Posts Tagged With: help

Birdie’s on it!

My friend Holly gave me a funny little book. It’s very tongue in cheek, written by a grandmother and filled with some silliness, some heartfelt things, and a fair amount of honesty.

In this book, she talks about how the mother of the mother always ‘wins’. How because it’s her baby having a baby, it’s different than her son having a baby.
And I get that. To a point.
However, I don’t feel any more or less ‘winning’ than Husband N’s mother. I mean, apart from the fact that I’ve been told I’m the one they’re going to rely on. To be perfectly honest, in my gut, it does feel that mother-mother connection has a strength the mother-father connection may not have.
But what do I know? I have two daughters, I truly cannot imagine what being the mother of a son would even feel like.
All that said, I feel like there doesn’t have to be a difference.

Only it turns out there is a difference. At least in the case of Baby K’s grandparents.
Thing 1 and Husband N took Baby K over her Nana’s house late Saturday morning.
(just to clarify, Nana is Husband N’s mom)
Nana came home from Savannah and got sick. And I mean sick, like, with sinusitis and a fever, and all that jazz.
(I’m over here like, thank fuck we didn’t all catch it when we were at the hospital together!)
So Nana hasn’t seen Baby K since the day after she was born.

Thing 1 and Husband N knew I needed to write an essay, and I’d been working on it but could use some uninterrupted time to finish it. They also knew if they took Baby K to her Nana, they could control how long the visit would last.
So off they went late Saturday morning so Nana could snuggle Baby K.
In the time they were gone I:
quickly bathed
let the dogs out
started laundry
finished my essay
switched and folded laundry
and
washed a handful of dishes
I was just about to reach out to Thing 1 to see if she would want a bit of late-ish lunch, but got distracted by the dogs needing some water. As I was carrying the water dish out, Thing 1 and Baby K rolled up the driveway. (Husband N stayed at his mother’s to get some stuff done.)
Thing 1 got the baby settled and I made lunch and we talked about their visit.

I asked if she slept or was awake. Thing 1 said she was awake most of the time and Nana snuggled Baby K the whole time. (Of course she did! I mean that’s all any of us want to do!)
And here’s where things get wonky for me…
She shared that Nana made some remark about how your mom probably never puts her down.
That got my girls hackles up a bit. But she remained calm and was polite when she explained how I was here making sure they all had food to eat, and doing the laundry, and making sure the floor was swept (y’all there are three dogs and four cats in this house, the sweeping never ends) and changing dirty diapers, and staying up in the night with them so she didn’t feel completely alone, and generally taking care of everyone until they can figure out how to do it all.
And here’s how I feel about that.
Appreciated.

And you know what, I am absolutely savoring every single moment I get to spend with Baby K. I’m living in this sacred moment and also storing up that feeling for when I go back home and don’t get to see her.
But, I am truly, madly, deeply loving that I’m here with my girl. Stuffing her with calories so she can make milk to feed her daughter. Making sure she has help maintaining her household while she figures out how to be a mommy. Helping teach Husband N to trust his instincts, and how cloth diapers work. Getting up early with the baby so Thing 1 can rest as much as possible.
I’m here to actively love and care for my daughter, and by proxy, her daughter.
I am here to be of service.
Because that’s what the mother of the mother does.
Well, at least that’s what this mother of the mother does.

That’s not what Husband N’s mother would do. Not because she’s mean spirited, but because that’s not how she functions. She’s the hold the baby, talk ridiculous baby talk, give her too much candy and send her home with a sick belly kind of grandmother. Thing 1 and Husband N already know that. They’re prepped for it.
But here’s what I believe is important to remember. She has love to give. It may be selfishly motivated, but love is love is love is love is love, right? Nana is going to love Baby K the way she knows, the way she can. How can that be wrong?

I am so blessed to experience this love.
I have so much love to give, it bubbles up in my heart and overflows out into the world. I’m hopeful that my daughter and her husband are content having it poured over them at the moment.
But that’s not why I’m doing it.


This teeny girl next to me is waking up for a second time this morning. She’s ready for a clean diaper, some warm milk in her belly, and a big ol’ burp.
Birdie’s on it!

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Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

faith in humanity renewed

Got a text this morning.

And we meet at our regular joint about half an hour later.

Then she says, “I need shallots and a romper, let’s go to Target!”
Um…yeah!

