, beautiful music in the background. As I sipped my water, I felt myself start to unwind a bit. So a grabbed a magazine and got comfy, and turned off my cell phone.

Now, I am always a bit nervous when I have a male masseuse. Probably just all the crap I went through growing up I suppose. But, one of the first signs of a good massage therapist is you feel comfortable. He came out and called me back, then we spent about 5 minutes talking about where I needed the most work. I carry all my stress in my mid- back between my shoulder blades, and he came around and felt my back. Then nodded in agreement. Then he left so I could undress and get under the sheets on the table.

I tell you, you never know just how stressed or tight you are in places until they are worked out of you. As he worked, he explained how the stress connects and moves to various places on your body. Not too much explaining, however. Thank god he had a pleasant voice too. I can remember one time getting massaged by this woman with the most nasal voice, and she wouldn’t shut up! I left more stressed than when I got there.. but I digress.

I had to laugh, this was the best hour I spent with a man in quite some time. He warned me to take a bath later in the day, because my body would start to stiffen up and get sore. Oy was he right! That is the one thing I love the most about deep tissue massage- I always feel like I’ve run 10 miles. My body feels like it DID something.

So I get home, leave again to run a couple of errands, then come back and tell everyone I’m getting in the bath- DON’T BUG ME. Bret agrees to keep the kids out of the bedroom for me so I can have 45 minutes of peace. So, I start the water, add the salts I got conned into getting after my massage, grab my headphones and my favorite relaxation CD (well, it’s my only one, but even if I had more of them it would be my favorite. What better voice to take a bath with?), and commence my alone time.

Not five minutes later daughter #1 comes bounding in (note to self: LOCK DOOR next time!). Asking if I’m enjoying myself. I said I was starting to, then gently reminded her how she feels when I come barging in on her when she takes a bath. She turned bright red and left. I sigh and sink back down, turning up the volume and closing my eyes. Trying to focus on what the voice is saying and not the voice itself…

BOOM BOOM BOOM BANG! Daughter #2 enters. I lie very still, thinking maybe she’ll just go away. Who was I kidding…

“Mom, what are you doing?”

(Deep sigh) “Taking a bath dear. Where is Daddy?”

“I don’t know! And Allison won’t leave me alone!”

(Deeper sigh) “I’m sure he’s downstairs honey. Please go there now. He’s in charge.” Supposedly.

I sink down again, but the moment is lost. Why am I taking a bath when the family is running out of control downstairs? Where the heck is Bret? I am just about to press play on the CD again when my question is answered. Bret comes in and tells me to get out of the tub. Water from the overfill pipe is leaking through and coming through one of the light fixtures in the kitchen. Relaxing bath over, and hey, it only took less than 20 minutes!

So the rest of the evening is spent drying out the space between the kitchen ceiling and the floor of the upstairs. Bret hoping there’s no water damage. Thankfully there isn’t. But there was the whole guilt thing again.

The rest of the evening is pretty nice. Since we had the power off downstairs, we all watched movies in bed, then after Bret saw all was ok and switched the power back on, we went downstairs to watch more movies. Sam made it to 11:50. I think Allison could have stayed up all night if we had let her.

I contemplated this whole guilt issue I was having as the evening wore on. Why should I feel guilty about wanting to take care of me? Wouldn’t a happier and healthier me just extend and make those around me happier as well? I looked at my daughters. They don’t make me feel guilty for the time I want for me. I smiled as I thought about all the days they ask how my back is feeling, etc. Sweet, compassionate girls. I looked at my husband. Hmph. My guilt-source. I’m lazy, I don’t clean enough, I play on the computer too much, yadda, yadda, yadda…

But then it became clear. My girls are happy, healthy, loving, and beautiful children. I must be doing ok in the way I am raising them. People tell me all the time what a good mother I am. Unfortunately the only one who has NEVER in almost 8 years of being parents expressed this to me is Bret. Of course he would be the one I would love to hear it from. But I may never, and I shouldn’t guilt myself into thinking if I jump through hoops for him I will. If he doesn’t think so that is his problem, not mine.

So, I made a silent resolution. This from the woman who is anti-resolution! Try each day to live guilt-free. And when I start to feel guilty, to come back and re-read this entry.