Thursday, September 29, 2005


I mentioned yesterday that next week I have two birthdays in my house.  My son will be 12 and my youngest daughter will be 6.  This means that Newt is now the same age her brother was when she was born.  I remember we had Bo’s 6th birthday party about a week after Newt was born.  I remember how tiny she was and it was the first birthday party Bo had to share with his sister.  Since then, he’s shared almost every one of them.  I am sorry for that, but schedules dictate shared parties.

Newt is like watching my sister grow up again.  Newt is feisty and spirited, brave beyond measure and sure of herself.  Every accomplishment is an amazement for her.  She wasn’t always that way.  There was a time that we thought she would be permanently attached to my leg, she was painfully (for me) shy and would grab hold of my leg and hide behind me whenever someone talked to her.  

Now, she braves the world on her own.  She has learned its ok to let go of mom, and mom will still be there.  Now, mom needs to learn it’s ok to let go of Newt and she’ll still be there.  She’s been invited to her first sleepover party this weekend.  It will be her first sleepover without sister and her first sleepover at a friend’s house (as opposed to family’s homes).  She’s making new friends; there are new names in her stories from school every day.  She’s learning to make a life away from mom, from sister, from brother, even if it is for just a few hours every day.  It’s a way of claiming her independence and her identity.  I’m proud that she doesn’t rely on us to define her.  She defines herself.  That’s something that is so important and something I didn’t learn until way later in my life.  I’m so proud that she knows it so well at this young age.  I hope it stays with her.

It makes me so happy and proud to watch her grow up, but it makes me sad too.  I’m still ‘Mommy’ sometimes, but now it’s mostly ‘Mom’.  Although, she does ask me every night, ‘Mommy, have I given you a hug and kiss yet today?  Well, here, just in case I didn’t.’  More mornings than not I get out of the shower and return to my room to find Newt curled up in my bed waiting to snuggle with Mommy for a few minutes.  That is a remnant of our early morning Mommy & Me time.  I breastfed her for the first 6 weeks of her life, but would always feed her before taking her to the sitter every morning.  Before waking Bo and Tate, I would wake Newt and feed her, sitting in a rocking chair in the early morning hours and we would have our ‘Rock-a-baby’ time.  Even after the bottle was gone, we would still rock-a-baby every morning.  The rocking chair is gone now too, but no the special cuddle time every morning.  

I’m sure my ‘Mommy’ days are numbered, I’m soon going to be ‘Mom’ all the time.  I’m not sure how much longer I will be blessed to find Newt curled in my bed every morning.  I hope it’s well into her teenage years.  I hope that she always feels close enough to me to feel she can always cuddle in my bed for some special Mommy & Me time.  I hope we can talk over best friend joys and boyfriend blues in the early morning hours curled up in my bed.  

I love my children very much.  I don’t remember my parents being very vocal or demonstrative about their affection for us when I was growing up. I never doubted their love for us, it just wasn’t demonstrated or vocalized often in our house. I make it a point to hug and kiss the kids every day, and always tell them I love you.  I am no longer their warrior, their defender, I no longer have to fight with their father, and without the stress that caused, I can enjoy being Mom, a real, loving, fun, mom.  I’m not stressed, I’m not angry, I’m not out defending them, I’m not out fighting for them.  I am laughing with them, playing with them, loving them, enjoying the joys of being a parent.

So, Happy Birthday Newt.  I am so proud of you, and I love you, to heaven and back. Twice.


Wednesday, September 28, 2005

12 Years Old

One week from tomorrow, my son will turn 12.  How is it possible that my oldest is 12?  Just knocking on teenager.  Where did the time go? It wasn’t that long ago he was learning to walk, talk, then learning to read, and ride his bike.  Learning to tie his shoe and catching his first fish.  He’s leaving boyhood behind and he’s stepping into manhood.  Oh the awkward teen years.  How I wish I could make this graceful for him, but is anybody’s puberty graceful?  So many changes, both inside and out.  He’s trying so hard to grow up and be independent and I’m trying to put off the inevitable for as long as possible and still try to be as fair to him as I can.  I’ve allowed him a certain amount of freedom and privacy and respect, but in granting that freedom, I have to remind him there are still rules to be followed, and if the rules are broken, the freedom will become less and less until he can prove his trustworthiness again.  Part of growing up is learning responsibilities and consequences for actions.  

