A Beginning and an End

Welcome to 2013!

Let’s not talk too much about 2012, m’kay?

It wasn’t all bad, but… I went through a couple of heart breaks. I dealt with stress at work.

However, I realized I’m pretty good at the mom thing.

But I also realized I don’t need this blog the way I did in 2011…it started to feel more like work for me…I’ve taken my writing to different places and am doing different things with it on a personal level. Maybe one day I’ll be brave enough to share it…but it’s personal on a level that writing about my angst isn’t.

I started this blog because I needed the therapy it provided. It’s seen me through divorce, personal strife, professional strife, parenting disasters and questions…and although, I know I still don’t have a clue what I’m doing most days, I don’t need the therapy it provides, anymore…and it’s hard for me to write without a purpose…just chronicling my day isn’t something I’m good at…

So, in 2013, I’m walking away…I debated shutting it down completely, but I know that life could throw me a curveball in an instant, and I may need the comfort of this space again…until that day, I’m still around…I’m living life, raising those darned Benjamin Boys, and doing my thing…

For those who had the patience to follow the insanity, I adore you all…

I’m looking forward to what 2013 brings…hopefully, it brings me NOTHING that I need to blog about…

Hugging Them Tighter Today

Did I hug my children tighter tonight? You better damn well believe it…

I watched the story in Newtown, CT unfold on Facebook today…I couldn’t take my eyes off of it…say what you want about our President, but when he cried, so did I…when I heard the children’s death toll went from 18 to 20, I cried harder…something about those two little babies’ deaths made it even worse…

Like any parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, person who happens to tolerate small children, I immediately thought of my own boys…I thought of how I never worry about them going to school…well, I worry, but not of them being killed by a crazy person…

School should be the one place I know I can send my children and they will remain relatively safe…I can only imagine the horror of the adults who tried to protect those children and failed…without knowing all of the details, I imagine the six adults died protecting their charges, their pseudo-children…I’ve seen Aidan’s teachers love him in their own way…I believe that most teachers love their students…I just can’t imagine…

In other tragedies, I often wait and wonder what kind of person the gunman was…what happened in their life, what made them this way…this is one of the few times that I could care less…murder is horrific…murdering family is horrific – but the people who do always think they have reasons…opening fire on small, innocent children in the middle of a school, killing children and adults? That is unfathomable, and I don’t care what happened in his life, what twisted him…whatever…I don’t want to understand the person who could do this…

I also don’t want to talk about gun control, God in schools, politics, or whatever else anyone wants to spout off about right now…tomorrow, maybe…today? Today, I want to hug my children tighter and grieve for the loss the families and the school have suffered…

Making It Up As I Go Along

I realized today – because I haven’t been thinking much about it up until today – that I am making this mom thing up as a I go along…I imagine that’s true of any parent…

No, no, this isn’t some introspective look into my psyche as a parent and what does it all mean, and all that…no, I’m making it up and I have no clue what I’m doing…

The boys whine, and the first thing I think is how much I hate the sound…I understand my father much better now…he would get so angry when I whined…now I know…it’s genetic, apparently…the second thing I think is that I refuse to raise boys who whine…so I raise my voice and get firm…which only increases the whining…clearly, I’m doing something wrong…

When they make fart jokes (as all little boys will, eventually), I’m mortified – I am the mom, ya know…and then I’m embarrassed…and sometimes, rarely, I find it a little funny…and I raise my voice again…they laugh harder…

I switch between wanting to cuddle my sweet baby boys and worrying that I’m raising little wimps and I need to somehow help them man up a little…and yes, I get the irony that they’re seven and three…

You just do the best that you can…and that’s all you can do…my big goal as a mother is that they don’t wind up in jail by the time they’re adults…that’s a good plan, right?

Of Two Minds

The sad state of affairs is that many (not all, thank God) single parents have to be both Mom and Dad to their children. I’m no exception, and I think I need more practice.

