Processing… Please hold.

I got into a conversation with someone this morning, they were telling me of a conversation they had with my daughter.  Apparently there were things she didn’t want to talk to me about, simply because she worries that when I am stressed, I may not be able to handle it.  It surprised me to hear.  There is something strange and unsettling to hear that your child thinks you’re weak.  Or at the very least, sees a weakness that perhaps you don’t.  I don’t quite know how to fully process that.  But I know that I will.

It led to me thinking through all that I’ve been through.  My brain immediately went back to Ben.  The night we knew something was wrong and raced him, in the dead of the night, to the hospital. That drive will forever be etched into my brain.  The songs that played quietly on the radio, The ex’s steady calm.  Funny, the man would occasionally drive me crazy with his immaturities and lack of self control, but when everything fell apart… when the hour was dire… and we stood on the edge of a very scary storm… he was someone else.  Someone I respected.  I don’t think I ever told him that.  I don’t think I ever told him how, even now, after all this time… I trust him more than I trust myself.  That deep in my heart, he was my very best friend.  I wish I could help him understand how much I loved him.  I don’t think he ever really knew.  And telling him now would be taken weirdly.  I guess I can’t take back the words I never said.  We both had to take on and face the scariest thing we could have possibly imagined.  A situation where we had no control, we were completely helpless – our heart’s were in the doctor’s hands.  Doctors we trusted, because of an ideal in our heads – that somehow – doctor’s were infallible.  Oh how I regret feeling that way. I’ve never felt so ill-prepared when we learned of their mistakes.  And we were both hurt in the most unimaginable ways by it all. Scarred from the pain in many ways.

I thought back to the many days and nights where I would work and work and work… not because I’m a strange person who doesn’t want to have a life or free time… but because I knew it would put food on the table or give me the ability to get the kids gifts for christmas.  Those were the years when the ex and I would eat ramen or spaghetti o’s so the kids could have balanced meals. These were times when we had so much debt over our heads that we would have to ignore a ringing phone. There was always a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach that the world would crash down around us because we couldn’t pay a bill.

I thought back to days when depression and stress rang so loudly inside my head that I couldn’t even see myself within the cloud I was in.  When I would lay in bed and hide from the world, because it seemed smarter than going out and being hurt by it. When a person loses sight of who they are, and it takes them as long as I have to re-find yourself… there tends to be some disconnects.   I’ve changed in big ways since I last saw myself.  So it’s sometimes hard to trust my own intuition. Thankfully, In many ways, those changes were good.  I love myself now, and I know I didn’t before. I’m more laid back about so many things.  Life is going to happen… you can stress about it, or you can try and find a way to enjoy it.  And now, more than ever before, I’m aware of how strong I really am.  I’m sure most people have no idea the amount of fortitude and strength they actually possess.

It’s interesting, the stages you go through in life.  For every stage of stress or hell, there seems to be an opposing, equally joyous time to remember.  I suppose my knowing that is what keeps me going, keeps me strong.  Because, you see… I can’t give up.  I won’t give up.  It won’t happen on my watch!  I want to see what happens at the end of the story – and we’re not there yet.  Not even half way.

I suppose it’s also why I’m upset to hear that my child thinks I cannot handle hearing whatever detail she’s working through.  Please child… I’ve walked through hell – I think I can handle a little teenage highschool drama.

Have a great day Neverland!

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Single parenthood is not for the weak

I’m struggling with my child this month.  I don’t admit that easily.  She’s taken a giant leap into teenagehood and I’m not exactly thrilled about it.  I never realized how much can be affected by teenage drama.  I was so exhausted by it all this morning that I decided it was best to work from home.

I think what’s hit me hardest this morning, is simply how alone I feel in all of this.  I know that I’m not alone.  I have a fairly large support network.  I know that I’m luckier than a lot of folks.  But going through this, having to try and fill the role of both mother and father… trying to set an example and guide my child to find some sense of normalcy within her relationships… lately, these things scare the crap out of me.  Mainly because I’m the first to admit that I haven’t always been successful in those endeavors myself.