We’re having a joint birthday party this weekend, for him and his youngest sister (who will turn 6 a mere 5 days after his birthday) with the whole family.  It’s just going to be cake and ice cream and a few presents, but still it’s a celebration of Bo.  It’s his day and he’s the center of attention.  Being the oldest grandchild/nephew/brother, he doesn’t always get to be the center of attention.  There are always younger ones around demanding time and attention with Moms, Dads, grandma and grandpa.  He, of course, forgets there was a good 3 years when he was the sole grandchild/nephew, and he had everyone’s undivided attention.  He got what none of the others got.

He’s such a good big brother, and a wonderful older cousin.  His cousins, Stealth and Duck, absolutely worship the ground he walks on.  He has amazing patience with them and amazing love for them.  He tries to be tough, and cool and hip, but underneath it all, when he’s safe with family, we all know he’s caring and sensitive.  

He’s my son, and he’s growing up.  That means he soon will start growing away, but I won’t love him any less, maybe even a little more, if that’s possible.  His father wants him to play sports in high school and maybe professionally.  My sister swears he’ll be a hair dresser.  I just want him to be happy, whatever he decides that involves and looks like.  

Happy Birthday Bo.  I love you, up to the stars, the moon, and the sun and back. Forever and always.


Monday, September 26, 2005

Here's a quarter, go buy yourself a clue

I got the following email on Friday from the guy I mentioned last week.  

Hey there sexy lady. Are you biting or just nibbling? (WTF is he talking about?  I’m sure I have no idea) So, how’s my head turnin’ pace maker breakin’, liver quiverin’, toe curlin’, breath takin’, earth shakin’, bronze beauty doing?  So, you want me to tell you more or do you just want to enjoy the moment?  So, do you miss me much? Cause I think I could use a Becky fix, just a little smile, a wink, and a shake, and I would be fine.  So, I got an excuse, I did hit my head, but I think these feelings were around before.  I hope you are OK, and you are doing well. I hope you have a good weekend. Miss ya. More later.

See how smarmy and cheesy, and utterly lacking in any taste and class this clown is?  There is now doubt he’s a used car salesman, because he’s waist deep in the bullshit.  

There is no doubt now that I have to put an end to his misguided delusion, and I can’t wait to do it politely face to face, it’s got to be done NOW, and the only way that will happen is via email.

It really bothers me that he came to me offering friendship.  I was adamant about it being that.  It bothers me that he’s been married for 25 years and he thinks this is ok.  I’ll admit, there was a time in my life when that wouldn’t have bothered me.  That’s not something I’m terribly proud of, but it’s there.  I have since come to change the way I feel.  I don’t care how bad he says his marriage is, I don’t care how ‘over’ he says it is, the fact of the matter is, he’s still married.

Even a change in that status wouldn’t change how I feel.  I am not in any way attracted to him.  Let me give you a brief description, he looks like a little yard gnome – short and fat.  He’s 45, but looks closer to 55, he’s got gray hair that is still 70’s long and feathered. (Feathered?  Who still does that?)  He has 4 false teeth (top front) which isn’t a deal breaker, but the fact that he doesn’t keep them in his mouth and is more likely to spit them into his hand and put them in his pocket IS a deal breaker.  He thinks he’s funny, charming and cool, when he’s just redneck, hick smarmy.

I was friendly with him when we worked together (I was friendly with most everyone) but because I once lived in his hometown, then he believes that gives him carte blanche to push the envelope.  He feels that gives us a history.  I was 10 when I first saw him, and I think I only saw him once, when he was getting married to his now wife.  
OK, my sister would say this to me “If you don't want it to happen, SAY NO. If you feel like it needs to be stopped, STOP IT. But, for the love of Elvis, don't just bitch about it and whine about it. DO SOMETHING. Don't expect others to fix it for you - and don't expect to take the glory of being a hero and acting all like a martyr if you don't act. Saying there's a problem isn't fixing the problem - and if you're not fixing the problem, you're part of it. There is NO middle ground. Words are NOTHING without a plan. HAVE A DAMNED PLAN and stop being so passive aggressive” and she would be right.  He’s not going to stop chasing me until I tell him to stop. Until I explain to him that his attention, no matter what his intentions, is making me really really uncomfortable and I want it to stop, it will continue.
Because I don’t have the luxury of meeting him face to face, unless it’s at my place (and I don’t want him at my home) I will have to send him an email.  Since that seems to be his contact medium of choice, it will also be mine.  I sent the following to him today:
I guess you have noticed I haven’t responded to your emails and your phone calls.  I’ve got some things I need to say to you.

