Co-Parenting : Forgiveness Required

I may need to do a search through all the posts on this blog to find it, but sometime back in 2011 I wrote a piece about forgiveness. The act of forgiveness, how and why and the importance of it all. Four years later I can finally report back.

Four years ago I was still rather bitter about getting divorced. Hurt and angry, but I had decided that maybe forgiveness was the approach for me. So, I took a deep breath, said many prayers and chose to forgive my ex husband for his behavior while we were married.

This was not an easy choice.

There is something that happens in a break up that makes everything seem worse. Everyone you know chooses a side. You may think that I mean his side or my side, but I don’t. They decide how each single parent should co-parent when the other party hasn’t lived up to their end of the bargain during the marriage.

The most popular among my peers was the one that removed my ex-husband from not just the marriage, but from our life. As though POOF I had two kids and POOF I magically get a check every month to help cover their living expenses.

I was so angry at the time that I do have 100% parental custody. I could fly to China tomorrow without my ex-husbands permission and he would just have to deal with it. I won’t…but I have the ability. Anger makes us do so many things.

Then I thought about simply arranging supervised visitation. Only I was so poor. We were barely scraping by so there was no way to cover the cost of providing supervised visitation. I was quite irrational at this point so I maintained our distance. We saw my ex-husband about once every few months and not for very long, a couple of hours at most.

Then something I found sadder than the possibility of having to see my ex-husband on a more regular basis. It was our sons. They didn’t know him.

As a child of a single family home I know what that is like. My father was not a good person, at least as far as his behavior back in 1985, but we were raised by my mother and maternal grandparents. I had a relatively happy childhood. We had our drama, but what family doesn’t? Perhaps we had more drama than average, but I think we are all more interesting to talk to because of it…anyway. That’s a different story. I didn’t know my father. I knew what other people thought of him. I knew where he was from and what I thought of the people from that place. But I didn’t know him and that is a great cloud over the happy times. All of those times I saw my friends with their dads were sad times for me because I had never known what that was like.

As I became an adult I tried looking for my father to no avail. He didn’t want to be found in the digital age and therefore had no digital footprint. That didn’t mean the sadness was gone. “Who was he?” “How was he?” “Did I have other sisters or brothers?” “Did I have a step mom I didn’t know about?” Always having those questions is sad. I didn’t want that for my kids. Who was I to make that choice for them?

That is what I found to be this sad thing. I was an adult who had lived in a set of circumstances that made me mad. So mad that I thought it a good idea to remove the person that held the other half of their DNA in his genes.

But was I so angry that I couldn’t find it within myself to forgive a man for his behavior? How could I call myself a good person if at the first test of faith I proved to have none? It is no secret that I am a Christian, perhaps a different breed than the ones you read about, but I try to have a simple faith, based on love. In our church we are taught to love and forgive.

I was faced with two options.

One my kids didn’t really remember who this guy was that we sometimes saw really was, so we could just gently fade away and he could become a memory.

Two embrace the pain, and allow them to fully know their father and make the decision for themselves.

To do the first would have been the easiest choice for someone as angry as I had been. He didn’t know where we lived, who we hung out with, where I worked, all I would have had to do was change my phone number and we would have been done. Simple. Clean. Heartbreaking for him and for me. I would be setting my kids up for the same thought process I always had. Always wondering why I wasn’t good enough to be loved by the people who are supposed to love you the most.2015/01/img_2354.jpg

So I embraced the pain. The hardest and easiest choice on so many levels. The cold aloof anger has been replaced by hesitant resolve. Hesitant because everything we went through leaves a mark on the psyche, but resolve because it has turned out to be the right thing to do. My kids are 4 and 8 now. They know their father. They’ve seen where he sleeps and we know how he lives, where he lives, and why he lives.

Over the last four years we have fought and cried and been angry for past ills all over again, but there has been so much forgiveness and contrition. So much of what we have worked through together has made us better people for our next partners. We know more of how each of us failed the other that we will continue to work hard to not make the same mistake. We know that finding that next perfect person for our new selves will be hard, we each have a longer list of must haves…okay at least I do..but I am optimistic about the prospects.

Forgiving him has taught me more about my faith than any pastor could ever tell me. Forgiveness is not something that you do once and it is done, it is something you do every time you wake up and face the day. It’s choosing who you are and not wavering from that path every single morning. Choosing your words and actions before your emotions, and never letting the bad times get the best of you.

It’s also choosing to put the best choice instead of the popular choice.

Special note…A physically abusive spouse should be handled differently. An alcoholic husband or wife who did not exhibit abusive traits is very different from an abusive spouse. Alcoholics tend to only want to inflict pain on themselves though they learn to manipulate what they want out of people to get what they want. That’s how so many nurturing people become enablers. It’s like they can smell your ability to empathize on your sleeve don’t fall for that either.

Reblog of Courageous from Oct 2011

I am reblogging this today because somethings need to be heard or read again. I love the meaning of this song. I hope you’re having a great day!

