Monthly Archives: March 2012

The Potty Chronicles – Oh, Sean…

Can I just say that I hate potty-training?

Today was not easy…I bribed Sean into sitting on the potty with Skittles…and he sat for so long he finally did number 2… but he wasn’t happy about it. He didn’t want to high-five, do a happy dance, or anything (of course, I don’t blame him – when was the last time you celebrated a bodily function?)…he even ran away when I started to wipe his butt…there’s nothing better than chasing down a toddler, cornering him in the laundry room, and forcing him to take a butt-wiping…

We sat on the couch and started watching Spongebob (Sean’s new love)…I asked every few minutes, “Sean, do you need to potty?” And always received an emphatic, “No!” And then we both got sucked into the Sponge…20 minutes later, as I’m helping him off the couch, I realize he’s been sitting in a puddle…on my couch…my fabric, not easily cleaned, couch…dammit…

I know there are people who will say that you have to perservere through moments like that, but the boy was willing to sit in a cold, wet puddle rather than use the potty…so today, it was back to the diaper…just for today…

I missed most of this with Aidan…and frankly, one week with The Step when he was three, and he was trained…hell, one weekend with The Step and Sean used the potty three freaking times! I think The Step is the Potty Whisperer and needs to look into a career change…

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Subtle Shifts

It could be a lack of sugar…it could be a hormonal shift…or it could be what it seems…but I feel myself changing, shifting…

Big Brother has told me several times that I’ve changed over the past year or more…This Man said he sees a difference from just a few months ago…my mom was noncommittal when I asked her…

Change is like growth for little kids or weight loss for the not-so-little…you and the people who spend a lot of time with you don’t see it as easily as the people who are around less frequently…it usually requires a mental comparison of then (then being 6 months, a year, whatever) and now to see it for yourself…

I know without a doubt that I’ve changed…could I tell you how? Probably not…not in specific terms…but I know that the woman who declared her independence on February 13, 2011 is completely different from who I am today…

But right now, in this moment, I feel myself shifting, changing…it’s amorphous, shapeless, weightless, but it’s there….I can feel it…it’s in the way my shoulders straighten a little more and my head cocks to the side when I hear Katy Perry or Kelly Clarkson on the radio…it’s in the way a simple drive across town makes me feel free…it’s in the way I let Aidan go on his first sleepover without overthinking the hell out of…it’s in the way that I can look at The Ex without feeling anything – no anger, no aggravation – just because he’s there…all bets are off when he does something stupid that affects the boys…

The shift is sort of like water rising…slow, almost imperceptible…but over time, it becomes very clear that the water has risen…the same is true now…the changes, the shifts have been subtle…but when all of the changes come together, its a clear difference…

I don’t if what I’m feeling is the start of something new or the culmination of something ongoing…but I feel more confident…I feel more authoritative…I feel like I have more perceived control over my own world…I feel like a woman instead of a scared girl…

I have clear memories of wondering who put me in charge several months ago…now, I know that no one put me in charge…I took charge…and I don’t need permission to be who I am…

You will like me…or not.

You will love me…or not.

I will still be who I am (and continue to figure out who I am) with no outside approval needed…I will find joy in my life because it’s there, no matter how stressful life is…I will feel free because I am…I will crack a joke, make a face, and laugh obnoxiously in the face of craziness…of course, I will also assess the situation and come up with a plan and two back-up plans in the face of craziness because some things never change…

Ok, so maybe the shift isn’t as subtle as I thought…

The Benjamin Boys To The Extreme

After a week long break, the boys felt it was important that I be thrown back into the deep end…

Monday – Sean refused to wake up and cried through our entire morning routine…he threw his PopTart on the floor (yeah, I know, not very healthy, but he refused a banana)…he didn’t want to go to daycare…he refused to use the potty (even though he used it for his grandfather!)…he didn’t want to eat his dinner…

Tuesday – Aidan didn’t want to get out of bed…he yelled his way through the morning routine…thankfully, he calmed down by the time we got in the car…Sean pushed me away when I tried to give him a goodbye kiss at the daycare…Sean refused the potty…

Wednesday – a return to normal…thank God…oh yeah, Sean still refuses to sit on the potty…

*****

Aidan: “Find, f-i-n-d, kind, k-i-n…Mom! Oh no!”

The car door swung open as I was driving down the road…

Me: “Oh shit!”

Aidan: “My homework is…hey! Mom! You’re not supposed to say that!”

I pull over to close the door. Aidan is sobbing at this point.

Aidan: “My homework is gone!! I need my homework!”

