Monthly Archives: December 2011

What I Learned in 2011

365 days ago, I promise I would never have believed I would be where I’m at today…the end of 2010 and the beginning of 2011 found me sad, angry, confused, and in constant turmoil…one year later and life is so different that I find it hard to fathom some days…

On the last day of the craziest year of my life so far, I can’t stop thinking of the things I learned this year…

I learned even though it hurts to break someone’s heart, it’s better than living a lie.

I learned that divorce sucks…no matter who leaves.

I learned who truly loves me…and who never did…and who no longer does.

I learned that I can survive and even thrive (a little) in a work and home environment in turmoil and chaos.

I learned that I am capable of doing the “boy” jobs – killing and disposing of bugs, moving furniture, putting together toys, hooking up electronics, plumbing, – and that I still have a lot to learn.

I learned that I can be content by myself, but that it’s ok to wish I had someone by my side.

I learned that I have some maternal instincts…and I can lay down the law to Aidan and Sean when necessary.

I learned that I can do what’s absolutely necessary to get through the day and let the rest go…no need for perfection.

I learned that I am not unique in the single mom life that I now live…and if I reach out for it, there are a lot of people who support me, believe in me, and who will lend a helping hand.

I learned that asking for help is not a sign of weakness.

I learned how to stretch dollars even further than I could before…my money is transparent it’s stretched so thin.

I learned how to let go of my expectations for other people…I can’t make someone be what I want them to be…I either decide to accept them for who they are or let them go.

I learned that I can love again…and that it’s scary, but that’s ok.

I learned that I can cry and scream on the inside…while maintaining a calm exterior.

I learned that it’s ok to be vulnerable with the people that matter.

I learned that I am truly independent but capable of leaning…a little.

2011 was a turning point in my personal and professional life. I’m ready to move into a new year…this time I’m filled with hope and determination…

The Adventures of the Benjamin Boys – The Past 24 Hours

It started last night – exactly 24 hours from the moment I started writing this…Sean, unknown to me, was coloring on himself, his sheets, and his pillows with not-Crayola markers…translation: doesn’t wash off easily…I discovered it at about 10pm…

At 6:15am, I heard Sean walking down the hall to my bedroom…normally he comes right on in…today he hesitated – he should have…he knew it wasn’t going to be good…the door creaked open…he peeked in…and I tried not to laugh…marker on his face, marker on his hands and arms, marker on his legs and feet…marker on his stomach!

I didn’t yell…I didn’t even frown…I just said, “Sean-Sean!”…the chin trembled, the lip pouted, and the tears started…instead of punishing, I was comforting…and cleaning…and then I realized something – I needed a picture…

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Aidan had a skating field trip today…I picked him up this afternoon and asked, “How was the skating rink?”

Aidan: “Great!”

Me: “Are you getting better at skating?”

Aidan: “Heck no! But I had fun!”

Good attitude, dude…

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Sitting at Subway in Wal-Mart, eating dinner, so not my plan tonight…they should be with their father…who couldn’t be bothered, I guess…Aidan wants attention – talking like a baby and refusing to sit, check…Sean is cranky – spilling his juice box, refusing to eat, taking food from my hand like he’s starving, check…

I refilled my Diet Coke before we leave and had only one thought…I wish Wal-Mart sold rum…

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While on his skating field trip today, Aidan bought a fake moustache for 25 cents…he took it out of his pocket before his bath to show me…it looks like a flattened caterpillar…

He left it on the bookcase by bed…I had to move it…I didn’t want to touch it…it creeps me out…

Stuff…Lots of Stuff

Every time I thought I knew what I wanted to write about, something else happened…so this one is reminiscent of the Potpourri category on Jeopardy…

I won a blogging award!  It’s the Liebster award for bloggers with less than 200 followers…apparently it started in Germany and Liebster is German for “beloved person.” The most Twisted Domestic Goddess named me a winner, and I love her for it! She practically lives in a frat house and cooks for like a million people (and enjoys it!)…but she’s been where I’m at right now – recently divorced, single mom, clueless about the next step – so when she speaks (ok blogs), I listen…I adore you, Wendy!