Small Wonders & Other Thoughts

On the way to work this morning I was hearing this song for perhaps the 100th time, I was singing along and I feel compelled to share it with you. It was written for the men in the world. Telling you about who you were made to be.

Who you should strive to be.

The influences on life and culture don’t speak to who a man should be anymore. They speak to how he should look and what he should be able to buy.

Who do you think you should be? What do you think you should be doing?

A few years ago, after I left my husband for the first time I discovered that EVERY woman in my office – there were about 35 of us – had been divorced at least once. Everyone. They had started lives with men and then found that although they looked old enough, they were…

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My Birth Story

This morning there was a conversation between folks on Twitter under the hashtag #borntoosoon. Check it out. This post is directly related to that conversation and sharing those stories. I am blessed to share, but I know that not everyone’s story is quite so dramatic or life driven. Some people are sick when they have their babies with out life factor contributions.

Having a child is supposed to be a beautiful experience. You’re supposed to glow and clean and have the whole baby makes three thing. Right?

To tell you about my birth I must first tell you a little about my life…and some details may be too much for some, but it is true. All of it…and part of what’s made me who I am.

It all started sometime in August 2005.

I was eating my favorite salad sprinkled with gouda, cashews, and cranberries. Each bite of my salad was delicious. I crunched and munched on the butter lettuce and yummiest nummies money could buy. I was at the restaurant my husband was the chef of and they made wicked awesome food. As I finished my salad I smelled…something…I still don’t know what it was, but I barely made it to the bathroom before I lost my salad.

I have never eaten another of those salad.

That evening my husband kept asking me if I was feeling okay. “No, I think I have a stomach bug.”

However…this stomach bug as I called it continued for another two weeks.

The evening I took my pregnancy test was the evening I had decided to run pizzas for the restaurant down to a high rise downtown. (I do mean literally run.) I had nothing better to do that evening so after work (I was a freight forwarder.) I helped out. Upon my return that evening Kate (the owner of the restaurant) pressed a test into my hand and said it was time.

When I got home I took the test and before even 30 seconds had past it turned positive. Who really needs the full two minutes?! Really?

I looked around our apartment. The apartment we had lived in – maybe two months – and almost cried. One bedroom, wooden floors, wooden walls, and so expensive! Not baby friendly in the least and we had not been able to rid it of sand fleas. (Yes those are real.) I walked to the living room and showed my husband who was ecstatic. He hooped and hollered and had a drink. He said it was celebratory, and it may have been, but as an alcoholic he was going to have a drink whether the test came back positive or negative.

I knew without a doubt that I would keep the baby. There was never a question of that. This was my baby and I was 25 years old. I didn’t have much of a clue, but I knew I could handle a baby, alone or with my husband.

Within a month we were issued an evacuation warning for Katrina…the big one. The hurricane that destroyed so much of the Gulf Coast. Luckily we didn’t have to leave, but we had an influx of people from the Eastern states moving west. Then there was the evacuation for Rita. The second hurricane to hit the gulf that season. Knowing that we would be evacuating we planned to leave at 11 am on that Wednesday. We were in traffic for 6 hours. Normally our drive is an hour and a half to that particular destination. Can we say stress? Oh and it was not we as in my husband and I, it was we as in my mother, my niece, my brother, and myself. My husband chose to stay.

A few days of what should have been rest and relaxation were not. I was tense. Super tense. My alcoholic husband was left in a city shut down he could do anything if left alone. Ugh – it was horrible. He did the worst thing ever. I mean I couldn’t have imagined anyone doing this, but he did. He broke into my parents house seeking booze. My parents who don’t drink.

I believe in wedding vows and stood by the whole for better or worse vow. I have stood by it over and over no matter what happened.

I believe it was at my next appointment that my OBGYN told me that my blood pressure was looking a little high. Ugh…you think?!

Weeks past with no contact from my family…I continued to work, go home, sleep a lot, get sick a lot. I soaked in the tub a lot. I continued to allow the problems in my life to grow instead of changing anything. Looking back (you know hindsight) there are so many other things that I could have done. Left. Run. Never gone back. But the past is the past and I can’t change anything…except change the present.

I was four months pregnant when one afternoon I went home to find my husband wallowing in self-pity. The restaurant he had been working at was closing because they weren’t making enough money. The owners had announced it before their shift began and my husband – instead of completing the day and final two weeks – left. He walked to the liquor store and then to the apartment. He drowned his sorrows and that night was the first of our major fights.

I never really cared what he did before we had another life to take care of, but now we were responsible for another person. A helpless person. A person that need us to put them first.

I screamed he hit the wall, screamed back and drank more.

The next few weeks are a blur. I was still getting sick on a daily basis. The baby was growing. The OB was still concerned with my blood pressure, but it wasn’t bad enough to put me on anything. But if it didn’t go down she would put me on bed rest, so I tried. I ignored the chaos that was my spouse and continued my routine. Work, food, sleep, bath, sleep, repeat.