Only instead of going to Target, we go to TJ Maxx. It’s next to Target, and I know they have loads of rompers, because the girls got a couple while they were here in June.
After some successful (and not so successful) trying on, she found exactly what she was looking for. I found a new Kate Spade bag for $80 and we headed to the check out.
After a quick moment of debate, I decided I wanted a Coke. (It’s been a while since I had one, and to be quite honest, I was the teeniest bit hungover this morning.)
While Nora was checking out I ran to the cooler to grab a cold bottle of fizzy caffeinated goodness and the damnedest thing happened.
My ring got caught in the cooling fan in the top of the machine and ripped the diamond out of the setting!

Y’all!
THIS IS NOT A DRILL!

(I wear the wedding ring my mother wore while she was pregnant with me, and more recently, I’ve been wearing YBW’s mom’s rings. She was very specific that YBW should have them so he could give them to me. It brings us both joy that I wear them together.)

I reached into the cooler, and by sheer dumb luck the ring just happened to get caught in the fan. When I pulled my hand out, the setting was twisted and there was no diamond!

Let me tell you a little something about the state of the world. (at least where I live)
The folks in line behind us got involved, helping remove the sodas from the cooler, helping check under the racks and machine.
One lady checked out and came back to me with a shiny penny in her hand. “This is a lucky penny to help find your diamond.”
Another woman stayed with us as the store manager started trying to disassemble the machine. Yet another woman suggested we pray to St Anthony and assured me she would.
An employee who was meant to leave work at 3:30 stayed all afternoon while we tried to find it.
The assistant manager called Coca Cola to report the incident, stressing that the ‘customer was staying’ in the store until the repair person could arrive.

Nora had an appointment in Alexandria. She needed to leave by 4:00. (She’s a vet, and had a house call.) Of course we’d come together in my car, leaving her’s at the breakfast joint. So she had to take my car back to her car, drop off my key at her house before she could go euthanize some poor family’s animal!
She even arranged for her husband to come get me if YBW couldn’t.

Well, after she left, I called YBW and explained what happened. All I could think was how much I’d let him down, wrecking his mom’s ring that she, and he, wanted me to have.
Bless him, he left work and came straight to the store. He and I worked with the store manager’s tools to take apart the top of the machine and when I heard him say, “Here it is!” I nearly cried!

Here’s what I really want to say.
The actions of the employees and other customers renewed my faith in humanity. The kindness shown to me today was truly overwhelming!
I was panicked.
I was sad.
I was anxious.
Through all of that, my dear friend doggedly worked to help solve this problem. Strangers were on their hands and knees in a retail store. I received so much affection, and positive energy, and physical help from people I do not know, and will most likely never see again.
The sweet woman that didn’t leave the store until I found the diamond had tears of joy in her eyes. I said, “I’m going to hug you!” and she squeezed me tightly!

Y’all, there is real goodness in this world. There is real kindness in this world. The average human is more kind than one might imagine. Today that kindness surrounded and lifted me up. I know I’ll never be able to thank those people personally, or tell them I found the diamond. But my gratitude is out in the world and my intention is that it finds it’s way to them.
I have the phone number for the district manager so I can call and share my experience. I want someone to know what kind and helpful employees there are at that particular store.
I’m grateful for Nora. She is spectacularly calm in a crisis. She’s got a serious Rosie the Riveter ‘We Can Do It!’ spirit about her. God love her, she did not want to leave me there alone waiting for the repair person, but she had no choice. She made the situation bearable simply by being in it with me!
I’m grateful that my precious husband came and helped without being frustrated, or angry, or judgmental. He knew instinctively where I was emotionally and said, “I want to make this better for you.” I had a little ‘merp’ moment and replied, “I want to make this better for you!”
I felt like I let him down. I know it was a freak accident. He knows it was a freak accident. But I honestly felt like I let him down. Like I couldn’t be trusted with his mother’s ring. That his daddy gave her, and she wore for fifty years. And I have it for a few months and this happens!?!
I know he doesn’t think of it this way, but I sure as hell did.

For now, the rings and the diamond are in a zip baggie waiting to go to the jeweler’s.

I’ll be in Falls Church on Monday to see the acupuncturist, he’s literally right down the street from the jewelry store. I wanted to have them adjust the size a bit anyway, so now it’ll be a twofer.

Was it St Anthony?
Was it that penny really lucky?
I don’t know, but I will hold on to the penny, and say a quick ‘thank you’ to Anthony just in case.

I believe in people a little more after today.
I believe there is kindness in each of us, and if we’re very fortunate, we will be presented with an opportunity to express it.
My heart is a little lighter today.
My cup runneth over.
Today, my life was made better by the kindness of strangers.
There is a lesson here for each and every one of us.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , | 8 Comments

bless his heart

Even after all these years, I’m still flabbergasted by the madness that is the father of my children.
I’m not talking shit right now, I’m seriously over here like:

(a quick bit of backstory)
Thing 1’s car gave up the ghost. She sold it for parts and moved on in her life. She and Husband N share a vehicle and they’re OK with that for the moment.

