Posts Tagged With: family

Husband N

I’ve mentioned before my daughter Thing 1 is married to Husband N. Now, Husband N is a patient human being, God love him, he has to be to be married to my daughter. He’s rather adept at accepting her for who she is without ever really “letting her off the hook”. I like that about him. They’re giving each other a run for their money, that’s for sure. But they’re doing it with so much love!

I received this text from him this morning.

When Mo died, I was choked by my own grief. I was in mommy mode about my girls and their grief. I was grateful that Husband N was there with Thing 1, but I never stopped to consider his grief. That man welcomed into their home, with open arms, the dogs of his wife’s childhood (well, teen age anyway). He was working with Mo to develop a healthy relationship, switching over from the Things father being Mo’s “father” to Husband N being Mo’s “father”.
He cared for Mo. He moved his lifeless body to the grave he and my daughter created. He did this out of love for their dog.
Their dog.
Even though Mo started out being all of ours, in the last five or six months he truly became theirs. Husband N loves Thing 1. He loves Thing 2. He loves me. But he also loves Mo. His grief was just as real as ours.
He was strong and brave for us.
I don’t have the words to express how strongly I felt the love for him this morning when that text came. I just hope he can feel it.

Now, it took me longer than it should have to decide to like, and then love Husband N. That had almost nothing to do with him and mostly everything to do with me (and Thing 1).
Thing 1 met Husband N when she went away to school. They met in a math class, bonding over their sarcastic senses of humor.
Now this is a meet-cute I can get behind.
What I struggled to get behind was her dropping out of school and shacking up with this guy.
That was not my plan for her! That wasn’t the life she was meant to have.
All I could see what that he’s older than she is, by more than a decade. That she left school because of him. That we didn’t know him from Adam.
I was frightened she was making all the same mistakes I made… a guy so much older than she is…no education…no way to support herself. I wanted more for her than the life I’d lived. I wanted her to be healthy and content and able to take care of herself. I didn’t want her to suffer and struggle.

Of course, what the hell did I know?
A whole lotta nothing, I’ll tell you that.

Turns out, Husband N is a kind and loving man. An intelligent man. A helpful and sincere man. A man who loves my daughter and would do (and has done) whatever it takes to make sure she’s safe and sound.

Y’all know that when YBW and I got married, his Things and my Things were our best men and maids of honor. The girls even “gave me away” that day. Thing 1 remarked to my friend and mentor, Jessica, that she had no idea how (emotionally) hard it would be to give her mom away.
Well, (not yet) Husband N and Thing 2’s then boyfriend were here too. And even though it was busy and a bit chaotic, I got to spend some good time with Husband N. And when YBW were driving to the airport to go to Barbados for our honeymoon, I turned to him, and said, “I like Husband N!” YBW was so relieved! He was waiting for me to decide to like Husband N because he very much liked him.

Then they came back for Christmas that year. And I got to spend even more time with him. I love his childlike enthusiasm! I listened to him and my daughter talk about what kind of life they wanted. And I realized it wasn’t the life Husband N wanted that Thing 1 just accepted, neither was it the life Thing 1 wanted that Husband N accepted. They had really thought about this. They had talked about it. They were planning this life that they wanted together!

They are truly each other’s best friend. They are both great big nerds about books and movies and comics and D & D and video games. They’re learning from each other how to appreciate these things the other brings to the table. They are so loving. They are also quick to get after each other. Each one feisty in their own way. They fight. They laugh. They play. They love. They do these things with the entirety of themselves. They give everything to each other and their relationship.
How could I possibly want more for my daughter? Or her sweet husband?

When they married, I was joyous for them! It wasn’t a big white wedding, but it was them. There was love and laughter and genuine joy surrounding them. This man is the husband of my very first girl. That was hard yet simple all in the same moment. I knew they could marry and build a life together and I wouldn’t have to worry about their ability to work together. I wouldn’t have to worry about their ability to love each other and embrace each other’s families.

Husband N just might love Thing 2 as much as her big sister does.
I know Thing 2 adores him.
They have such a special friendship.
I believe he’s been instrumental in helping my girls rebuild their relationship.
One more thing to love about him.