I tried to keep all the bills paid, but I was missing work because I was so sick and the husband wasn’t working…apparently it wasn’t a priority. “There’s time!” he would say.

We lost our electricity first, then our gas, then we lost our apartment. At six months pregnant I went to live in a pay by the week motel in the worst neighborhood in Houston.

We ate food from restaurants or what could be heated up in a microwave. (I don’t own a microwave now…the taste makes me want to vomit.)

We rode the bus anywhere we needed to go and it took three hours to get to my doctors appointments that were only 10 miles away. I worked. I couldn’t see doing anything else. I worked and saved what I could and scrimped by. Danny drank, ran errands, but mostly he drank.

At 27 weeks I ended up in the hospital. My blood pressure was so high that the doctor was certain I was going to have seizures. She had the team at Memorial Hermann bring it back down. I spent three days in antipartum. Just trying to stay calm and figure out what to do. So I wrote a plan and started working the plan.

After that I went to the doctor every week. She would run tests. She would give me a thing to collect a protein sample (if you have had a baby you understand and if you don’t know ask I will comment about it.) Everything kept going up. She had me checking my blood pressure several times a day. If it got beyond a certain point I was to lay down, feet up.

It was somewhere around week 30 that Danny got a job. His plenty of time excuse…so he went to work at a different restaurant downtown. He figured he had 10 weeks to get everything in order. He said this was his plan the whole time. (sure.)

At 32 weeks and 2 days I had my last OB appointment. She was not happy at the level of protein, the height of my blood pressure, or the edema that had slowly built to ginormous proportions in my legs. The straw that broke the camels back?? The size of my nose. I have a little nose by most measure, at least normal. It had grown. I was looking a bit like a clown.

She had me exit to the hospital. I took one bus back downtown and then the train to the hospital and walked in and took the elevator up to the 7th floor. They were waiting and asked where I had been. I said I didn’t have a car. “Oh.” said the nurse.

They immediately hooked me up to monitors and started IVs. I got antibiotics and then a shot of Benadryl because I am allergic to antibiotics. Around 8 pm they started inducing me, it was time to have the baby. I freaked out. I was supposed to go put the deposit down on an apartment the next day! I was supposed to get the furniture out of storage. I was supposed to work more! I was supposed to have another 8 weeks! I was given a sleeping pill and a shot of stadol and told night night.

The next day I woke up when the anesthesiologist came in the room to hook me up to a epidural drip. Nice…

The doctor wanted to be prepared for the what if’s and she had them giving me something. So I now had five bags of stuff hanging dripping into me. I got two shots of steroids to help the babies lungs develop as quickly as possible. My husband disappeared for a while and said he would be back. I called my mom, my sister, my sister-in-law and they all came as soon as they could. We had a sit in. A watch and wait and watch tv and only when Danny left was there any laughter. Any joy.

I couldn’t freak out that day. I was on way too much medication. The cirvadel did not work for inducing me, so it was replaced with pitocin and I sat there all day hoping to have my baby naturally.

It was 6:45 pm when the plan changed.

My son was having complications and my urine had turned brown…that would be a sign my liver and kidney’s were shutting down. My body had had enough and was quitting on me. Just when I needed it to work. I never dialated past a 2. I was wheeled to the OR and given enough medication to knock a horse out and Dr. Prom had Elijah out of me in 20 minutes. He was born at 7:15 pm, March 23, 2006. My husband was there. The NICU team was waiting. Elijah cried but only just.

I don’t remember his APGAR score, I was just glad he was there. I was glad to have him born in one of the top hospitals in the nation. I was glad to be on the mend. Glad to be alive. Glad to see the end.

I spent the next five days in bed…mostly…I got round after round of magnesium and fluids and pain medication. I learned to manage the NICU security staff. I learned where the NICU library was and read up on the benefits of what would help my son the most. I couldn’t do much at first but the nurses were happy when they saw me wheel myself in every day.

I was in the hospital 7 days. The day I left was torture. It was 3 pm and I was told to go home and not come back for at least 48 hours. Um…not only no but hell no. I was back the next day. I spent every day there. Learning, holding, and helping my son.

To the point that I was readmitted due to complications with my incision. It reopened. The edema that had built up in my body was coming out any way it could and one day I was sitting in the NICU quietly holding my son when I felt something like water on my legs. I put him back in the isolet and walked to the bathroom. I think many women would have fainted. I calmly walked out of the NICU and back to the seventh floor. I told the nurse at the window that I had a problem. Held the cover up that I was holding away from my body and she grabbed some help and moved me into a room.

I spent another week in the hospital. The following two weeks I had home health. By the end of the third I was finally in our new apartment. Two bedroom in a great, family friendly neighborhood. Things were working out.

What did I learn? Nothing works as planned – ever…even something that is as natural as having a child.

Any other time in the past I would be dead now. I wouldn’t have made it past the 27th week.

I have also learned that life factors are major indicators of Pre-E, Eclampsia, and HELLP Syndrome. There is a reason things are supposed to follow a plan. But even if you have a plan, something can and will mess it up.