Out of the clear blue, the Things’ father purchases a (used) car for Thing 1. I get this information first from Thing 2 who drove the car home and was tasked with cleaning and detailing it. The next day I get the information from Thing 1 with photos of the car in her dad’s driveway. Later that same day (which happened to be yesterday) I get a call from their dad, telling me with great pride he bought Thing 1 a car. How and what he paid for it and asked me if I would finance the taxes, tags, title, etc. Then he told me he was going to take it his mechanic. I expressed my surprise that he made the purchase without having the mechanic look at it first. Blah blah blah…

This morning at 7:30 I received a facebook message from him.
My first thought (which I said aloud to an empty house) was “This is how we communicate now?”

(When there was still a baby, I was planning a baby shower for the week after Thing G’s graduation while the girls were still up here so we didn’t have to coordinate a second trip this summer. He and Husband N’s mother agreed to split the cost of a rental car so they could bring home their baby haul. Because that changed with the miscarriage, he felt it wasn’t appropriate for Husband N’s mother to pay for a car when there was no baby shower. That made sense to me, and he and I agreed to split the car rental instead.)


Having no idea what it will take to make the care safe, etc. is kind of why you have your mechanic look at a used car before you purchase it…just sayin’.

So apparently after we got off the phone yesterday, he rang up Thing 1 and tried to triangle her into this situation. She shut down his complaining with the logical idea that if he wanted me to give him money, he should have asked me.

To these facebook messages, (I’m sorry, but again I ask, Is this how we communicate now?) I responded as carefully as I could. Essentially I told him that purchasing that car was a decision he made without consulting anyone and since I had no say in the process I have no responsibility in off-setting the cost. I explained that quite honestly I don’t have that kind of money just lying around anyway. I reminded him that there is still a hole in our house and we’re still fighting with the home owners insurance company and we spent several thousand dollars out of pocket to have the tree removed. I closed with “I’m disappointed and disheartened you complained to Thing 1 about it. She doesn’t deserve that.”

I called YBW and he and I talked about it. We agreed that I did the right thing. We agreed that the money that I was contributing to the rental car would be better spent for gas and food on the road as the Things journey to and from for Thing G’s graduation. YBW used the word unilateral and I nearly kicked myself for not thinking that word!

I sent a warning text to each girl explaining that I’d been asked for and refused money and apologized to them if it gets taken out on them.
Thing 1 called me straight away. She apologized for not warning me she told him to just talk about it instead of complaining about it. She and I decided how to deal with getting the car legal and she agreed the money would be of better use for them on the road. She was gracious and thankful that I was willing to help them with that.

So I stopped and breathed deeply and composed and email to my ex-husband.

You caught me off guard this morning and after more time to think about it, I want to respond even more mindfully than I tried to earlier.
Our agreement was for me to pay half of a car rental fee.
When you bought that car, the rental agreement was negated.
Because there is no rental car, we no longer have an agreement.

My initial thought was that I would use the money no longer going to the car rental to pay for their gas and food on the road.

Purchasing the car was a decision you made on your own. Expecting me to offer to pay you after the fact is also a decision you made. Asking me to pay for a decision you unilaterally made is not OK.
I know that’s not what you want to hear. But that’s how it is.

I find myself wondering what is your motivation at this hasty purchase…especially when you’re frustrated I’m not offering to pay you for making it.

I spoke with Thing 1 and we discussed how to handle the taxes, tags, title, insurance, etc. and that’s all taken care of.

I feel good about that. I was clear. I was respectful.

His response email was filled with mad backpedaling and ended with, “Good luck on getting your house repaired and thank you for helping Thing 1 cover the tags title and insurance. I did not intend to create a misunderstanding between us I merely thought that you may want to contribute.”

Here’s the thing.
My daughter didn’t ask for help finding a car. My daughter didn’t ask her father to purchase a car. My daughter knows that she’s an adult and she and her husband are responsible for their decisions for their life.
Her father wants to be “Daddy the Hero”.
He wants credit because he is the one who found her a car. That he swooped in and made everything “all better” for her. If that’s how he stays relevant and special, good for him.
In my experience, the problem with the whole situation is he’ll hold it over her head until the end of time. She better be grateful af and he better know it or he’ll trot it out every chance he gets. That young woman didn’t ask for anything and now she’s being held hostage by it.
She can handle it though. She’s got mad “dealing with dad skills”.

I just want to be left out of the foolishness all together.