This past week has left me feeling drained.  I’ve cried, yelled, lectured, been exasperated.  I still don’t fully know what I’m going to do to bring life back to normal here at home… heck – maybe there is no such thing as “normal” when your life includes a teenage girl?  I certainly don’t feel like I’m able to have much of a life on my own at this point.  If I’m not working, I’m home dealing with her stuff; and the few times I’ve made plans in the last few weeks, something has come up to interrupt or ruin them.  It’s frustrating – not that I expect to have all THAT big of a social life – but I do try and get out.  Everyone needs a break occasionally.  My son sees his dad a few weekends a month, but my daughter… she’s with me 100 percent of the time.  Her drama has me desperately seeking peace and harmony.  And by seeking out those harmonious and peaceful moments – I’m also coming to the conclusion at how lonely it all is.  I’m in this by myself.  And it was me, who put myself here to begin with.  My step dad says maybe it’s my own karma from my actions as a teenager.  But that seems harsh… seeing as I wasn’t necessarily a difficult teen.  I didn’t party, do drugs, sneak out, I wasn’t out having sex or doing things that skirt that morally ethical line.  I argued with my parents, loved the art of debate in general, and my hormones at that age had me looking for and provoking fights.  But that’s it!  I stayed home, played video games and had my best friend over for sleep overs where we played loud music and talked about boys.  We would call the radio stations and request songs.  We’d drive to the mall on weekends or explore the local downtown area.  Trouble and drama was something I didn’t bring a lot into my life.  So I suppose I’m struggling to relate to my child just a little bit.

What I wish she could see – was the impact that she has on everyone else.  How, everytime she takes a slide backwards or veers off on an unsafe path – it is me, and her brother, who have to ride the waves she creates.  It is we… who have to survive the tornado that she creates, and no matter how much I lie to myself and think we’re through the tough stuff… I know it’s just the eye of a storm that I can’t control.

To all you single parents out there… I may be exhausted and drained and frustrated…. but I’m not defeated.  I stand with you.  We are the real super heros.

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How can it be?

Can someone please explain how it’s possible to experience both, or even all sides of a spectrum at the same time?

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On one hand… I’m doing better than ever.  My kids are happier than ever.  Work is starting to take shape and I’m finding that I might even have made myself a role in the company that I can be excited about.  My side business is growing and the more I dive into it, the happier and more content I seem to get.  The holidays are coming up and I’m looking forward to them.  I have so much hope for the near future and what it holds for me personally.  And yet…

On the other hand… I have moments when I feel scared and lost and alone.  Wow – I won’t lie – that took a lot for me to type.  I think I’ve been trying to ignore it.  It’s this thing that’s been sitting on my shoulder for a few weeks and I’ve been doing my best to pretend it’s just not there – but like an elephant in a room that is too small, it can’t be completely ignored.  I give myself these silly pep talks occasionally.  Trying to give myself the courage to keep getting out of bed, to keep doing what I have to do, when sometimes… all I really want to do is sit down and hide, or find a friend and just cry and let it out.  Tho – truthfully – even THAT doesn’t seem to do much for me these days.  I’ve just never been much of a crier.  It doesn’t actually solve anything, and a lot of the times, only makes me feel worse in the long run because I tend to get headaches afterwards.

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I’m grateful that I got this job, as the bills were piling up.   As it is, it’s going to take me until mid December to fully be caught up and not be living paycheck to paycheck.  It’s kind of a foreign feeling.  To be working but not make enough to cover what needs to be covered.  It’s been a long time since I’ve been in those shoes.  Helped remind me of how good I have it.

Maybe that’s part of my problem.  I know – compared to many – I have it good.  I live comfortably, my life isn’t full of drama or crazy levels of stress.  If anything – I’ve been leading a pretty boring life these days – as I’ve been busy working on my business when I have any spare time, so I feel guilty when I start to feel down.  What do I have to feel down about?!  And that’s the crux of the issue – I DO have things to feel down about.  People often think of me as this chipper and enthusiastic girl, “Ra! Ra! Be happy!  Stay positive! Go Team!”, what they don’t realize is that often, I do that more for myself.  To keep myself from feeling down.  That or I joke around – make people laugh. It’s only in the last 3 years that i’ve learned to allow myself to have moments where feeling down is ok.  Often, by feeling it – sitting with it for a little while – I move forward from it easier.  That is my hope tonight… I had a good day.  Not entirely sure I even understand how this mood crept up on me, but there it is.

My son is already tucked into bed, and my daughter is busy watching a show on netflix… and yet all I seem to want to do is swoop them both up and cuddle with them.  Instead, I’m sitting on my bed with my laptop writing here baffled at why I’m suddenly feeling so sad? Is it possible that I feel like I’ve just been lacking in hugs?  Is it wrong that a hug from my children… lately… isn’t quite satisfying enough?  Don’t misunderstand – I love hugging my kids… but it’s just not enough.

