Tag Archives: family

You Don’t Need A Cape, You Already Have Wings

I am here to tell you that you don’t need a cape, you already have wings…I am sitting in a silent house after a week-long spring break trip that I haven’t taken since “The Trip” back in April 2016. One would think that I would feel rested, recharged, rejuvenated. Well…. I was. Sort of.

Let me tell you about the flight home after an amazing trip with my two favorite teenage humans. Picture this, tribe… 3 solid hours of turbulence. I even considered if the pilot was on his maiden flight. This was enhanced by one terrified teenager who has a legit fear of flying and one teenager who does what all teenagers do best, slumped – passed out cold… the entire flight. Mix that in with several (and I mean SEVERAL) sick children who were projectile vomiting from the turbulence (Yep, you are absolutely correct – there is NO fresh air on an airplane) and the overwhelming and recycled stench of kiddy vomit… Is this real life? Yes. It was. It happened, and I lived through it this past weekend. Eventually, I ended up getting home and feeling like I needed a vacation all over again. Please do not get me wrong here… I am 100% grateful that I got this experience and quality time with my kids, and that I had the means to go on such a trip with them. I am blessed beyond measure, and I do not take one of those moments (or any for that matter) for granted.

Wait, wait, wait…. You’re wondering what I meant by “The Trip” that I mentioned above back in 2016. Ah. Yep, That. Well, I think its time to get over my paralyzing fears, stare it directly in the eye and decide today is the day that I keep looking forward, and quit looking back to see if the past is still there. It’s there. It hasn’t left. I can still feel it. I can still see it. I can still hear it. I can’t unsee it, unhear it or unfeel it. It’s now part of who I have become.

It was around this time three years ago (almost to the day) that my world completely fell of its axis. No, literally. My entire personal world that I lived in completely blew up. In an instant. It was the day I became a working single mom.

I’m not going to dig into any of the details, much of which even after three years are still very fresh to my heart and soul, and the cuts are still very deep and still bleed on occasion. I can tell you with 100% certainty that I was absolutely blind-sided and was not in any way, shape, or form ready for what was going to happen to my life. It was never something I had signed up for or wanted. EVER. After all, I had been the living fairytale. I married my high school sweetheart and at that point had spent 20 years of my then 36 years of life with him. We had been married for 13 years at that point and had two beautiful children. Was our life glitter, rainbows and unicorns? Absolutely not. Was it perfect? No way. But, it was MY version of perfect. It was my world. My life. My everything – – until it just wasn’t any longer. I came back from spring break with my kiddos (he did not join us on this trip) to my then hero, lover, best friend, my person, and love of my life… telling me he no longer wanted to be in our marriage. He wanted out, and he left me. MIND BLOWN. EARTH SHATTERED. To make it worse, I was told in public. In a bar. Yep. That happened.

Let’s take the 35,000 foot detour for a second, and get you caught up to speed – and get off the backstory train. I spent three long and painful years desperately trying to hold onto my marriage and save my family. I pleaded with God. I got angry. I got spiteful. I cried millions and millions of tears. I felt abandoned, hopeless, jaded – any feeling you can come up with – I assure you I felt them and I mastered them. I lost weight and shrunk faster than washing a 100% cotton shirt in scalding hot water and putting it in the dryer on high heat for an hour. Some days, I literally begged to die – because the pain inside of me was so much, so deep, so hard – I couldn’t stand another minute. Failure was not a word that was ever in my vocabulary – and here I was – the picture of failure right next to the word in good oleWebster’s.

Long story short, we divorced right before this past Christmas – and the holidays, well – let’s just say they were pretty much a blur. Kind of like when you squint and look at the lights on the tree. They are there, but you really can’t make out what it is, but you obviously know.

I have a point here, trust me – and stay with me because hopefully – there is someone out there just like me who was right where I was or is even now. I look at the day-to-day and I still hurt. I hurt when I look at my kids when we are now a party of 3 that used to be 4. I hurt when I go to bed in a king sized bed alone and hover on the far side of the bed – and wake up in the same position, barely had moved. I have good day and bad days.

When looking at it by the “days” or “moments – I have felt like I haven’t moved an inch much less a mile. However, when I look back at the last three years as a “whole” – Tribe, let me tell you – I have moved mountains I didn’t think could be moved. I have traveled so far that I can’t see where I started even though I know it exists. I have grown, stretched myself, and learned more about myself and have undoubtedly proved myself wrong every single step of the way. I have survived 100% of my worst days. TRUE STORY!