Me: “Don’t worry. I’ll email your teacher and explain what happen. She’ll give you another copy, I promise. Please don’t cry. It’s not the end of the world.”

Aidan (wailing): “I know, but it’s almost the end of the nine weeks!”

*****

Sean: “Go faster, Mommy!”

Me: “I can’t baby.”

Sean: “GO, Mom-mee!”

Me: “Dude! Chill!”

Sean: “Go…FAST-ER!!!!”

I swear he sounds like I did at age 16…but he’s TWO!

*****

Sean: “Me take bath?”

Me: “First, we have to get in the car…and then go home.”

Sean: “Then me take bath?”

Me: “Yes, but first car, then home.”

Sean: “Then me take bath?”

Me: “Yes, but first car, then home.”

Sean: “Then me take bath?”

We went on that like for five minutes. I swear I do it to myself sometimes.

*****

The break was good…and necessary…and it reminded me of the importance of family…

After

I never deal with my deep emotions in the moment…

And it’s been in the days since my dad’s remains were finally laid to rest that I’ve felt the sadness I expected to feel on Sunday…

I miss my dad.

I feel like something else is missing. I don’t know what, though.

I guess I’m just sad and lonely.

This too shall pass…it always does.

Dealing With Dear Old Dad

I thought I knew how today was going to go…I thought there would be sadness…I thought there would be awkwardness…I thought it would suck…

Like everything in life, I should have checked my expectations at the door…

After 10 years, my mom and I were finally prepared to do something with my dad – his ashes, his urn, his remains…and we could think of no better place than with my great-grandmother who he adored…

We pulled up to the cemetery (I hate cemeteries, by the way)…my aunt and uncle seemed to know exactly where to go…and my stomach immediately began to knot…this was happening…this was really happening…oh my fucking God…

Being the people we are, we immediately began tidying up…we cleaned off my great-grandparents’ headstone…we cleaned off another family headstone…we freaked out about the hole that either belonged to a snake or a mole…I apologized to all the dead people I was stepping on…and then the moment came…we were supposed to pop the cork, so to speak…and we all just looked at one another…and shuddered…

What if we were standing in the wrong direction and got sprayed with remains? What if we couldn’t pry the lid off?? What if there was something other than dust in there? OK, so that last one was just me…

So we buried his urn…yep, that’s what we did…go ahead, be horrified…call us chicken…whatever…we’ve never been the type of people to act normal in any situation…

I really thought I would be weepier…and for a second I did tear up…but I did what I usually do – I sucked it up…

I don’t need my dad in a can next to me to be able to feel him with me, to be able to talk to him…everytime I hear “Sittin’ On The Dock of the Bay” or “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown,” I know he’s with me…everytime I’m too blunt and straightforward, he’s with me…everytime I work and function through hard shit or pain, there he is…I don’t need his ashes for him to be with me…

I felt something shift in me as we covered his urn with dirt and tamped it down…it reminded me of the shift I felt when he died…that day, I immediately felt the need to take care of my mom while she grieved, the way he would have – and I was no longer willing to take anyone’s crap (unfortunately, that didn’t last forever)…

Today it was more of a feeling of strength…a desire to be less nervous about life…an urgency to make changes, to be different, to be better, to be more alive

Thanks Daddy…I love you…and in my own twisted way, I will always be a Daddy’s girl…

Laughter…LOTS of Laughter

My stomach hurts…from laughing until I’ve cried…from laughing until I’ve nearly peed in my pants…

I didn’t anticipate today being this way…

10 years ago today, my dad died…he had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)…once he caught pneumonia, he never recovered – which is typical with people who have ALS…my mom and I made the decision to take him off life support, which he would have wanted….we knew he wanted to be cremated, so we picked out the urn together…together we got the house ready for his Irish wake style party to celebrate his life…

I was 22 and about to graduate college…always thinking of my education, he died at the start of my spring break and I barely missed school…the post about all that is coming…because tomorrow, we are finally scattering his ashes…in the only place that made sense…

Today surprised me…my mom and I speeding down the road, heading closer to something we both dread…that should have been a recipe for disaster…but we talked, we laughed, we pranked YY who was simultaneously heading up from south Florida…

We don’t do well when either of us is stressed…we had our moments where she was tense or when I rambled a little too much…but then we’d jokingly text message YY something, watch her fall for it, and start laughing again…

We laughed as we walked into the hotel…we laughed as we tried to get in our room (unsuccessfully)…we laughed when we back downstairs to talk to the crazy lady at the desk to get our key fixed…we laughed through dinner…we laughed through Target…we laughed while we visited with YY…my stomach hurts…