When his grandmother died and there was talk of them moving to her farm. Thing 1 was all for it. Husband N was a bit more hesitant. He called me and we talked for a long time. He shared his concerns. He asked my opinion. We talked about how he didn’t want to disappoint Thing 1, but felt so strongly that he didn’t want to raise (future) children where he grew up. He wanted more and better for them. (I can SO relate to that.)
I made some suggestions. I offered to speak with his wife. I promised to have their backs no matter what choices they made for their future.
I was touched he wanted to have that conversation with me. I was honored that he valued my opinion. I was pleased to be his (mostly) impartial sounding board for that important process.

I talk with my girls frequently. A phone call at least once a week, but there are texts and snapchats, emails and social media posts mixed in there too.
Husband N and I also text, snap and share things with each other’s social media. We sometimes even talk on the phone. It’s fun. He makes me laugh. He shares information he thinks I’ll be interested in. He expresses his concern for my health.
He expresses his love for my daughters and acknowledges how hard I worked to help them become the women they are.


Dude loves my girls.
Respects my hard work to help them become those ‘epic legends’.

I’m so grateful.
My girl chose well.
For herself.
For her sister.
For her Momma.
Husband N has his hands full with we three girls, but he takes it in stride.
Y’all we are so damn blessed!

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Categories: on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Godspeed, Mo

Yesterday at 11:16 I received a text message from Thing 1.
This photo and these words.

Look at him just chillin! Sweet boy ūüôā

Yesterday at 3:44 I received a phone call from Thing 1.
She was crying. She said, “Mo’s gone.

She said after they took that pic of him lying in the yard, they went for a walk, and over by their pond he wandered off into the woods, as he sometimes does. A bit later on she went to get the mail and found him in the road. He’d been hit by a car.

Mo was a miracle for our family at at time when we were in great change. The Things dad and I had just separated and the girls were living in two different places for the first time in their lives.
Thing 2 was obsessed with going every Saturday to adoption day at the pet shop. We went religiously. Never to “get” a pet always to look at the dogs and cats.
One particular Saturday we were walking past the dog crates in which all manner of dog was barking or acting a fool. With the exception of one dog.


This sweet dog was lying quietly in his crate completely ignoring the chaos around him. He looked up when we stopped and his little nubby tail started to wag. We three girls were enamored by this sweet boy.
(Y’all don’t know this about me, but I don’t like dogs in any way shape or form. I’m not a hater or anything, I just don’t like dogs.)
But this dog. This sweet boy. I feel in love with him. So did the girls.
There was much conversation about how we might adopt Mo. We liked that his name was Mo, not only did it suit him, it also went nicely with our last name.
I walked away from the girls and called their father at work. I told him that the girls were going to call him about a dog. He heaved the greatest of sighs. Then I said, “We need him.” That gave him pause. He knew that if I said that, this must have been some dog.

Well, we ended up adopting sweet Mo and he became part of our family. He mostly lived at their father’s house, but sometimes he lived with me too.
He was the sweetest, most neurotic thing you’ve ever seen. He had mad abandonment issues and fretted when we’d leave him to go to school and work.
Thing 2 took quite a shine to him, she researched online, and in books from the library, how best to love this quirky boy. She was enthusiastic to take him to the dog park to play with other dogs.

She was enthusiastic about taking him for long walks, especially down to the riverfront park where we could walk along the canal. One time, Thing 2, Mo, and I arrived just in time to watch the authorities pull a body from the river. Good times.


Mo was such a good loving dog. He was happy to belong to our weird family. We loved him so.
When it was time for me to move from SC to VA, Mo would lie on his big green pillow (which he stole from Thing 2’s bed) and keep me company while I packed box after box of books.


Just this fall, Mo and his “little sister” Sweetie moved from the Things father’s house to Thing 1 and Husband N’s. Being on the little farm gave them so much more freedom. They were able to rip and race and be silly doggies without disturbing any neighbors.
Of course, it was an adjustment. The dogs missed their dad. They missed Thing 2. But they were so happy with Thing 1 and Husband N. They were happy to be together and loved.

