Posts Tagged With: love

a break up story, or the power of being in a relationship with herself

When the girls were here, Thing 2 talked about how it was time to end her relationship with Boyfriend J. She is in a place of deep self exploration, healing, and growth. She needs her partner to be in a place of personal growth, so they can parlay their individual growth into positive evolution in their relationship.
Boyfriend J is not in a place of deep self exploration, healing, or growth. I don’t believe it’s a choice he’s made, I just think that’s not where he is in his personal development. From conversations I’ve had with Thing 2, it’s not that he’s unwilling to enter a growth mindset as much as he honestly doesn’t know where to begin.
Perhaps that’s lack of maturity?
Perhaps that’s lack of a properly built foundation?
Perhaps he’s simply not there?
To be perfectly honest, he may just need time. He’s newly twenty-two and still in the conceptual ‘figuring out’ stage of development.
Thing 2 is in the active ‘figuring out’ stage, and needs her partner to be in this active stage.

Lack of love is not their problem.
They love each other truly and deeply.
Thing 2 realized however much they love each other, she needs to love herself enough to make the hard choices.

This is from a conversation in our girls group chat.
Monday morning Thing 2 wrote:

I am…uncomfortable but that’s okay. Boyfriend J still isn’t awake yet, but to calm myself down I started the list in my phone of things that are his…I feel like a shit human for getting so far into the clinical-planning-stage, but it is making me feel better to be more prepared…
I went to the gas station to buy nos to soften the blow. I really missed my car. I wanted to just drive around to try and clear my head, but I know that I would’ve actually just been running away from the situation…I’m proud of myself for realizing that. But I also know that after have the conversation and the dust settles, I’ll want to get right back in it. I’m going to be very mindful and respectful of his feelings and where he’s at before I leave. I think after we properly discuss it, I’ll ask if he would like my company while he processes (because we don’t have to start packing things right away) or if he would like to be alone for a little while. I think that’s the kind thing to do
And if he needs me to be with him, I will stay. And if he needs to be alone, I will drive.

Later that afternoon she wrote:

I am sorry I’ve been mia all day. I did the deed and we talked and then just sat for a long while, then I decided I needed to take a drive so I’ve been in my car since 3:30ish. I got tired of driving so now I’m sitting outside of the laundromat place where ACA is waaaay too early. I was going to go back to the house, but I knew if I did that I wouldn’t come to the meeting tonight

This morning she texted me:

Feeling very adult-y getting my oil changed and my tires rotated before taking Boyfriend J to Jacksonville tomorrow. We finished packing his things last night and tonight we’re gonna be with the boys

I replied:

How’s it going? I want to know where each of you is emotionally, but also be respectful.
I don’t want the gossip, I want to hear the story of your life.
How is Boyfriend J? How are you? I’m awed by your strength! I am so hopeful each of you moves successfully forward

She wrote:

He is very sad, but I know that I can’t do anything about that. I love him very much, and I hope that his mom makes good space for him. And I hope that his stepdad pushes him to participate in his life, but is gentle with him. I worry for him, but I know that this is what I have to do and that it might suck to be him for a while–but he needs this too. I just hope that he realizes that and can find his own path and happiness.

I wrote:

Yes!! My God, Thing 2! Yes x infinity! You SO get it!
Brava, baby!! You’re living for you while still having compassion for the people you love!! You are actively doing it!!!

She replied:

It fucking hurts, but I know that I will be alright. Talking with Alex yesterday was really helpful, there’s a lot of similarities between his ex and my situation. I know that it will hurt less with time and space. I’m hoping that I will notice a change in myself. Going through the dusty disorganized bookshelf made me reflect on where I’m at. I think I’ll take Sunday to be alone and get rid of things and organize more. I think I might rearrange my room again, I’m not sure how yet, and I love the fort, but it’s like after Boyfriend D finally left–I have to move my bed.

Alex is one of the bartenders at the Asian fusion restaurant where Thing 2 works. I absolutely adore him! I love him as a human, but I also love how he’s a friend to my daughter. I’m looking forward to the next time I see him so I can squeeze him tightly!
The fort to which she refers is sheets, sheers, and fairy lights hung from the ceiling around her bed.

