Posts Tagged With: life

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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cardinal rules

I have a friend who’s second unbreakable life rule or, “Rule # 2” is that no one is permitted into his home.
I find this fascinating. No one in his home. Ever. (my suspicion is that emergency medical providers are the only exception)

I don’t know that I could ever have his second rule. Let us disregard for a moment the fact that I share a dwelling with YBW and his children (part time).
I need that energy that people bring…and I like to be in my own space. So, that would never work for me. I occasionally want to be around people while also remaining in my own physical space.
And that’s OK. I’m me, not him.

That got me thinking: I’m so me. Like, all the freaking time! And that me is an unholy mess of a girl, as well as put together AF.
I like that about me.
I embrace it, and I celebrate it.

It occurs to me that so many people don’t embrace and celebrate the “me” they are. Folks are so busy trying to be something they may not be because of any number of outside influences, societal rules, or even to impress a potential mate.
In trying to become something else, bits of the me get lost.
Some of those could be OK to lose, crap bits to bid a “good riddance” to. But some of those are important pieces. Invaluable and irreplaceable.
The me is the best and most important piece of the puzzle. Even if you haven’t completely figured out your me.
I learn about the me I am every day.
I learn stuff I love, and want to keep, I learn stuff I feel ambivalent about but realize may have value. I learn stuff I know I can chuck in the bin because it’s bad for me and anyone I come in contact with. But even the chuck it in the bin stuff can be embraced, because I learned something from it. At the very least, I learned I didn’t need it…at most, I may have even learned why.

Some folks are so concerned with improvement they don’t stop first to examine what’s there that might be handy. They just dump it and begin searching for new stuff to fill the void.
That will never get anybody anywhere!
If folks are externally motivated, they’re never going to experience the all-important A-ha! moments. Never experience the all-important I did it! moments.
I believe you lose the most important aspect of the me when you’re externally motivated. When you need to be filled up by other people, or things. It doesn’t seem to me that you’re even aware of the me inside you, much less embracing and celebrating it. That makes me so sad. I cannot stress enough how much that (those) someones are missing out!

Embrace and celebrate what you have within you. Learn it and learn from it.
Accept and release some of it. Accept and embrace other of it.
But, above all, celebrate the “me” inside you.

I’m me.
I’m a hot mess and a tight ship. And that is the way I like it. I’m so over trying to be what external influences expect me to be.
I’m just the me I expect me to be.
I’m amazing and wonderful because I’m flawed.
Each lesson I’ve learned, the good, the bad, the indifferent have made and continue to make me this wonderfully flawed woman.

I think that’s the most important of my Cardinal Rules.
If I decided to create unbreakable rules for my life they might look like this.

1. Embrace and celebrate the me I am.
2. Live my intention.
3.

(yeah, I sort of borrowed that one, but I feel it keenly)
4. Communicate with honesty.
5. Know my limits.

That’s just off the top of my head…I might mix it up a little, I might keep it the way it is. But, over all, that’s how I intended to live my life.
Cardinal Rules.
It occurs to me that I already lived them, just never stopped to write them down.

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love-filled, lemon-scented paradise

Y’all know I am absolutely obsessed with porch life. This spring and summer have afforded me loads of time to spend on the back porch.
Currently it’s just too damn hot to even consider going out there. We hit a heat index of 105 yesterday, and it’s not much less today at 101.

Over the weekend and earlier in the week though, I was out on the porch a great deal.
Monday afternoon I went out with my journal and sat writing for the longest time.

I was having a really lovely day. I was productive and felt fully present in my life. I was truly living my intention that day. And while I was writing, the most amazing (albeit obvious) thing occurred to me.
My love of porch life is me living my intention!
I feel like there should be a great big, “Duh!” at the end of that statement. Only I’m not going to judge it. I’m just embracing the hell out of it.

Little reminders. Little things. Little pleasures. That’s the love.
When I’m writing about how I’m feeling, what I’m thinking, and how it impacts my daily life, I experience the love.
More times than not, it’s about paying attention.
When I’m present in my life, I mean actively living, and open to the world around me, I’m living my intention without even trying.
Enjoying porch life is a way I can express love for myself. It’s a way of living my intention of love for me.
Life on the porch is a peaceful, love-filled, lemon-scented paradise and if that’s not living my intention, I don’t know what could be.

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all this tricky day planning

This is how I’m feeling about summer!
All this tricky day planning!
That’s why I created a schedule.
That’s why I prioritized my tasks.

House- and schoolwork fall under the challenging catagory, while porch life is without doubt in the seductive.
It’s about marrying the two.
Sure, it makes it difficult to plan your day.

This morning I woke late, mostly recovered from a headache. I’m choosing to set aside my schedule. It’s not about seductive or challenging for me this morning, it’s about paying attention to my body. It obviously needed the rest.
So, my plan of attack for this Saturday will be set aside while I feel out how I’m going to function.
You know what?
It’s fine with me to let the day sort of plan itself.

There will be time for challenges and seduction as the days move along.
Will I plan? Pfft. Do you have to ask?
Will I deviate from those plans? Possibly.
The days we have in this world are a gift. And whether it’s to enjoy or improve, I intend to utilize them to the fullest.