I’ve been hit by waves of sadness since I talked to my daughter yesterday. The tears come out of nowhere and choke me. I couldn’t breathe for the weeping when I told YBW the news last night. I’ve cried alone, I’ve cried with YBW. I’ve cried on the phone with each of my babies.
That sweet dog was more than just a dog we adopted one day. He was a gift for our family. We were able to love him and each other through the worst times and come out the other side better off.
I really do not like dogs. Mo is the only dog I’ve ever truly loved. He was so special.

When I was more calm after sharing the news with YBW, he got angry. He wanted to know how fast one must drive down a dirt road to hit and kill a dog. What kind of “stupid Georgia hillbilly” didn’t stop to help, but just kept driving.
His anger surprised me.
But he’s right.
There’s no excuse for that kind of driving. There’s no excuse for Mo’s death.

Thing 1 felt so responsible, felt that she failed at keeping Mo safe for our family.
I told her that it wasn’t her fault. That none of us blame her. That we’re so sorry it happened and she has to live through it.
Turns out Thing 2 told her the same thing…nearly verbatim.
She told me her father said that Mo was an old dog, thirteen or fourteen years old. And wasn’t it wonderful that he’d had such a lovely day? That he was healthy enough to run and play and lie in the sun. That he left this world a strong dog, not an old sick dog.
My heart thanks him for being a good dad to her in that moment.

Thing 1 and texted a bit last night when we no longer had the will to speak.

I called her a little while ago to check on her.
She told me she wished she hadn’t found him. That it would be easier for her to deal with if she hadn’t seen him. I understand that on the deepest level. I told her how proud of her I am. I told her she was a real adult yesterday, and that I understood it sucked more than anything. But she did it. She’s doing it now. She’s living though the grief and pain. She’s not looking around for someone more “adultier” than she is. She’s just doing what it takes to get through. That’s adulting.
She asked me to hug YBW and thank him for his anger. She said she wants to hang signs on the road. “Thanks for killing my dog, you f**king asshole.”
She has moments of tears, and moments of anger.
Mostly, she has love.
We all have love.
The love of a dog called Mo.

Categories: love, on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Little D’s Christmas

Little D is coming today and spending the night!
It’s actually his Christmas gift.
You see, Little D more enjoys spending time with the people he loves than he does toys and stuff. Partly this is because he’s an only child, and partly because he lost his mother so young. But mostly it’s because he’s a social kid that likes to be around the people he loves.

One of the people he loves most is Thing 2. Born on the same day fourteen years apart, they are our birthday twins. A fact each of them absolutely adores. Thing 2 and Little D are also “daughter and father” this comes from a time when he was just three, Little D took Thing 2 by the hand and lead her all around our old preschool telling everyone, “Dis my daughter Thing 2.”
Apart from the Nutcracker, and probably the Cathedral visit, what she was most looking forward to was spending time with Little D and his folks.
They built trains and played hide and seek and then settled down to color.

(I was standing on the sofa to shoot this pic and sadly lost my balance so it’s out of focus, but that’s OK I still love it.)

During that visit, Little D found his gift under the tree in our front room.
It was an invitation for a very special sleepover with YBW and me. In which a detailed plan was laid out for us to play, watch a movie, (with popcorn of course) then for breakfast we’ll make his favorite, french toast and bacon.
The first thing he said was, “When!?!”
His mom and I quickly got out our calendars and picked today!

Of course he’ll have another gift.

Batman jammies, a truly amazing book, and a movie I know he loves.
Y’all I don’t even like Batman, but I freaking love those jammies!

My local bookshop didn’t have the book in stock and it took forever to ship, so I must stop writing and get on the wrapping of his pressie! Then YBW and I will head out to meet their family for lunch and bring that kid home to play and be goofy!
I’m so excited!

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happy new year (occasionally, I’m a conformist)

I’m seeing all these end of year and happy new year things on social media, in the blogs I read, in news articles, etc. And you know what? It is really irritating me!

I understand it conceptually, but to be completely honest, I’m not really feeling it. I mean, sure, I’m more than willing to put 2017 in my rear-view mirror. But as I look at 2018 looming, I’m kind of…well, apathetic maybe? I’m not entirely sure that’s the right word…but that’s where I’ll settle for the moment.