I’m curious what y’all think.
Did I do the right thing? Was I respectful to everyone involved?
How would you handle this situation?
Let me hear your thoughts!

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

she’s not coming back

How many tears can you cry for one particular person? I suspect tears are unlimited, but I have grown weary of shedding them over my child.

Thing 2 got on the train Sunday to SC to take her GED test, she was to get back on the train to come home today.
She called me Wednesday with news of passing all four required components. She has successfully completed her high school equivalent exam. I told her I was so glad, that I knew she could do it and then I said: I can’t wait to hug you!
And she said: That’s what I wanted to talk to you about.
Then she told me she’s not coming back. She wants to stay in SC with her friends.
Roundhouse kick to my soul.

At that moment all I could think was, YBW forked out tens of thousands of dollars to finish the basement, to build a loo and kickass closet and bedroom for her and she just “isn’t coming back”. She couldn’t think of that before we started the construction?
I am aware that she believes she’s been here struggling to belong and it’s too hard to keep trying and she is comfortable with her friends and that’s where she fits.
She told me lots of things about why she made this choice, asked for respect regarding her decision.

I love that girl differently than I’ve ever loved another human being in my entire life.
I want what’s best for her but my God, I’m so tired of trying to decide what that is.

I am desperate to talk to my friend and mentor, but she is in the middle of a family crisis and I cannot disturb her. She would help make sense of it, or at least she would take my ‘lemons’ and make her delicious lemonade and I could have a drink of it which would ease me enough to decide how to feel about it.
I can’t talk to Sundance, my pain is too fresh. I can’t go down the rabbit hole with her right now, I’m not sure I could climb back out. I can’t let my negative feelings take over, I have to tread carefully. Not for the sake of Thing 2, but for my own sake.

I feel hurt and angry. Thing 2 came here desperate to start over. She needed new clothes. She needed to have her hair done because of a terrible cut she’d given herself was growing back a hot freaking mess.
She needed help being a girl in the real world again.
I was more than happy to provide these things, as well as the help, love, and support she’d been lacking. She’s my baby. I will always do what I feel is best for her.

I’ve been going over and over the concept of respect.
She asked me to respect her decision. Asked me to respect her.
She has not considered that she asks for respect without giving any.
She doesn’t respect me. She doesn’t respect YBW. I’m not actually sure if she respects herself.
I’ve always considered respect a two way street. I never expected to be respected unless I was respectful. I taught my girls that. Perhaps I taught it poorly.
Thing 2 doesn’t respect me yet asks I respect her. I’m unsure how to proceed…in deed or thought. I have no idea what the practical value of that realization is.

I am disappointed. I am disappointed in her. Disappointed that she is a coward and a quitter, she has let her fear and loneliness control her actions.
I am disappointed that I couldn’t help her any more or better.

I am acutely aware that she is in control of her own actions, but still feel the sting of their reflection on me.

I want my baby to be healthy and content. I don’t believe she’s healthy but her friends make her feel content.
Perhaps it’s time for me to just let it go. Finally let her go. My concern with that is what to do when she needs me after I’ve let her go. I’m not sure how I can trust her again.
She betrayed me.
She betrayed the home we created for her.

I don’t think I choose to make her come back. I have the right to, legally, but I’m not sure I’m willing to put YBW and his Things through anymore negativity. If it was just me, I think I’d force the issue and make her live where she’s supposed to according to the letter of the law. I’d suffer the indignities and let her suffer, because she’d come out the other side better off. But I don’t want to put them through it. I’m not even sure I want to put her through it.

Thing G said: I’m sad she’s not going to live with us, but I understand wanting to be with her friends.
Teenagers are a curious breed.

She deserves better than the life she’s settling for. I have fought the hard fight to give her a better life and she’s turned her back on that. Because she’s lonely. Because she wants to be with her friends.
I can’t compete with that.

I can’t do anything but love her. But what does that mean? Does loving her mean I allow her to disrespect me? Does standing up for myself mean I don’t love her?
This is where the question of respect comes into play and I just don’t have any answers.

I’m tired of fighting the good fight. Tired of trying to do what’s best for the people I love when it doesn’t matter or mean anything to them.
How about somebody respecting me? Fighting the good fight for me?

I want that girl to have the best opportunities to create the best life. She can’t see that. Perhaps she doesn’t want to. Either way, I think it may be out of my hands.
I remember a discussion with my friend and mentor regarding always loving, always having an open heart and open arms. I do love and will always love my Thing 2. I’m afraid I won’t always have an open heart or open arms. I’m afraid the hurt will close them. I’m not sure I could bear that. For either of us.

Categories: loss, love, me, on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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