It’s become apparent to me that you have higher and more expectations than you originally led me to believe.  You told me you were concerned about me and worried and as a friend, just wanted to be sure the kids and I were ok.  As long as that was true, your attention was fine.  Now, it seems to me that you want more than I’m willing to give you.  Your feelings are apparently more than friendship and I can’t return those feelings.  

I don’t know what I did to give you the impression this kind of behavior would be ok or what I did to lead you to believe that I was feeling things I wasn’t feeling and wanting things that I don’t want.  

I told you that nothing would happen between us and I feel like you’re pushing the issue and expecting to convince me to change my mind.  I though you understood we were just friends, but I get the feeling you’re trying to make it into so much more. The emails you send and the voice mail messages you leave are making me very uncomfortable, because they are so very way over the top.  They are just way way too much.

I spent two months in therapy learning I have worth and I deserve honest true relationships, romantic and otherwise.  You used friendship and our history as a guise to get close to me and try to get something more.  

There will be no more pizza parties, there will be no more ‘ice cream man’ visits.  The kids and I are doing just fine on our own.  You’ve seen that for yourself, first hand.  I’m making a safe and happy life for me and the kids and I am doing it by myself.  I will continue to do it alone, because that’s how I want it.  

I’m sorry.  I do care about you as my friend, but I don’t and can’t love you.  A line got crossed somewhere and I’ve got to put a stop to this or at least define the boundaries so that you know where I stand and you understand, don’t push the issue.  Nothing more is ever going to come of this.  We’re friends, that’s it.  Nothing more.  
I hope he gets the message.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

I hate men!

I hate men.  Not all men, and not one specifically, I just hate the species in general.  It seems they are ruled by the kindergartener in their pants.

I used to work at a car dealership.  Car salesmen are charming flirts, it’s how they sell cars, and they just can’t seem to turn it off.  After a while it becomes smarmy.  They get so used to selling cars; they sell everything, including themselves.  We had a saying at the dealership, ‘The buddy shit ends at the door’, we would work together, and the charm and the bullshit was thick in the air, but it was harmless flirting, joking around.  Everyone understood that when we went home at the end of the day, we left the shit at work.  

Apparently, someone there didn’t get that memo.  Now that I no longer work there, he obviously thinks that makes me immune to the ‘buddy-shit’ rule.  Guess again.  At first he would call once a week to ‘check on me’ make sure I was doing ok.  Claimed to be worried about me.  Since my life was a massive train wreck at the time, it was easy to believe.  Then the emails started, and they started out innocently enough, but now it’s getting too personal, too cheesy, and too yuck.  

Maybe I am to blame for part of the misunderstanding, because he called a few weeks ago and asked me if he could come over and see me.  Sure, we’re friends; I saw no harm in it.  He showed up with Dairy Queen for the kids, a huge treat for them.  He didn’t stay long, just visited with me, and left.

He called last week and wanted to come over again, and I refused.  I honestly had other plans and told him so.  End of story.

I got an email this week ‘Hey Sweet Thing, So, what does your week look like?  Any time for me?’  And at that point I went EEWW!  I politely told him, no there would be no time for him this week.  No point in being a bitch about it, and kind of unfair to handle this whole situation via email.

Last night he calls me and proceeds to tell me that he got hurt Tuesday, down at the farm and has a severe concussion.  He’s acting all goofy, and then throws out the kicker, ‘I’m not sure I’ll be able to drive home tonight, I’m not doing so good.  Kind of dizzy, blurred vision, you know.  May have to stay here in town….” He’s hinting pretty hard he wants me to offer to let him crash at my place.  I’m not biting.  He drove from the farm in Jonesburg home to Columbia, then to Kansas City to the auction and back to work in Jeff City.    He can drive home to Columbia.  If not, he can get a hotel, but I AM NOT letting him crash at my place. No way!