I suspect part of my feeling (whatever we’re going to call it) is because this winter break has not been restful. Thing 2 and Boyfriend J were here, and we went at a full tilt boogie from nearly the moment they arrived. While the Nutcracker was blissful, and Christmas with three fourths of our family was fun, I sometimes struggle with Thing 2 and her wild mood swings. I struggle with the occasional drama with the boys mother. I sometimes struggle with so many people in this house at one time. I sometimes struggle with my inability to just take a big ass breath and not let other people affect me.

I was so excited about my most favorite of holidays and honestly, I was kind of left feeling relieved when the boys went back to their mother’s and Thing 2 and boyfriend J went back to SC and there was no one here but YBW and me. This makes me sad. Really and truly sad. But I’m being real, and I’m being honest. Doesn’t matter how much you love your kids, sometimes an empty nest is a beautiful thing.

Conceptually the idea of being surrounded by three of our four kids on Christmas fills me with childlike joy. The reality of it is that I’ve got to cook more, keep the peace more, and as it was the first time Boyfriend J was here, turns out I didn’t really get to spend that much time with Thing 2.
I was ready for a break from school. To kind of be filled with the Christmas spirit and recharge myself. But I’m more tired now than I was the last day of school December 21.
Advent happens for a reason, y’all. I sometimes wonder if the anticipation and excitement leading up to Christmas aren’t the real gift.

Nora and Dale invited us for dinner tonight. I’m not remotely feeling it. I have no desire to leave the warmth of the house to brave single digit wind chills to have dinner with friends.
Here’s the ridiculous part, I’ll have fun. I’ll be better off emotionally spending time with my sweet husband and our friends than if I stayed put in this house in my jammies.
But I don’t want to! (Yeah, I’m whining…what’s it to you?)

My (undefined) feelings about 2018 are most likely due to the fact that I’m tired. And let’s be real, who’s ready to tackle anything when they’re not at the top of their game?

Here’s what I do know.
2017 was the year I stopped living with chronic pain. With the help of three ‘alternative’ healthcare providers I’m off all prescription meds, pain free, and with a brain that is the proper shape and size.
That right there is the best possible way to begin 2018!

I’ll slip into 2018 tired yet hopeful.
Hopeful I’ll accomplish what I set out to do.
Hopeful that our kids are healthy, content, and whole.
Hopeful that we’ll have loads of snow days this winter and I’ll be able to rest then.
Spring will bring birthdays starting in March. June will bring Thing G’s high school graduation.

Y’all, I may be grouchy and tired, but I’m smiling as I write this.
As it turns out, I too am writing about saying goodbye to 2017 and welcoming 2018. How very conformist of me.
It’s cool, sometimes you gotta do what everybody else does to prove to yourself you’re a regular girl.
This regular girl wishes all y’all a non-conformist new year!

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

sisters

My heart is full of love.
I got a snapchat from Thing 2 late last night.
She’s at her sister’s!

The idea of my two Things together makes me so happy!
They have a uniquely precious friendship. It’s been through it’s share of troubles, but what sister relationship hasn’t?

They’ve lived through every moment of their lives (well, Thing 2’s life anyway) together. Every joy. Every sadness. Every fear. Every love. They’ve been each other’s best friend and worst enemy. Though they are quick to get at each other, each girl would kill or die to protect her sister from an outside threat. Even now, after time and events and miles have created a distance between them.

Am I jealous?
No, that’s not the right word.
Do I feel like I’m missing out?
Absolutely!
But not in a selfish way.

Being able to witness their complicated love of the last (nearly) twenty years. To see how their relationship has evolved as they become women. To listen as they speak their own personal language, when they finish each other’s sentences. To laugh at age-old jokes, or family stories they love to share.
I love the relationship my daughters have with each other. They are so blessed to have it. And they know it.
Sure, they take each other for granted. Sure they annoy each other if they’re together for too long. But when it comes down to it, they belong to each other in a way they belong to none of the rest of us.

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don’t f**k with Mr Zero

Years ago, I adopted a saying from the movie When Harry Met Sally.
“Don’t f**k with Mr Zero.”
I am Mr Zero.
Do not f**k with me.
And for your own good, do not f**k with my kids.