I dread what’s coming tomorrow, no matter how necessary…and since we’re a family that believes in finding something to laugh about in every situation, I know tomorrow won’t be all bad…but I am glad I had today to laugh with abandon…I’m going to need the memory of today tomorrow…

A Letter To My Ex

I had dinner with The Ex tonight…and it was weird…there are so many things I wish I could say to him…but he either wouldn’t get it, or it would start an argument, or it would be unnecessarily harsh…sitting with him tonight, I ached to tell him what was on my mind…to lay it all out…but it wouldn’t make a damn bit of difference…so this is my open letter to The Ex…

To The Ex:

I’ve been thinking a lot about lately about our relationship, past and present…the years we were together were – well, they were something…but it was the last year – from our separation to now – that has changed everything for me…

You wonder why I act standoffish with you…you claim I look down on you…you call me a snob…you have no freaking idea…

I have watched you over the past year revert to the worst of who you are…you were emotional…you were impulsive…you never thought before you acted…and it was me who had to pick up the pieces…it was me that had to pretend nothing was wrong so the boys didn’t get anxious or scared…

It was me who took care of the boys…it was me who made sure they had what they need…you never even asked…you’ve become selfish…self-involved…you can’t do anything for the boys because you’re just “trying to survive.”  Guess what, buddy – we’re parents.  It’s our freaking JOB to go without so our children are taken care of…it’s our job to sacrifice for them…and I’m not even talking the luxuries…I’m talking basic necessities…food, shelter, heat, clothing…the BASICS…where have you been?

You don’t call…you don’t act like you want to see them…you talk good game…you talk about missing them…but talk is cheap…what are you doing about any of it?  Why aren’t you on my doorstep every other weekend to see the boys, even if it’s just for a couple of hours?  You are so inconsistent that there are days Aidan says he’d rather not see you…I think I know why…I think he hates missing you, and it’s easier not to even get his hopes up (God, he’s my child, isn’t he?)…

When we talk, you want to talk about this woman or that woman…you bring up This Man’s name like you know something…This Man thinks I should tell you shit just to fuck with your head, just to throw you off, just to get you to shut up…what he doesn’t understand is that there’s a price to pay for that…and the price I pay for telling you even a little something is a form of torture…I’d rather not deal with any of that…

How many nights have you called or text messaged me in the middle of the night, making completely untrue statements about me and about what you think I’m doing…picking a fight, telling me how much you love me…emoting all over me…all because you think you know something about me…you know nothing

Yeah, you knew my habits, my quirks, my likes and dislikes…12 years is a long time together…but did you ever know me?  The thing about me you still hate more than anything is my sarcasm…my sarcastic nature is as a part of me as my brown eyes, dude…it’s who I am, but you hated it…you didn’t know me then, and you sure as hell don’t know me now…

You don’t understand why I’m always angry with you, either…I can’t talk to you – because it will turn into 20 text messages at midnight (which I will ignore – you have figured that out, right?)…you don’t ask about your own children, which pisses me off and makes me ache for them…I believe you love them…but I don’t get you…and unfortunately, most days, I don’t like you…

You have a long way to go with me…and I think you know that…be a father…be consistent…stop freaking out based on assumptions you’re making…STOP telling me about your women problems (I. Do. Not. CARE!)…and stop thinking you know anything about me and This Man…and yeah, I pointed out that I think he’s an excellent father and that I have no problem with him being around the boys for a REASON…when you figure out that reason, you’ll finally be moving in the right direction…

Sincerely,
Your tired, worn out, and exasperated Ex

This is what I wish I could have told The Ex a year ago…:

My Heart Is In Mississippi

I have felt off since Monday…

At first I thought it was from leaving This Man – which I really hate…I hate it when he leaves me more, though…there’s a certain amount of perceived control when you’re the one driving away (at least in my mind)…

Then for half a second I thought I really was missing the boys…except the peace and quiet have been freaking awesome…I haven’t changed my routine too much because I don’t want to get used to something I can’t maintain…but to come and go as I please is a luxury I’d forgotten about…

And this morning, it hit me like a ton of bricks…my whole heart is in Mississippi…

My mom is in Mississippi…

My BFF is in Mississippi…

This Man is in Mississippi…

And now my boys are in Mississippi…

Don’t get me wrong…I have good friends here with me – Mom #2 and Big Brother come to mind immediately…except we all have our own separate lives…we aren’t interwoven into the fabric of each other’s lives the way I am with Mama, BFF, and This Man…they are my family…technically, I could show up at 2am and they’d still love me (if they woke up enough to let me inside)…I could call anyone of them in the middle of the night for help (but only if I had no other option – I don’t call myself independent for nothin’)…

I didn’t notice it before because the boys are always with me, so I always have family around me…family that is totally dependent on me, runs me ragged, makes me crazy, and need to be raised, but at least it’s family…without them here, I have no one with me…and I don’t like it…I’ve never felt so isolated before  – this is soul-crushing.  I now know that if I didn’t have the boys, I’d do nothing but work…it’s all I have…

The Step and my mom told me I should move back to Mississippi months ago…and I fought them…because I needed to prove to myself, the world, The Ex, and anyone else that I could do it on my own…that I didn’t need constant support and help.  And I’ve done it…experiment attempted and theory proven: Michaela can function and raise two children with limited support and help.