I wrote:

Deep cleaning, organizing, rearranging your room. These are all SMART choices! Do you smudge? That would be a great thing to do before, during, and after you purge, organize, rearrange!

She replied:

I’ve never done it before, but I didn’t hate the smell when we did that at Thing 1’s house. I was worried it would bother my chest, but it didn’t

I wrote:

I love the ritual of bringing the smoke to your heart, mind, and body before you begin

She replied:

That’s really beautiful. And you think before I rearrange would be better? Or should I wait until I’m finished? Or before and after? I don’t think I can do it during just because of how much shit is gonna be laying around and my hands will probably be full the whole time. I’m thinking it’s gonna be SERIOUS changes. Like moving everything and deep cleaning as well as getting rid of and organizing. I’m talking baseboard scrubbing kind of cleansing

I replied:

In that case, before and after.
Before to help rid the icky
After to make sure nothing got stirred up and to ensure you start fresh and clean
A catharsis for your physical and emotional self and space.
What could be more beautiful self love?

She wrote:

I think you’re right, that seems like the best way to do it. If I’m gonna do it, I want to be as thorough and effective as possible
I’ve been seeing so many empowering messages of self-love lately. I’m tired of everyone telling me that I’m brave and that they’re proud of me, but I am surprised how steady I feel within myself. Also Alex with those damn fortune cookies, he kept shoving them at me all day yesterday and every one of them was like “positive change” “take an opportunity” and shit like that, it made me mad and feels-y but it was very kind and funny of him, in an odd but encouraging way

Again I say, I love Alex!

I wrote:

When I left (your dad) everyone told me I was brave and strong. I felt neither. I just inherently knew I was doing what was best for me. So I understand what you’re saying down deep in my soul.
I’m proud *for* you. You made a terribly hard decision in a loving and mindful way. You considered Boyfriend J’s feelings without sacrificing your own well being. That’s HUGE! So many people won’t or can’t do what you’ve done.
So yes, in some ways it’s brave and strong. But mostly it’s you taking the best possible care of yourself

I asked her permission to write about this. I told her it’s a powerful story. I asked, is it too personal? I want to respect her privacy.

She replied:

I don’t mind if you write about it. It seems a little silly, I’m not sure how many of your followers care about Thing 2 and Boyfriend J hahaha. But I think it’s relevant to your past/story and I hope that people will be able to read it and see some part of their own life in it, not just some 20-something drama. You have my consent to tell this story in your powerful words

I wrote:

Tears of love and joy in my eyes.
Your story is powerful and meaningful, not 20 something drama.
I think more people will relate to, and/or be inspired by it than you imagine.

She wrote:

Thank you for your endless support

To which I replied:

Until the last breath leaves my body.

Then I made a stupid joke à la Joss Whedon to undercut the love and gratitude.
She responded with:

My girl comes by her ability to add well timed, though possibly inappropriate humor naturally, however she’s honed her skills to an art that far outstrips my own.

Breaking up is hard to do. (I know…but he wrote that song because it’s true)
Ending a relationship is difficult.
Being mindful about how you end a relationship is even more so.
Thing 2 and Boyfriend J have so much love between them, but simply aren’t in the same place in their individual lives. That there is still love must make it harder to end their relationship. Thing 2 agonized over how it would affect Boyfriend J. She was so worried about his feelings, about his pain. She did not want to hurt him. But she knew that she was hurting herself by staying in a relationship that wasn’t feeding her personal growth.
That’s a ridiculously difficult decision to make. Many ‘full fledged’ adults won’t or can’t do it.
But this twenty-two year old, this tiny young woman made the hardest decision because she knew she would be better off for it. She is hopeful that Boyfriend J will be better off for it too.
She broke both their hearts to create a better life for herself.
Y’all, that’s brave!
She doesn’t feel brave. She doesn’t have to say it because I know this on a deep and personal level.
But brave she is.

