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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…

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For A Moment – Peace and Contentment

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This was the start of my day…jealous? You should be…I live here…and yes, it really does look like that at the beach…

I’ve worked hard lately, and I needed a break…so I took today off…and went to the beach…

I drove up, saw the water, and started giggling – like a child…with pure delight…

I found my spot, got my chair ready, sprayed on sunscreen, and just smiled…

I walked up and down the beach, letting my toes get wet…red flags were flying so there was NO way I was getting in the water…I splashed as I walked…I spread my arms wide so I could feel the wind…I looked for shells…I watched the birds…

Between walks on the beach, I sat in my chair, reading my book and watching the water…

I don’t know if it was the sound of the waves…I don’t know if it was the beauty of the water…I don’t know if it was the peacefulness of the moment…but for a few brief hours, I was incapable of getting lost in my head…I was purely in the moment, enjoying every second of it…my head would not hold on to anything more than fleeting thoughts…

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Pure bliss…I will forever be grateful for this moment in my day…

I Want, Part 2

Sometimes when I get something off my chest, I immediately feel better…ok, so sometimes I have to sleep on it, and then I feel better…

Yesterday wasn’t a horrible day, but talking about what was on my mind didn’t relieve any of the tension…today, I’ve felt lonely…loneliness is one of the worst feelings – and I’d like to think I’ve felt enough of crappy things in the past year to know…

A couple of weeks ago, I thought about what I wanted in life…and made a list…what I want right now, in this moment, is a little different…

I want someone to look at me with love in their eyes…

I want to hold hands…

I want someone who treats me gently – when I need it…

I want someone who wipes away the tears – and reminds me that it’s ok to cry…

I want my feelings to be considered…

I want to share my burdens…

I want to belong somewhere…with someone…

I want shared looks…

I want shared laughs…

I want intimate smiles…

I want what I can’t have right now…and it’s not even a matter of making it happen…

It’s the loneliness of my own life getting to me…it’s a fleeting feeling, I know that…being alone is not the worst thing in the world…of all the things I’ve experienced in the last year, this one is the hardest – not because it’s horrible…but because there’s no fixing it…I don’t want a random warm body just to fill the space, to fill the loneliness…

I can’t imagine that I’m the only single parent, hell, the only single person to feel like this…I wish I knew how other people handle it…I wish I knew how to cope better when it does start to get to me…most of the time, I just bury it down deep, because I try not to focus on things I don’t have control over…every once in a while, it rears it’s ugly head, and I’m not sure what to do about it…nothing I guess, except to write about it, and hope that the weight lifts…

Sometimes You Just Know

I’ve been in my head today…not in a bad, mopey way…I’m always trying to figure things out…decide if I’m looking at issues from the right perspective…

I can’t fix my life financially…I can’t fix The Ex…I can’t fix so many things…I can only deal with me and how I think and feel…that probably sounds pretty simplistic, but for someone with control issues, that’s a major revelation…

Lately, my mind has been on This Man – a lot…I can always tell when I’ve had too much time away from him, because thoughts of him can’t be put to the side easily…

When we first reconnected after so many years, it was comfortable…it was the best part of who we were as kids…we had both matured…we didn’t need to prove anything to each other, so the cockiness of our youth took a back seat…it didn’t take long for me to fall…and fall hard…he spent more time reassuring me that it was ok to feel the way I did than anything else…

For weeks, we talked, texted, emailed…it was wonderful…it was heady stuff…for the first time in so long, I felt like a teenager…and like a greedy child, I didn’t want that to end…but this is the real world, and the real world has a way of intervening…

I think it works in our favor that This Man and I came together again during a moment in time when he had the ability to focus on me…because once his life turned a little, that changed…

I didn’t handle it well, at first…I emoted…I freaked out…I was so unsure of myself and of his feelings for me…I had no confidence that without constant contact he wouldn’t forget all about me, change his mind, run screaming in the other direction…

I’ve settled down…waaaaay down…he made the statement several weeks ago that he just wants me to be happy and if that meant being with someone else, he wouldn’t like it, but he’d accept it…I tried to say the same thing, but I choked a little on it…I want him to be happy, too – of course! But I just hope it’s with me…I had to explain to him that this isn’t about being with just anyone, with a warm body that might buy me dinner every once in a while…I’d like to think that if I went out looking for that, I could find it – but that could just be a little ego talking…this about something much deeper, purer, and (possibly) simpler…

Now I’m at a point where I’m dissecting everything…and if I told him, he’d probably roll his eyes, and say, “Oh brother…” I do know him pretty well…

The feelings came easily…once I accepted them…my paranoid side wonders if it was too easy…I’m nervous about anything that seems too easy…but what’s easy about being three hours apart, talking maybe three times a week, and only seeing each other once a month (if I’m lucky)?

My instinct tells me that if we ever get to just be that good things will happen…and then I scare myself because what if my instinct is wrong?  Have you ever just known something, deep down in your gut, unquestioningly, so that it becomes simple fact?  That’s what this is…it’s not a feeling that everything will be perfect or that it will always be easy…it’s knowing that no matter what happens, it can (and hopefully will) work out…

This Man’s life is in a little bit of limbo right now…and I get it…this time last year, I was in a similar position…so I’ve backed off…I’ve let him be…I’ve waited for him to have calm moments…I’ve accepted what I can have of him, from him, and tried not to ask for more…not because I think I don’t deserve more…but because I really do believe that if we can get to that point, it will fall into place like it’s supposed to…as long as I respect the weirdness of his life right now…

And while I try not to care or think too much about what other people think of me, my life, This Man, whatever, I know that without my gut telling me what I know in my heart to be true, it probably looks from the outside like I give more or care more or feel more…but I guess that’s why it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks…it only matters what we think…

So I’m not just accepting my lot in life – in my own way, I’m working towards a better, happier future…and I’m not settling for something less than what I deserve (been there, done that)…I’m showing patience I didn’t know I possessed…I’m willing to wait for the right moment in time…I believe that something excellent can come of this, whatever this is…

 

Fairy Godmothers & Knights in Shining Armor

Sometimes I think I suck as a mom…

I have felt weighed down for a couple of days…I don’t have a good explanation for why…I just have…feeling this way affects how I am with the boys – and I hate it…

I don’t want Aidan on my lap – hell, isn’t he too big for that shit now?