At times, I want to be the softer, indulgent Mom who says, “Oh, they’re so sweet, it will be ok. Come give me a hug.” But then I remember that I’m trying to raise them to be good men, so I have to become a hardass with them again.

I watched my mom and my YY with them over Thanksgiving and was simultaneously jealous and a little frustrated at how indulgent they could both be. I forget though that for me the antics and craziness of the boys is common and therefore annoying…but for family who don’t get to see them, it’s cute and playful, and “Aren’t they adorable?” No, actually, they aren’t. I’ve told them 10 times NOT to say “butt” at every opportunity. It ceased being cute about six weeks ago.

I’m not out trying to get re-married anytime soon…and the way my personal life has gone in the past few days, the odds of it happening are even slimmer than a week ago…but, there are some things that I hope I don’t have to do and that by the time we get to these milestones, I’ll have found them a father…and in some cases, any ole father will do – even their own…

Puberty – please don’t make me explain why there’s hair down there…please. And God help us all if I have to explain what happened to a boy in the middle of the night and why the sheets have to be changed.

Sex – my idea of dealing with this is to make sure they have a supply of condoms, because I refuse to raise grandchildren while my own children are still in high school. But at some point, a conversation is going to have to occur with regards to Tab A and Slot B. I really don’t want to be in the room for that one.

Driving – I didn’t get my license until I was 19…because I was just that bad. And I’m a cautious driver who, when nervous, drives like an old woman.

The proper way to treat girls/women – Ideally, they would see this done the right way, but my life doesn’t seem to want to cooperate right now, so someone’s going to have to explain it to them. I could do this, but don’t these lessons sink in more from a guy who can tell you what happens when you don’t?

While I’m not on the prowl or anything, I hope that a miracle occurs, and I’m not doing the single mom thing until they’re in their 20s – at which time, I shouldn’t be doing anymore raising of anyone.

Working On Mother of the Year

Apparently, hope springs eternal, and I’ve decided to try for the totally real fictitious Mother of the Year award…

I had lunch with Aidan for Thanksgiving…mmm, pressed turkey and canned green beans…I had lunch with Sean for Thanksgiving….mmm, turkey lunch meat and canned green beans…clearly, I didn’t attend for the culinary horrors delights offered for lunch…after last weekend’s scare, I feel compelled to be more involved…I just want to do stuff with them…

And because I’m a glutton for punishment feeling this way, we’re going to go see Santa as he arrives at the mall tomorrow…with the other hundreds of shrieking children…yaaaay…the boys are excited, so that’s all that’s supposed to matter…my impending headache is nothing compared to that…

Then, because I’m insane a good mother, I’m driving my children to Georgia to see their father…actually, I’m driving to Georgia for him to sign necessary paperwork to move the sale of our old home along faster, as he claims he has no access to a printer or the ability to sign anything digitally (the only excuse I would believe)…to give you the scope of this, the drive to Georgia is over 5 hours – and we’re doing the trip in one day…yaaaay…I like a good adventure, and I plan to be as prepared as possible for this…a charged Nintendo DS, a charged iPad, snacks, drinks, blankies, and an understanding that we will stop to use the bathroom at least twice – each way…yaaaay…

Oh well, no one ever said winning a fake award would be easy…

 

Remembering What’s Important

It’s easy to get bogged down in the day to day, forgetting what matters most…intellectually, I know that my children and my family are what matters most…the people I love matter…but it’s easy to take that for granted – until you’re reminded…

This week, for the first time in my life, I feared for my children…I’ve been nervous before…I’ve been anxious, worried, stressed before…I’ve never feared for them…thankfully, they were ultimately fine, but I spent a nervous night wondering if I had made a horrible decision leaving them in the care of their now ex-babysitter…if you’re going to go all crazy on me, I’m going to assume you’ll do it with my children…if you’re going to make unreasonable demands of me, I’m going to assume that you’ll do that to my children…once I lose trust in you, there’s no way you can be around my children…that’s just how I roll…