I’m offended and pissed off.  He lied.  He started this whole ‘friendship’ under false pretenses.  He knew my life was a train wreck and I was working very hard to get my life together and back on track.  He came to me claiming he was a friend.  Now, he’s hitting on me.  He got close to me and now the game has changed and I don’t like this game at all.  

Did I mention he’s older than I am, by 8 years?  I know that doesn’t sound like a lot, but in life experiences, it is.  His oldest son is 23, his youngest is in college.  My oldest is in 6th grade, my youngest in Kindergarten.  Did I mention that he’s married too?  Has been for 25 years.  Hell, my father performed his wedding, WHEN I WAS 10!  I am not the least bit interested in him in any other way than a friend, a casual friend.  

Yes, I will admit, I may have screwed up when I allowed him to come over the first time, but the kids were there, and it sounded innocent enough.  Maybe I’m just totally naive. Maybe I should have seen this coming.  I didn’t give him any encouragement; I didn’t lead him to believe it would be anything romantic.  I didn’t give him reason to believe there was hope for anything between us other than a casual friendship.  Now, he’s crossed the line and ruined even that casual friendship.  I want him out of my life now.  He’s smarmy, sleazy, underhanded, and a typical used car sales man.  YUCK!

I think I’m going to give up on all men for a while.  I’m better off without them, and apparently my men radar is way off.  Maybe the years I spent in an abusive relationship has skewed my view of men.  Maybe I’m stronger and healthier now, and don’t need to put up with any kind of bullshit.  Maybe I realize that I have worth.  Maybe I know now I deserve better and I don’t want to play these stupid games.  Maybe I want someone to want me for me, not my looks, not my body.  I may be a single mom of 3, and life may not be a walk in the park, but I’m doing just fine.  I don’t NEED a man to make my life easier, it’s not that difficult.  

Christ, I’m staying single forever!  It’s easier.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Mornings at my house or The Daily Decathlon

Mornings at my house, or rather, the Daily Decathlon

The kids have been in school a month now, and you would think that we would have our morning routine down and running smoothly.  Guess again.  It’s always a challenge getting me and 3 kids out the door on time every morning.  

5:00  Alarm clock goes off.  I should get up, start a load of laundry, maybe exercise, but bed feels so good, I’ll just lay here listening to Bob and Tom for a minute.
5:30 Probably ought to get up and make sure the clothes in the drier are dry, and get in the shower.
5:45 Absolutely must get up now, and get in shower so Bo can have the bathroom when I get him up.
6:00 Crap!  Rushed through shower and shaving and butchered my legs, now need band aids.  Get Bo up, start long process of trying to decide what to wear.
6:10 Wake Bo up again, D will be here in 20 minutes to walk to bus stop.  Try on 3rd outfit this morning.  Nothing fits any more.  Probably shouldn’t have skipped the exercises.  Tomorrow. I promise.
6:20 Finally decide on jeans and a tee shirt.  Not my best look, but it’s comfortable, and it fits.  Newt comes creeping into my room for an early morning cuddle.  
6:25 Settle an argument between Bo and Newt about something totally inconsequential.  Convinced they won’t have a good day unless they’ve argued at least once every morning.
6:30 Get Bo out the door, go wake up Tate and set both girls on path to getting dressed.  Discuss weather for the day. Head to bathroom to start doing hair, teeth, and make-up.  Did I mention 1 bathroom and 3 kids?  Gets crowded.
6:45 Tate still sitting on bed in undies unable to find something to wear.  Has a closet and two dressers full of ‘Nothing to wear”.  Tell Tate she either finds something to wear or I find something for her to wear.  
6:50 Referee a fight between Tate and Newt.  Newt is wearing Tate’s shorts, and Tate wants to wear Newt’s shirt.  About ready to send them both to school naked.
7:00 Start looking for lost shoes, misplaced homework, library books, hair brushes.  Tate wants her hair in a pony, and then so does Newt.  AARRGGHH!  Why did I insist on leaving their hair long?
7:10 Start walking out door, do I have cell phone?  Name badge?  Money?  Keys?  Lights off?  Settle argument between girls about who’s going to walk up the stairs first. (I win!)
7:15 Realize I need gas, stop at gas station for gas, girls argue about who’s going to go in and pay for gas.  (I win again!)
7:20 Finally, on the way to school.  Girls are arguing about who’s sitting in middle, hogging all the cold air from the AC.  Turn up Bob and Tom and tone out girls.
7:35 Drop girls off at school with hugs and kisses and wishes for good day.
7:45 Get to work and enjoy 8 hours of no kids arguing.  Miss them terribly.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

