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Chatterbox

I know, I know, I suck…I’ve been silent for a couple of weeks (or longer)…I guess that’s what happens when life gets to a place that might be called “normal” – there’s nothing to bitch about…And while the boys are usually all I need for a little blogging fodder, they’ve been downright boring lately…well, until recently…

I don’t notice it until I’m alone with him, but Sean is a total chatterbox…yeah, ok, I hear the snickering from my family…it’s genetic…I know…his ramblings are cute and funny, but not so memorable that I can hold them in my brain long enough to blog about them later…

He chattered away today, but it made me sad…

“I miss my daddy…Mommy, did you know I miss my daddy?”

“I want to see my daddy…he’s in Georgia…can I stay with my daddy, Mommy?”

“My daddy tickled me and tickled me…and I laughed, Mommy…do you hear me laughing now, Mommy? Daddy tickled me, and I laughed.”

He hasn’t been around his father since August, so I can only imagine that was the last time The Ex tickled him…and my heart breaks, because Sean still has memories of his father, good ones…and they make him miss The Ex…

I received a text from The Ex today…”My phone is getting turned off tomorrow.”

I think that was his way of telling me that instead of talking to the boys once a week, they’ll get to hear from him once a NEVER…

In other news, the sun rises in the east and sets in the west…

Le sigh (that’s all the French I remember from high school, in case you were wondering)…

Regardless of the topic, I’ll let Sean chatter away…he’s always thinking (a little like his Mommy) and I never know what’s going to come out of him next…

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A Letter To Their Father

I’ve done this before…it’s cathartic…and I know I could never get him to listen to this, so why bother trying?  But my head has been in a fog and if I don’t get it out, I may explode…

To Their Father:

I use that term loosely, I hope you realize that.  You haven’t been a real father to the boys in more than a year and a half…and looking back on your idea of what it meant to be a stay-at-home father, I’m not sure you were so hot at it before we split…

You only come around when I give you a reason…you don’t support them…you don’t even know what their day-to-day lives are like…because you don’t ask…because you don’t engage…because you have faded to a distant background…

And now you’ve moved away…six hours away…and you didn’t tell your children…you didn’t say good-bye to them…what kind of father does that?!  The moving part is understandable…I get that…but to not explain to the boys that it would be a while before they saw you again…to not ease it for them?  Why?  Because it was too hard for you?  Well, fuck, a lot of this is hard…you’ve got it easy…you get to hide behind your pain and check out…and now you took the easy way out of the hardest thing you’ve done yet…didn’t you?

I was reminded recently that maybe it’s better that you aren’t around the boys…I don’t want them to end up like you…I want them to understand the value of hard work…the value of keeping their commitments…I want better for them than we have provided so far…

I held out hope in our marriage for a better life…and I continued holding on to hope through the past year and a half…hope that you would step up…hope that you would contribute…hope that you wouldn’t let your relationship with the boys suffer…it took me 12 years to give up hope on you and me…and it took me a year and half to give up hope when it comes to you as a father – the only thing I ever wanted from you in the divorce: be a good father…and you couldn’t do it, could you?

Well, your absence from their lives is your loss…remember that…

They are going to be fine…because I will make sure they’re fine…I will do what I’ve always done – I’ll continue to make sure you don’t look like an ass to your children…I will continue to make sure they never believe you just left them…you will always be “at work,” “at home,” or whatever else I can conjure up…

But don’t be surprised if there comes a day when someone else has taken your place…a place you walked away from…a place you gave up…

And by the way, stop asking me why I sound tired all the damn time…it’s because I am tired…playing the part of two parents takes it out of a person…maybe if you’d step up as a father, I’d be a little less “tired.”

Sincerely,
One Pissed Off Mama

There Are No Sick Days

As a parent, especially a single parent, there are no sick days.  Even if you have the luxury to take a day off of work (and this time, I did not), you don’t get a day off from parenting…ever

But, as I have finally admitted to myself, you can be “good enough” for a few days…

I’m a perfectionist by nature…when I have a way that I do things, and I know it works, and it’s the “right” way (for me), that’s how I like to do it…I don’t like to deviate…I’m OCD like that…however, motherhood (especially single motherhood) turned me into a realist very quickly.