If you would like any information on premature birth and contributing factors visit www.marchofdimes.org

Now we are 6 years later…happy, healthy and growing.

A question to Single Parents

How do you do all that you do?

I for one know that I don’t do everything I wish I could. I tend to sacrifice the things that I want to do for me for the things that I want us all to do as a family. For the life I want us to have as a family.

I admit to crying into my pillow at night. It’s part of failure and loss of what you thought this whole life thing was going to be like. I have somehow unearthed the passionate urge to finish my formal education and really really really want to do it. That however would mean hours away from my children….so priorities come into question.

I have lots of different visions for my path, so I won’t be defined by not completing my degree. I just want one. I want the fun of being around like minded educated people. I love discussing philosophy and the plight of humanity. I love to encourage educational pursuits although I don’t feel that everything taught is accurate.

Go out and experience.

My friends and I have been talking a lot lately about the changes that are going to occur in the Texas Educational system. Well…they are not changes to the system so much as the rewriting of history. The reeducation of teachers to an agenda that makes everything that is wrong in the world seem right. While reading up on these changes I cringe.

That’s another question entirely.

How do I as a single parent – BENT on teaching my child the truth – home school and work full-time to provide for the household?

I will have to homeschool for them to read the great philosophers, to know the why and how of the Constitution, for them to know that history is in fact written and rewritten to fit a bias. The war in Vietnam is a great way to emphasize this theory. BEFORE the internet went all private I did a research paper on this war. I found some incredible real life testimonies that made my blood boil and skin crawl and decide to never join a branch of the armed forces.

I have never been one to bury my head in the sand when it comes to truth. I would rather hurt because someone told me the truth then feel better with a lie. There is no greater injury.

But back to my original question – How do you do all that you do?

Aren’t you tired? I know that last night as I was leaving work I got a list from the sitter and had to go to the grocery store. After an hour and a half of picking up everything we needed I made it home. My son comes running out. I love it when he does this, but then I found out his behavior did not meet expectation yesterday so I have to reprimand him. Then the sitter wants to talk about things that I don’t  care about. I listen. Michael runs up to me and starts screaming when yes I hug him but don’t hand over my telephone. He is a bit of an iphone fanatic. Then all I can remember is the din of noise until about 830 when the kids are finally in bed and I get to sit down to watch TV. However instead of watching anything I pass out on the couch. Throw in a screaming fit and a little playtime at night and you’ve got my evenings.

How do you guys go to school and work full-time?

How are you finding enough time alone to find a partner in life?

Do you ever lose it like I do and send the kids to bed early because their ability to give you five seconds of silence is just gone?

This is all coming because it’s all time to register for classes if I am going to go back to school. I really want that communications degree, but I don’t know if I will find the time or patience.

Single Parenthood is Trying

Holy Tuesday Batman!

It is Easter week and I am sitting at my new desk, typing on my new computer at my new job. I love it here. I can wear jeans and tennis shoes every day and if my hair is a little bit wind-blown no one cares. Alas I love riding with the windows down and the radio loud. This is the kind of place that likes people to stay 30+ years and retire.

This I could get used to.

So, what is going on with me? Besides the shiny new digs? Plenty…

My ex-husband was readmitted to rehab. Yes. It was less than a month before he gloriously (not really) fell off the wagon again. This time though I was not a witness and didn’t try to attempt to save him. I think this should get me life lesson points or something. I didn’t run to his side when he was released from his last rehab facility. That I know gets me points. As that seems to be all I have done for the last 6 years.

In the three weeks I was working at the restaurant where we met I told few people the depths to which we sank in our personal life since disappearing from there so many years ago. The one person I did speak to (because he was our roommate before we had children) got completely irate and my ex should be glad he has disappeared again. That sort of made me sad. Not that he didn’t understand the events of the last 6 years until they were explained by me, but because I never realized how bad things were.

Love Survival really is blinding…

Well…most of the people at the restaurant I avoided like they were the plague for the last six years, but it is in seeing them again that I realize the ex husband was the problem…yes…again.

But guess what – I got the two best parts of him in our boys. Elijah and Michael are amazing.

I have been having problems with Elijah’s anger and behavior, but it is not the end of the world. Although…apparently I think I am yelling too much. Yesterday he told me that I would have been happier if I had never had kids. WHERE DID THIS IDEA COME FROM!? I grabbed him. Hugged him. Talked to him. Held him for a minute while I fought tears. I explained that I would be miserable without them. They are what wakes me up every day and brighten my thoughts every moment. They make me.

I told him to NEVER think that. EVER!

Michael on the other hand…he is nearly two. Any parent knows what that means.

This is the age that we do occasionally wish we weren’t parents because everything is a struggle.

