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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…

The Flipside of Peace and Contentment

Normally I would never post to the same blog twice in the same day…but I had such a beautiful start to my day…and it deserved its own post

I should have stayed on the beach…my day went downhill the moment I left…at first it was nothing but minor aggravations – lunch plans I decided to change…wishy-washy potential buyers of Bubba who kept backing out (yeah, I’m selling Bubba)…and then there was tonight with The Ex…

I knew I hit a breaking point when I cried through both of the books I read to the boys at bedtime…I couldn’t even hide it…Aidan didn’t say anything – that’s not his style…he’ll say something in a few days…

Thanks to some tough love from This Man, I had to face some truths…some of which he doesn’t even know I realized…the biggest? I have spent every moment of the past 13 years trying to make The Ex something he’s not…I tried to make him work…I tried to make him a partner in our marriage…and now I’m trying to make him a good father…

I am so afraid of the boys not having a relationship with The Ex that I include him in family activities, even though I really don’t want to…and he perceives (incorrectly) that I want him around – and I’m always disappointed because he spends the entire time we’re together focused on me, not on the boys…

It’s torture to have him around, but I tell myself it’s for the boys, and I’ll just suffer through…tonight, I guess I felt like I had suffered enough…I started crying and I couldn’t stop…

I feel like a failure…I can’t get The Ex to focus on the boys…I can’t get him to stop flirting with me, talking about his girlfriend, or telling me that he still loves me (God, make it stop!)…

I tell myself I’m doing this for the boys…because they need their father…because they’re better off with both of us…

The reality, though? I don’t want to be wrong – about everything…even though I have been…I was the idiot who married him…and although I wouldn’t have had the boys without The Ex, I saddled them with him as their father…I’ve already done it all wrong…and my biggest fear is that one day they’ll look at me and blame me because they don’t have a relationship with him…

Intellectually I know that could happen anyway…I know that I will endure all sorts of blame and accusations – that’s what kids do, right? At least until they figure it out for themselves…

But I don’t want it to be true…I don’t want them to not have a father because of me…I’m afraid of giving up on The Ex for the wrong reasons…it would be very easy for me to stop trying so hard to force The Ex to be a dad, but I’m afraid that my real reasons would have nothing to do with the boys and everything to do with how I feel – and isn’t that wrong? It feels wrong…

And if I let him slip out of their lives, who do I replace him with? Who else can be a father-figure to them? Yes, single parents have been doing this succesfully for a long time, but even I have to admit that two decent parental figures are better than one frazzled, frustrated, worn-out parent…they deserve better, and I don’t have better to offer them…so I just keep pretending The Ex is what they need…

I’ve been so wrong about so much…and this is the one thing I wish I could get right…

Fear: Making People Stupid Since The Dawn of Time

Big Brother tells me all the time to watch out for fear because it will cause you to do stupid things…I hate it when he’s right…I think about the situations that make me fearful in nearly every aspect of my life…I think before I act, I analyze, I’m cautious…except for matters of the heart…

And I let fear get the best of me…and if This Man that I adore was not thinking clearer than me, I might have scared him off for good…

For someone who stays pretty dispassionate (on the surface, only on the surface), men can drive me to extremes I didn’t know existed…with The Ex, when I was angry, I screamed…and I mean, screamed – people who know me wouldn’t recognize me if they witnessed it…

This Man, inadvertently, brings out my overly emotional and fearful side…it’s not his fault, but he’s the catalyst…

We’ve mostly just talked for the past few months…old friends who reconnected…but at some point, my heart got more involved than it should…than either of us is ready for…and now I’m so fearful of losing him, that if he was a different man, I would have driven him away this weekend…but thankfully, he’s one of the few men on the planet who can handle me…and he admitted to me tonight that he mostly just sighed and thought, “Oh brother…”

Ok, first – thanks dude, really?!  But second, I am so thankful that he gets me…had we been face-to-face, he probably could have snapped me out of it with a look or word…

I’m a typical Scorpio…and, while I’d like to pretend I’m not, I’m extremely insecure when it comes to love and relationships…so, match meet tinder…a small explosion was bound to occur…and I’m pretty sure it won’t be the last…

I’ve pretty much conquered fear on a lot of levels – both personal and professional…this is unchartered territory, and I have a lot of previous baggage to deal with…if This Man can survive some of that (while I survive some of his baggage) we may do just fine…but I’m pretty sure this won’t be the last time I show my ass and then have to eat a little crow and beg forgiveness for my own stupidity…

Leaping

I have this image of me just jumping, leaping into different parts of life…not asking, “What if” but instead having a Nike moment and just doing it…