We were at the U.S. Capital building on Monday. A tour with YBW’s cousin, her husband, and their three year old daughter, who are visiting us from out of town. Joining us, YBW’s brother and Thing G.
All was well until YBW’s brother displayed a bit of “hangry” behavior. Y’all know what hangry is, right? Means you act like a great big dick with the excuse that you’re hungry. (note: that’s my definition, not Webster’s or OE’s)

Now I know something about hangry…only I never actually called it that. Thing 2 is hypoglycemic and can become grouchy when her blood sugar is low. A quick protein-rich carbohydrate snack to bring her blood sugar up quickly and keep it up, and boom! She’s right as rain.

Anyway.
YBW’s brother needs to eat. Like, yesterday.
So Thing G offers him a piece of gum to tide him over. Well, the gum is declined. Not rudely, but not exactly with politeness either. Thing G being the Thing G he is, is happy to accept the decline of his offer, but wants to explain why he offered the gum. His uncle doesn’t want any part of hearing it. He turns to the kid and just shouts, “NO!”
And that’s when my hackles go up.
Don’t talk to my kid like that, mother f**ker! (Only I don’t say that out loud.)
What I do say is, “Whoa, how about no thank you?”
I take Thing G by the hand, who is still trying to explain…
His uncle says, “I’m just hungry!”
I reply, “I understand that, but don’t take it out on us.”
So I hold Thing G back a moment as his uncle keeps walking.
Thing G says, “I just want to explain why I offered the gum.”
I got close to his face and said, “Let it go, bud. He doesn’t want to hear it. But you can tell me instead.”
By this time YBW has caught up to us, I signal to him that I’ve got it.
Thing G explains that sometimes when he’s hungry, chewing a piece of gum will tied him over until he can eat.
Makes a kind of sense.

I’m freaking livid.
Don’t you talk to my kid like that. I don’t give a damn if you’re hangry or not.
But I calm my heart and take Thing G’s hand and we go down the stairs together.

Meanwhile, YBW’s brother has eaten and has returned his normal likable self. So instead of letting this eat me up inside, I let it go. I protected the kid when he needed back up and he’s safe so I can retreat from momma-lioness mode. And we talk and joke and move on about our day.

A bit later, YBW comes to me and says, “Thanks for defending my kid.”
I look him in his eyes and say, “He’s my kid too. But, you’re welcome.”
Thing G sees this. He has a little smile on his lips as he takes his next bite.

Now, I ride that kid hard, and sometimes we don’t see eye to eye.
But I will cut you before I let you be unkind to that kid, or treat him with disrespect.
I love him.
He is part of my brood. Therefore under my protection. Now, I might kick his ass, but I’ll go down swinging before I let somebody else do it.

Of course, Thing G will eventually need to learn that he won’t always be able to express his own point of view. He’ll have to figure out how to accept that and function through it. He’s grown so much in the last four years. And I don’t just mean he’s now taller than me. I mean he’s beginning to advocate for himself. He’s beginning to show how capable he can be. He’s beginning to figure out his place in the world. This is trick for any seventeen year old, but especially so for one with his diagnosis.
But Thing G isn’t his diagnosis. It’s taken his family quite some time to really understand and accept that. It’s taken him a bit longer to understand and accept that. He’s a work in progress. (Like every single one of the rest of us.)

When it comes to the children in my brood (however grown), listen well. All of you.
I am the Mistress of All Evil and I. Will. Cut. You.

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expectations or “I’m a big tough girl, I tie my own sandals and everything”

I guess it’s that time of year, but I also believe it’s so much more than that too. I believe the universe is speaking to me and I need to take some serious heed.
I’m talking about expectations.

YBW and I had a conversation Sunday about expectations. I got an email this morning from a friend about expectations for his life in the coming year. My last visit to my therapist was a conversation about expectations.
This little red haired girl has been considering expectations for as long as I can remember. But at this time, I think it’s all about my own expectations.