I am alive to tell the tale. To not only myself, but to my two beautiful children and any one of you that are reading this. I have cried myself to sleep. I have eaten completely alone in a restaurant. I have gone to a wedding solo. I have wondered how I can make it another day. However, I have smiled. I have laughed. I have found strength in the deepest places I never knew existed. Hell, all of this brought me here to all of YOUright here and now. I am walking side by side with you. Our arms are linked, and we are in lock step. I am one of you. We’re a tribe and let me tell you – we’re strong. We’re not going anywhere and despite what you feel (or don’t feel) inside – we got this, and not only do we – we’ll do it twice and take pictures to prove it. (Insert “Amen” here!)

Humor me and consider this for a few moments. I want you to look in the mirror. I don’t want you to worry about the bags under your eyes from the lack of sleep you got last night because your child was up sick all night or because your teenager had their first heartbreak. Don’t look at the extra curves that may surround your waistline because you have been working so hard to provide, you haven’t gotten the chance to get to the gym. It’s not necessary to look at the dry shampoo residue in your hair. What I want you to do is look past the refection staring back at you, and for God’s sake, don’t judge the woman staring back. Only you know what storms she has been through. Only you know where she has been, and where she is going. You’re the only one who has lived her life. You’re the expert of the person you see in the mirror. No one knows her better than you.

Every single day is a new opportunity to start again. Reinvent yourself. Try something new. Spread your wings. I encourage you to do so, even when you’re paralyzed in fear, or have no idea where to even start. If you want to lay in bed all day, hide from the world, and pretend that you are non-existent; go ahead, do it for a day or two. But remember, you don’t live there. You don’t belong there anyway – and it’s not a destination. Here’s why…

If I have learned anything, it’s this. You have smaller humans that are watching your every move. Your attitudes, your composure, your strength, and endurance. They are building their character traits based on your examples. We’re helping shape who they become. Albeit – there is this saying but man oh man is it a good one…. Show your daughters how to be treated by a man and show your sons how to treat a woman. You’re showing them this tribe… and guess what… you’re doing an amazing job. No matter what yesterday’s mascara has to say about it.

Keep chugging the lattes. Keep being that laundry warrior. Be who you need yourself to be for you and for them. We’re all here to cheer you on along the way, and to pick you up and carry you when you feel like you can’t. That’s what tribes do.

Until we meet again…

Jenn

The Kitchen Is The Place To Be At Our House

The Kitchen…. I finally bought a house about 3 years ago for my kids and I. I bought it thinking that everyone would have their own room and it had a family room in the basement. I thought this would be great, all of the kids could play and hang out. Do you think they ever use it? NO! I just didn’t understand it at first.. I would almost push them into the basement to use it. For the love of God, why do they not use this nice family room…

But my kids love to be in the “kitchen”… the kitchen is the place to be and it’s what I love. Growing up, I would hang out at my best friends house with all of her sisters and their friends. It was great and I loved it. I have such great memories of all the fun we had throughout high school. Late night movies, laughing, games, and telling stories.. That is what I remember.

After I had my kids, I wanted to have the house where my kids hung out out with their friends. I wanted them and their friends to feel comfortable and loved at our home. And I finally have it…I love that my kids friends feel comfortable in our house. They will get their own snacks or know where I keep all the glasses. I love that they know how to unload my dishwasher and clean up after themselves. Sometimes they do it better than my own kids. I love that my kids friends will go play with one of my younger kids than their own friend. I love that they have sleepovers at my house all the time

My house is nothing special, it’s older and outdated. However, they don’t seem to care and I love that. It means that kids don’t really care about all the material things, they just want to feel comfortable or familiar. Sometimes I will come home and they will all be sitting in the kitchen laughing and talking, all different ages and grades, just laughing about life, as they see it.

My kids, their friends, and my mom friends will sit in our kitchen for hours laughing and hanging out. I love this! Sometimes I will ask the kids, why do you want to be around us mom’s, why don’t you go and find something to do… but they continue to hang out.

Today’s kids grow up so different with all the technology and apps. I try and make sure I know what is going on in their lives as much as I can…I do all the parent checks on their phones and apps. But I also give them some freedom and independence, which is important. I grew up writing notes and passing them in class and my parents never read them. I also grew up talking on the phone until all hours of the night and my parents did not listen to my phone conversations. So, I do think my kids need some privacy, freedom, and independence growing up.

