Frustration, moods, effort, relationships and birthdays

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I’m in a mood today.  And I can’t quite even put my finger on what that mood actually is. I’m frustrated, and antsy, I’m contemplative… really – what it comes down to – I’m craving attention.  A sincere, adult, no ulterior motives, genuine connection with someone. I don’t know… Ever since I decided to take a long ass break away from the dating scene – I’ve discovered that I go through phases.  Sometimes, I’m perfectly content with my social life.  I have a lot of amazing friendships that I cherish and adore.  I get out, I’m also quite busy as a mom and an employee and business owner.  But sometimes… I crave something different.  A real connection with someone, at more than just a surface-deep level. Sometimes I’ll meet someone and think – ooh! There’s something here!  And the moment I give into it, is often the moment they decide they have far more important things to be spending their time on.  Or… they’ll tell me that they are interested in pursuing something with me, but then the communication will lag in such a way that I have no choice but to believe otherwise.  It always seems to be hot or cold for me.  When I DO find someone who’s wanting to put in the effort.. there always seems to be a catch or some very serious red flags.  Perhaps they are an alcoholic, or just got out of a relationship a few months back, or are deep in the throes of working through something serious, like depression or PTSD from American politics and can’t seem to figure out how to move forward from it.   It’s enough to make a woman think she should just stick to being alone.  Maybe the dating world has changed in a way I didn’t expect.  Perhaps the concept of putting in a consistent effort on someone is outdated.

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Effort.  Have we all just become lazy?  Do people not feel like they need to put effort into building and maintaining their relationships anymore?  And I’m not talking about just love relationships here, friendships too.  It was my mentor, who maybe 4 years ago, told me that in order to really network from a business/career standpoint, that any relationships you make, have to be maintained.  Like my garden.  If I neglect those relationships, they’ll go stale.  When a relationship goes stale, it takes even MORE effort to attempt to jump start them.  Her standpoint was that it took less effort to maintain than it did to try and go back and repair them.  I think I took this viewpoint to heart… with all of my relationships.  I’m not saying I’m perfect here… as life happens and sometimes you just have to ride the wave that you’re on and let cards fall where they may.  But it was this advice that led me to really look at the relationships in my life.  Which ones were toxic, or one-sided?  Which ones were weeds that were choking out the rest of my gorgeous garden and what could I do about it?

The ex, his fiance and I have managed to come to a new place in our relationships with each other.  Co-parenting is some seriously tough stuff – and I’m learning more than ever, that just because he is my ex – doesn’t mean he’s not going to continue to be an active participant in my life.  So I’ve really focused on trying to connect with his fiance.  She’s a lovely woman – truly, someone I could be friends with if things weren’t what they are.  For the longest time, she’s been leery of me.  I think she worried that I still wanted to be with the ex.  HA! No thanks!! It’s only in the last month or so, that she’s started to thaw towards me.  I won’t lie, I’ve laid on the charm in order to disarm her a little more and it’s working.  When they drop off my son now, they hang out for a little while and chit chat about the week ahead, and various things going on in their world.  It’s a relief. My ex husband and I will NEVER get back together … this I am absolutely, 100 percent positive on.  BUT… He’s been one of my very best friends for almost half my life.  It’s bothered me a lot in the last 4 years, that that seemed lost.  But lately – I’m seeing it come back – in a new form.  And it’s nice.  I missed him in that way.  And I like her for him.  They seem to be good together.  Is it weird that I can say that?

