I missed thunderstorms.  When the dry mountain air would get the better of me I would imagine them rolling toward me across the lake.  Thunder charging at me, lightning slamming across the sky.  I love the energy of a good storm.  It is as if something exciting might happen.   Sitting here writing I am listening to a storm carve up the night.   It suits my mood.


My sisters decided to throw a retirement party for my parents.  I agree that my parents deserve one.  I do not agree that actually throwing one is a good idea.  After planning many parties, I hear the suggestion and start picturing gathering address lists, coordinating schedules, agonizing over invitation language, buying, hiding, and preparing food, planning activities for children, arguing over budgets, arguing over who ponied up the least amount of cash, arguing over who put in the least amount of effort, arguing over who should get credit for what, and, really, just arguing.


We did a lot of work on the party tonight, but the hours dragged on and tempers became shorter, and I made a crack about not wanting to reformat the page setup again just because some of the invitations were a different size.  And then one sister threatened to just leave with another.  I thought we were joking, so I said it isn’t my house, I’ll be right behind you.  And that’s when she said it.


“Oh, yeah, like it’s fair for you to just leave.  We have kids, it’s not like you have anything going on.”  And it wasn’t a joke.  And I remembered why I left Michigan and missed the thunderstorms in the first place.  It’s funny, here.  I am aware, as a non-parent, that I am a second-class citizen, but I always think I’m being overly harsh in judging their beliefs.  But tonight I knew I wasn’t exaggerating the lack of respect.


As I’ve mentioned, I have two jobs.  I do my parents’ supplemental grocery shopping.  My mother hates everything I cook, but I always make sure I make enough for her anyway.  I do most of their dishes on weekends.  When my sisters need a babysitter I do everything I can to accommodate.  I don’t do that much for any one of them, but collectively I think I have earned the right to say I am busy, too.  And I didn’t have to go off birth control to justify saying it.


Kids are probably not going to be in my future.  They are a lot of work, and I’m not sure I want the never ending responsibility.  My doctors aren’t sure I can have them anyway, so it seems to be a moot point.


So I look around this land where only parents have a right to be tired or ask for help, and I get angry.  The final straw for me years ago came when my sister took my baby name.  Obviously, I probably wouldn’t have used it, and if she had just asked if she could name her daughter the name I had told her I might – someday – want to use, I would have said yes.  But she didn’t ask.  She informed me.  And when I objected she asked if I was going to name a cat.  When I told her in front of my mother that I wanted an apology my mother told me to stop crucifying her.  And I knew.  Until I crack out a kid or two, my opinion is irrelevant.  That was when I started making serious plans to leave.  I had wanted to move on for years, but I had hesitated to leave my family.


Tonight I was just as done.  This year of trying to fit myself in, of trying to find the positives of living here so I can be with my family, of trying to stay open-minded, it was just a waste of energy.  My nieces will grow up with these same expectations, and the knowledge frustrates me even more.


I drove home tonight in the thunderstorm, marveling at its power.  Adele played loudly, and the songs fit the storm and the drive.  I want to leave.  To escape.  It’s been years since I’ve been so close to packing a bag and hitting the road.  I know it’s a sign of my frustration.  I don’t like my job.  I don’t like my living arrangements.  I don’t like that I’ve been sick for over a week for the fourth time since Christmas.  I don’t want to try anymore.  I just want to go.  Both of my bosses know that I occasionally have low periods.  Lately it’s become more and more obvious that I’m slipping down again.  I suspect that if I threaten to show up at work tomorrow they would gladly tell me to just take the time.  But kids or no, I feel responsible.  I don’t want someone else to have to clear my desk.  I don’t want to tell Jodi I’m not coming to boxing.  It isn’t smart to drop money on gas or a hotel room. But I do need to find something, and I’m not finding anything here except opportunities to whine.  Maybe someday soon I’ll come home at midnight and have the urge to pack a bag and I’ll just do it.  Maybe a random dot on a map will be a better fit.


Then again, maybe the world and I will just keep shuffling along beside each other, sawing away at the best parts of each other while we shoot dark looks and wish for better traveling companions.  If this is the best arrangement the world and I can make, I just don’t see the point.  Maybe no matter where I go I’ll just be missing thunderstorms again.