The end of an emotional weekend

What a weekend I had.  My daughter had a friend over for a sleepover, and while I will not divulge details about this girl, I will share that her mom, a dear friend of mine, passed away a couple years ago.  It was… absolutely heart breaking then, and shook me to my core.  I still think about her every single day. And it’s been a long time since we’ve spent time with that family. So this weekend has certainly left me feeling emotional…  And protective over children, in general.

Last night, she asked if we could take a moment and do a group snuggle – because she didn’t get that much at home these days.  My heart broke as I snuggled both girls for a while.  I stayed up way too late, snuggling and chatting with them.  Caught up on how her life had been since we’d last seen each other.  And it shook me all over again.  I tucked them in and stayed up tossing and turning over it all.  This morning, I took them out for breakfast.  Waffles with cotton candy on top – because .. that’s why.  Just because.

cc2-490x390

Because maybe, a little extra sweetness, be it a snuggle, a kind word, a funny story, or even cotton candy on top of a rainbow waffle … with sprinkles…. will somehow put a smile on a kid’s face.  And if that happens… maybe she’ll be able to survive this horrendous childhood that she has had.  Yea – I know it’s a stretch.  But damn it… what else can I possibly do?! She now has a standing invite to come over regularly, as well as halloween and any other time she needs a snuggle… but even I know … It’s not enough.

It’s interesting how small your own problems can become in moments like these.  I’ve cried a lot this weekend… cried for her, cried for mother, cried for the unfairness of it all, cried out of gratefulness for my own children… ugh.  I’m done crying, and tomorrow, my still partially sick butt has to get up and go to work and get my head in the game.

56670424-300x291

It’s funny, this isn’t how I’d imagined my weekend turning out – but I wouldn’t trade it.  Maybe I needed a reminder … that my problems and stress are small in comparison to what they could be.  That I have it so much better than some, and have given my children a world that is healthy and positive and full of laughter and snuggles and love.  I have to remind myself that I cannot hug everyone.  I can’t heal everyone.  That I have to be content with helping those that I can… and not get hung up on those whom I couldn’t.

Goodnight Neverland.  I wish you all the best.

Much love,

Jen

lipstick kiss

Frustration, moods, effort, relationships and birthdays

4c0b9c68a8228eabfd625b140ab3c145

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.

bexx7

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!

lipstick kiss

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.

someplants

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.

20160604_142423.jpg

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!

f51

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.

58314370

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.

0004729

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.

lipstick kiss

The unseen forces that shape who we become

I had a lovely weekend, it was relaxing and productive in many ways.  I went out for sushi on friday night, found a great coffee shop on saturday morning and then went furniture and appliance shopping for the new house with one of my best girlfriends.  I wasn’t feeling very good after that and spent the rest of the evening relaxing with a movie and a cozy fire.

7

Today I got the pleasure of seeing Nana and Granddad.  It was a wonderful visit.  We had lunch and spent time catching up.  As I was leaving, my Mom called.  She was at the hospital across the street with my other grandma and a few family members.  My grandma had had a stroke, and she wanted me to come and say my good-byes.

Is it wrong of me that truthfully, I was only going for my step dad?  There are very few people in the world that I could honestly say I view as my “hero”, but he is most definitely one of them.

I have always admired his quiet strength.  How, even when he was angry with me, or someone else, he would take the time he needed to work through it in his head, and then come back and address things calmly.  As a teenager, when I’d fight with my mom, it was him who would come and hear my side.  He’d always listen.  He might not always agree with me or my approach, but he’d let me say my piece.  And then he’d share my mom’s side, and then he’d share his own perspective, and somehow, we’d always find a resolution.  He was always the one person who could quiet the stormy seas and make everyone feel calm again.

I adore that he’s silly and playful.  He’d wake me up in the mornings singing “We all live in yellow submarine” as loud as he could.  He’d make up silly songs about whatever we were doing or tell fart jokes, or quote monty python.