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time to cull the herd

Don’t you find as you get older that you just have less f**ks to give?

If we’re to believe Alice, I’m not the only one.

I want a simpler life.
I want strong relationships with the people in my life.
I grow weary of the drama.
I’m not drama, so why have it in my life?
It’s time for a cull.
Time to rid my life of unnecessary complications and weak relationships.

My life won’t look different to others. (Unless ‘others’ is among the culled.)
My life may not look that much different to me.
But I can assure you I’ll feel so much better.

The f**ks I give are mine.
And I’ll be holding on to them, thanks.
So I bid unnecessary complications and weak relationships a hearty:

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occasionally I burst into song

Standing in the bathroom yesterday morning. YBW is shaving and I’m doing my hair.
I begin to sing about what I’m observing. Just belting it out, making it up as I go along. The tune comes from nowhere, the words are silly and mostly make a kind of sense that doesn’t.
He chuckles.
I say, “See! Real people sometimes burst into song in their daily lives!”
He nods, “Yes, but you’re not singing verse after verse.”
“Neither do I have a choreographed dance number.” I say with a wink.

Folks really do sing at random as they go about their day.
Sure, huge orchestral music and background dancers aren’t involved. (At least not in my random song bursts.) But there are times that life really is a cabaret, old chum, and one must burst into song.

Not all of us are fortunate enough to have the Sherman brothers

or Stephen Sondheim

be our personal lyricists.
But that’s OK. When you’re moved by the situation and need to create a little music about it, go ahead. Belt it out! Sing as though MGM has created an entire technicolor soundstage as a place for you to stand.
Sing the song of your life.

After I sang about personal grooming, I switched into Libertines mode and sang I Get Along

So sing your song. Sing loudly or quietly. Sing on or off key. Sing with your eyes wide open or shut. Sing the song of your life. Sing the words and tune that happen in your soul at any moment.
It’ll make you feel good and if someone gives you grief or causes you to feel embarrassed, just remember my favorite line from I Get Along:

I get along just singing my song, people tell me I’m wrong.
F**k ’em.

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what I learned from crayons

I discovered that there is was a water leak. It seems to have started in the boy’s bathroom and run under the wall into my work area of the bedroom.
As I work at tables, I lack storage space. The solution for that is stylish (yet affordable) storage boxes. Constructed of sturdy cardboard, the boxes in direct contact with the floor absorbed the water. I didn’t discover this for some time. And last night when I did, I was sad and disappointed.
The box that took the most damage was filled with boxes of crayons. Now this may not seem like a big deal to most people. But it is a terrifically big deal to me. All the crayons were “collector” boxes. Most of them were standard Crayola cardboard. Some of the crayons have never even been used.
I carefully removed everything from the box, salvaged what I could. Some of the boxes were damaged beyond repair, so those brand new crayons went into quart storage bags. I labeled the bags based on the boxes, “Crayola’s 100th Anniversary 100 colors collection.”, “First edition box of 96 crayons.”, “Crayon color names retired in 1990 special edition box.” And so on.
Now here’s where it gets real.
I know crayons aren’t that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things.
But in the Roby scheme of things crayons are of a most big deal.

I was feeling frustrated. In all honesty I was feeling a bit defeated.
Does that sound dramatic?
I suppose it does.
Yet that’s how I felt.

I asked myself why it is that so many of my things have been destroyed since moving into this house.
My family photos.
My dishes.
My crayons.

Is this house out to get me? Is it retaliating because I call it a “hand me down house”?
This stimulates that awful feeling of sacrificing everything to come here and attempt to make a life. That I continue to sacrifice parts of *my* life to be in this one.
Those feelings had subsided. I finally felt as though it was all for the right reasons.
Yet here they are. All shiny and new because some cardboard got wet.

It’s hurtful. To give up everything you’ve spent your entire life creating. To turn simply walk away from it. Even bringing some of your “things” along doesn’t make it simpler, or feel any less painful. And then those things are broken or damaged…
I feel angry! Must everything be stripped from me? (This is super dramatic, but I’m serious about the way it feels.)

So I went to bed feeling…alienated.
But I woke up with a different feeling.
A sort of peaceful understanding.

Perhaps it’s OK that photos and crayon boxes get ruined with water. Perhaps it’s OK that dishes break.
Perhaps it’s part of the process.
Perhaps I’m still evolving.
Perhaps I still need to shed bits of that old life as I work at building this new one.
Perhaps crayons are simply colored wax wrapped in paper. (My ass! Crayons are magical and that’s the truth!)

I realize that we all “have a past”. I realize that we carry through our lives the things we hold dear. But they are simply things. Things that are emotionally tied to, or are physical representations of experiences from our pasts.
Perhaps the trick to building a new life is to somehow keep the emotions while being able to say goodbye to the things.
All in good time, my little pretties. All in good time.