I do not know how I did it, but maybe it was from always making sure I have their favorite snacks…but I have always felt comfortable talking to my kids and their friends, asking them about their day, school, other friends, maybe teasing them a little…I also just talk to them in normal conversation and I think that is important.

Snarky divorced gal (www.snarkydivorcedgal.com)

Our Chaotic Bliss

Our Chaotic Bliss…

My mother always told me that I could achieve anything I wanted if I worked hard enough. A common message we hear all the time growing up. I didn’t want to be an astronaut, or a lawyer. I wanted to be a mother, a wife, and someone who helps people. Seems simple right? I’m writing this in my overgrown, tattered sweatshirt, my hair in a messy bun on the top of my head, and not the cute kind most women can get away with, in the dark, next to my snoring husband, letting Ed Sharron carronade me.  Go ahead and ask it…. Why would anyone take advice from a disheveled mom? I promise, I don’t have all the answers, hell most days I don’t know how I will tackle the endless amounts of tantrums, school lunches, work disasters, and then some how need to whip up a healthy dinner that most of my kids will refuse to even touch. But I have figured out how in the middle of our Chaotic bliss, raising 3 kids all which come and go to 2 households, stressful jobs, marriage, bills, and needing to keep up with Pinterest perfection people, how to be happy with being me, the mom with the messy bun.

This will not solve your problems, it will just help remind you that you aren’t alone. We are a fearless tribe of badass creators that were born to make the world a more positive place one day at a time. I guess I will start from the start of my quest for positivity. Like most everyone I hit rock bottom. Not the actors and actresses rock bottom that somehow with their glam squad they emerge from the depths of hell looking as if they were in a Pageant. But the gut punched, eyes swollen, couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep, oh did I mention I was pregnant, with a toddler in tow. My rock bottom was when my now ex-husband cheated on me. I’m sure most of you reading this are shaking your head thinking, get in line honey you aren’t the first, and won’t be the last.  Well this ripped me from limb to limb, shook my beliefs in faith, marriage, and who I was to the core. I didn’t believe in divorce, but damnit I didn’t believe in someone imploding my self-worth either.

I knew I wasn’t perfect. He wasn’t either clearly. But I also knew we had the worlds most perfect daughter, and a son on the way. Everything I ever dreamed of came crashing to a halt.  After time I could handle that our marriage was over. I just couldn’t fathom that my dream of my family was shattered. I’m one of the rare people who was blessed to be raised by parents who have been married almost 4 decades. I did everything I could think of save our marriage, our family, and our kids futures, but nothing worked. I refused to beg for reasons, attention, or rational, I just couldn’t handle one more lie.

My father told me, in the middle of the puddle of what felt like endless tears. “Mark my words in 2 years from now you will be married.” Yeah, sure. I’d rather die alone than put my heart out there again. Fast forward to the day I met my currently snoring husband. I sent a message on Facebook to someone I thought I knew. Get ready for it your going to call me out, thinking I’m bluffing.  I sent it to someone I thought I went to college, who had gone in to the military. I was thrilled at the thought of sending him a care package. Instead I got a message that was rather curt and annoyed me. “I’m not who you think I am, sorry.” I looked at my mother who had come to spend time with me, appauled, as I was sure the entire world was out to get me at this time and muttered “Wow what a jerk!”

We had one mutual friend on Facebook. We both sent her a message, without the other knowing. I watched as the 3 bubbles of truth popped up. I waited with baited breath to hear what sort of creep would be so rude.  Much to my disappointment she raved about him. “Oh, He is WONDERFUL! He is the male you, you will just adore him” I still claim it the was pregnancy hormones that made me take the leap of faith. Hell, what did I have to lose, I planned on dyeing alone at the ripe, crusty age of 89. I let him know that I was mistaken, and I apologized for bothering him.