I had (and still have) the stomach bug from hell – thanks to my darling children…it started Wednesday night, and I really thought it was what I ate for dinner…I don’t remember the last time I was that miserable…not even labor and childbirth felt that bad…I went to bed early, figuring I would sleep it off…Thursday morning, I woke up (sort of), drenched in sweat (oh yeah, the AC was out again) and feeling like I was going to die…I nearly passed out in the shower – and I’ve never passed out in my life (well, not while sober…)…I have a vague memory of throwing soap at myself and waving the razor under my arms…but if you think I did more than brush my hair and put on clothes that vaguely matched, you’re wrong…

The boys were sympathetic…I told Sean I didn’t feel good, so I couldn’t pick him up…he gave me his sweet stare and offered up his hand so I could walk him everywhere – to the bathroom to brush his teeth, down the stairs after I got him ready, to the car when we left, and into the daycare (which never happens)…I never realized just how much I carry him throughout the day…Aidan was relatively well-behaved…

I always make Sean’s lunch – it’s cheaper…not Thursday and Friday…I didn’t have the energy, but I had cash…you make do, right?  I tried to cook dinner Thursday night – well, as much as throwing a frozen pizza into the oven can be considered cooking – and still don’t know how I did it…Friday night, I gave up the dream and bought Happy Meals…in this whole time, I’ve barely eaten, which wasn’t helping the situation…but if you’ve ever had the stomach bug from hell, you know the last thing you want to do is eat…and if I thought of something, and it didn’t sound appetizing, I wasn’t going to force it…

I had a fever (or just a hot house from the AC being down, not sure)…I had chills (that was Thursday afternoon)…then I was clammy (that was most of Friday)…today, I’m just low energy but I’m gradually getting better…right now it’s just a constant nausea that is only alleviated by sweet tea (no lie!) and a cold room…every once in a while, I can eat something solid, but only if I think about it real hard first and the thought of it doesn’t make me nauseous…I pick Sean up occasionally – to put him on the changing table or in the bathtub – and it leaves me breathless for a moment…

We tried the errand thing this morning…and I used Sean’s nap as the reason we had to stop for the day…I’ll try again tomorrow…my house is a wreck, and I don’t really care – except the landlord’s been over twice this week because of the AC, and I don’t want her to think I’m some sort of slob…tomorrow, I’ll be happy if I get the laundry done, which isn’t really optional since I won’t have work clothes if I don’t…

I had a few moments where I felt sorry for myself because I really was miserable…but I pushed through – at work and at home…in my mind, there’s no other option…the job at work or home doesn’t stop for illness…someone has to do it, and that someone is me…it doesn’t really bother me to push through…you would have to have known my dad to know where I get it from…he lived every day of my life (22 years when he died) in constant pain, and he pushed through every day…I think about that sometimes, when I feel sorry for myself…if he can do it for that amount of time, surely, I can handle a few hours or days of it…

I refuse to stress the small stuff…I’m doing only what is necessary to get through the day…and frankly, most of that is making sure that the boys’ basic needs are met…if mine are met in the meantime, great, but it’s not a requirement…once I’m whole and healthy again, I’ll go back to my normal Type A, OCD self…I promise.

Oh, and while I don’t recommend it as a weight loss program, it’s been a great way to lose about 5 pounds or so… 🙂

I’m Going To Be More Positive, Damn It!

Sheesh, I really hate it when someone points out something I should have realized long ago…not only do I have to re-evaluate my world, but I have to admit that I’m wrong…

After a long back and forth with someone who matters, I realized that I’ve become waaaaaay too self-involved.  And in a negative way…

Life is hard, waaah…

I’m broke, boo hoo…

My children are (gasp) typical children!