It’s a long, dramatic story that ended up fine…for various reasons – Mom #2 being the main reason…I’m not sure what I would do without her sometimes…but, for the first time since I began travelling for work, I was ready to go home because I needed to hug my babies tight…I needed to feel their warm little bodies close to me…I needed to see for myself that they were fine…

Sunday, I came home and their excitement to see me was contagious…I bravely decided we would go out to dinner…just the three of us…we survived…sort of…Sean has a new habit of telling me he needs to use the potty, requiring that I take him to the bathroom, only to sit down and then say he’s “done” when he never did anything in the first place…thanks, dude…this immediately requires washing of hands, because, well, ew, gross! Aidan likes to make paper airplanes out of his place mat, but I get to be the one who threatens his life if he throws it…

The fun didn’t stop there…because I effectively fired my babysitter, I had no childcare on Monday – Veteran’s Day…schools were closed and so were daycares…we’re doing this wrong, I think…I worked from home…well, I struggled to concentrate on the task at hand while mini tornadoes tore through my house for about 8 hours, but let’s call it work…fun times…fun. times.

My eye started twitching around 3:00 p.m…I haven’t been so happy to go into the office in a long time…but despite all the insanity, the whining, the crying, the punching, the wrestling, the tearing apart of my clean house, I noticed a difference in myself…I signed up to attend Aidan’s Thanksgiving lunch at school…which means I’ll attend Sean’s (gotta be fair, you know)…Santa is coming to the mall this Saturday, and I asked the boys if they would like to go…by the way, a resounding, “YES!!!” on that one…

I’m so happy to be back with them (despite the twitch I’ve developed every time one of the boys says, “Tell me to fart!”) that I’m taking advantage of opportunities to spend time with them…if this had been a “normal” trip away, I would have dreaded coming home to the routine…I would have dreaded the return to their normal selves after the excitement of my return wore off…that didn’t happen this time…this time, I was forced to remember what’s important…I hate that I spent even one moment afraid for my children…but I’m happy that my perspective was forced to change a bit…

Me Time

What is that saying about the best laid plans? Yeah, I don’t know either, but sometimes it sucks being a planner…when the plan doesn’t happen…

I was supposed to go out of town on Saturday…but that didn’t happen…so then I held out hope for Sunday…nope, nada…thankfully, I’m not a person who enjoys being miserable, so I made the best of it…

I dropped the boys off with the sitter who will watch them while I’m out of town for work on Saturday…I tried to combine a personal trip with a professional trip and the only part of the plan that’s coming together is the professional trip…*sigh*….and knowing that my plans had been thrown into chaos, I still dropped them off with the sitter…I needed the “me time” desperately…

It took me a while to figure it out…when I got home Saturday morning, I cleaned my house, exercised, and then cleaned my car…until Mom #2 called and said to meet at her place at 1:30 p.m. for a surprise…a surprise that I was driving to because I have the “nice car”…it was worth the trip! A facial and a pedicure just because….holy shit! I’ve never had a facial and it’s been two months since my last pedicure (I was resigned to painting my own nails this week as all my money was spent on a babysitter.)…then we went to dinner and THEN to a movie…whoa…an actual girls day/night…huh? These really happen? People actually do this?? Guess so…

By Sunday, I had the hang of this whole relaxing thing…I had saved all my gift cards from my birthday thinking I would be spending some quality time out of town, shopping with someone…when that didn’t happen, I took myself shopping…four stores later, and I’d only spent $15 of my own money…not including the CUTEST hair cut…

 

See? How cute?! That one thing made my whole day…well, and the fact that I found a suit (that FITS) for $21…my first suit…I feel like a big kid…and yes, I’m taking it on my trip this week…

I ended Sunday night with a couple of glasses of wine, some dark chocolate, burning candles, and a good book…that’s how every single day should end, I think…well, I can think of a couple other ways, but if I have to be alone, that’s how my day should always end…