So, now to award my own fellow bloggers with the Liebster…hmmm, this is sort of hard because most of the blogs I follow are not small…

1. Running with Scissors – because whether single or married, raising small children and keeping your sanity are hard to do at the same time.

2. MyJourneyMyRules – because I think she and I could have been separated at birth…and I’m using her horror stories as the reason I will never do the online dating thing.

3. Bandia17 – because if she ever manages to find that 25th hour of the day so she can spend more time blogging, she will have SO much to say…and because I get what she’s going through…

I’m supposed to pick a 4th and 5th blog, but the other’s I would mention seem to have a TON of followers and so technically don’t qualify…but Morning Wood, you are definitely one I was thinking of….

Ok, so the rules for accepting and passing on the award:

1.  Show your thanks to the blogger who gave you the award by linking back to them.
2.  Reveal your top 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
3.  Post the award on your blog.
4.  Bask in the love from the most supportive people on the internet – other writers.
5.  And best of all – have fun and spread the Karma!
6.  Right click on the award image to save it to your computer and then upload to your blog!

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Boys are dumb…either that or my karma sucks…the boy I wish had time for me (BBFF) barely does…and the boy I wish would just go the hell away (The Ex) thinks it’s ok to drunk text and drunk dial me…really?!  And then you want to be shocked when a. I don’t respond to any of your texts or calls and b. I seem to have an “attitude” when I’m around you…

I’m not sure if my expectations are too high (in regards to BBFF), if I’m just too intense, or if I really am viewing this correctly…

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I just want to raise good little boys (most of the time) into good men…I want them to respect women…respect what women do for them…realize that no woman should have to do it all…understand the importance of communicating (I am constantly reminding Aidan to “use his words” – especially when he starts crying for no reason or screams in frustration when he doesn’t get what he wants)…

I want them to be strong…but not be afraid of their own emotions…I want them to understand what give and take is all about…I want them to cherish the people they love…

They’re young, I get it…but I have to surround them with as many positive influences as possible…which is why there are moments when it wouldn’t hurt my feelings if The Ex just left…the only reason I keep making him do as much as I can is because there are some pains I don’t want them to know (especially at 6 and 2)…but he doesn’t exude (at least with me) any of the qualities I want my boys to have…so, every once in a while, I have a moment when I think, “Just go away…please.”

And yes, I realize, I will put in all this effort and they may still end up being different than I’d like…I get it…I’ll love them no matter what…but at the end of this life, I need to know I did the best for my babies…I wish I believed their own father felt the same way…

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I’m starting to think about 2012…and the goals I want to accomplish…I don’t do resolutions (those are made to be broken), but I do set new goals…and I think I want to focus on my writing more…my big big dream is to one day write AND get paid to do it…oh, and paid enough that I’m not also working at Mickie D’s…but everything in baby steps…so I’m thinking about expanding some of my blogging horizons…still pondering though…

I have other things I want to focus on too…I’ve got plenty of time to think over the next few days, map out a plan, and set it in motion…I am absolutely looking forward to 2012…

A Good Christmas

I didn’t know what to expect today…another first has come and gone, and there were enough perfect moments that it’s almost impossible to focus on anything negative…now that’s a good day…

I barely slept last night…could it be because I was anticipating Christmas? Or because I was sleeping on the couch (I always give my mom and The Step my bed when they visit)? Or because it was yet another first and I had to deal with it? Probably all three…

My mom was up at 6:30 this morning starting the turkey…I think Aidan was up about 30 seconds later…as excited as he was to see his presents from Santa, he still managed to show patience most adults don’t have and let everyone wake up first…

Opening presents, eating candy, taking pictures – our Christmas was probably pretty typical for most people…my mom and I cooked Christmas dinner together which was nice…the fact that we both made it work in my small kitchen was the Christmas miracle, I think…the food was delicious…that woman knows how to bake a freaking turkey…if my dad had a grave, he’d be rolling in it with laughter, because he and I were the ones to suffer through her experiments 20 years ago when she didn’t have a clue how to boil water..