Let me say, it is OK to acknowledge those things, feel the negative emotions, and emote a little…what’s not ok is to do what I’ve been doing – live in that space and never show the world that the positive exists.

You would never know it to read this blog, be my friend on Facebook, or talk to me ever, but Aidan and Sean make me smile and laugh every day…even when I’m in the middle of a mental meltdown about money, life, or whatever.

Sean will look up at me, lower his eyebrows, and glare at me in the most precious way.  He doesn’t get his way when he does it…but I get a chuckle…

I don’t post every single one of Aidan’s mispronounced words, but I laugh at all of them…

Whenever my babies hold my hand, I get goose bumps, because the amount of trust that they feel for me is overwhelming.  I am their Mommy, and that little hand claims me as theirs.

I’ve had a financial burden lifted in the past 24 hours, and it’s lifted my spirits.  It’s freed up space in my head for other things.  And it couldn’t have come at a better time.   I was actually told that based on the perception I inspired in someone, they could actually believe I don’t like my children.  I cried at that.

I haven’t liked my life much…I’ve wanted it to be different, better, easier…don’t we all wish for that?  But instead of looking at how far I’ve come (and we as a family have come), I’ve focused on how far we still need to go…God, I’m an idiot sometimes…

Throughout the diarrhea-filled day yesterday, Sean and I really did have a good time.  I finally got it right for the doctor’s office – we came prepared: water, crackers, Thomas trains – what else could you possibly need in life?  The luxury of spending time with just one child is something I miss…one on one, my children are fascinating…their personalities are vibrant and complex…they’re little people, y’all…Sean is hilarious…he’s a jokester…and if he thinks he’s making you laugh with his antics, he keeps going…he cracks himself up…

All Aidan wanted today was for me to come to his school for the Awards Assembly.  I would not have missed it for the world…I was prepared to tell my boss that life sucked, but I had to go (thank goodness I have a good boss!).  I was excited!  I knew he was still on the Honor Roll, and I had a suspicion he made all A’s for the final 9 weeks.  And I was right!  He did that with very little help from me…sure, I pushed him to complete his homework…but he understood the concepts, he remembered the spelling words, he reads everything he can get his hands on…you’d think we were related somehow, wouldn’t you?  It was an amazing feeling to be proud of my baby for something I had nothing to do with…he did that…

So, all of that is to say, I’m going to take time to focus on the good…does that mean I won’t emote every once in a while?  Of course not, this is my blog, my space, to figure things out…and a little emoting happens sometimes.  But I’m not going to forget the good…and I’m not just going to pay lip service to it…I’m going to mean it, express it, share it…

 

Are You Sure?

As I was loading the boys into the car this afternoon, the strangest thought crossed my mind…”Who left me in charge?!”

For a brief moment, it was like I was on the outside looking in, and I just thought, “Are you sure this is my life? How did I get to this point? What the hell am I doing?”

Was it because Aidan had thrown his daily afternoon fit, and I still don’t have the right Mean Mom look yet to stop that in its tracks?  Was it just a moment when the full reality of being a single mom actually hit me?  I usually don’t think too hard about my life during the day while I’m trying to get through from moment to moment…that what this blog is for, thank you very much. But that was a moment when my introspective self collided with my just-gettin’-by self, and it was strange.

I wasn’t upset before or after the thought crossed my mind…I’m still not…this isn’t about me not being able to handle my life…actually, I think it stems from be finally starting to take a little bit of control back…

I’ve accepted a lot of help from my family over the past few weeks – for which I am extremely grateful…however…when someone else is spending the money, their opinion carries a lot of weight…and today, I got to thinking about the past few weeks and the next few weeks ahead – the move, the new school/daycare, eventually the new car…and I realized I was waiting for someone else to make the decisions (whatever those decisions might be)…I was waiting for someone to tell me when it was ok to do what…

And I realized that’s crazy! Yes, I am accepting a LOT of help…and after years of struggling with no help, yeah, I’m finally ok with taking help…but that doesn’t mean this isn’t still my life…and I’ve waited in some sort of holding pattern for the past few weeks, waiting on…hell, I don’t know…but back to waiting.  I’m done waiting…

I don’t know who the hell left me in charge, and I’m not sure they aren’t crazy…but if I’m the one in charge, then we’re doing it MY way.