My brain edema really put certain things into perspective for me. I was forced to make life changes I’d been toying with. I was forced to slow my pace. I was forced to slow my compulsion to control everything.
Those were actually quite positive!
Only it left me without any real direction. And for a girl with the desperate need to control what goes on around her, that was worst possible situation in which to be.
I floundered.

But later…
I started my lula business.
I started a new part time job with the county schools. I was offered a second part time position based on my skill set and how much I’m appreciated by the administration.
I began writing more.
I even got my ass in gear when it came to my degree program.

What are my expectations for how I’ll earn money?
I’m working at prioritizing these things. I’m considering how to move forward with some but not all of these things.
YBW is talking more and more about how great I am with children. How happy I seem when I’m talking with and working with children. He’s always impressed when children come up to me in Wegmans or Target and start talking to me, “You’re at my school!” “I see you at lunch!” “You’re in the classroom now.”
YBW remarks how much impact I have on these children simply by being in the same building with them each day.
He’s got a point. All I ever wanted to do was be a mommy and a teacher.

Which brings me to my expectations for how I can be a mom to far away children and children that aren’t really mine.
This is the thing that is killing me every single day. Sometimes softly and silently, sometimes with a Rebel Yell and the cries of the dying.
I’m not exactly sure how to write about this…but mostly I’m thinking this is for journaling and not for blogging.

Expectations for marriage are tricky.
I have nothing really to base them on. But I know what I want and what I don’t want. Mostly I want to be on the same page as YBW. I’ve struggled with the feeling that while we’re in the same book, we may not in the same chapter. I suspect that is my perception, more than anything. But it is a nagging feeling I can’t seem to shake. So through conversations, some simple, some fairly painful, we talk about where we are. Where we want to be. How we might get there.
We charged each other to get very clear about our expectations. We set a date to come together with these clear expectations and compare.

I’ve spent my life worrying about other people’s expectations of me. Some of these were so ridiculously out of reach I’ve felt a failure for most of my adult life. But I developed a few of my own, and guess what? I met them. Know why? Because they were realistic and I am capable.
My most accomplished expectations are for the way I was (and continue to be) a mom. I look at those girls, as flawed as they are (because, let’s be real, who isn’t?), and I know I met my expectations for being their mom. I taught them how to love, how to fail, how to be successful. I taught them sarcasm and that it’s perfectly acceptable to express yourself. I taught them to fight for what they believe in. I taught them that I’ll have their back. I taught them that even the most overbearing mothers can learn from their children. But for me, the most important expectation of all was that I got joy from being a mom. Those girls have given me so much joy and I embraced it and lived in it!
I am a better mom than my mom was. I’ve met most all of my expectation I had of myself when it came to being a mom.
And for the most part, they’ve met my expectations for them. They’re smart. They’re capable. They have compassion. They love fiercely. They have goals. They experience the good and bad and have the skills to come out the other side more aware.
Honestly, what more could I ask for?

Now I’m going to create new expectations for myself.
It frightens me to ask the question, “What do I want?” and to actually answer it.
But I’ve got this!
Like Megara, I’m a big tough girl. I tie my own sandals and everything.
meg-and-hercules

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wrapping pressies

Surely, you know of my mad wrapping skills!?!
I began the wrapping of the pressies this weekend.
I took everything out of the hidey closet and all the way downstairs Friday when I got home from school.
20161209_160750.jpg
It’s weird how that damn sofa always photographs taupey when it’s the most gorgeous soft gray color…but I digress.
I hauled everything down two flights of stairs and got to work. Friday afternoon, I wrapped the gifts the boys chose for YBW first so they’d already be finished when he got home.
20161210_145247.jpg
After I finished YBW’s gifts, I wrapped everything for the boys. That way, when the come back home from their mother’s house on Friday, they’ll be able to go downstairs even if I’m not finished wrapping.

I was dying to break out the new paper Thing 2 and I bought at Target so I decided to wrap a pressie I bought myself.
20161210_233957.jpg
So much freaking glitter in this paper! My hands, leggings, and the floor were covered. I had it all over my face and in my hair. Good golly did it make my nose itch!

Today I wrapped for Thing 1 and her husband N. Tomorrow I’ll wrap Thing 2’s gifts. I want to get them to the post office the end of this week just in case of any shipping delays.