I was surprised (and a little sad) that the boys didn’t ask about The Ex…I’m hoping it was because of the excitement of the day…my fear is that they’re getting used to him not being around as much…I didn’t exclude him, but he and the ‘rents don’t see eye-to-eye on much, so he chose to see the boys tomorrow…

I spent a lot of time last night thinking about how much life has changed in the past year…and I keep wondering how much more it will change in the next year, but that’s a post for another day…

This Christmas, with it’s familiarities and differences from years past, was a good day…and really, that’s all that matters right now…

A small gift I received this year hit me like a ton of bricks and, to me, epitomizes this new life we have:

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Merry Christmas

While I’m writing this it’s still Christmas Eve…but Christmas is close…and while I should be asleep, I can’t sleep…

My mom and The Step are here tonight, and even though it’s strange to have someone here with me, it’s also very comforting…I knew after Thanksgiving my mother was not going to let me spend another holiday without family around…I had to admit to myself today that I’m isolated – whether self-imposed or not, I don’t know…

I was on edge waiting for them to get here today…and it was perfect…my mom came in, hugged the boys, and started baking…the irony is that my mother was the worst cook ever when I was a kid, but she’s great now…she made my house smell so good…and we did what we do best…we laughed our asses off – remembering her cooking experiments when I was younger…

The boys went to bed fairly easily…not sure how I got that lucky, but no complaints! I wasn’t able to do as much as I would have liked for Christmas, but thanks to my mom, the boys will have a great Christmas…and now the whole house is asleep – except for me…I’m wired…it could be all the cookies I’ve eaten…it could be the huge Diet Coke I drank tonight…it could be the excitement of Christmas…or it could be that I can’t stop thinking about how much has changed in one short year…and how I’m hoping for more changes in the year to come…

If someone had told me last Christmas that the next Christmas would have been like this – divorced, moved, and learning how to function as a single mom – I would have laughed…we often get complacent with our lives and forget how quickly things can change…until they do…now that I’ve been reminded of that, I can’t help but wondering what else is in store for me…I’m almost anticipating whatever changes are coming my way…I’ve survived the worst, and I need to believe that whatever comes next will only be better…

Merry Christmas to everyone who loves me…to everyone who finds me curious…to everyone who has the patience to make it through my ramblings…I love and appreciate you all…

Gotta Love Those Endorphins

I think I have a new rule for my loved ones…if we’re talking and I seem unnecessarily down, sad, mopey, or any other basketcase-like emotion, please, please ask me if I’ve worked out yet for the day…

For the second day in a row, I whined to BBFF on the phone about how stressful life is, how I feel pretty miserable, blah blah blah…and then picked myself up, changed clothes, let Jillian Michaels kick my ass (I just love her) and felt like crap for dumping all over him…the things that have been bothering me still bother me, but I’m in a better frame of mind…I’m thinking more clearly and logically…my feelings aren’t clouding my thought process…now I’m good company…

It’s gotta be the endorphins…or it’s simply that my ass really got kicked, and I can’t focus on anything but the pain…either way, it works…

Yesterday, it was money…today, it was loneliness…sometimes, even now, I am shocked at how some of the changes in my life since the divorce can affect me…I’m very used to and comfortable with being single…with the boys and I being the Three Musketeers…but I don’t really think my life is meant to be just the three of us…and maybe that’s where the loneliness comes from…

I have BFF and I have BBFF, and I have others…but because of the way life works and the physical distance between me and a lot of the people I care about, sometimes I feel very isolated…I can admit, sometimes I do it to myself…I’m a homebody (because gas costs money)…I don’t trust people (stranger-danger)…and I am unwilling to randomly call people and whine to them (except for poor BBFF)…but I can’t spend my life wallowing in misery…

The next time I wallow and whine, someone please hit me over the head with a Jillian Michaels DVD…