Different States of “Alone”

I had no intention of blogging tonight…nothing much to say, feeling relatively peaceful for once…and then regular old life intervened…

Almost Ex was 30 minutes late dropping the boys off this afternoon…right before I went into the panic-mode of thinking they were dead on the side of the road, I realized that I was alone and I was okay with it…and then I started thinking about the different states of “alone-ness.” But it was my children who brought it all home for me…

Sean’s in a phase of asking “A dat?” (translation, “What’s that?”) and he has appliques on the walls of his room that he’s curious about.  One is a large elephant followed by a baby elephant.  Sean pointed to the large elephant and said, “Daddy” and when he pointed to the little elephant, I said, “Baby.”  Aidan said, “The elephant over here that’s alone is the mommy.”  Um, ok…so they’re figuring out that mommies are sometimes alone…

The kicker, the absolute kicker was when he started singing: “Mommy in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G…” Really, dude, you couldn’t at least pair me up with someone, even a pretend someone?

I started thinking about the different states or phases of being alone and how they’ve made me feel:

Why Am I So Alone (aka Will I Be Alone Forever)?: This is when the weight of being alone becomes unbearable.  It can include a feeling of heaviness, being weighed down with emotion…usually accompanied with tears, reliving old memories of better times, worries about the future, and sleepless nights.

Thank God I’m Alone!: I have been left alone for the first time in a long time, and there is finally quiet – this involves children,  family, whoever finally leaving me the hell alone (which is probably what I asked for right before they left)…usually accompanied by feelings of relief, euphoria, and disbelief that I am indeed, FINALLY, alone.

Eh, I’m Alone (aka So What?):  Alone is not so bad, it’s actually sort of peaceful and comforting to be left alone with my thoughts.  I might think about the fact that I’m by myself, but then I shrug and return to what I had been thinking about…accompanied by nothing but silence, comfort, and peace.

Today, I noticed that I finally reached that last state…it doesn’t mean I won’t return to the others…but I was alone, completely and utterly alone, and there was no sorrow or joy…there was simply peace.

Are there any other states that I’ve left out?

Tired of Being Strong

I know I haven’t always been a strong person…but I didn’t just wake up one day feeling and acting strong, either…

I remember when I was a kid, crying at the drop of a hat – mean looks, mean words, whatever…I didn’t do things that were hard (more than once)…I didn’t do things that I was bad at (more than once)…I didn’t take chances…I didn’t step up.  I tried to fade into the background – in good times and bad…

Right about the time I met Almost Ex, I discovered that I had some amount of strength…and I’ve learned just how strong I am in the past 12 years…I can pin-point some moments very easily – when my dad was diagnosed with ALS, when he died 2 very short years later, when Almost Ex went into the hospital with a mystery ailment and ended up in a wheelchair for 6 months…when I moved back to Florida – pregnant and no other family but Almost Ex…when I got laid off for the first (and hopefully ONLY) time (as the sole source of income in our family, that was terrifying…)…when I told Almost Ex I wanted a divorce…when I dealt with the aftermath of that announcement…

Under different circumstances, I probably wouldn’t even admit that I have any sort of inner-strength…but hell, even I can see it in myself…and I’m tired of being the strong one…

Yet…

Not being strong (even for a little while) would mean having to rely on someone else…it would mean having to allow a certain amount of vulnerability…I don’t like to be vulnerable…I don’t know how to lean…maybe if I had leaned a little more over the last 12 years, I’d still be married…maybe if I had chosen someone I felt I could lean on, I’d have a different life…Note: yes, I understand the irony in the fact that I can be completely vulnerable in my own blog that others read but I can’t manage to be vulnerable IRL (in real life)…and I’m not really dwelling on the “maybe’s” because the best parts of the past 12 years are Aidan and Sean (no regrets)…