Here’s what I’ve wrapped so far…so much more to go.
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I love to wrap gifts as much as I love to do laundry. It was pointed out to me that they’re similar tasks. I agreed and remarked that the stimulate my OCD in the same way.
Nothing quite as satisfying as perfectly folded laundry still warm from the dryer.
Nothing quite as pretty as a perfectly wrapped pressie.
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I’m TOTALLY the happy elf, y’all!

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it’s time to create new traditions

If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you know I don’t like Thanksgiving.
I’m not really going to get into the whys and wherefores of why Thanksgiving and I don’t quite fit. Just know this, I love the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and that’s about it.

As you may recall, my dear friend and mentor lost her beloved in the spring. Thanksgiving is the first holiday she will face without him. Now, you need to understand she can do it. She can do Thanksgiving alone. She can do anything, and she will do it with a grace that I can only dream of achieving. But she shouldn’t have to.
Her son, daughter-in-law, and grandson are celebrating Thanksgiving with other family. I couldn’t bear the thought of her facing this first holiday alone, so I had an uncomfortable conversation with YBW and came to the conclusion that I would go to her for Thanksgiving. We’ve planned a very Charleston Thanksgiving and I’m actually rather excited about it.
I’ll even get to see my Charleston family while I’m there!

I know it’s hurtful to YBW. I think he takes it personally. I don’t know that I can really do anything about that, but I assured him that it’s not personal. I’ve been close with Jessica for twenty years. Even though she is no real kin of mine, she is my family.

YBW took his mother to the grocery store last week and when they talked Thanksgiving plans, she said to him that she couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t want to be with my family for Thanksgiving.
I’m ashamed to admit I responded like this, but I looked at him and I said, “Because it’s not my family.”
I didn’t mean it the way it may have seemed, only I kind of did mean it too. I knew it wasn’t what I wanted to say, but it was sort of how I felt.

Consider this: I am an orphan who is never around her own children. The only thing I have of my family of origin and the family I created is traditions. But they get lost because one girl isn’t an entire family.
I love the people in his family. And for the most part, they seem to love me. But they’re not terribly adept at seeing past the end of their noses.
I don’t understand why it’s so difficult to grasp the concept of friends as family, especially when I have no family of my own.
I suspect it’s because none of them have ever been in my shoes. They’ve got one living parent, they’re with their children regularly.
My family is my friends. My friends have always been my family, but now that I really have no family of my own, my friends are even more so my family.
That’s just how I am. I know that’s a different concept for YBW’s family.

A few days later, I was alone in the car and had a thought.
It’s not that they’re not my family. It’s that those are not my traditions.
My God, that was the most freeing thought I’d had in ages! And it finally began to make sense to me! And if I could express myself in a way that he could understand, it just might create a truly positive shift in our life.

I came back to YBW and said that what I said surely felt hurtful, and for that I was truly sorry. I didn’t intend hurt him. I told him that I’d been thinking about it and shared what I thought about family and traditions. His family has traditions they’ve been sharing for nearly fifty years. And while they’re extremely important to them, they’re not as important to me.

I told him that it was time for us to create new traditions.
He agreed. He asked good questions. We talked about traditions briefly.
But then nothing more was said about it…

Now is not the time. I’m leaving Tuesday afternoon for Charleston. He’ll be here getting ready to host his family.
When I get home, I’ll be ready to start getting the house ready for Christmas. Perhaps that will be a new way of creating new traditions…with the exception of the “big” tree that goes in the front room. He won’t want to do that without the boys and that makes sense to me. That tree will wait until they come back from their mother’s. But I’m not waiting to make with the Christmas merry. I’ll start the moment I get back into town.

If only there was some way to move straight from Halloween to Christmas and blow right past this obligatory giving of thanks…it just fits me ill.

It’s not that I’m not thankful. It’s that I’m thankful every day.
I’m thankful for the traditions I was given as a child and the ones I created as an adult.
I’m thankful that I have a strong bond with my friends as family people.
I’m thankful I am able to be with someone I love so dearly when she’d otherwise be alone.
I’m thankful that I am strong and have great love in me.
I’m thankful that I am loved greatly.