He is trying to exert his independence while I trying to shelter and control. He wants to walk by himself and not hold my hand. He doesn’t realize that I want to hold his hand because the cars will run him over or dogs might eat him. (Not my dogs…I don’t have any…but someone’s.) I do not remember this happening with Elijah, but every night is a battle at bed time. He doesn’t want to sleep in his bed, he doesn’t want to sleep at the appointed hour, he doesn’t want to bathe, he doesn’t want to drink milk anymore. He doesn’t want to listen anymore. He gets frustrated by his inability to communicate and he is willful.

Needless to say evenings have been FUN lately. (Grumble grumble)

This reminds me of another conversation I had recently with Elijah, and what I found in his bag yesterday morning as I was getting him ready for school.

He wants a dad.

Have I told you guys this yet?

He asked me to find a new dad for him because while he loves his dad…the distance and sobriety rules for seeing his kids…he doesn’t see him. Heart crushing agony there (at least on my part.) I feel HORRIBLE for him! It brings up new anger issues within myself. All the things that I hate my ex for rise to the surface when these talks happen. Then there are the papers that I found in his bag. They must have had a “What do you want to be when you grow up?” day.

He wants to be a dad. That’s it. Not a policeman. Not a doctor. Not a pilot. A Dad. I admit to crying a little.

I reached out to my girls group and one of my good friends explained that he doesn’t want to be HIS dad. He wants to be a good parent. He wants to do stuff. He wants to show his kids how to play in the sand and enjoy mundane things.

He wants to be like the person who is raising him.

I hope she is right. I hope that this isn’t another attempt at telling me he wants a dad.

I haven’t talked to him about it yet. I think I will tonight though because he doesn’t get to watch TV or play with toys because he has been lying about his behavior marks lately.

This is the most wonderful, challenging, heartwarming, heartbreaking experience I know of…and it’s only going to go on and on.

So…anyone know any single dads that want a chubby Italian wife with two gorgeous boys? 😉

EDIT: I think (as it is Holy Week) I should say one last thing. I am surviving because I believe that God will never give you more than you are able to handle. He is truly the one that keeps me in His hands and provides for me every step of the way. Without Him I am nothing. Every step of my struggles this last year has only proved that He is making my path. Not me. After looking over my life experiences I can see why the points fit together as they do. Why I had to go through every thing I have been through since childhood. These are the things that God knew I would have to go through to get me where I need to be to be the best I can be.

Where’ve I been!? All over the place!

Man! Am I tired! This is spring break week and also my first week back in the working world. My life in a nutshell has been crazy. I apologize for missing in action and there is so much I need to write about! I have about 200 unread emails and 100 TED speeches to read through, watch and see which ones I would like to share with you all.

Like I said though…I’m EXHAUSTED!

I have taken care of my own kids this week during the day. We wake up at 7, eat breakfast, and leave the house before 9 every day! I would like to say we spent the afternoons at home, but we have not.

Saturday we woke up earlier and came to story time at Barnes and Noble. The boys got to hear a story about Max and Ruby. They are delightful stories and the boys love them. Then the bookseller read a story about Crafty Chloe. I loved it! Making gifts and how fabulous it is to be crafty! Kids need to hear these things! Not every one is able to buy the latest and greatest gift and a gift made from the heart is even better!

Then they got to do worksheets about Crafty Chloe. It wasn’t JoAnne’s (the bookseller) idea of a fun Crafty for Crafty Chloe, but it’s what she had, and we all got souvenir crayons.

That afternoon my niece had her 9th birthday party. That made me feel old and sad and happy all at the same time. I held onto my boys hands as they tried to skate. I wanted to skate (I haven’t done that since 1989!), but I kept getting busy. Busy, busy, busy. I helped corral kids, wipe boogies, and help kids who weren’t real steady on their feet off the floor. We had a blast. Happy Birthday Kylee!

That evening we were in bed by 9. All of us. We watched Hugo and passed out. By the way, Hugo is an amazing movie. I now understand why a kid’s film garnered so much attention. Beautiful…simply beautiful.

Sunday we were up and running again! We began attending a new church that day. Wow. I am in love with this church. It is completely uncrazy and completely feels like home. I figured as long as I was going to continue living here I am going to adjust some of the events of the day to doing exactly what I would like instead of doing whatever I am told. I have no time for that.

Monday we got up and we turned on cartoons and were met with an IHOP commercial. Damn you IHOP! I ended up spending $40 on breakfast that the kids didn’t eat all for some SEEDS! Seeds!! I could have gone and purchased everything to make a garden with that much cash! But I made the boys happy. We ate The Lorax breakfasts, played at the book store (because it was pouring down rain), and then went to see The Lorax at the theater. Luckily we have a discount theater not far away and I got off with only paying $5 a person.

The Lorax is a story I had never heard, but it is one I am glad I am able to share with my kids. They need to hear about the destruction of the environment for personal gain and what a bad thing it is. We do not want to destroy everything in the name of progress. Do we? I don’t. I get to explain that to my kids in terms they can relate to now, thanks to that movie.