I do believe in miracles

I do believe in miracles.  They don’t have to be big, and they don’t have to be showy, flashy, fancy, or incredible.  They can be simple and sweet and amount to someone who just wants to do the right thing.

I have 3 kids; all 4 of us have bikes.  Very nice bikes.  Very expensive bikes, but by the grace of Elvis, I didn’t have to spend a lot of money on them.  ($25 for all 4 total)  In fact, two of them were free.

So, we have established ownership of said 4 bikes.  Sunday afternoon, my youngest, Newt, looks out our back patio door only to discover we now have 2 bikes, not 4.  The girls’ bikes were still there, but mine and my son’s bikes were gone.

In times past I would have completely blown a gasket, yelling, screaming, cussing, throwing things, slamming things, generally scaring the crap out of the kids, and basically accomplishing nothing.  Thanks to therapy, I’ve learned how to remove myself from a situation put it in perspective and not let it create huge amounts of undue drama in my life.

We live in a less than ritzy part of town, and our neighbors are kind of shady, and with all the kids in the neighborhood roaming free every day after school without any parental supervision, I knew it would be impossible to even begin to venture a guess as to when the bikes actually disappeared and who would have taken them.  Might I also add at this point, I did not have them chained up like I usually do; I was just too lazy to do it after the kids rode them a few weeks ago.  So, I am partially to blame for the missing bikes.

I was also prepared to go out and replace the two bikes; after all I wasn’t out any initial money.  With autumn and winter coming on I also realized our bike riding opportunities were getting limited so I figured I had a few months to replace the bikes.  And besides, Christmas is still a few months away, maybe I could convince Santa to help replace them.

So, in a nutshell, I was out two bikes, and was going to have to replace them, and didn’t have a clue as to where they were, or who could have, would have taken them.

Last night, we get a knock on the door.  Open it up, there’s a kid from my son’s bus stop and his mother.  Turns out they have my bikes.  The neighborhood terror and a buddy of his had stolen our bikes and taken them over to this kid’s house.  The mother obviously wanted them returned, as she didn’t want her son in trouble for possession of stolen property.

Needless to say, after the whole story was clarified and I was informed off all the pertinent details to make a police report, I followed Ms Nice Neighbor and her son to their house and got our bikes back.  

My son’s bike has a broken seat, which can be replaced, but I look at it as cheaper than a completely new bike.  My bike is all in one piece and not torn up at all.  What I thought was virtually impossible, (my getting the bikes back at all) happened in a most unexpected way.  I did remember to lock all 4 bikes up last night so we don’t have to go through this again, ever.  I found out that all of our neighbors are not as seedy and shady as I had once thought.  There really are truly good people out there who still believe in doing what’s right and teaching their kids to do what’s right.

Monday, September 19, 2005

I Can Breathe

I was going through some of my old emails the other day and found this one.  I had been ‘chatting’ via email with a friend of mine in Baltimore.  We were talking about the dynamics of a relationship and is it enough to love someone.  Is love enough to maintain a relationship?  I wrote the following response:

Love isn’t enough, at least not alone.  Love is fickle; it is far from all encompassing, love alone will not maintain a relationship, at least not a healthy one.  We have agreed that romantic love burns bright and it burns fast, and that it wanes over time, and changes.  For the relationship to last you must include trust, respect, honesty, compromise, communication, time, space, forgiveness, all of which stand alone.  You can have all of those aspects with someone you don’t love.  Real, honest lasting love includes those things.  You can not honestly love, truly love, deeply love someone without those things.  So, love is not enough, you must have the other pieces to make the puzzle complete.