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Goodnight Neverland.  Much love to you tonight.  Stay safe, wherever you are… and know that even tho we haven’t met, and we don’t know each other – you have my love.  🙂

Beginning to bloom

It was a lovely weekend, much of it spent in my yard.  My best friend, J came over and she and my daughter and I tackled the task of filling my front beds, as well as rescuing and potting some tomato plants from another friend’s yard.  My daughter decided she wanted to choose a garden bed and make it her own and it was lovely to see her thoroughly enjoying herself as she worked in the dirt with us.  This evening we walked the beds and just admired all our hard work, the tomatoes that were almost dead are now standing proud and now even have little yellow blossoms blooming.  We planted lavender, and gardenia, and daisies (one of my favorites).  We went a little crazy – but the front beds were completely bare – so it felt good to jazz them up.

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J was such a joy to hang out with this weekend.  She and I have a ball hanging out together, as we’re quite alike in many ways.  I find that anytime spent with her is usually spent laughing and just generally having a fun, good time.

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I am taking a trip up to Canada in a couple weeks and told her I wanted to pick up a few things before I go, so after spending some time in the garden, we went shopping.  While we were out, she found a dress that was within the restrictions I had placed on me.  I’m the “Best Man” for my brother’s wedding in September, and the bride has very specific tastes and requirements, it’s made finding a dress that I am also comfortable with VERY challenging.  When she held up this dress from the clearance rack – I was shocked and couldn’t contain my laughter, but then I looked at the size and thought “No way will it fit me.” She pushed me to try it on anyway.   And I hated it.  But guess what?!  It was TOO BIG!  J could grab 2 fistfuls of fabric in the back.  HOLY CRAP!

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It had me thinking… my brain has wired itself to believe it’s a certain size.  And now that I’m slowly dropping below that size, it’s strange and jarring to discover when I’m wrong.  It was a lovely feeling to be wrong.  That surprise however, did push me to go peek at other dresses and, shock of a lifetime, I purchased two on sale. (Side note:  I’m NOT a female who enjoys shopping.  Never have.  Unless we’re shopping at a nursery, a farmers market, a hardware or home shop or an art supply shop – then it’s game on!  But even then, I’m one of those people who is quickly in and then out.  I don’t have to go down every aisle and I like to just get it done.)

I didn’t get the rest I was hoping to get this weekend, but I’m happy that it turned out the way it did.  I got my new desk sorta put together.  The top needs to be secured on – but even as it sits right now – it’s not going anywhere.  We got a lot of the office set up, and I have a handy man coming on Wednesday to finish putting up some of the shelves I so desperately want for storage.  I’m tired of my stuff being in boxes.  Once the office is set up, I’ve made the decision to turn the spare room into a photography “studio” for J to use on a regular basis for Boudoir or anything else that seems appropriate.  I’ll set it up somewhat like a hotel room (which will be great for guests who stay over), and maybe one other scene/set up.  It will be a lot cheaper for J than renting hotel rooms for these events, and eventually, we could even find ways to swap out with additional furniture or backdrops and maybe even build some light boxes into the room.  It will be a fun side project.

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Oy!  I have a lot of side projects going on right now.  Between work, the garden, various projects around the house (plus we’re still unpacking), the various events and things my kids get into, and other activities planned out for the summer, it’s been quite a whirlwind.  And to top it off – I bought a kayak tonight.  🙂  I love going out, it’s just a simple one for lakes and rivers (for now), but I’ll take it.  🙂  It’s great exercise and I love getting out on the water.  Now I just need to go buy a new life jacket.

I am VERY excited for my little getaway in two weeks.  I really need a chance to take a breath.  To relax and just take a day or two where I don’t have to think about work, or my daughter.  I’ve arranged for everyone to be looked after, and I will hop on a plane on Friday and perhaps get a chance to explore a new city, meet someone new, eat some good food, check out a farmer’s market and just slow it down for a weekend.  I’ve booked what looks to be a nice room in a larger hotel, they even have a hot tub and a masseuse (YES PLEASE?!).  I’ll fly back home Sunday evening.  I’m a little nervous, as I’ve never been a huge fan of airports or flying, but I think it’ll be more than worth it in more ways than one.