That night was my first night training back at my old restaurant. If you have been reading a while you have read about Noah’s Ark on Galveston Bay. Well, I’m working there again since I decided I needed to finish my degree. Journalism because I like this writing thing I do here and every one wants me to have a degree to give me money to do this thing that I do here. It’s okay though because I have fun here. It’s like working at a party that I can hostess every day. I love that. I love being surrounded by people, by music, by friends, and really these people are my family. They have carried me through the last 12 years when everyone else had turned their backs to the situation. I love them and I will never work at another restaurant…unless of course it is my restaurant. But I have no visions of opening a place of my own…ever.

Wow is that really only three days?!

Tuesday was insane. My best friend and me decided to take our four kids to the Houston Children’s Museum….ON SPRING BREAK! What a mistake! Oh my goodness! We had a blast, but missed the concept on so many of the exhibits and pretty much decided that we will have to do that again when there weren’t 10,000 other people there. Honestly it was crazy. Another night early to bed for Michael and I. Elijah got to spend the night with his friend.

Wednesday…story time again, some errands, and lunch with my BFF and our kids again. At least we were able to let them run wild in the play area at Chik-fil-a! Then last night that was my first night back on the floor at the restaurant. I remember years ago when I worked there before laughing at the people who “couldn’t hang.” It was so sad! An 8 hour shift and they were panting after 4.5 hours. I am now one of those people. I’m feeling a little pathetic with that knowledge now.

I feel fat and achy and know that as long as I am not partaking in the yummy goodness that comes out of that kitchen, my weight issues will disappear with a swiftness. Although so might the arches in my feet. I need some good arch supports and maybe some new feet. But I am glad to be back.

This morning I packed up Elijah and sent him to his grandmothers for a few days. Michael is home with the sitter and I have escaped for a few minutes to write and share and let you all know that I am still alive! Alive and happy and excited to get started on this life of mine. It’s finally mine again on my terms and I must add rather unapologetic terms.

Have a blessed day! Live, Laugh, Love, and Read often!

My Child and Anger

There comes a time as a parent when we begin to recognize that the choices we make have a lasting effect on our children. For some it is not until they are adults, others are teenagers, but mine…my oldest…he is an old soul and the evidence is there.

The boy I call Kid

By old soul I mean he has always had this look of age about him. Even though he was 8 weeks premature we called him our old man the day he was born. He is a born thinker. He knows things. He notices changes in attitudes and relationships.

He is just like me.

But he is also just like his dad.

He is moody. He lashes out instead of exhibiting a bit of self-control. He loves music. He is a born musician. He loves karate.

He is angry.

This hit me at 10:30 this morning after a call from his teacher.

He was in reading circle this morning and supposedly without provocation just hauled off and hit a girl this morning. He not only knows he is going to get in trouble at school. He knows that he is going to get in trouble at home. So, when I get the call from his teacher I am – for a moment – floored by his behavior.

I ask the basics.

“Was he provoked?” “No”

“Was he having any other sort of outburst?” “No.”

I speak…or should I say try to speak to Elijah. He offers nothing but a whimper.

He knows that what he did was wrong and he knows that it is not a good day. He will not be meeting his goal of getting a green for his behavior today. He’s in kindergarten and they grade behavior is a color based system. His goal everyday is to be green.

Since changing sitters to an old friend of the family, his behavior has been amazing. He has gotten green almost every day. The last week though…it’s like a different child is there.

I am wracking my brain after I hang up with the teacher…what is changed? What is different?

Then it hits me like a ton of bricks.

He is angry with life.

For starters the safety of the home we had built in New York. He was three when we moved there and was five when we left. He loved it there. He loved his school, his friends, and his life in the snow.

We move here and his dad leaves us. Or do we leave his dad?

We move, then have to move again, then we settle in and that’s when the losses begin. Last year we lost Troy and Nanny. My other losses he doesn’t know, so they don’t hit him the same way. But for a while Troy was like a father to him and Nanny…Nanny was the grandmother he had seen almost every day since birth. Except for the months we spent in NY.

The thing about his dad’s leaving is that I don’t want him to have this man he knows to be his father somewhere, but whom he never sees. I know the pain of that. My parents split when I was young and the knowledge always in the back of your head that he is somewhere…it hurts. Every time you think about it is like a knife to the heart. You can’t help but blame yourself for them leaving. You always wonder if you were perfect if they would come back.

He is his mother’s child. So much.

He acts out now the same way I acted out as a child. It is hard for the friends that grew up with me in Burnet to understand, but most of elementary school I spent in detention. I repeated fifth grade. I had behavioral issues because of the life that existed around me. At that point I decided to be absolutely perfect. Always doing what I was told. Always behaving.

I knew I was smarter than the behavior. I had to prove it to myself. I was 10 years old.

Elijah is only 5. I don’t want him to have to wait that long to know that nothing is his fault.

His behavior is completely removed from what is happening in life. He has a right to his feelings. He has a right to be upset. He needs to talk to me or to a counselor.

He is so perfect. So amazing. So wonderful. I don’t want him to think anything other than about the wonders of life.

I want him to be happy.

I know that I realistically have no control over his emotions, but I can help him understand them. I can help him recognize them.