Overall, it was a good weekend.  This coming weekend is my show at Pottery Barn for my side business.  Then the weekend after that, I’ll be celebrating my birthday with friends. Holy cow I’m officially turning 35 this year!!   My friend J is hosting a party at my house.  She’s invited 100 people!  I know not all will show (THANK GOD!) but it should be really interesting and exciting to see how it all goes!  Then after the party, a smaller group of us are going to go out and sing Karaoke.  Hehe… my friends are such good sports.  I know most of them hate karaoke, but they encourage me to get out and sing.  They know it was once a HUGE part of my life, and I’m grateful that they continue to push and encourage me to not give it up.  My daughter joined choir this year.  She seems to be enjoying it, although she made a comment on Friday that I had to sit and talk to her about.  I guess she’s been nervous to sing around me.  She says I’m intimidating to someone who struggles with pitch, and feels that she’s never going to learn to project her voice.  I offered to help her in any way that I can.  I’d be happy to work through some scales and help her learn to control her diaphragm a bit more.  Lord knows, when I need to be, I can be LOUD.  😀  She seemed to perk up at that one.  She wants to be able to earn a slot for a solo.  It’s funny how it brings me back. As a teenager, I was in every choir, I took professional lessons 3 days a week, I was in as many musicals and music productions I could get my hands on.  I think she’ll find her own on this one.  But I love that my child has yet another common interest as me.  🙂

Well – I better get to working.  Hope you all have a lovely day!  Much love to all of you in Neverland.  Talk soon!

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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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Parenting is tough business

It’s friday and I am beyond grateful. Truthfully tho, even the coming weekend has me stressed.  Yesterday, I got into a huge argument with my daughter.  It started out ok, we were working through everything and I was holding my patience fairly well.  But after dealing with a stubborn tween for a few hours… I lost it.  I yelled.  I cried.  I’m not proud of myself.  Yes, everything I said needed to be said, but I hate that my own child could push me to a point where I was THAT upset.

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I think what I hate about fighting with my own child is that in the end… both of us are hurting.  I know she’s shaken off yesterday, she’s been bouncing around this morning, her usual chipper self.  She even made me coffee while I started my workday. And I know that I need to do the same thing… but I’m struggling with it.  After we got home yesterday, after the huge blow out, I sat outside thinking about how maybe I’m not qualified to do this.  That maybe my own mental health is too shaky to try and handle guiding a pre-teen who’s having some very serious mental health issues herself?  I don’t know… I know I do a good job.  I know that my kids know that they are loved and that their mom is their biggest advocate for their happiness and overall success… BUT… I also know that I’m the queen at putting on a mask and sticking my head in the sand.  I’ve never had a healthy relationship.  The coping skills that I have and use on a regular basis aren’t working for my teenage girl… maybe that means they aren’t the best.

I’ve also been thinking about the fact that I will no longer get breaks.  Before all of this happened, I’d get 3 weekends a month to myself, where I could plan outtings with friends, dates, and take care of projects that work more smoothly when little one aren’t around.  Now, those plans and schedules are all changed.  I’m now 100% mom – all the time.  And I don’t mind… but there is a part of me that is sad to lose those breaks and the “me” time.  And while I realize that having time for me is important, and that ultimately, I should probably find a way to still get at least a couple hours a week to myself… for my own health and well-being… I’m just not sure how to go about it.  It feels selfish.

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I think something that really hit home yesterday for me, was that this wasn’t the dream.

Don’t misunderstand… I’m over the ex.  Completely.  But I think I’m still mourning the dream of what was to be.   If that makes any sense.  When we got married, I had visions of our family.  I dreamed of the children we’d have, the life we’d create.  Of course, NONE of those dreams could be a reality while he was lost in his own world of alcohol addiction… but I can say, I never dreamed of raising my children essentially by myself.

On Tuesday, we all went to an award ceremony for an art competition my daughter had entered at school.  It was across many schools in the district.  She won 2nd place.  I’d called the grandparents and the ex a week ago to let them know when the ceremony would be and how much it would mean to my daughter if they came out and showed their support.  I was surprised when grandma and grandpa showed up .. as it’s a long drive for them, in some of the worst rush hour traffic.  But the ex… he didn’t show.  He called me the next morning apologizing and saying how he felt like garbage that he completely forgot about it.  I told him not to fret.. it is what it is… but after I hung up, I couldn’t help but feel very sad about it all.  My daughter needs her village right now… she needs the strong loving support of family and friends to show her that she’s not alone.  That we are all here for her, and rooting for her, and that she has absolutely no reason to harm herself or feel lost.  But I think what’s hit me pretty hard in the last couple of days… maybe it’s not just my daughter who needs that.  Maybe I do too.