Today, well, today, I slept…I didn’t get out of the bed until 10am…only to shower and go scrounge for food…I took myself to lunch…came home…finished my book…and took a nap…and even though it’s not quite 7pm right now, I could go back to sleep…but I want to finish my wine and start a book, so no sleep yet…

I’m not used to being by myself…I’m not used to just doing what I want to do…but I like it…and, be surprised, I actually miss the boys a little…which means by the end of this week, I’ll miss them a lot…that’s a nice change of events…I should have more me time, I guess…

A Year Later…

A year ago today (my birthday, by the way), I started a new phase of my divorced, single mom life…we moved – new town, new home, new school…I can’t help but look back on the past year and marvel at how I’ve changed…

I’m better at the mom thing…by no means perfect, but better…

I can’t imagine living with another adult anymore…I’m used to my own space…not that I want to be single for the rest of my life, but I’m so used to being alone and doing (for the most part) what I want to do that it will be a big adjustment if that ever changes…

I’m more comfortable in my own skin…and growing more comfortable every day…

I know that I can handle whatever life throws at me…I still stress (a little)…and I’m a natural worrier but I’ve become less anxious…I don’t fret about the what-ifs…if something bad or crazy is going to happen, I have little say over it (assuming I’ve made good choices all along)…but I know that I can ride the wave of craziness and come out fine on the other side – maybe a little bruised and sore, but I know what I’m capable of…I know I can handle shit…and I know it’s ok to cry my eyes out while I’m taking care of things…

A year later, I got this!

Not Looking Back

I did a favor for The Ex today…partly for him…partly because it could potentially benefit me (I’m not an idiot)…but it required that I go back to the old house – the house still on the market…it was harder than I thought it would be…

I agreed to go searching for his birth certificate in our old shed – a shed he filled with his few worldly possessions before he left town a couple of months ago – on Wednesday or so…I dreaded it all week…it messed with my head a little bit…

The dread turned into emotional baggage by Saturday…I cried a lot – for no good reason…this morning, getting ready to go, my stomach hurt…by the time we got on the road, I was in agony…it’s just a house now – none of my things are there…but I haven’t been back on nearly a year (one week until the year anniversary of my move, actually)…

I wondered if it would look different…I wondered if new neighbors would notice the strange car, the strange woman, the loud children…

I pulled onto a side street that I could probably navigate in my sleep…every nerve in my body was at attention, just waiting for…something…I pulled down our old road…the boys chattered away about “our house.” It stung to hear, but I forget they don’t have bad memories attached to it like I do…to them, it was a house they were growing up in, with loving parents, a dog, a life they enjoyed…

I never found his birth certificate…I found mice droppings, a gigantic bug, and lots of leaves…but not what I came for…I texted The Ex to let him know, packed up the boys, and drove off…I didn’t look back…

I could feel myself getting mired down in the weight of that old life…I had a 50 pound weight on my chest…I felt tears stinging my eyes…

And then…

Aidan: “Tell me to fart, Sean!”

Sean: “Fart, Aidan!”

Aidan: “Blphhhhhht!”

Followed by peals of delighted laughter…

Thank you, boys, for keeping it real for me…that place is a part of the past…I won’t forget it, but I won’t dwell on it either…driving away from town, the weight lifted…

I’m only looking forward now…

Sometimes I Forget

Crazy as it sounds, sometimes I forget that I’m a tough cookie…that life has thrown me curve-balls, and I’ve adapted and adjusted…and thrived

I forgot and let myself get very low this weekend…and then a nickname-less someone reminded me…he reminded me that I’m awesome…that I’m strong…that I’m intelligent…that I’m beautiful…that I accomplished more than most by myself – even when I was married…

I worry so much about the future that I forget the past and I neglect the present…

But no more…I’m a mouthy, smart ass who just happens to be smart as hell, driven as hell, and determined as hell…I’m not bad on the eyes, and I love with my whole heart…it’s time to remember that, revel in it even…

Watch out world, I’m back.

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