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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.

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10 Years Ago

If I was still married, today would be my 10th wedding anniversary…

And I don’t know how I feel about that…I feel something, because I’ve thought about this day for the past couple of weeks.  Several of my friends on Facebook have celebrated their 10 year anniversaries in the past couple of months…and it only made me think of my own lost 10 year anniversary…

Please do not think in any way that I wish I was still married to The Ex…oh hell no!

It does make me think of what was supposed to be, what might have been, and what’s still to come…

I had jokingly demanded requested that our 10 year anniversary be the year I finally got a diamond ring – a big one…we had said that on our 10 year anniversary we would take a cruise (I would loooooove to go on a cruise)…we had said so many things…but like a lot of our marriage, it was all talk…it was never going to happen…and somehow that makes me a little sad…

I’m not sad that it’s not going to happen with The Ex…but that I never realized it wasn’t going to happen at all…that I fooled myself into believing that I could will him to do something I wanted…that if I wanted it bad enough, I could make it happen – come hell or high water…

So what’s to come?  Who the hell knows?

I hope that I get married again one day…I hope I’m smarter about it…I hope that it’s different and that when I hit the 10 year mark, there are no disappointments…I’m filled with hope about my future…and a little sadness about my past…

One Year Ago…

One year ago today, I told The Ex I wanted a divorce…I know most people say that they asked for a divorce…with The Ex, asking was never my style (sad but true)…I told him…and a few months later, I made it happen…

I cried about it…because I knew I was causing him pain…because I felt like a failure who couldn’t cut it at marriage…because I hate confrontation and didn’t know what would happen…because I felt like I had worked hard for all those years for nothing…

I grieved long before I ever told him…before I ever told myself…I let myself come very close to making really stupid decisions, dipping my toe into a place I should have run screaming from – but there really is an upside to everything…without that close call, I never would have woken up to just how unhappy I was, just how broken the marriage was (probably for years)…

A lot has happened between The Ex and myself in the past 365 days…the Scorpio part of me doesn’t forgive easily (usually never)…but I’m trying…I’m trying to see him in a different light, see him for the man I think he wants to be…unfortunately, as he did in our marriage, he disappoints me more often than not…maybe my standards are too high, but I make no apologies for that…but I do think he tries…and I can respect that…

So yeah, I’m the chick who told her husband she wanted a divorce 12 years and one day after they met, and one day before Valentine’s Day…you know, I never said I wanted to win Wife of the Year…

I just hope that if I’m ever fortunate enough to get a second chance at love and marriage, I do a better job than the first go-round…

Thirteen Years Ago, Today…

On February 12, 1999, I met The Ex…of course, that day he was just The Annoying Bother…The Guy Who Wouldn’t Take A Hint…

Before it was popular, I met The Ex online…through ICQ (is that even around anymore?)…I was in college, up late, writing a paper…and he said, “Hi.” I was uninterested, so I ignored him…he pestered me until I told him if he couldn’t find something more interesting to say than “Hi” then I wasn’t interested…

We weren’t a match made in heaven, not by a long shot – ask any of my college roommates…but in the first few months when it was just conversation, we worked…that should have told me something later, right?

Anyway, I’m not a sentimental person by nature…I tend not to remember dates or who said what or what everyone was wearing…that stuff isn’t usually very important to me…I remembered the details all these years because The Ex remembers stuff like that…

And it’s on my mind tonight, because The Ex made it clear to me last night that it was on his mind…

This is probably the blog post where I’m supposed to rail against the last 13 years and ask myself if those years were wasted or not…I think I’m supposed to be sad at the loss of the original relationship…

I’m dispassionate, at best….but mostly ambivalent…

Would I have ever thought, 13 years later, that this would be the state of our relationship? Of course not…but it is what it is…and I’m more concerned about my future and the boys’ futures to be worried with the past…and I tend not to allow myself to feel regret…I wouldn’t be who I am today without everything that’s happened through the years…

And so, even though I’m not sentimental, this date needs to be marked – because of the anniversary dates coming up…stay tuned…

Moth to Butterfly…and Back?