You know the rest of how it goes. We didn’t stay apart. We talked for 14 hours a day on and off for months. I verbally exploded. Some how he was safe. In the middle of my train wreck of a life, he made me feel heard for the first time. It was the haziest time, and some how the only time in my life I leapt before I looked. Oh, I should have mentioned I’m a planner. A planner of everything, and if it didn’t go to the plan I had in my head I derailed. I find it ironic, I have seen just about every romantic comedy on the planet and they have it right. The moment I wasn’t looking, I wasn’t available, I wasn’t ready, he showed up. But here is what they don’t show you. It’s messy. It doesn’t look flawless. He farts, and it smells horrific. I get frazzled and get snappy. I don’t always look like a pageant girl, I rocked shirts that had baby snot, and coffee stains. But, it was real. It was raw. It was imperfect. It was moment, my heart ache made sense. I had to lose what I thought I wanted and needed, to end up with who I was meant to grow old with and raise my children with. He challenges me. He is a pain. Lord knows he is sassy as anything. He is also the same man who loves me when my spinal issue acts up. He loves my children as his own. Who some how taught me to love the things I hated about myself in the gentlest way.

We are on this journey together. I hope my ramblings will give you comfort and remind you, you’re not alone. Life isn’t perfect, but there are incredible sprinkles along the way that make the dark times, have nuggets of positivity along the way. Positivity doesn’t happen, it’s a choice. In the hard-horrible times to search and dig as deep as needed to find the tiny pulse of hope, happiness, and positivity. Most of all, life wont look perfect. It’s not an Instagram post, a Pinterest idea, or a Hollywood movie. It’s challenging, frustrating, messy, joyous, and is chaotic bliss.

 

Stay Positive and Kind,

Rah- Rah Rachel

I Am Not Broken

I am not broken.

This past holiday weekend a blow up with my daughter over me wanting to see what she was watching on her iPad resulted in her sharing she feels responsible for her Dad and I not getting along.

I meant to write about how happy I am it’s Spring and how much I love the beautiful weather and I am.

I can not adequately put into words how good it is for my soul to wear sandals and open windows and feel the breeze.

But as much as I want to celebrate the new season my heart hurts that my daughter feels any kind of responsibility for things between her Dad and I.

I think I did things backwards with G.

But let’s be honest, there is no guide when you get divorced. Maybe I did things just right and she’s just hitting the age where she can see it.

Or maybe after nine years I’m worn out from trying to hide it.

Either way my heart sank when she said she doesn’t like knowing her  Dad and I don’t like each other.

She feels like I’m hurt, broken.

I stopped her.

For starters while I’m not her Dad’s biggest fan. I don’t not like him. But he makes some not great choices and G usually tends to be in the vicinity when he does.

I also let her know she is my sun, my moon, and my stars. Being her Mom actually fixed me. Being her Mom is the best thing in the world. She is the best thing in my world.

Not being with her Dad, while it’s not where I’d thought I’d be.

I’m happy.

And Mommas my heart is sinking that she thinks me being alone, not getting along with her Dad means I’m not happy.

This would be about the time I throw in a fun quote or try to lighten the mood.

I’m tapped.

I’m alone on Easter.

The only store that’s open already put their Easter candy away, and somehow I have to get in my daughter’s head and heart absolutely nothing between her Dad and I is her fault.

I thought I had.

Aww Mommas… this is a toughie

<3 Caprise

Co-Dependency: Sitting in the Suck and Gratitude

Co-Dependency: Sitting in the Suck and Gratitude

What a difference a year can make. One year ago today, I was living with my husband of 10 years and our two children in a nice house. We had great neighbors, good careers and while our marriage was struggling, I thought we’d see it through. The first five years of our marriage were great, but the second five – things started spiraling. Addiction and alcoholism… he always said he wanted to get help. He’d go to counseling for awhile, but eventually, things would get busy and it would get pushed to the back burner, and then *shocking*, another relapse. I thought we could get back to where we were the first five years of our marriage. I always hoped that we would.

Until one day in the spring of 2018. Everything changed in an instant, and there was no fixing it – no more hope. I’d always said that domestic violence was my no-go. You don’t come back from that – put your hands on me once, and it’ll be the last time. I meant it.

Fast forward to today. The kids and I moved. I don’t think he knows where we are. I hope not, anyway. Through some investigations, I found out that he told some of his coworkers that he was going to put a tracking device on my car. I found pictures of other women on a flash drive. Did I mention that I was really sick for months, requiring hospitalization, a home health care nurse, specialists… and three specialists now believe that he was poisoning me? POISONING ME.  After countless tests they all told me, “there’s no medical reason why you were so sick”, and have all come to the same conclusion. Looking back, it makes sense but boy, is that a bitter pill to swallow. (If The Lifetime Channel would like rights to my story, have them give me a call).