And what I learned is that yeah, I can do it – but it sucks.  And I don’t want to be alone anymore…and I don’t want to do it all anymore…and today, I learned that my whole heart is in Mississippi…and without it, the pain is unbearable…

 

Last Week’s Hell Was Worth It…

I started smiling at 5:15am on Saturday and didn’t stop until about 9:45pm on Sunday…I only hit the snooze button once on Saturday and the morning routine was the smoothest it’s been in months…the boys didn’t fuss…I wasn’t stressed or worried…I was anxious to get there, though…

Saturday morning was with my mom…Saturday afternoon and night was all BFF and margaritas…oh hell, the margaritas!

Sunday was This Man…and it was perfect…I was the most relaxed and content I’ve ever been…there were no worries, no stresses…just blissful time spent together away from our real lives…and no, I’m not giving details – I don’t kiss and tell…

I stopped smiling at 9:45pm because that’s when I needed to leave…he had things to do, and I needed to be back home for a meeting this morning…and I felt like I was being punched in the gut…I felt like a part of me was being ripped in half…

I listen to my instinct, my gut, to get me through life…and every fiber of my being said not to leave…not because something bad was going to happen, but because it was wrong…I do what I’m supposed to do whether I want to or not all the time…this was no different…

I cried…I hugged him…I drove away, sniffling…and then I do what I do best – I put my emotions to the side, buried them where they couldn’t hurt me, and moved on…life has to go on regardless of what I might want to happen…

But I miss my mom…I miss BFF…and I miss This Man…and my world no longer feels quite as right as it did this weekend…

Every temper tantrum, every aggravation, every moment of The Ex’s idiocy last week was worth it for 2 days of life being right.

Is This Where I Pay To Play?

I will soon be in a Dodge Journey (a freaking awesome rental), speeding down the road, headed to Mississippi…I have promised not to throw the boys from the car…I’ll visit with my mom, we’ll go to lunch, and then I will speed away, tires squealing, rubber burning, to get to BBF and This Man…

I have looked forward to this weekend and the following week for three weeks…actually, I’ve looked forward to the fantasy of this coming week for months…

Being the person I am, I mentally mapped out all that I needed to do today to get ready for tomorrow…what’s that expression about the best laid plans? Sometimes I’m not sure why I bother planning anything…

Here’s how this day was supposed to go: Get out of work at 4:30, pick up the rental no later than 5:30, get home before 6, cook dinner, get the boys bathed and in bed, workout, shower, pack, and sleep (maybe…I am a little excited…).

Here’s how it actually went: Got out of work at 5:15 (because the last event of the day was wildly popular!); got to Enterprise at 5:30 (and waited for a car until 6:30); went back to the office where I left my car because I forgot my phone charger (sooooo not an option); on the road home around 7; got a text from The Ex who apparently was tired of watching the boys and couldn’t manage to feed them dinner (WTF, dude?!); got home, fixed dinner, bathed the boys, bed by 8; began packing; searched for 30 minutes for one of Sean’s shoes (never found it); realized at 9:15 that I hadn’t eaten dinner and my knee hurts (screw the workout)…

I am so excited about my girls’ night out tomorrow and my evening with This Man on Sunday…I am equally excited about my week off from the mom thing…everyone says I’ll miss them…and not to sound like the worst Mom ever, but I don’t think so…this week has been rough on a lot of levels…temper tantrums everyday – Thursday morning I was reduced to tears (not that I’ll ever let Aidan know he got to me like that)…it’s been ages since I had time away from my children that wasn’t work-related and </em knew the boys were with someone I trust completely (sorry, my faith in The Ex is somewhat reduced)…

This is pretty typical of my life…work hard every moment to get to a few seconds of good…the good things in my life have never been easy…I envy the people who have that kind of good fortune…but at least I'll appreciate every single second of my time…after everything I've been through in the past few hours, days, weeks, and months, I am appreciative of the much-needed break I'm about to receive…but don't get in my way, I may knock your ass down on my way out the door!