I’ve been mulling over this one for a while…I’ve been lost in thought for days now…deep in thought, grinding my teeth…and while I was driving to work the other day, the image that came to mind was that for years I was like a little brown moth…for a while, I felt like I was blossoming into a butterfly…and now I’m moth-like again…

Ok, so maybe that analogy seems over the top…let me try to explain…

I have a lot of people…a lot…ask me why I ever married The Ex…and frankly, when I was 19, I thought that was the best I could do…he loved me, he was sweet, and he (for whatever reason) thought I was beautiful…so why wouldn’t I stick with him through every crazy drama, marry him, defend him, take care of him, work myself into the ground for him? Even though he never actually did anything that showed his love for me?

As the years passed, I sort of faded…my clothes were drab, I didn’t take care of my appearance (beyond normal hygiene, of course), I lost my entire sense of self and a lot of my identity…I was so worn down by life’s normal stresses that the rest didn’t matter…feeling like a woman held no meaning for me…I stopped being this sassy, sarcastic, sexual person that I was becoming at 18 and 19…

I look back now and realize that I know exactly when the beginning of the end of my marriage occurred…it was the day I saw a picture of myself on Aidan’s first birthday…in that instant, I started to care about myself…my appearance, my health, myself…it was a long battle…several years, Sean’s birth, and the recovery from being pregnant…the moment I finally realized I was worth taking care of was a defining moment that I didn’t even know I was having…

Had I been married to someone who understood the give and take of relationships…who had seen my worth as far more than a support system…maybe our marriage could have survived…but once I realized that I had a certain self-worth that was unrelated to him, I think I primed myself for being strong enough to say, “I can do bad by myself. You’ve got to go.”

In the months leading up to the split and in the weeks after (admittedly with some bad days and weeks in between), I started to find myself again…eventually I could smile…I could show confidence…hell, when necessary, I could fake confidence…ask Eebee, she’ll tell you I started being my sassy-self…she thought it was new…I didn’t have the ability to tell her that no, back in the day, I was like this…vivacious…that’s a good word – vivacious…

In the past few weeks, I think I’ve faded again…and some habits die hard…instead of truly believing that I need no man to be happy, I’m like that puppy you can kick but will wag it’s tail when you pet it…yeah, give me 5 seconds of decent behavior and apparently, I’ll forgive 5 days of being ignored or being taken for granted…I don’t smile…I laugh, but it’s usually a harsh, angry laugh …there’s nothing sassy, vivacious, or alive about me…for a while I felt light and airy…now I feel weighed down…And I’ve gone back to the self-destructive behavior that made me fat so many years ago…

None of what is causing it is unusual for anyone…and the fact that I feel this way probably isn’t unusual…some people will say it’s a slump and it will pass…yeah, the last slump took 12 years to work through…sorry, I don’t feel like going backward in time…I miss the person I was discovering…and I’m not completely sure how to get her back…

I don’t want to fade into the background again like the brown moth that you don’t see until their flitting around, desperate to get to the light…I might not ever be the most brightly colored butterfly out there, but I could definitely be one of the most memorable…how do I get back to that?

Feeling Soft

Please do not mistake that title as anything warm, fuzzy, and/or sweet…I mean soft as in flabby, lacking definition, blech…

A couple of weeks ago I made the decision to let something, anything slide so that I could sort of maintain my sanity…and it ended up being exercise.  Yes, I realize that if I exercised I would probably have more energy, sleep better, feel better about myself, and a million other things…I could write the book on why I should work out…

Unfortunately, I’ve also been emotionally eating for a couple of weeks – yes, I am an emotional eater…stress, conflict, uncertainty – those are my usual triggers…I don’t feel like I have time…I constantly feel rushed…there’s always something else that needs to be done, handled, finished, completed, submitted, whatever…it never stops…and so I never stop…it’s my own fault…

And all of this has created this horrible soft, mushy feeling…and I hate it!