I am incredibly hopeful for what lies ahead in my life.  There has been so much goodness popping up and blooming from so many sides.  Yes, there’s been stress… my daughter was sent home from school on friday again, she cannot return until Wednesday.  I can’t wait for summer to get here.  And I’m dreading it all at the same time.  We’re making progress with her – every single day there is progress.  It’s unfortunate that it’s not enough to help her be at 100% yet, especially when handling stress at school.  She has good days, and bad ones.  But me being home, working from home, getting involved in these hobbies together, other people are noticing small changes in her, positive ones.

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Tomorrow, I start on a new treatment for one of my health problems.  I’m excited to get started, and see if there’s a change or a difference made.  If it works, it could alleviate a few very frustrating problems that I have faced on and off consistently for many years.  Fingers are crossed in the hopes for success! 🙂

I’ve had a song stuck in my head for weeks.  It just won’t go away.  I adore the lyrics and keep repeating them over and over in my head.  I often have this problem with songs, but this one in particular just doesn’t want to leave my brain.  Thought I’d share it with you all in case you wanted to look it up and hear it.  🙂

It’s called “Certain things” by James Arthur

Something about you
It’s like an addiction
Hit me with your best shot, honey
I’ve got no reason to doubt you
‘Cause certain things hurt
And you’re my only virtue
And I’m virtually yours

[Pre-Chorus:]
And you keep coming back, coming back again
Keep running round, running round, running round my head

[Chorus:]
And there’s certain things that I adore
And there’s certain things that I ignore
But I’m certain that I’m yours
Certain that I’m yours
Certain that I’m yours

[Verse:]
There’s something about you
It’s when you get angry
You have me as your mercy
And you’re like the shoulder to turn to
‘Cause certain things mend us when we’re hanging on for dear life
We held on so tight

[Pre-Chorus:]
And you keep coming back, coming back again
Keep running round, running round, running round my head

[Chorus x2:]
And there’s certain things that I adore
And there’s certain things that I ignore
But I’m certain that I’m yours
Certain that I’m yours
Certain that I’m yours

I adore you… I adore you…
Certain that I’m yours

Well – it’s been a long day, I wanted to at least write an update to cover my weekend, but now I should probably get ready for bed and try and get some sleep.  And, to those of you still up – goodnight Neverland.  🙂  Talk again soon.

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Judgy McJudgertons

I’m annoyed.  Actually, that’s probably not quite coming close to describing it. Figured I’d work through it here.

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Why do people feel the need to judge or speak up and say something if they don’t have a damn clue as to what they’re really talking about?  Unless you walk in my shoes.. perhaps you should just keep those thoughts to yourself.  I’m not perfect.  I recognize and admit that 100 percent of the time.  I reserve the right to get smarter.  And typically – I do.  When I make a mistake, I learn from it.

The hardest job I have, is to be a parent.  And to be honest, there are things I do well, and things I don’t do as well. I know where my shortcomings lie… hell, they became more apparent to me when I became a single parent.  There is a hell of a lot of WORK involved.  There’s a lot of joy too.  I love my kids.  I’d do anything for them.  That doesn’t mean they don’t sometimes frustrate the hell out of me though.  I’d say that’s allowed.

I have my children on a 50/50 time schedule with the ex husband.  He loves his kids, and while he may occasionally make a decision that I wouldn’t, and I may not support his methods of handling his anger – he’s a pretty dang good father to them.  I’m happy that he puts the efforts he does.

Being a single mom is strange.

The times I don’t have my kids, I spend either catching up on chores and doing the things I don’t enjoy doing with my 3 year old (grocery shopping and laundry are my big ones), or working late, or trying to have a love life, or spending time with friends.  And the thing about being a parent, it makes you more flexible than you ever were before.  Last weekend was supposed to be a kid-free weekend.  The ex had an event that he needed to attend with his girlfriend, so I took the kids for 1 of the weekend days/nights so they could do that.  This weekend was my kid weekend, and had an thanksgiving dinner to attend at the bestie’s house, so the ex took my little one so that I could attend, as it was a kid-free kind of party.  Things always even out.  And ultimately, either way, my kids are surrounded by those who love them.  With the coming vacation, I feel a little guilty to be going away for the time I’ll be away. But it always balances out.