I’ve come to realize that I had no idea who he really was, or rather, who he became. Ten years of marriage. TEN YEARS.

At the time, I didn’t realize how bad things were. I didn’t realize how much I was walking on eggshells for fear of “triggering” him to drink. I took on all the responsibility of the household – bills, cooking, cleaning, shopping, working two jobs, pick up and drop off of the kids… all so he wasn’t stressed. I put my needs on the backburner. As though it was my fault when he drank… my responsibility to maintain his sobriety.

Amazingly, it’s actually easier being a single mom of two kids than being a single mom of two kids and one grown man-child. I don’t worry about holes being punched in the wall when he’s drunk, I don’t worry about having to clean up a bathroom floor covered in pee because he was too wasted to hit the toilet. I don’t have a near panic-attack when he doesn’t answer his phone and has the kids. It was so bad, but it got bad slowly, and like a frog in boiling water, I just hung in there. I trusted that if he just got to the right therapist… if he just got the right treatment, it would be okay. We’d be okay. The thing is though, that I wanted it more than him. He never wanted it. Our insurance would have covered treatment – inpatient and outpatient – 100%. I made the calls, the referrals. He never really wanted it… he’d go for a bit to appease me… I just didn’t see it.

Regardless, I have so much to be thankful for.  I have a solid, amazing support system -my friends rushed from their workplaces to the scene that spring day, and have never left my side. They’ve attended court dates and hearings, they’ve cried with me and have sworn like sailors with me. They’ve given gift cards and wine and took my kids when I was exhausted. My extended and immediate family is incredible. The kids and I are in an apartment and the bills are a challenge, but I can pay them. I’m not getting child support and I don’t ever expect to, but for now – we’re safe. We’ve been protected, I’m sure of that. I had an incredible divorce attorney who kept me focused from his attacks against my integrity and character.  The prosecutor and victim advocate in the criminal case were both phenomenal. I am so thankful.

Sitting in the suck is so important. Probably not the most eloquent term, but that’s sure what it felt like. Many nights I would literally sit on my couch and allow the waves of grief and loneliness to settle in. Grief over the loss of my marriage, the loss of my (our) future plans, the loss of my children growing up in a home with two parents. Grief over the loss of their innocence – they were so young, and they saw and heard way too much. In those moments, it would have been easier to just sit and scroll mindlessly on my phone, to drink a bunch of wine or to somehow occupy and distract myself. But… I knew I had to feel it. In order to get past it, I had to sit in the suck and feel the grief and pain, and allow processing to happen. This will not control my future, and the only way through the pain is the hard way – to feel it.

The kids and I have all benefitted enormously from counseling. EMDR therapy is incredible – I’ve been able to break through the co-dependency and see it for what it really is. I can relive the events that happened that awful spring day without the physiological symptoms welling up. The importance of a support system and the importance of therapy cannot be underscored. If you’ve been through trauma, if your kids have been through trauma – get to a good therapist. It might not be the first one you meet – my first therapist said I was “fine”… I just had “hope”, even though I told her I don’t feel “fine”. It wasn’t “fine” for someone to allow themselves to be controlled and shoulder every responsibility for the household. The second therapist agreed with me, and we delved deeper, and EMDR was a good option. It’s cliché, but truly, there is no shame in seeking help.

The past year has been incredibly hard, but I can see light now. The kids are doing great. I love our new town and the people. The divorce and criminal cases are both resolved, the protection order case will be soon. And while I don’t know if I’ll ever be with anyone again, I’m doing my best to heal, move forward, and set a good example for my kids. We’re going to thrive… there is no other option.

-Elaine

Take Your Second Chances

Four years ago to almost the day, my parents took my family and my sisters family to Florida for a vacation. We had been planning it for years.. At that time in my life, I had lived my entire life as a pleaser and couldn’t disappoint any of them. I hated having that feeling I was disappointing someone. However, I already knew when we got back to glorious Wisconsin, I would be telling my husband I wanted a divorce. No way to sugar coat that..It was not the trip of a lifetime.

And now four years later,I am divorced and happy. I mean I have my moments but overall it took the last 4 years to get to this point. The point of life where I’m happy about my choices and happy about the life I’m living. I had my 3 kids for spring break so off to Florida we were going… This was my second chance.