Today, I saw his strength crack.  I’ve only seen that maybe twice in my life.  And I remember the last time, I felt the same as I do now.  There’s something not quite right in the world when this man, whom I adore and look to for calm and quiet strength, cracks.  He was doing just fine until I got there and gave him a hug.  And he quickly gathered himself back up and drew it all back in.  He was staying strong for everyone in the room.

Seeing my grandmother today was more difficult than I’d anticipated it would be.  I haven’t attended gatherings at her house for a year or two.  She looked so different.  So thin and frail.  It broke my heart and made me feel scared to ever be put in her shoes.

Because this is my blog, I’m going to share some things… to the few family members who read my blog – please – know that I love my grandmother very much.  I’m not trying to tarnish anything about her… but this is my one place to be honest.

I have always had mixed feelings about my grandmother.  She’s my step grandmother, and when I was young, she made a more than a few comments that made me feel like I would never truly be a part of the family.  When I got older, I went through a phase where I wanted her to like me and connect with me, I even got a job in the banking world, an industry that she spent her career in.  She was a lovely cook and I’d often try and learn her recipes or talk kitchen tricks with her.

When my daughter was a baby, my grandmother watched her for a few days each week.  She loved and adored Alayna.  She would sit and rock her all day.  She wouldn’t even put her down and use the restroom while she was under her care.  I worked two jobs at the time to try and make ends meet, and I was so lucky to have grandma there to watch my daughter.  We didn’t always agree on things and occasionally she would make comments that hurt my feelings.  She’s of a different generation.

I loved family gatherings at her house, and hated them all at the same time.  🙂  I love that family, but grandma, as she got older, would extend visits as long as she could with the entire family.  She’d make the younger children wait until past their bedtime to open presents and the evenings just became harder and harder.  Grandma didn’t see the problem with playing favorites among the children and grandchildren, and I hated having to explain to my children why they were often left out.  So we slowly stopped going to the family gatherings.

Families are complex systems with a multitude of millions of parts.  I never really thought of how much those little moments and pieces and parts affected who I am today.

Grandma was always trying to serve and host others.  Even at the expense of herself.  She was giving and loving and loyal to her family.  Her children are truly some of the most kind and genuine people.  All of which have giant hearts and infectious laughs.  They wouldn’t be who they are without her.  She was a divorced single mom.  I don’t ever remember a man being in her life and instead, did it on her own.

I think I had a moment today when it really sank in that as much as I love her, grandma was wrong about one thing.  Blood doesn’t make you family.  I’m not related to her by blood, but I love her.  I love her family.  My family.  I’m honored and blessed to have them in my life.  I’m sad that change has hit our family today.  A big change. But I know that we’ll weather this change.  I know, because I’m just like them.  I too, channel moments when I embody strength, loyalty, kindness, and a selflessness for others.

I think overall, I handled the day well enough.  I came home and asked one of the roommates for a hug.  I just wanted a friend at that moment.  It had been a long drive home and I already wasn’t looking forward to coming home.  It didn’t really go over very well.  I got a very half-hearted hug and then what felt like being completely shut out.  It hurt.  It made me feel like there was no friendship there.  It helped me learn, yet another lesson.  Be careful who you go to for comfort or support because if you’re not, sometimes, you’ll just get burned.

Goodnight Neverland, much love to you.

lipstick kiss

A whirlwind of a weekend

This weekend has been an interesting one.  I could use a weekend after the way this one has gone.  So many ups and downs.  Honestly, lately I’ve felt caught up in a bit of a swirl.  I’m not quite sure which way is up and which way is down.  It’s uncomfortable.  I started writing a blog post on Friday, but due to some computer issues, that post was lost.  Interesting how that post was very much about me heading into a hurricane, where as this post will end up feeling as if I’m slowly coming out of it.  Still disoriented, and unsure of which way to go, but feeling a bit more steady on my feet all the same.

I went out for coffee on Friday morning with a friend.  He called me Mrs. Positive.  “Jen you’d climb up a mountain, get hit by a few boulders on the way up and say “yea but look at this bad ass bruise – it looks like Abe Lincoln!”.”