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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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the only way out is through

I’ve not been shy about discussing my recent emotional dilemma.
I’ve not been shy about talking about it with my friend and mentor, Sundance, my sister in law, and Nora. I’ve freaked out to them about relationship stuff, but also just my stuff. Girlfriends lend a sympathetic ear when you’re frustrated. They provide a hard look at your own reflection when you’re feeling overwhelmed. I’ve gotten great advice from each of them…I’ve gotten a bit of crap advice from each of them…but mostly, they’ve just loved me through my struggle.
I have the luck to be friends with a man who is an excellent listener without giving unsolicited advice. I’ve talked to him about me. Where I am personally. In my life…in my head.

Where I’ve been emotionally has a great deal to do with perspective. Mine was skewed. It isn’t anymore. I experienced a shift in my perspective and everything became more clear.
It hit me like lightning! And I became a completely different girl…well not really, but I began to think about things in a completely different way.

Sundance fed my OCD cravings for organization by presenting me with the idea of going back to a paper planner. We discussed brands and what she was using and how, for her, it’s like “scrapbooking” with a purpose. I’m enthusiastically embracing this “old” way of keeping myself organized!
My sister in law encouraged me to write down everything as I thought or felt it, which lead to a new and rather visceral way of journaling.
Nora encouraged me to be patient…and I was…sort of…and turns out being patient lead me to this place.
My friend and mentor reminded me to place the anxiety where it belongs.
A conversation with Jack regarding my reservations about my degree plan lead me to an exciting new idea. He suggested I explore this mind mapping as a way of prioritizing all my “stuff”. The more I looked at this mind mapping, the more I realized it’s rather like an integrated curriculum web! Now this is something with which I have quite a bit of knowledge and experience! And a new, but familiar way of sorting my shit was born!

sample mind map:
mm_examrevision
sample curriculum web:
drake2004_fig1.1

The Robynbird stuff is feeling much more settled. I feel grounded. I feel like I’ve got this. “I am at home with the me. I am rooted in the me who is on this adventure. This is me breathing.” Dr Oatman ain’t got nothing on this little red haired girl.

I finally feel like I can take big deep breaths and move forward.

The relationship stuff…well I didn’t exactly place the anxiety where it belongs, I was simply able to finally put down the anxiety that isn’t mine. Understanding, patience, love, and time is what will ease that weirdness. It’s journey, right? I’m not on a lone journey…how silly of me not to take that into account.
So, we don’t have a clear vision of the journey. So, we don’t know exactly where we’re headed. So, the path gets tricky. The only way out of the woods is through the woods…if we come across lions or tigers or bears (oh my!) we’ll just figure that out then.
The journey we’re on as a couple might just need to make a pit stop. We can do that. Take a break, take a breath, take a nap. And when we’re ready, when each of us is ready to move forward, we’ll begin to move again.
My personal journey, the journey I’m on as a girl getting along and singing her song, is moving at a full tilt boogie. I’m so enthusiastic about it! I’ve been spinning my wheels in the ick for far too long.

The only way out of the ick is through it.
Alanis knows what’s up.

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terrifying and strange and beautiful muchness

Thing 2 sent this via snapchat one day last week. It triggered in me a deeply buried memory of a poem I read or heard…before Warsan Shire’s words became the backbone of Beyonce’s Lemonade.
screenshot_2016-08-10-10-16-35.png
Thing 2 is a curious beast. She struggles with her place in our family. She struggles with her place in the world. She is the kind of girl that defies labeling. Like Alice, her muchness is undefinable.
She is cursed with the kind of awareness that not many of us possess. The kind of awareness that sends one straight into one’s head with a great deal of difficulty to get back out again.
Thing 2 doesn’t really have enough life experience under her belt yet that these words ring true in the deepest levels of her soul. But they ring true on the surface.
She knows that even if she doesn’t completely understand it.
What she does know is that she’s a bit different from most people.
The Hatter said to Alice, “‎You’re not the same as you were before,” he said. You were much more… muchier… you’ve lost your muchness.” Thing 2 was muchier when she was a small girl…life has gotten in the way. Her muchness isn’t gone, she’s just kind of forgotten where it is inside of her.
She knows she’s meant to be more than she is now. She just doesn’t know quite what to do about it.

Here is “for women who are ‘difficult’ to love.” by Warsan Shire, for my Thing 2 and for all the women out there who are much more muchier than they realize.

you are a horse running alone
and he tries to tame you
compares you to an impossible highway
to a burning house
says you are blinding him
that he could never leave you
forget you
want anything but you
you dizzy him, you are unbearable
every woman before or after you
is doused in your name
you fill his mouth
his teeth ache with memory of taste
his body just a long shadow seeking yours
but you are always too intense
frightening in the way you want him
unashamed and sacrificial
he tells you that no man can live up to the one who
lives in your head
and you tried to change didn’t you?
closed your mouth more
tried to be softer
prettier
less volatile, less awake
but even when sleeping you could feel
him travelling away from you in his dreams
so what did you want to do love
split his head open?
you can’t make homes out of human beings
someone should have already told you that
and if he wants to leave
then let him leave
you are terrifying
and strange and beautiful
something not everyone knows how to love.

Categories: love, on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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