I was so excited for this trip but also so nervous… I had to do all the planning and be responsible for getting 3 kids to Florida.. And just hoping my son didn’t put a so-called weapon into his pocket and we will be hauled off.. It was a lot of responsibility for all of us. I had to rely also on my kids to be responsible and help out when I needed. Moments before we left, I thought am I crazy to do this.

But once the trip started, it was amazing. This trip probably meant more to me than they anyone will ever know… to my kids it was 8 days in the sun.. and to me it was my second chance. This was my second chance from 4 years ago. It just showed me how your life can change… How we make choices, how scared we are at that time, and how in time it does work out. I could have never imagined all of the changes as a person that you go through in 4 years with a divorce. I finally got to be the person I wanted to be…

4 years ago, I would have been the mom that had the lunches packed the night before, been yelling at my kids to be up by 7, to be at the beach by 8 am.. and I would not have relaxed for a minute on a vacation. I did not enjoy being that person. I would have made sure I was pleasing everyone, just not myself.

Today, I am so relaxed. I am not worried about pleasing everyone. I am not worried about trying to do a million things in one day. I am not worried about seeing every attraction in Florida in 8 days. I made choices that have made my happy.

I took this trip day by day. I let my kids sleep til 11 and I got to go for morning runs. I got to sit and drink coffee in the sun. I got to think about my life and my future. We swam, we laughed, we had ice cream everyday, we stayed up til midnight.. We got to drive to the beach at whatever time we got up…and some days we just hung out. I have never seen my kids so relaxed or just having fun. They were happy, really happy. I think we all worry about our kids everyday and then sometimes you look at them and know they are really happy. I got to sit and watch them and just relax.

So yes, we get re-dos in life and second chances. We get a second chance to do it again.. maybe different or better this time. Maybe things weren’t as clear the first time or maybe you didn’t have the confidence at that time….but in the end take your second chance.

-Snarky Divorced Gal

Where Did My Dreams Go?

Where did “I” go?…I started my life like most girls, with big dreams filled with what I wanted to accomplish.  Of course, my dreams included children – 2 or 3 – a career, a nice house, a husband… but it also included having fun.

I wanted a balanced life, where everything would fall into place and all the different areas of my life would complete each other. But, as I went along, I realized that “I” disappeared; me as an individual person just disappeared. “I” have been replaced by either the career woman or the mother. When I get introduced to new people, the main part of me that comes out is either being someone’s mother, where we talk about kids and everything about raising kids or my work and my career. Somewhere along the way “I” got lost.

Where did “I” disappear? Was it when I could focus on only one thing: providing for my children? Making sure they had everything they needed both on a financial and emotional level. Was it when I had to work 2 jobs to put food on the table? Or was it when I became more stable and focused on a career? Somewhere in all that,  “I” completely vanished.

No longer do ”I” think of anything not involving the kids. Even if I get a sitter, I find myself wondering if the kids are sad that I left them to go do something that does not involve them. “I” now has a companion called “guilt”. Is it a woman thing to always be thinking about our kids?

Being a mother always involves making sacrifices, but being both mom and dad is insanely demanding. I am so used to spending all my time outside of work with my kids that if for some miraculous reason I find myself alone in the house, I honestly don’t know what to do with myself. How did that happen? Why does the idea of spending an afternoon alone send me into a semi panic mode? Unable to even figure out what to eat!

Today, I am over forty, my oldest daughter is getting ready to go to college and I am here thinking how did I get here and what have I done with my life? I am proud that I managed all by myself to raise my daughter and to see her go onto her journey to becoming a successful independent woman, I am also terrified that she will see me  as someone who failed to have a life outside of being a mother.

As I ask myself: Where did my life go?  I also wonder about what I could have done differently/if I could have done things differently that would have provided some kind of balance in my life. And as I embark in the journey of raising my second daughter (that’s for another subject: having a baby at 40) I will need to take a deeper look at things.

Does being a single mother mean putting everything on hold? Always? Is the constant fear of not being able to take care of my kids causing me to let life pass me by?

Why do all my thoughts involve being a mother? How to become a free independent fun woman? My kids are my universe, that will never change, but I would like my mind to take a break from time to time and let “I” make a short apparition until we get reacquainted.

~Rosemonde

Have Kids They Said- It Will Be Fun They Said

Have Kids They Said- It Will Be Fun They Said….