I spoke to his counselor. I spoke to his teacher. I will be picking him up in a little while and we are going to spend a little time talking. I think a trip to the beach is in order as long as the rain holds. We love the beach. We feel happy and safe there. Listening to the constant roar of the waves on the sand. Steady, dependable, you can count on them to be there every time you see them.

Parents are human. They are less dependable. They are your parents forever, but they are flawed. They don’t have all the answers. They don’t recognize what they’re doing until the children are lashing out.

I’m kicking myself for the things that could have been different…but I can’t change them. I can simply teach my son that I’m flawed. His dad is flawed. But it doesn’t matter because we love him.

Whatever else is going on we both love him. Will always love him.

I will always be there for him.

I will not let anything keep him from finding his happiness.

Make someone smile

So, I started this dramatic post about three days ago about love, recovery, and how we are each recovering from something in life. Well, I am in a good mood and rather than rehash those feelings this morning I thought I would try to help you laugh…just a little.

Humor is after all the best medicine and today it is a little dreary out. (At least in my location.)

This morning at 3:05 AM I HAD to go pee. It was nature, I couldn’t help it, if I hadn’t gotten out of bed right then there would be a mess. So, I got out of my squeaky old bed as quietly as possible. (See above – I am not a little girl…so at 3 AM it can be difficult.)

I did my business and stepped lightly back to bed.

I lean ever so slightly over the crib to put Michael’s blanket back over him…what do my ears hear?

“Mommy!!!!”

“Ugh…Mikey it’s time for sleepies. Please try to rest.”

(I pray to the Lord above…God, I am tired. I worked on the little gifts for Elijah’s party until the weee hours in the morning. I MUST sleep. 7 AM is going to come all too soon. PLEEEEASE!)

“Mommy.”

“Mommy.”

“Mommy?” This time it’s Elijah.

Lord! Why?! He’s supposed to sleep!

“Elijah…why are you up?”

“Michael woke me up.”

“Hmmm…it’s 3 am. Please try to go back to sleep.”

We go on like this for another 45 minutes. Trying to conjole them back to a peaceful slumber…then just trying to get them to sleep…then just leaving them in the room…nope. They found me. They said they were hungry.

I was hungry too.

None of us had felt well at dinner time yesterday, so we didn’t eat much.

I look in the fridge. I look in the pantry. What I would really like is a bacon, egg, and cheese buscuit from Whataburger. It just sounded yummy and filling and like something I would love right then AND the boys agreed.

So, at 3:45 am this morning I was headed to Whataburger…for you country folks that might be a trek of gigantic proportions, but for us it is less than a mile from our front door. We could easily walk if we chose…we drove. It was afterall wet and rainy and there is a chill in the air.

We turned out onto the neighborhood street and then down the back road to the main street. I spied headlights behind us…WHO ON EARTH IS OUT AT 3:45 AM?! What are they thinking!? Surely they should be in bed! Then I remembered…I was out. Heading to Whataburger at 3:45 am. :/

The boys were singing along to the radio and I was jammin to some soothing guitar rifts as we arrived at our destination and the headlights behind us zoomed off. Apparently the local PD was making sure we weren’t out doing something naughty at 3:45 AM.

(Just so you know friends the streets are safe at 3:45 am)

Maybe not 3:45 pm, but I think that’s another story.

So, we ordered our meals and each got some ice cold milk. I paid and we drove off. Ready and hungry for our BEC buscuits. Yummmmm….I could eat one now as I type this.

We arrive back home, no police tail this time.

I unload the boys and myself and grab our bag of goodies and we head inside. As we sit down at the table I dig out the meals for each of us and we nibble our hashbrown fingers.

As I unwrap each sandwich, what do I spy? Sausage. 😦 It was unfortunate. I removed my sausage and ate just the egg and cheese. I’m not a fan of the processed meats. I can see that the bacon is normal.

Anyway…we eat what we can and then they are willing to sleep. Finally at 4:30 AM.

No more Mommy’s, no more noise…I sit down on the couch, curled up a throw blanket and laid my head down…for just a minute…I woke to the sitter letting herself in at 7:30 this morning.

Morning routine was nearly complete by 8:10 when I tried to give Elijah some cough medicine/mucinex. My little drama boy who normally takes THIS kind of medicine without a problem was literally kicking and screaming. Apparently trying to help him with his cough and phlem was a massive attempt at murder.

I am sure that is what the neighbors thought.

Eventually he swallowed enough after the THIRD teaspoon was flung across the living room. One teaspoon in, that was all that needed to happen. No dice. Grr…

10 minutes later, wearing a different shirt Kathy was walking out the front door with the boys. Took Elijah to school while I planned my day. Which really consisted of me sitting scrolling through my new phone.

Yep, I’ve been a bit of a slacker this week.

I did finally leave the house and went to Home Depot. More Saving, More Doing…right?

Well, I made people smile this morning.

As I walked around the store in my ballet flats and capri’s looking at the big construction stuff, loading up my cart with the necessities I need to complete my move.