That’s Just Creepy

Some things are just creepy…some things just give me chills – and not the good kind…a wiggly tooth, blood pouring from any wound anywhere, roadkill, vomit in my hair (that totally happened)… and strange men who troll Facebook looking to hook up…

Yeah, I said that…’cause, yeah, it happens…

I’ll go out on a limb and hypothesize that it happens oh, I don’t know, everywhere…just call me Captain Obvious…but there’s something inherently creepy about it happening on Facebook…and what’s got me really icked out is that I was receiving these hook up offers without even knowing it, and thanks to the latest Facebook upgrade I can now see other messages I couldn’t before…

Nearly everyone discussed my smile from my profile pic (because my privacy settings don’t let people see much else)…but I think my personal favorite was when I was compared to Lady Jane who usurped Anne Boleyn (sp?) for King Henry’s affection…wait, what?! And none of the messages indicate that any of these men can spell, understand grammar, or have the aptitude to spell words out in full…I am not impressed with a two-paragraph email that looks like a giant text message…

So while I am in no way interested in being propositioned by a stranger, especially through Facebook, I can at least respect a little actual effort…I wouldn’t respond, I would still feel a little icky, but there might be a kernel of respect for the (obviously) lonely man who lives in a basement somewhere that actually put in real effort…unless the Lady Jane thing was what a concerted effort looks like…in that case, no thanks…

Heaven help me if I ever become so lonely as to consider responding to a message that looks a little like this: “oh dear…i got trapped by ur elegant beauty…hope to read from u soon.” Really?! Please don’t hold your breath waiting on that one!

It Could Be Worse

I tell myself, and others remind me all the time, that it could be worse…I know that’s supposed to be comforting, but it mostly just scares the crap out of me…you mean, the situation could get worse??

I am a single mom with no help from The Ex…so without looking at a single bank statement, you know I’m one of those “working poor” that politicians keep talking about (and no, I’m not making any political statements)…I work…I have a good job…compared to people with real problems, I’m a freaking millionaire…

This isn’t a re-hash of my money stresses…it’s a given that someone in my situation is broke…what has me upset today (as opposed to any other day) is that even though I am fully aware of my situation, I get really angry when I have to ask for help…I won’t ask for help for myself unless it’s huge (Bubba not working correctly was huge)…but I can go without…and in some cases, so can the boys…

As long as necessities are taken care of, the extras are just that – extra…but I get so tired of saying no all the time…and of explaining that I can’t afford that…or suggesting that they ask Santa (even though I know damn well Santa isn’t bringing that toy)…so today I reached out and asked for help…and now Aidan will get to go on a field trip (2 actually)…and he’ll get to play basketball in January…

What bothers me is the blow to my pride when I ask for help…and I can hear people now…this isn’t about pride…I shouldn’t worry about my pride…pride doesn’t matter when it’s your children…I know all of that…but when you don’t have much else, sometimes pride and dignity are all that you have…I have a lot more than most people…I recognize that…I have a safe place to live…I have lights, heat, running water, and food…there are people in my own town that don’t have that…I am lucky…no one has to tell me that…

It could be worse, and that’s what scares me…

I Am Loved

It hit me like a ton of bricks today…I am loved…deeply and thoroughly…by many people…and the love that I receive and give outweighs the love I don’t receive from others…makes it completely irrelevant, actually…

Clearly my mom loves me…I am a 32 year old grown woman with two children, and my mother still loses sleep at night worrying about me…she gives me her time, her energy, and (unfortunately when I need it) her money…as a mom, I know that overwhelming love you have for your children…and when I think of that feeling I have for my boys and apply it to how my mother feels about me, I’m overwhelmed…

My YY loves me…she’s in my corner, righteously indignant on my behalf when I need it, backing me when I look for it, and supporting me in so many ways…all through text message…she’s always been more like a sister than an aunt…the things I couldn’t tell my mom (because she would have killed me), I could always tell YY…

If I had any doubt about the love some of my friends have for me, it is now gone…

Last night was one of those rare moments where friends from different segments of my life came together…