I don’t care about potty-training Sean – except diapers are expensive and that’s my only motivation…

I yell at them for small things…I leave the TV on too long…hell, I stayed in bed an hour longer than normal and left both boys to their own devices this morning…a 2 year old and a 6 year old – and I am very aware of how lucky I was that nothing bad happened…

I know you don’t have to have a lot of money to do fun things and keep kids busy…I don’t even want to take them to the park…

What kind of mom am I?

Most people give platitudes – you’re just tired (no shit)…it’s just a bad day (too many bad days)…it gets better (yeah, when?)…they tell me not to be so hard on myself (except I am solely responsible for raising these boys, and I can’t fuck it up)…they all mean well…but it doesn’t change how I feel…

A few weeks ago I was damn lucky and got a genuine break…shouldn’t I just be grateful for that?

I’m not the only single parent in the world…I’m not the only one who does it on my own…how do other people do it?

I cried in the shower today…I had managed to get poop, pee, drool, chocolate milk, peanut butter, and all other manners of crap all over myself, and I hadn’t cared enough to shower until Sean’s nap – I could have, I just didn’t care…

I stupidly wished someone would swoop in and save me, make it all better, fix it…

There are no such things as fairy godmothers or knights in shining armor…this is the life I chose, and I just have to deal with it…somehow, that doesn’t make me feel any better…

Just One Little Thing

Why am I always surprised when one little thing changes my perspective?  It happens all the time…you’d think I’d catch on…

One conversation with Big Brother today filled me with hope for my future…

One phone call from This Man reminded me that we do better when I chill out and don’t overthink and emote all over the place…

One second of quick thinking, and I turned a bad situation around – I don’t love the solution, but at least I got it fixed…

I’ve been sort of in my head lately, but not enough to have anything to say…I’ve felt like I’ve been in limbo…neither moving forward nor moving back…just existing…and I don’t like to just exist…it’s how you get into ruts…it’s how you settle…I don’t want to settle…so I’ve been trying to work towards stuff, but for a few days everything was stagnant…

Everything is cyclical…right now, things feel like they’re progressing…in a week, I’ll feel the exact opposite, I’m sure…if I can just remember days like today…it wasn’t all good…it wasn’t all bad…but just one little thing can change everything…

 

Don’t Make Me Do Trimwork

I finally figured out something about myself that I’ve known instinctively, but have never been able to verbalize, and it’s in the form of an analogy…or is it metaphor? Crap, and I’m supposed to know this stuff…

Anyway, back in the day, when it was time to do a home improvement project, I always chose something big – paint the whole room, change all the flooring, whatever. When it came time to do the work, I was the one who wanted to take the roller and paint all the walls…I have no problem spending a few hours with primer and two coats of paint, busting my ass to get it done, sweating all over the place. Because when I’m done, I can step back and see progress, a big difference, a definite change…

But God, please don’t make me do the trimwork…please don’t make me deal with all the tiny details…I will procrastinate for days before I’ll work on it…and only if I feel obligated to do so…(Side note: for whatever reason, none of this applies to how I am at work…I pride myself on being a details person in the office, meticulous even – strange but true…).

So what has this revelation got to do with anything?

I had kind of a lightbulb moment today…baby steps are required for the changes I want to make…baby steps are the small little details…there is no giant paintbrush to take to my life, to make a sweeping change, so that it’s clear something is happening…

I am such a naturally impatient person that dealing with the small steps, the small details, required to make changes never seems like enough…which means I never even get started…which means I miss opportunities…there are so many things I want to do, have, be…and I’ve got to start doing what it takes to get there…

I know, intellectually, that if I do something small everyday that moves me in the direction I want to go, I will get there…I know that when I get there, I’ll look back and think that it didn’t really take that long…I know this…but God, I hate trimwork.

I Want…

I’m not used to getting what I want…and I don’t think it’s a matter of “receiving” things…I think it’s a matter of figuring out what it takes to make those things happen for myself.

Whether selfish, thoughtful, or whatever, there are things I want in life (in an absolutely random order):

I want to go back to school.

I want to have more time with my boys.

I want to eat at nice restaurants.

I want to dance.

I want to shop – for clothes, jewelry, shoes, whatever.

I want to be surrounded by family.

I want a relationship that is a partnership.

I want to travel.

I want my boys to understand you don’t always get what you want in life.

I want to give my boys the world.

I want to be healthy.

I want to lose weight.

I want to look hot.

I want a haircut.

I want to go on a foodie roadtrip – Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives style.

I want to walk on the beach…alone, with someone else, either way.

I want to run again.

I want to learn how to want – you have no idea how long it took to make the list so far.

I want good health for myself and everyone I care about.

I want to laugh a big belly laugh…laugh until it hurts.

I want to fall asleep in someone’s arms.

I want to know I’m not alone in this life.

I want a cupcake…a good cupcake.

I’m nothing if not both deep in my head and goofy as hell. I’m not unique in my wants…and if I took more time, I could come up with more. Now I just have to figure out how to make it all happen.

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…

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.

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