I’ve been stuck in my head over the past few days (more so than normal)…and I have to admit that it’s mental fatigue…I’m tired of always needing to be strong…I’m tired of feeling isolated…I’m tired of feeling lonely…I’m just tired…

But tomorrow, I’ll get right back up and keep going, full force, because that’s what I do…it’s who I am…and I don’t really know how to be any different…

I Miss My Dad Everyday…Not Just Father’s Day

NOTE: I didn’t mean to, but this one is REALLY long.  I’m not offended if you just don’t have the time or patience to make it through the whole thing. 

I’ve been mentally writing this blog for days now.  I miss my dad on day’s like this and I always feel sorry for people who know me but never met him. I make a little more sense if you know my dad.

Daddy died in March 2002 – 6 weeks before I graduated college, 7 weeks before I married Almost Ex.  He had been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) 2 years before.  Most people know ALS as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.  I never liked that name because it implies that the disease belonged to Lou Gehrig. And I don’t say that he “passed away.” I never have said that…it sounds too nice, too genteel.  He died…he would have rolled his eyes at anything different.

Daddy had a huge impact on my life.  He was a stay-at-home dad before it was considered almost normal.  I spent a LARGE amount of time with him as a kid.  He taught me how to make his meatloaf, how to fold laundry…and how to play Blackjack. We played for pennies and one day, after many months of play, I finally won his whole stash. He also taught me a little common sense (because I definitely wasn’t born with any) – his favorite trick to play was 52 Card Pick Up.  I fell for it twice..yes, twice. He also taught me, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

Since his death, I’ve been accused of idealizing my father.  Not quite.  I will admit (and now that I’m adult I’d say it to his face if he were alive) he could be a complete jackass sometimes.  He was the most strong-willed man I’ve ever come across in my life and even if you showed him proof that he was wrong, he still would never admit it.  In his mind, his word was law, and his opinion was always the right one. Always.

Because of my dad, I don’t deal well with bullshit, I know most of the words to just about any song from the 50s, 60s, and early 70s, and I don’t give up control of the remote control easily.  Because of him, I still love the University of Florida Gators, I know how to make a quick spaghetti sauce, and I know how to dribble a basketball (sort of) and play Horse.  Because of Daddy, I trust no one, I don’t ever repeat a mistake, and I’m harder on myself than anyone could ever be. I adore that man, even now.

I miss him on the big days (and the random days, too) – the birth of both boys, the purchase of our home, the end of my marriage, and anytime something really good or bad happens.  I can imagine what he would say or do in almost every instance.  He would have been a lenient Grandpa, allowing his grandkids to get away with crap he’d have kicked my ass for.  He would have helped me landscape my yard because he loved to watch things grow and create beauty.  He would have cracked a joke when my grandfather died so no one forgot to laugh a little even in the midst of sadness.  And he would most definitely have an opinion on my pending divorce.

I’m a Daddy’s Girl, but not in the princess sort of way.  Anytime I speak my mind, that’s him.  Anytime I crack a sarcastic joke, that’s my dad.   My dad didn’t believe in saying the words, “I love you.”  I only remember hearing it once in my life and it was a few days before he died.  He believed in showing love.  He took care of every need he could, he pushed the ones he loved to be the best they could be,  and he righteously defended my mom and me (even when we desperately just wanted him to stay out of it).  Thankfully for the world, I’m like my mom too.

He was an amazing man.  I know he would worry for me right now…I also know he would probably be in my home trying to help me run my life…he would remind me to crack a joke or two to lighten the mood…and he’d have a great time intimidating any man who ever looked at me twice…

He was hard to love.  You either loved him or hated him, there was no middle ground.  I loved him, feared him, respected him, and tried very hard to make him proud.  Letting him down never felt good…losing his trust was horrible…gaining it back was almost impossible.

I miss him so much.  But I know I wouldn’t be the person I am today without his influence during my childhood and his absence in my adulthood…

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