I’m sure you have all heard that phrase before, right?!? I’m not exactly sure who “they” are, but I’m thinking they were drunk or high or maybe even both when “they” came up with that phrase. I know what you are thinking right now…. wow that’s harsh. Maybe, maybe not! Don’t get me wrong, I love my girls more than anything in this world and they are the best two miracles to have ever entered my life. I’m just saying that sometimes (ok, maybe most times) parenting can be downright exhausting. Especially the times when you are grocery shopping and your children are in the dreaded car cart (damn carts) acting out the latest WWF moves with each other.

Back before I had children I planned everything and became anxious and irritated if something didn’t go according to that plan. Then I became pregnant with Emerson and I was beyond thrilled, I started planning her extravagant (maybe it was a bit over the top) nursery right away. Well, apparently Emerson didn’t like plans and decided that she was going to enter the world 4 weeks early after I was diagnosed with severe preeclampsia and hospitalized. When we were finally able to bring Emerson home I realized very quickly that my OCD like behaviors were going to have to take a backseat. There was not enough time in the day to tend to a newborn while sleep deprived and keep a spotless house.

Fast forward almost two years later and I became pregnant with Amelia. I could’ve sworn she was a boy during my entire first trimester. I was so convinced that I had been giving away a lot of Emerson’s girly baby clothes because I wouldn’t need them for a boy. I will never forget the day we did gender reveal cupcakes and Emerson ate into it while I watched on in anticipation awaiting the blue frosting in the middle. The frosting was pink…. I cut open all half dozen cupcakes because I was sure it was a mistake. This confession I always feel bad about, but I can own it. I cried… I cried because I wanted a little boy so badly. I got over it quickly and realized how grateful and thankful I was to have become pregnant again in the first place.

I never in a million years imagined myself being a single mom raising two little girls, it really was not in my life plan. I had met someone ten years ago, whom I thought at that time was my prince charming. Both of our careers were on track, we had each other, and we were living our best lives. Maybe fairy tales really did exist, or at least that is what I thought at the time. Then my world came crashing down on me one piece at a time until I stood at the center of a web of lies and my fairy tale became my worst nightmare.

I’m slowly picking up those pieces and have my friends and family to lean on for support. I look at my girls when they are playing so nicely together (rare moments) and I just have to smile and remind myself that everything truly does happen for a reason. Maybe fairy tales are more complicated in real life, maybe they do not exist at all. However, I owe it to my girls and to myself to keep writing our story, you just never know where it will end up 😉

Remember, hugs are always free!

xX Tamara xX

Dinosaurs Divorce

We are sitting under the glow of fluorescent bulbs, and I notice the book “Dinosaurs Divorce” on the play therapist’s wooden clipboard, an item on the evening’s agenda. “We have this book as a resource,” she says as I thumb through it. The book depicts Mommy and Daddy dinosaurs arguing with loud noises. Mommy and Daddy dinosaurs stewing silently. Daddy dinosaurs packing dinosaur boxes and placing them in the back of dinosaur moving vans. The therapist’s voice brings me back to reality: “Would you like us to go over this with Brennan? Or is it too overt?” Brennan is my 3-year-old son who isn’t familiar with the word “divorce” but has come to understand that he lives at “Brennan’s house” with Mama. I glance again at the glossary in the front of the book that explains the family law system to children in the way a biology textbook delineates the parts of a cell. My heart is beating fast. “Well, what do you think? Is this what he needs?” I ask her. I’m on foreign soil. She pauses and peers at me over thick-rimmed glasses: “You seem hesitant,” she replies. “Follow your instincts.” “Then, no. Not now.” No to “Dinosaurs Divorce.” No to pushing my kid off the cliff of childhood innocence with brute force.

It’s right after the Ash Wednesday service, and I am meeting my mom in front of Charming Charlie for the usual toddler trade-off. I climb cold and red-nosed into the front seat of her black SUV to sit a minute and turn to grin at my baby boy in the back. “What’s that?” Brennan says, staring intensely at the ashes on my forehead. “It’s in the shape of the cross…” my mother starts. I interject- “It’s just…it’s a religious…” my voice trails off. We move on to different subjects, and Brennan seems to adjust easily enough to the idea of a mother with an inexplicably dirty forehead. “Mom,” I say as we’re moving him and his accoutrements to my car, “I’m not ready to tell him about Jesus yet. I mean, I tell him that Jesus made us, and He loves us but not about His death. Not yet. Let’s just let him be happy. Let him be a kid.” “Of course,” she agrees.