As in all things, there are parameters – if the answer to the “What if” question is that it could harm my children, myself, or someone I love, then the answer is no…but if the answer is that I might get hurt (emotionally) or that I might fail, then I’ve got to find the will to make sure the answer is yes…not maybe, not sometime in the future, but yes…

Signs are everywhere, when you’re looking for them, and although the new fad on Facebook of posting quotes as pictures is, at times, almost annoying, it’s also full of wisdom…but in the past few days, the ones that have caught by attention have been about fear, courage, bravery, living life…

How do I become the person I’m meant to be if I’m afraid all the time?  Fear is powerful…it doesn’t make me act irrationally as it does for some – it paralyzes me…and I can’t live my life afraid…afraid of snakes, afraid of bugs, afraid of rodents – ok, sure, that’s still allowed…but afraid of living life because it might not turn out how I want it to?  I can’t accept that anymore…

I am constantly telling people I wouldn’t be the person I am today without the experiences I’ve had in the past…it’s true for everyone, and on some level, we all know it…so why am I holding myself back from experiences just because at some point there might be pain?  At the end of the day, as long as I’m still proud of who I am, that’s all that matters…right?

I’m not naive enough to think it will be easy to decide not to be afraid…and there will be plenty of times I’ll have to remind myself of this little revelation…but if I really do want to live my life out loud and spread my wings and (insert metaphor here) then I’ve got no other choice…

Anxiety…Panic…Fear…

I don’t usually do this, but let me give a disclaimer: This is pure word vomit.  This is me freaking out.  If you would prefer to keep whatever image you have of me, don’t read this one.  This is not me at my best…And I consider this my forum to figure me out…which means I have to face the ugly side, the freak outs…I recognize that I choose to do this in the middle of a public blog…and I open myself up by doing this…but it’s me, and it’s real, and I do not ask for or seek approval or solutions…

Sadly, what started this was actually something very nice.  I had an entire hour to myself this afternoon – no children, no work, no dealing with Almost Ex, just me and the mile-long path around the park…I was in awe of the idea that I had 60 precious minutes.  I walked for 2 miles (can’t wait until I’m running again!), stretched, and actually thought to myself that it was so nice to feel clear-headed…

And then I started thinking…thinking about things I was trying to avoid thinking about…I felt fear creeping in…Big Brother-from-another-mother says that fear can take hold and make you act stupidly…I always try to keep this in mind…but I could feel panic setting in, I could feel the what-ifs flowing into my head like a river…

What do I do when the money runs out? What money?  Its gone…it hasn’t been there.  Almost Ex contributes nothing…it’s not like I can get a second job…that would require childcare, I can barely afford the childcare that I have now…this isn’t about cutting back…there’s nothing left to cut…what do I do?  How do I fix this?  I can’t borrow money because its just throwing money down a blackhole…and I hate the idea of owing anymore money than I already do…how do I fix this how do I fix this how do I fix this? This isn’t a temporary problem…

I had someone tell me (regarding a financial mistake they made that affected me) that I would just have to sacrifice a few luxuries until it was corrected…like what? Electricity or water?  You tell me because there ARE no luxuries…I’m freaking out.  I fix my problems.  I worked two jobs last year when I found myself in this spot…I don’t know how to fix this…

The vehicle that I’ve been stuck with in this process is acting funny, making strange noises, and was never my first pick as a mode of transportation…even when it belonged to Almost Ex…I’m a pretty cautious driver, and I’ve done a full 360 on a wet road in it…it scares me…but what can I do?  I can’t get it fixed (not right now), I can’t get a new(er) one (not right now), I can’t just leave it on the side of the road and let it finish rusting out (even though I would shed no tears over it)…it is what it is…how do I fix this?

Shaking, crying, driving home…with my boys in the backseat…I can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel…I tell myself there is light…I tell myself that I will get through this (and I will)…but none of my planning is working…I should be used to this by now…I’ve been here so many times over the years that it should feel normal…but I fooled myself into thinking this would be different…

And I can almost hear the voices of those who would remind me that I chose to get a divorce and pretty much asked for this…maybe I did…maybe I deserve every miserable feeling I have…I don’t know…I can’t answer that…I just know that I work towards goals and find solutions to problems…and I don’t know what to do now…

I even know (in the middle of the panic) that this feeling is temporary…I will sacrifice whatever I must in order to take care of my boys…I will meet my obligations because that’s what I do…I worked too hard to correct the mistakes of my college years to NOT meet my obligations now…but that doesn’t quiet the panicky voice in my head that keeps asking, “How do I fix this?”

But regardless of how I feel at this very moment, tomorrow morning, I will wake up, put my big-girl panties on, and keep moving forward…what other choice do I have?

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