I gave my marriage 5 years; I gave him 10 years of my life (including the better part of the year since our divorce).  I couldn’t love enough for both of us.  There was no trust, no respect, no honesty, no communication, no time, no space, and no forgiveness.  Without all of those, I sometimes wonder if there was even real love.  If one of the partners is unhappy, isn’t it sadder to stay in the relationship out of a fear of being labeled ‘failure’, than it is to own up to the fact that it’s just not working anymore, and stop the pain before it goes too far?  At what point does staying stop being a good idea and start being just stupid, or even toxic?  At what point does staying start being the wrong thing to do?  I stayed longer than I should have because I didn’t want to fail, but I realized that in staying I was actually failing my children, my husband, my future, and myself.

I walked away from my marriage on the day the judge declared it final.  The sun stayed in the sky that day, the grass was still green, the sky still blue, night followed day, the sun did not set in the East.  Time did not stop, life did not stop.  For everyone else in the world it was just another ordinary day.  For me though, I was finally free to just be.  I felt as if the chains that had bound me had finally been lifted and I could just be.  I walked out of that courtroom, took a deep breath and swore the air was sweeter, because I was finally my own person.  I had given so much of myself to our marriage; I had lost myself to him, to the relationship.  I had lost sight and touch with myself, my true self.  I had finally gotten me back.  From the outside looking in, I looked no different that I had 15 minutes before, but from the inside looking out, everything was brighter, sweeter.  But almost bittersweet, because I had left 9 years of my life behind.  The judge took 15 minutes to end 9 years of my life.  I was no longer the woman who was married to him.  I could look back at her, see her, embrace her, love her and tell her I understood she did all she could, she did the best she could, but she could not do it alone.  It was not all her fault and I still loved her for trying as hard as she did.  

A year later, I find myself in the same boat.  I found myself in a relationship with him again, and I realized nothing had changed.  We were in the same rut we had been in all our life together.  I had to walk away yet again, and I did.  I’m not looking back over my shoulder, I’m looking clearly into the future.  There is more hope, more promise, more joy, love and laughter in the future than there was in my past.  I reach forward now and embrace the possibilities my future can hold.  

The sun still rises in the east, sets in the west.  The sky is still blue, the grass is still green, time still marches on, nothing has profoundly changed in the world around me.  But I have profoundly changed.  I am free to just be, to laugh, to love, to giggle with my kids, to breathe, to just be.  What a wonderful feeling.



I can feel it in the air, I can smell it.  I can sense it.  It’s coming and I can’t wait.  The weather cooled off enough this weekend that I turned of the AC and I opened the windows just to let the fresh air into the apartment.  You could smell the autumn in the air.  A time for high school and college football games, hayrides, and bon fires.  

School has started and the new morning routines have been established.  Class schedules have been memorized and friendships are being re-established after summer break, new romances are starting, new friendships are being made.  Autumn is like a 3rd New Year in the calendar year.  The first being January 1, the second being Spring when new life starts, and then fall, when a new school year starts.  Notebooks are clean, folders are not torn up.  Pencils long with full erasers on the end.  You honestly still believe this year you’re going to do all of your homework, every night and write your papers early instead of waiting until the last minute.  

New school year not only means new school supplies, but new clothes too.  New shoes, new jeans, new sweaters, new jackets, new coats.  Wearing your jeans with a short sleeve shirt, or a sweatshirt with shorts.  I am a sucker for new sweaters and sweatshirts.  I can not wait to put all my tanks away from the summer and dig out my long sleeve shirts, and sweatshirts and sweaters.  It’s like a whole new wardrobe for me.  I pack away all the tanks, and my halters, all my summer dresses and skirts and dig out all my jeans, my long skirts, my sweaters, and sweatshirts.  Like seeing old friends again, comfort and warmth.  

It’s also the time for the new season to begin on television.  New crimes to solve on CSI, and Law & Order.  The new class of doctor wannabes are arriving in the ER.  Baseball is looking towards play off games, division championships, and the World Series.  Football is just starting to take off and a game can be heard at my house on Sunday afternoons. And just like at my parent’s house when I was growing up, nobody is really watching the game, but the sound is comforting and familiar.