People who don’t have kids, are often jumping in with their thoughts and opinions on how kids should be raised, or how parents should act or feel about their kids.  I’ve had a few single friends go on and on for a lengthy conversation where they bash people who have children, then realize their error and quickly back peddle to make me an exception.  Most of the time, I let it all roll off my back.  They don’t get it.  No matter how much they protest or debate, even if they have good intentions; They won’t understand until they become parents themselves. And even then, every child is a little different.

So to those who think they know.. tell me this… Can you relate to following situations?  No?  Then shut the hell up.

1. My kids have all been early risers, they awaken with the sun and immediately want potty, juice, cereal, cartoons, “Mommy read a book”, “Mommy can you check for monsters under the bed or in the closet.”  There is no sleeping in. Ever.  BUT, most mornings include early morning snuggles.  My kids and I have seen many a pretty sunrise, and have been the first to experience a freshly fallen snow.

2. Getting ready to leave in the morning involves soooo much.  Not only do I have to get myself ready and presentable…. but I also have to negotiate with my toddler… potty, pull up, that gets only pulled up part of the way because the little man has to do it by himself.  Which results in me chasing him downstairs as I try and get close enough to pull them up and adjust them so they fit right., pants…”No, I want batman pants.”  Shirt.  Experience meltdown if you can’t find the green robot shirt.  Socks – get kicked a few times, distract with dinosaur toy and a silly dance – yay.  one sock down – Take another 5 minutes to get the second sock on.  Find shoes.  Can’t find second shoe.  Look frantically for 10 minutes to discover it lodged between a couch cushion.  Get breakfast in front of toddler while I go check on preteen to make sure she’s ready to go.  Discover she’s still in pj’s, looking like she just got up.  Nag her to pick up the pace while I spend a few minutes trying to find the red cup because the blue one is suddenly not ok to use.  Have to check on the preteen again to remind her NOT to use my hairclips without asking me first, and to put layers on as it’s cold and , hmm I think there’s a boy she’s interested in since she’s trying to let her go to school in a pretty summer dress, when it’s 30 degrees outside.

Go to work. put in a full, exhausting day.

Come home.  Check homework.  Help with any projects, get the skinny on what’s going on in the life of my preteen.  Get a load of laundry in, sweep the kitchen floor.  Sometimes I’ll cook dinner, sometimes, I’ll be tired, and will order something.  Sneak in a snuggle with the toddler.  End up giggling running around the house.  Phone rings, try and talk to the person on the other line without exposing them to the loudness that is your home.  One or both children will interrupt every 2-3 minutes.  Get dinner served.  Depending on what it is, and toddlers mood, may or may not be cleaning up dinner from floor.  Or tray, or hair.  We sit at the table, so I get to hear about everyone’s day, share snippets from my own. (I love this part of my day)

Depending on the time, my energy level or the mess… I spend the remainder of the time before they go to bed either reading books with them, playing a game with them, snuggling and watching curious George or Mulan, The preteen is into her phone right now, so we found a mobile game we could play together that doesn’t require a TON of attention to play.  If there’s a big mess, I may set them down to watch a movie so I can do dishes or get another load of laundry in.  Clean a bathroom, or unpack a box.  If I’m really lucky, I may get the chance to pay a bill, or return an email.

Bedtime arrives.  Sometimes it is fine, easy as pie, and sometimes, it takes extra hugs, or a stern reminder that perhaps not everyone in the house WANTS to give EVERY stuffed toy a hug AND a kiss and convince the toddler that perhaps the toys only needed a hug from him anyway.  After many hugs and kisses, and I love you’s all around, my kids drift off to dreamland.

Sometimes, I do laundry, sometimes, I read, or watch a movie, sometimes, I’ll play a game.  And sometimes, I look at it all and say F THAT and go pass out.

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So you see, my house gets cleaned in odd spurts, and rarely all at once.  I may get frazzled when I’ve spent the day cleaning and re-cleaning the same area 3 times or hearing the same songs in the car on repeat for 40 minute trips.  I look at the way the other two children I raised have so far, turned out… I remember that the early years are a messy time.  It gets better.  So what if the living room couch has no cushions on it because there is a fort built out of them?

I don’t like to be judged.  I spend time with my kids.  I make time with them.  When they aren’t in my care, I make time for everything else.  Sometimes it’s a juggle.  Sometimes, things come up, but in the end, it all balances itself.  Me taking a vacation will result in a more rested, happier mom.  And with xmas season being here now, it means more family traditions and more quality time.  Life balances things.

Ugh.  Thanks for letting me vent Neverland.  Love ya.  Need to run as someone had a nightmare.