Yea – ok.  Fine.  I try and go through life wearing rose tinted glasses.  I realize that may seem a bit off.  But I don’t see the point in dwelling in the negative.  I suppose you wouldn’t know that if you read this blog – as I often write about the negatives.  But that is actually because I need somewhere to let some of that out.  I don’t like how negativity feels.  It spews out of your mind.. and sticks around.  It’s hard to break the habit of complaining or always pointing out the negative side of life.  I know a few of my friends and loved ones who struggle with this.  To outsiders, they’d be called “complainers”.  They aren’t.  They just don’t automatically try and find the positives.  I do.  Life has far too many negative stressors – why on earth would I want to dwell on them?!  I’d rather celebrate my small wins – wherever they are.

Tonight, as I logged into Facebook, I was greeted by this:

Screen Shot 2015-11-01 at 5.28.34 PM

6 years ago, I posted these.  He hasn’t been on my mind all weekend.  Other things have been taking up space lately.  Fights with my mother, stressful deadlines at work, drama within the love life, it’s just been a lot to take.  But thanks to Facebook – I am reminded of one more reason why I’m having a tough weekend.  And yet – somehow, seeing his face, seeing mine in this photo and the tentative hope that was on my very tired looking face.  Thanks Facebook.  Oddly, I’m comforted by this today.

I said some horrible things to my mom today.  In the moment, they were earned – even deserved.  But now, I feel bad.  The thing is, I love my mom.  I always have and I always will.  But… Sometimes, she says and does things that are really hurtful.  Sometimes, when she acts that way, I feel worthless or stupid.  As a kid, I can remember the occasions when we’d fight… I hate fighting with her.  We both have very sharp tongues.  I learned it from her.  I have never liked that side of myself.  Makes me wonder if she thinks about that side of herself in a similar light?  I think somehow, that would make me feel better.  She just doesn’t hear me.  She gets so focused on pushing her way that she steam rolls anyone in front of her.  Tunes them out and doesn’t even hear what they’re saying.  Then she’ll have herself so worked up that she won’t hear you until she’s calmed all the way back down again – and that can take some time and patience.  And usually – the person who’s on the other end of that angry woman to cave and compromise or give in.

Sometimes, I don’t want to give in.  Sometimes, I want to be heard.  She doesn’t have to agree with me – hell she can tell me to go fuck off for all I care, so long as she actually HEARS me.  That’s all I wanted today.  For her to hear what I was saying – because if she’d just shut up and listened to the words I’d said – I’d said that I would help her.  That I didn’t care about anything but doing what I could to help her reduce the load and remove the stress.  But she was on such a rant that she couldn’t hear that.  Sigh.  I lost my temper.  I yelled.  I’d asked my grandfather a question, and she yelled at me for daring to go over her head.  I told her that she was not the matriarch of this family, that we were equals and that I was perfectly in my rights to ask him any question I like.  I held my tongue here.  I told her that just because she is my mother does not give her the right to be disrespectful or to treat me that way.  That I may have taken it as a child, but that I didn’t have to take it as an adult.  I told her that if she continued to act like this, she’d end up a lonely old woman who no one would want to be around.  I told her to get counseling.

While I wouldn’t take back any of what I said – I stand my ground on all of it – I still feel guilt over it all.  I hate that.  I can remember as a kid, after these types of situations, I’d feel such tremendous guilt over the situation.  I’d go make her a sandwich or scrambled eggs.  I’d take out the garbage or do some other small chore to try and make up for it.  I wish I could learn a better way to come to a good place with someone after a conflict like that.

Life is short.  I know this better than most.  I know that I’ll keep trying with my mother.  I love her.  She loves me.  She and I have come along way over the years.  I’ve cooled down a lot over the years.  My Irish doesn’t show nearly as often as it used to.  Life has thrown me curves, and I’ve learned to duck and swerve.  I refuse to get caught in the trap of my own negativity.

Tomorrow, I’ll go back to work.  It’ll be another long, stressful, yet glorious week.  I look forward to all the crazy dramatic challenges that will be thrown my way.  And my personal life… I’ll figure it out.  I always do.  Put on a good song, light a few candles, write in my blog, and suddenly, I know that I’ll find my way.