I was becoming firm, toned, high and tight…now, not so much…my treadmill just looks on in sadness, wondering when I’ll come play again…

I keep telling myself when life calms down a little – especially work – I’ll focus on myself again.  I know taking time for me is the healthiest thing I can do…I get that…I just need to slow down a little first…

As for the emotional eating, I have another reason excuse for that one…The Ex told me yesterday that he’s getting married in October…at the end of October…but he assured me it wouldn’t be on my birthday…um…ok?  Eebee wondered if I was going to be ok once it sank in…surprisingly, it doesn’t bother me…it seems strange to me….but it doesn’t hurt at all or make me angry…I feel like I’m learning something about a stranger…it’s just information that has no bearing on my life…is that healthy?

I wish it would mean he’d stop being so interested in my personal life, but somehow I doubt that…

But, it hasn’t stopped me from reaching for the cheeseburgers, either…

I Am Doing it ALL Wrong

I’ve been single, divorced, whatever, since August 8…and I have yet to take a single moment and reflect, laugh, celebrate – pick something but I haven’t done it.  No one has celebrated with me…my entire family was in town for the weekend, and it was only discussed briefly. My friends are too busy or too far away.  And it’s still illegal to put your children on shelf so you can go out at night…

But I’m doing this wrong.  So I can’t run off the New Orleans (yet) with Eebee for the big celebration.  Ok.  So I can’t buy myself a cake (or even a cupcake) because I’m trying not to eat that stuff right now. Ok. So my life didn’t actually change all that much (except for the name thing). Ok. None of that is relevant.

I have to mark this occasion with something…as sad as a divorce can be (it is the death of a marriage), it’s also a new, completely unwritten chapter in my life.  I am a single woman…for the first time in my adult life.  This is new territory…this is a blank slate…this is me deciding that I will NOT be the cat lady (note to self: do not buy a cat…EVER.).

I have come to a decision…Saturday night I will sit in my house and do SOMETHING to commemorate this new beginning.  I don’t care if it’s me, a bottle of white zinfandel, and noise makers, but I will mark the occasion.  It will probably be me, the wine, and a noisemaker…but it’s all good.  What I’ve learned (and am still learning) through this whole process is that you have to create your own moments, your own happiness, your own memories…you can’t depend on the world to take care of those things for you…if you do, you’ll be sitting around waiting on nothing. 

If you want to celebrate with me, even if you’re half-way across the world, have a drink with me Saturday night – wine, kool-aid, or whatever.  Even if it’s virtual, the moment should be shared.  I am on my way…there will be bumps, bruises, sad times, stressful times, and everything else, but it’s life on my terms and it deserves a good start.

 

I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends…

If this morning was any indication, today should have been a crappy, crappy day…it wasn’t, by the way. 

Sean’s daycare was late opening up today…an hour late…I dropped Aidan off first, Sean dumped the rest of his breakfast all over his lap, I cleaned everything up, and decided to get breakfast for myself and apple juice for Sean at Sonic.  The system was down and they could only take cash, which I almost never carry…I went to another Sonic (because I REALLY like Sonic first thing in the morning), got breakfast, and then spilled Sean’s apple juice all over me…dammit…dropped Sean off (finally) and made it to work 30 minutes late…I really, REALLY hate being late…that doesn’t sound so bad in retrospect, but if this had happened last week,  I would probably have been in tears from pure frustration…

The difference?  I’m rested, rejuvenated, refreshed, and ready to go.  It wasn’t a full weekend off, but it was something.  I knew I needed it, I’ve needed it for weeks now, but I didn’t know how much good a little rest could do for me…Work was a breeze…I checked things off my VERY necessary to-do list, felt like I accomplished something, and left work without feeling harried…every day should feel like that!