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Between bills, work, my daughter’s safety and happiness, the house… I’ve got a lot of pressure to measure up on my shoulders.  And damn it but I’m going to figure out the right way to take care of my responsibilities and do what I need to do to make it in this big bad world… but sometimes, I close my eyes and feel disappointed and heart broken that it all ended up this way.  And I’m not entirely sure how to go about it all without falling down myself.  I guess… if I trip… I just have to get back up.  Keep plugging along.  I’ll get there.

Off to get on with my day – much love to you Neverland.  Smile today.

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A parent’s worst nightmare

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I’m beyond exhausted.  So what started out on friday as a very frustrating and scary situation managed to amplify and get a million times worse and it’s affecting my ability to sleep and eat and be able to function at a somewhat normal capacity.

On Saturday, while at the ex’s, my daughter went and jumped off the side of the deep end of the self control pool.  She is now being admitted to an inpatient psychiatric hospital for adolescents.  I think now, more than ever, I want to get more involved with preventing teen suicide.  It absolutely floors you when you realize that the normal, happy, loving preteen you’ve raised has been wearing a happy mask and really, she needs help.

Until we could get her admitted to the treatment facility, she’s been under observation at the Emergency Room.  We had strict instructions to keep things positive.  No lectures, no tears etc.  THAT has been the most exhausting.  I’ve managed to ask her a few questions, get her to talk to me a little here and there, but overall, she’s acting as if nothing happened and that wanting to harm yourself is a perfectly normal thing.  That I’m making a bigger deal out of it than it is.  It is incredibly draining to keep things positive when you just want to shake your kid and make them see how dumb they’re being.  Not to mention, the actions your kid has taken have put themself, and others at risk!

It’s going to be a long road ahead.  I’ve got to work on being present and there for her in some new ways.  I’m trying to make arrangements to allow me to work from home more often.  Going to look into a few other programs to help her and give her things to keep her mind more occupied on healthy things rather than negative things.

Visits to the ex are to stop.   Well – ok maybe not STOP – but things will be altered dramatically, at least until we’re all confident that she’ll be safe.

It’s been hard this week to not blame myself.  And there is also a part of me that wonders if somehow she’s learned this stupid “happy mask” that she’s been wearing from me.  In fact, who am I kidding, I KNOW she learned it from me.  I’m the one who’s always so focused on being strong, staying happy.  I think somehow she misunderstood that to mean that you aren’t allowed to fall apart, or be sad, or break… and that’s not true either.  You have to be able to let that stuff out somewhere, or it will sit and fester and bubble until at some point – you burst.

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Everyday she begs me to be allowed to come home.  And everyday I’ve had to tell her that she wanted our attention – now she has it.  She has to stay and complete the treatment.  That this is her most important priority that she could focus on right now.  She doesn’t get it.  She thinks it’s been fun to sit at the hospital for the last 5 days coloring, watching bad daytime tv and playing Wii with the nurses.  She doesn’t even seem to realize – “hey, mom’s been taking every day off to come and sit and cuddle and watch crappy daytime tv… maybe that’s not good for mom’s job security!” I don’t know what’s going to happen next… all I can do at this point is hope and pray and be there for her every single step of the way.

I’ve got to go run and take care of a few more things, all this time running back and forth between the hospital, I haven’t been able to do much of anything that I need to get done.  I keep reminding myself that it’s ok to be struggling with handling all of this… that i’m doing well at holding things together.  But it’s hard.  So I’m going to go finish up a load of laundry and at least get some dishes done before I have to trek back out to the hospital.  Talk soon.  Much love to you all Neverland.

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