In the car business all the new model year vehicles are being released from production and are now making their way to showrooms across America.  It’s almost like Christmas for a whole month, waiting with anticipation for the new vehicles to arrive.

I opened my windows this weekend and turned off the AC.  Got the stale conditioned air out of the apartment and let fresh air in.  There was just enough chill in the air that it made burrowing under the covers almost too tempting.  But my daughters and I did manage to spend the better part of yesterday afternoon curled up in chairs, or on the couch reading books or listening to music.  

The leaves will soon be turning and falling and the trees will be beautiful for a while.  When the beauty fades it will give way to the stark coldness of winter, but those days are still off in the future.  I am enjoying this time of year, a time for rebirth, starting fresh yet again.  

I love autumn!

Monday, September 12, 2005

Peter Pan may have been right

My cousin’s wife is an incredibly talented photographer. What started out as a normal parental right, to photograph her children, has become a hobby, then a passion, and now a career.

She has beautiful children, and takes beautiful pictures. What makes them so beautiful (the pictures) isn’t necessarily the subject matter, but her perspective. She has a wonderful talented way of capturing them in their own child world. She photographs the kids, but also captures the wonder of their world. You get a glimpse of how they see things, how they relate to the world around them. She has found the passport to Neverland and has become a welcomed visitor where you never grow up. Through the lens of her camera, she allows us to see into the child world that we all have left behind.

She has inspired me to look at my own children differently. Not just look at them, but watch them, almost become a voyeur in their world. I am a single mother, who works hard to make ends meet. I get caught up in the daily grind of life, work, home, kids, bills, money. Through M’s photographs, I have found that if I just sit quietly and observe, unnoticed by my children, I can learn so much more from them than they will learn from me at the end of the day.

My children have taught me to see beyond the obvious. Yes, Uno is a card game, but did you know that you can play ‘Go fish’ with Uno cards? Did you know you can play ‘War’ (or as my father taught me, ‘High Card’) with the same deck of Uno cards? They have taught me what I have long ago forgotten, that it is important to play. Through playing we can learn so much about ourselves and the world around us. If we can just relax the ‘rules’ and let our imagination take over, there are unbelievable worlds out there to explore. A stick becomes a magic wand, a ditch becomes a moat around a castle, and rocks become currency from a foreign land, or maybe come from a newly discovered planet in a far off galaxy, light years away. Knights and dragons really do exist.

Sometimes they get so involved in their make believe they lose touch with reality. How wonderful it must be to be able to pretend and make believe something so real that reality ceases to exist, even if only for an hour. How wonderful it must be to believe so strongly that your bed becomes a car, and your room becomes the open road and you can travel anywhere your mind can create. That is the true definition of magic. They have better magic than David Copperfield. He can make things disappear, they can make things appear.

Sometimes I think Peter Pan was right all along. I am learning that it is important to hold on to the child inside of me. Never lose the wonder of discovering things for the first time. Believing anything is possible. Look beyond the obvious and see endless possibilities, multiple options.

Thank you M for opening the portal to the world that my children live in and I had almost forgotten.

I have been truly blessed

I have been truly blessed.

My divorce has been final now for 13 months and some days are still struggles for me.  Some days I still miss the ‘belonging’ to a couple, I miss having someone to share my day with, the work of raising three kids with, the joy of watching the kids grow.  Sometimes I miss having someone to curl up with and cuddle with at night.  

Needless to say, my divorce, like any other, was not easy.  Sure I knew it was the best thing for everyone involved especially me and my children.  But still, after sharing my life with this person for 9 years, it’s not always easy.

At my most difficult time (right when the divorce was finalized after months of waiting on him) my sister made me a CD which she titled ‘A Thousand Women’s Arms’.  Two days later she sent me the following email:

I have been toying with the idea of whether or not I should let you in on the full story right now.  My original plan was not to tell you for quite some time, but things have gotten a little out of control (keep reading, you’ll see what I mean.) so I’ll think I’ll tell you now.