His blue eyes stare up at me, long lashes blinking. “Is Da-Da home?” “No…remember, Da-Da lives at a different house now. He drives a big truck, and he lives with his friends. You’ll see him soon though!” I try to say it with cheer. “Oh yeah,” he replies with disappointment. I regret trying to say it with cheer.

As we drive, I glance back in the rearview mirror at a kid who is excited about driving over a bridge, and I pretend to get excited too. I know life’s not all bridges, but I want it to be. I want it to be happiness and every one of his favorite things. I want to shield him from the grisly deaths of Saviors and families.

I linger in these moments: they are uncomfortable places, sure. I think back to my first trimester of motherhood when the doctor called Brennan an impending miscarriage. In my fear and desperate longing, I spoke to him often. With a hand on my belly and a fierce whisper, I begged him to stay. “Life is not always easy, but it will be good. I’ll be a good mama to you, I promise. Please stay.” He stayed. And I try to stay true to my word, the best I can, here in this messy in-between. Even at three years old, life is not easy. Maybe all of life is a messy in-between. But still, I know: it will be good. It is good.

We get out of the car after another long day of work and play and commuting. It’s dark outside, but the sky is brightly lit. “Look, Mama!” he says. “The moon and the stars and the sky!” “Oh yeah! I LOVE the moon and the stars and the sky!” “Me too, Mama! I love them too!” And before we go into the house for another night of supper and bath time and bed, we stand for a moment and look up together at the big wide world- wild, uncontainable, beautiful.

~Mallory is a Mississippi mama who has been broken by life and softened by grace. She loves pine trees, poetry, and her friends.

Take Your Cat And Leave My Sweater

In the spring of 2017, my ex and I observed our eleventh wedding anniversary.  Not long after that, we decided to end our marriage.  It was the hardest decision that I’ve ever made.  Divorce is such an ugly word surrounded by negatives.

I make no secret of my love of Pinterest.  Like, most of my life guidance comes from Pinterest and country music-haha.  It is easy to find exactly what you are looking for, whether that is good or bad.  Do you want to support the despair of divorce?  Done.  Do you want to find hope in what’s to come?  That can be done, too.  One of those choices keeps you bound.  The other gives you wings.

I had to get through the sadness of it all before I could get to the blessings that came from our decision to split.  That’s what I want to focus on here.

The hardest thing (for me) about ending a relationship is wondering what you could have done differently.  We exhausted every avenue.  We prayed.  We went to counseling.  We medicated.  We tried to be different people.  We kept arguing more and more.  We love each other very much, but we are very different people.  We kept trying to make it work for the kids, but the kids weren’t happy.  We weren’t helping them anymore.  We were hurting them.

We made a lot of adult choices that weren’t rooted in feelings.  We decided that no matter how we felt towards each other in those first days, we were committed to one thing.  Making this transition as easy on our kids as possible.  We didn’t make schedules.  We showed them that no matter what was happening between us as a couple, we were still committed to them.

When I stopped focusing on what divorce was taking from us, I started seeing what this separation was gifting us.  Solace.  Breathing room.  Peace.  I love Thomas with all my heart.  He is one of my very best friends in this world and I know without a shadow of a doubt that he always has my back.  All of those things were true when we were together, but they were lost in petty disputes.  Fights about everything and nothing at all.  Arguing because we didn’t know how to be happy anymore.  It took him moving out for me to be able to just love him again.

Does this mean we are getting back together?  No.  We would go right back to the same old patterns.  Does this mean we are seeing each other or dating or a couple in any way?  No.  That part of our life is behind us.  What it does mean is we have a new commitment that has nothing to do with anything but doing our best by our family and each other.  It means the court doesn’t have to tell us who can see what child when.  We are capable of deciding that all on our own.  It means that we will be sitting beside each other at sporting events and graduations and weddings.  It means that our kids don’t have to decide where they are spending Christmas, because we are welcome in each other’s homes.  It means our kids can enjoy having two parents who aren’t at each other’s throats all the time.

We are working hard, together, to teach our children valuable lessons during this time.  We are teaching them to be kind and fair and compromising.  We are teaching them that homes are only broken if the people inside them are.  Once those people find the strength to heal, it doesn’t matter what their addresses are.  We are teaching them that love and commitment doesn’t have to be conditional.  It may change over time but what really matters is how you handle those changes.  We are teaching them resilience.

~ LA

You can read more from LA at https://sweeterinthesouth.blog/