But the most important thing (and it’s something I need everyone’s help with) was a conversation I had with Big Brother and Mom #2…I was explaining to Big Brother that my divorce could be final by mid-August – 6 months from start to finish…and he asked me how I was going to celebrate…

I don’t know if I can “celebrate” my divorce because that doesn’t feel right to me…I don’t want to take joy in Almost Ex’s pain…so I’m trying to reframe it in my mind…I’ll celebrate a new beginning in my life (it sounds much better)…Big Brother was not impressed when I said I was planning on getting a new tattoo…I’m not getting it because I’m getting a divorce…I like tattoos, and even I can save $50 in the next 6-8 weeks…

Mom #2 and Big Brother presented an idea (that I rejected out-of-hand at first) that I should plan a trip after the divorce is final…that I should travel on my own somewhere…my first reaction was, “Hell no!” But that’s my typical reaction…I’m always nervous about trying new things…but then I started to think about it, and I started getting excited at the idea of taking a trip (even a small one)…

So here’s where I need the help of friends, acquaintances, random readers of this blog (all three of you)…I don’t want anyone to tell me where to go, but I definitely want to hear your ideas.  I’ve not been to a lot of places so I’m pretty open…would it be cool to know someone when I get there? Sure…is it necessary? Not really…and I’m willing to fly or drive…And I can already hear my mother’s concern, so let me say that no, I wouldn’t drive my crappy SUV (nicknamed Bubba), I would rent a car…and if I fly, it would probably be Vision Airlines because they’re cheap…and yes, Mama, I would get a CLEAN hotel in a safe part of town…

I don’t usually ask for this, but I want people who read this to comment with ideas…either here or on my Facebook page…the sooner I decide where to go, the sooner I can start figuring out how to make it work…Help me out, so I can celebrate my new beginning in an unforgettable way!

Gotta Start Somewhere…

I guess the first post of a new blog should be the why-am-i-doing-this blog. So here goes…

On February 13 I told my husband of nearly 9 years that I no longer wanted to be married to him.  My timing has never been great but the day before Valentine’s Day was bad, even for me…I broke his heart, I up-ended his world, and in his words, “I did this.”  It wasn’t the best moment for either of us, but it was the right thing for me.  Pretty selfish, I’m sure, but it was the first time in my adult life I made a decision that was good for me and no one else.

I’m not going to dwell on the past and this blog is NOT a forum for husband-bashing, divorce jokes, or anything else that dwells on the negative.

What I had been learning prior to my decision, and have become convinced of since then, was that I had no clue who I was anymore.  At 19, I took on the role of Responsible Adult and never looked back.  I worked, married, kept working, had babies, kept working, and never looked up to see if what I was doing was helping or hurting me…yes, ME.  Everything I did was to benefit someone else – my husband, my children, my friends, my family, my co-workers, my boss, random people who didn’t know me, you name it. 

When I found myself in a situation I never wanted to be in, never thought I would be in, and knew in my heart was the wrong place for me to be, I woke up.  I was jolted awake by reality, actually.  It’s almost never a good thing when real life intrudes on what you’re doing…it usually means you weren’t doing the right thing.

After months of soul-searching, and getting my professional and personal life in order, I made decisions…hard decisions.  The end of my marriage was the most momentous of them all.  In one fell swoop, I affected countless lives but most immediately, the lives of my husband and children.

I could dwell on what went wrong in my marriage – what he did wrong, what I did wrong, why it’s not going to work anymore.  I’ve been through all of that…with my husband.  I see no need to re-live it in a blog that will stay on the internet forever.

I’m one of those people who has to “talk it out” when I have something in my head, something I need to figure out.  And right now, I’m figuring out who I am as a single mom – a single woman.  My family is small, my friends are few (by choice), and even they get tired of hearing it.  So I decided to start a blog to “talk it out.”

I don’t know quite what this blog is yet.  But I know what it won’t be – it will NOT be where I re-live the past and the negativity of my relationship, my divorce, and the mistakes we both made in our marriage.  I am moving forward and this blog is meant to chronicle my new journey…

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