Categories: love, me | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

pony in the middle

I went to see my therapist Friday morning.
Mostly it was all, blah blah living my intention…love and gratitude and grace blah blah…my friend’s email…moral courage blah blah…changing my life and lives of others blah blah…love and joy and calmness and fortitude blah blah…
(pretty much the stuff I told y’all the other¬†day mixed in with a bit of “none ya”)

And then she said something that triggered a thought I had the night before right as I fell asleep.
It was something about how I’m the linchpin holding my family and YBW’s family together…only I knew that wasn’t right the night before when I tried to put language to the nugget of thought…

So, when I explained it to my therapist I said, “Imagine a venn diagram.”

venn

It’s not that I’m a linchpin. It’s not even that I’m in that overlapping space alone.
It’s that I’m not really in either family.
I’m no longer in my own family because one member of that family is 500 miles away from me and the other is 900 miles away from me on a daily basis.
I’m not really in his family either.
I’m the “mom of this house” according to Thing G, but being the person who prepares their daily meals is me being a house elf, not me being their mom. That, and they’re 23 and 16, they hardly need the mom they have, much less a surplus one.

At first I thought what bothered me was that in the middle should be both YBW and me. I had this naive idea that even though we each came from a family, we would be creating a new one together. This isn’t really happening…and I’ve gotten to the point where I no longer worry about whether or not it’s OK, I simply accept that he’s not ready for that phase of his life yet. Eventually we’ll get around to it…

The more I think on this, journal on this, I discover that’s not what bothers me about it. What bothers me about it is that I don’t really seem to belong in either family.
Not the one I made.
Not the one he made.
I’m the monkey in the middle.

pony-in-the-middle

Well, maybe I’m the pony in the middle…

What does that mean?
And that’s where I get stuck.

What I’m supposed to be doing is figuring out how to live my intention. Not just live with love for other people, but for me too. Live with love for me.
Being the pony in the middle doesn’t feel like love to me.

Need to keep the focus on me.
Not on “his family”.
Not even on “my family”.
Must focus on that little sliver of me in the middle.

Here’s what I know about me right now.
I am so resentful.
I don’t get to enjoy the company of my daughters, but I am without choice that YBW’s sons enter this house every six days.
I don’t actually resent his sons. I love them greatly¬†and have incorporated them into my brood. It’s more that I resent what they represent.¬†I’m not even sure I resent their father…but¬†I absolutely resent being their bitch.

I love food.
I love to cook.
Feeding these people who only like a handful of things, who complain at every meal has made me hate food so much that I don’t even want to feed myself anymore.

I don’t know what the big deal is. I mean, it seems a bit dramatic to be resentful about feeding people. But there it is.

I’m resentful because my life has to be put on hold every other week.
I’m resentful because I want to give more time and love to my own family.
I’m resentful because I’m lie to myself about who I really am in this life.
I’m resentful because my biggest fear is that I’ll never again be in the circle labeled “my family”.
I’m resentful because I’m not comfortable in my own home…because it’s not really my home.
I’m resentful because I have all this freaking resentment!

Perhaps I should consider my own independence before the wishes of others?
Perhaps I should put myself first?
Perhaps I should stop doing things because I think I should?

It has come to my attention that I’m deeply unhappy and need to make some changes or possibly lose myself completely.
I’m the only me I’ve got.
I’m the only Momma Thing 1 and Thing 2 to have.
I need to be me for me.
I want to be me for them.
Can’t lose myself.
Don’t want to be unhappy.
Don’t want to be resentful.

It’s not actual hard work to feed people. But it’s really emotionally hard work.
I don’t feel comfortable in the house I live every other week. But I have no recourse of action. It’s a hand-me-down home for my hand-me-down life.

I don’t know how to put myself first. It feels selfish.
I feel a bit like Carrie Bradshaw asking questions…but here’s another: When is putting yourself first self-preservation, and when is it just selfish?

I’m not sure where I found this quote:

We can only go so far in making our life the way we would wish it to be.

I’m feeling it, yet I question it at the same time.
If we can only go so far…how do we end up where we want to be? Where we belong?

Categories: me, on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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