2 weeks ago, I sent out an email to a huge assortment of my woman friends/colleagues/clients/mentors, etc.  This is what it said (cut and pasted directly from the original email.)

‘As you may or may not know, my sister is going through a divorce.  I’m so proud of her for the personal growth she has exhibited and for becoming stronger every single day.  
While she has really come a long way, she still has her moments in the pits of hell, as I’m sure you can imagine.  She has mentioned to me that she longs to become empowered, longs to surround herself with strong women and eliminate the soul sucking aspects of negativity. SOOOOO, I’m making her a CD (or two or three) to get her through the hard time and to party with her during her good times.  Here’s where I need your help.”

She went on to ask everyone she sent the email to, to send her their ‘favorite, woman friendly, empowering, strengthening, inspiring, songs’  along with their ‘favorite I’m gonna sit on the couch and drown myself in chocolate while I bawl my eyes out’ songs.

What she didn’t anticipate was the overwhelming response she received.  It seems that her email got forwarded and forwarded to friends and family, sisters, girlfriends, mothers. Aunts, grandmothers, lovers, you name it.  The response was phenomenal.  Not just in the list of songs she compiled for me, but in requests for the CD she was to make.  

Turns out she made me a wonderful CD, full of songs and artists I’d never heard before, but spoke to my heart, my spirit, my strength.  Even now, a year later, it is still one of my favorites and when things seem to be overwhelming and out of control, I put that CD in and I feel rejuvenated, and empowered, and LOVED.  Love beyond measure, loved beyond description that my sister would reach out to her network of woman and ask them to help her make this gift for me.  And loved beyond measure by women around the world I have never met, who would offer up suggestions for my CD, who by offering suggestions were offering their love and support.  And they didn’t even know me!!  

Thank you Sarah, from the bottom of my heart and soul.  I love you for your love and support through my entire life.  Biology made us sisters, life has made us friends.  I love you more than you could possibly know.

I have been truly blessed.

Friday, September 9, 2005

Yesterday was Thursday

Yesterday was Thursday.  Thursday is my therapy day.  I’ve been going for 8 weeks now, ever since I had my breakdown on my birthday.  

I went into my first session terribly lost, depressed and defeated.  I had been in an abusive relationship for 9 years and while I had physically moved on, legally ended the relationship, I never ended it emotionally.  I knew that it was an abusive relationship and that it was toxic to everyone involved in it, and I knew that the best thing to do was to end it, get out.  The problem was, while I could pay lip service to what I ‘ought’ to do, I was powerless to actually do it.  I didn’t have the skills, the strength, the power, the courage or the coping mechanisms needed to do what I ‘ought’ to do.

So I sat in my first session so unsure of everything.  Unsure of what I hoped to gain, unsure of where to start, unsure of who I was, unsure of what I wanted.  I was lost.  All I was sure of was that I didn’t want my life to continue the way it had been.  I wanted all the pain to stop.  I wanted to stop hurting and to stop hurting others around me.  I just didn’t know how to do that.

Over the course of the past 8 weeks, with Dr. Patterson’s help, I have found myself.  I have found a way to cope with the stresses of life without them destroying me.  I have learned how to set boundaries in relationships.  I have learned how to speak up and tell people when they have hurt me.  I have learned that I can not control everything in my life and I’ve learned how to let go of things.  I have learned how to live in the moment, enjoy the day and not worry about tomorrow, next week, or next month.  I have learned how to relax and take care of me.

So, yesterday I walked into Dr. Patterson’s office and we started talking.  20 minutes into my session we both realized we had nothing else to tackle, we were out of things to talk about.   Her exact words to me were “I love working myself out of a job.”  We both feel that I have made significant progress to warrant out sessions be monthly now instead of weekly.  

I have learned to let go of things, to not try and keep everything together all the time.  Deal with what can be and needs to be dealt with right now.  (Such common sense and yet I didn’t get it)  When things get hairy and stress levels go up I have learned to take a step back, take a breath and get perspective.  I have learned I can not control the world, but I can control how I react to what happens to me.  I have learned I didn’t get all I needed from my parents as I grew up and that’s ok, I can give it to myself now, and make sure I give it all to my children.  I have reached back and healed a broken past and made a brighter stronger future.