Mom #2 and Big Brother earned those names because that is how I see them and what they have become to me…BBFF is my best friend and perhaps something much, much, much more…last night, they met…and because of their personalities, all I had to do was make the introductions and sit back…

The joke was that I was “bringing a boy home” and so they had to find out if he was worthy…Mom #2 and Big Brother threatened to ask every stereotypical question…what are your intentions? Where do you see yourself in 10 years? Do you have a record? And knowing BBFF, he was going to be willing to play along…

Sometimes it sucks being right…in a loving way, they set out to mortify me…and it worked…a few times, I just wanted to crawl under the table…please, please don’t ask him that was a constant thought all night…

By the end of the night, BBFF had their seal of approval…”Michaela, he has a good job, he’s very smart, and he’s good-looking!” That was from Mom#2…and as she pointed out, the complete opposite of The Ex…Big Brother and BBFF were already planning a group outing as we were leaving…I’d say they hit it off (mostly for my benefit)…

If they didn’t love me as a friend, they never would have cared…they never would have paid as much attention…they never would have tried so hard…I love them for it…the force of their love hit me hard today…just like the force of BBFF’s love hit me…

I have no idea if the feelings BBFF and I have for one another are long-lasting…I have no idea what the future holds…and yes, I wish I did know, but what matters is here and now…and for a very brief time, I was enveloped in actual love…not the fake love that people use to get in bed with someone…not the pretty words people say to convince themselves and others of what they feel…real, genuine love…a lot of it is simply a deep friendship…some of it is much more…

I don’t know if I was ever really cared about by a man the way that BBFF cares about me…I don’t remember ever feeling safe and secure with The Ex…I don’t ever remember someone sitting and listening to me talk about what’s important to me with the full force of their attention…I don’t remember ever being so interested in learning as much about someone or wanting them to know as much about me – the good, bad, and ugly…I don’t remember a simple hug feeling so good…

Some things you have to figure out, think about, worry about, chew on, and then decide…some things you just know…I know I am loved…

I Am The Mom…

I was inspired to compile the following list after reading a few of my own Facebook posts about the boys…apparently, I’m developing quite a following of people who think the things I post about the boys are interesting…hmmm, ok..

I am the mom who will watch, dispassionately, as my child rolls on the floor screaming – even in public.

I am the mom who growls right back at the 2 year old who is learning what his voice can do – again even in public.

I am the mom who doesn’t have a problem with snacking before dinner – anything to keep the whining to a minimum while I cook dinner.

I am the mom who does NOT fight with my picky eater about his food choices – because no one wins that fight.

I am the mom who will let one of my children cry himself to sleep without an ounce of guilt.

I am the mom who enforces a strict bedtime for both boys – both for my own sanity AND their need for rest.

I am the mom who avoids the call from the daycare because I don’t want to be told I need to come get a sick child.

I am the mom who posts nearly every funny thing my children say and do to Facebook – because I have to tell SOMEBODY and because it will be great blackmail in a few years.

I am the mom who always forgets to take pictures of the big moments, the sweet moments, and the precious moments – but I never fail to get a picture of them sleeping.

I am the mom who offers the TV when the noise gets to be too much – early and often.

I am the mom who will let a child leave the house with no coat on in cold weather – that way, I win the argument about wearing a coat in cold weather the rest of the winter.

I am the mom who refuses to buy the Nintendo DS, cell phone, and any other gadget for a 6 year old – but I will buy a new pack of crayons, markers, or paper with my last dollar.

I am the mom who will physically pick up a screaming, thrashing child to make the point that you will do what I tell you to do.

I am the mom who freaks out just a little when both boys notice they have the same bits and pieces during bathtime – and begin to compare.

I am the mom who secretly smiles when the boys sing to Katy Perry, Black Eyed Peas, Taio Cruz, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, and anything else on the radio.

I am the mom who thinks cereal for dinner is a fine idea – Poptarts for dinner is sometimes ok, too.

So, I’m not winning Mother of the Year anytime soon…awards are over-rated anyway…I’m just trying to make sure they survive childhood and that I survive parenthood.

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