It was raining, it was chilly and it was dark out. It was almost 7pm and we were absolutely starving, but all the restaurants in the little town we were staying in were closed on Wednesday nights. We had no means of cooking our own meal in our little villa and we had considered driving to the next town.
But then we found a strange little place that was clearly having an identity crisis. This place served both Thai and Mexican food which was the strangest combination we had ever heard of together. The two completely different cuisines made no sense together whatsoever.
Amused, we walked in and the cowbell chimes on the door should have been our first clue to run far away and never look back. Well, that and the fact that there was only 1 other couple eating there. But we were hungry and desperate.
We sat down and the (what looked like) 12 yr old waitress took our order. We giggled as we looked around the room and noticed the Thai silk scarves hanging on windows with bejeweled sombreros hung haphazardly next to them.
And the hessian wall hanging of a cactus below a shelf proudly displaying a Buddha statue.
Bamboo makeshift blinds with the Mexican flag painted on it covered a bay window that housed a shrine of Thai goddesses and paraphernalia.
Everywhere you looked there were oddly juxtaposed items on display all brightly lit up with coloured fairy lights draped over every other possible surface.
Tacky doesn’t even come close to describing it but somehow somehow it worked.
We decided that it should be renamed the “Split Personality” restaurant.
I often feel as though I have split personalities myself. I have my mother personality, my wife personality and my Fiona one.
They are all coming from the same inner well but they are all incredibly different. Of course they all overlap at some points and they’re all part of who I am but I still haven’t figured out how to make them all work as one. I haven’t worked out which one should take precedence because the mother one always seems to overtake the rest.
And having this week away from the children and the demands of my everyday life has illuminated some things about me that I have been burying and refusing to deal with for a very long time.
Paul and I spent a lot of time apart during our week “together”. And that may seem strange to some people but we both recognised that we needed it as much as we needed our couple time. We know that we are unlike other couples and that we can’t do the whole 24/7 thing that others can. It doesn’t work for us.
And I really needed to be alone.
I needed to not be needed. It’s as simple as that.
Sometimes I feel like Paul and the children are each pulling one of my arms or legs like a rag doll that is being pulled in four different directions and instead of working through this I find myself withdrawing and becoming more and more resentful toward all of them. My mother and wife personalities have left no room for my Fiona one to shine.
I’ve had a lot of anger rise up this week that I hadn’t expected to see. Things I thought I’d dealt with popped up and threatened to drown me. I prayed about it and God showed me a few home truths about myself that were tough to see but necessary to confront.
This week, I’ve picked fights with Paul unnecessarily because I placed high expectations on him and got angry when he didn’t react the way I wanted him to. I’ve accused him of not loving me and sulked and cried my way through.
He hasn’t argued back with me once to his credit and has stayed firm and strong.
Last night, it was our last night away and I sat down in front of the fire in our cozy little villa in my husband’s arms and cried and cried. I told myself that I was hurting because of something someone had said to me that I felt was borderline nasty, but I knew that it was more than that. I knew deep down that it was because of guilt.
Because the incredibly selfish part of me didn’t really want to go back to my life the next day. I didn’t want to be the Mum anymore. I cried because Paul desperately missed the kid’s and I didn’t. I mean-what kind of mother says that? What kind of mother doesn’t pine for her kids when she’s been separated from them for a whole week?
And Paul answered me: A mentally, physically and emotionally drained one.
He reassured me that it’s not the children that I’m not missing but more the dramas, the upsets, the hard work and the constant noise that I don’t miss instead.
And he’s absolutely right.
I am writing this in the car on the iPad and right now we are 3 hours in on our 7 hour drive and I’m already feeling the excitement stir at seeing my treasures again.
Paul is Right!….He is sensible, methodical, precise and firm – all the things I’m not.
And just like that kooky little restaurant ….we may be a strange mix who look weird to everyone else, but somehow somehow we work.
And for that I am thankful.