HERE is part of the list of items I purchased and why I made the cashier laugh…

2 rolls of Packing Tape

8 Medium Boxes

2 pack of Deadbolt/Door Knobs for self installation

The lady at the check out counter looked at what I was buying and asked, “Moving out?”

It wasn’t until I was half way across the parking lot that I understood why she laughed when I smiled and said “Yep!”

Have a great day!

Update – In case you are interested

As this site is supposed to contain a bit of me and my life, and not just facts and figures, I thought I would take a moment to share a little of life right now.

Currently residing on Conundrum Avenue between This Way and That Way.

I made it through the holiday season with nary a scratch. I got gifts and gave a few. I had a great time with my mother. I don’t know if I will ever explain our relationship on this blog, but let’s say it hasn’t been all sunshine and roses. Most mother/daughter dynamics are not, but ours was particularly difficult. (I will leave it at that for now.)

My son’s are getting to big for their britches. Elijah is begging for his own iPod touch. He’s five, he gets the hand me down. Michael is walking, running, talking, and still has not discovered fear. Actually neither of them know what fear is, and I hope they never know real fear.

Fear of life, fear of failure, fear of the world.

I fear not being able to raise them fearlessly.

I fear not being there enough for them to know how much I love them. Someday they will understand.

Right now I am in the midst of having to make a few decisions. Decisions that affect not only me, but them as well, so it makes the decisions 1000 times harder. Ugh!

I am trying to make life easier by making enough money to say…buy groceries. Haha! I find that in these efforts I have applied to no less than 100 jobs and I have had 5 interviews. I am scheduled for another interview Monday. Only it’s not in the town I am trying to move to, it’s here…in smoggy, muggy Houston.

Why move? I thought you had decided to tough it out!? To stay?! I thought you could make a freaking decision?!

Ha! Biggest joke ever! Me make a decision and have it remain concrete until it is action. Not likely. As a person who considers, reconsiders, ponders, and researches choices I have to keep all the balls in the air until the perfect union is made between choice and chance. Call it synchronicity, call it psychosis, call it what you will, but when it comes to me and my life I have to pursue all avenues just in case the one that I would really like to have doesn’t pan out.

What is the one I would like to have?

I would like to move on February 5th to a little town and into a little place that I am going to share with my sister for a while. I would like to work at a software consulting firm that I have tested for, but not interviewed at yet, and eventually move downtown…miles from that consulting firm. I would like to solve problems and write my little blog. I would like to send my sons to a TEA recognized Charter school and then onto a professional occupational high school of their choosing – even if that is the Arts high school. I would like to send my kids to Montessori daycare in the mean time and go to a fabulous park on the weekend with hike and bike trails. Possibly buy a boat and cruise around the lake. Definitely try to find lots of place to volunteer within the community.

Less than 10 days left here at the university, I am excited and nervous and can’t wait to see what happens next.

I will either be here or there. It may seem sudden to the boys, but it will be the right choice…whichever choice I make.

Last Post for 2011…probably…possibly…maybe…hmm

I have started this piece about four times on separate days and about completely separate topics. I have wondered through the cosmos of thought on such things as disappointing our parents, what it takes to be a good parent, and on the middle class being that it is currently the smallest class in society.

Who wants to hear about any of those things?! Not me!

Now I am sitting here in the silence of my mother’s living room. I hear the key strokes as I type and the quiet snores of my boys beside me, I am at peace here…but I know it won’t last. The chaos of the Christmas holiday has flowed into this week of the New Year. We are still making the rounds and opening gifts. Today I was supposed to meet up with some friends, but life happens and things got pushed to later, so we had Christmas with my ex husband.

He bought the boys gifts and I even got a toy or two!

We had a good day.

Though…it doesn’t feel like Christmas. I have always heard that the conversation is dead when you start to talk about the weather, but really t-shirts and shorts on December 29, is something to talk about! Being in upstate New York the last two winters has made us forget how lovely it can be in South Texas!

Elijah and Michael playing with the water fountain

Today there was not a drop of rain. The sun was shining. The birds were chirping. I felt like it was spring and all I was missing was the floral backdrop!

Today we experienced our first taste of Zilker Park, and we will be back.

Trains, canoes, a playground, pool, sculpture garden and so much more all in one little space. I don’t know why I had never been their before. Best part about it is that it’s all for free! Ok, so the train is not but it’s only $1.75 per person and the pool is not but that’s only $3 per person. I would say that a day of fun for under $5 a person is pretty awesome.

All that followed by Phil’s on Lamar and some Amy’s Ice Cream. It was delish!

All in all we have had a fantastic Christmas.

Tonight we came back to my mom’s, I laid the boys down and I fell fast asleep…only to wake up an hour later…figures.

So I am heeding my sister’s advice this week and taking the week off from posting. Just thought I would let you all know I am still here…just playing and having fun on a short vacation.

I am thinking about New Years Resolutions so this may not be the last post of the year, the we’ll see!

Til then.