To be as young (yet old) as she is, and doing this hard and powerful work of self with as much love and awareness as she is, it’s so inspiring!
Thing 2 did what was best for her, even though it hurt her to do it. Even though it hurt Boyfriend J. And she did it with love, kindness, and integrity. And she did it with hope.
She is hopeful that her difficult decision to end a loving yet stalled relationship will facilitate further personal growth. Not only for her, but also for the young man she loves.
She is hopeful about being in a relationship with herself for a while, she told me the idea of being alone isn’t such a scary and negative thing if your mind is in the right place.

That’s why I wanted her permission to write about it. I know she understands the power of her decisions. But I’m not sure she really understands how powerful her story is.
It might inspire others in the process of making a difficult decision.
It might be relatable to others who’ve made those kinds of difficult decisions.
The story of Thing 2 and Boyfriend J’s break up is personal. It’s small in the grand scheme of things.
But the story of being mindful and loving when making the hard choices. Of doing what’s best for herself while still working to keep him safe and loved.
This is where the power lies.
The power of love.
The power of hope.
The power of learning to love yourself and have that be more than enough for the time being.

Categories: love, peace and wellbeing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

October gratitude

As I look back on October, it was chock full, and I have much to be grateful for.

While this may not be what I’m most grateful for, I can assure I am most excited about it.
My Washington Nationals winning the World Series!
Those seven games were something to behold! Winning four away games, losing three home games. We laughed. We cried. We were ready to admit defeat. We literally jumped for joy when we won game seven! This post season was some of my most emotional baseball, but every moment was worth it!
My baseball bae (third baseman Anthony Rendon) and side bae (first baseman Ryan Zimmerman) celebrating the end of game seven.

Photograph: John G Mabanglo/EPA

I’m also super grateful for these things:

my acupuncturist
popcorn and coke with YBW at the double feature of Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back and Jay and Silent Bob Reboot
Bobby Flay’s new cookbook
teaching and learning with kindergartners, second, fourth, and fifth graders
celebrating our anniversary (4 years married, 10 years together)
whiskey cocktails at the distillery with Holly
my favorite bookshop, Bards Alley
breakfast with Nora
a visit to Naked Mountain

HGTV’s Rock the Block
going to the movies by myself on a Friday morning
Thing 1, Thing 2, and Baby K here!
cocktails
weird weather
Baby K’s giggle
Halloween as the Mystery Gang

(Thing 1 as Velma, YBW as Freddie, Baby K (in the wagon) as Scooby Doo, Thing 2 as Shaggy, and me as Daphne)
good talks with my girls
celebrating Meredith’s ninth birthday
truly wonderful friends and neighbors
Baby K still smiles when I say, “Birdie loves you, girl!”

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

and the momma lioness roars

No sooner than my post about cookies published, did I received a text from Thing 1 apologizing for causing drama.

I hate that because I expressed my frustration, my daughter apologized for starting drama.
The truth is that’s drama I started by writing about it.
She shouldn’t feel responsible for it.
I reassured her she did nothing wrong. That her comment was innocent and she was not at all responsible for any of it.
She said she shouldn’t have said anything about Christmas, and she was OK with me staying here with YBW for Christmas if that’s what I decided.

I told her I was angry at the mother being manipulative, and at Thing C for not being honest.
She agreed. She wondered how YBW was feeling about it, how he would choose to deal with it.
She said: It just sucks because nobody is fair to him.
She said: I can’t help feeling bad. I should have kept my mouth shut.
I replied: Your comment was innocent. The information was abused.

She said something that surprised me, the truth of it I mean.
She said: She’s almost as bad as dad

And that’s why she pushes my buttons.
She is so manipulative. She does it with such skill those she’s manipulating don’t even realize it.
Because I’ve lived with this type of behavior the majority of my life, I’m acutely aware of it.

She asked if Thing G would be alone on Christmas.
She designed her message specifically to push YBW’s buttons. She saw an opportunity to have her sons with her on Christmas day and used her words to manipulate the situation.
Neither YBW or I would leave the kid alone for Christmas. I mean, come on.

She invited YBW to come to her parents house for Christmas.
Now, to the casual observer, that seems kind and welcoming.
But with all passive aggressive, manipulative behavior each word is chosen with purpose.
She used those words to appear inclusive.
If questioned, the manipulative person can say, See! I said ‘this’, to be interpreted as appropriate. Knowing full well they were manipulating the situation to get what they want.
She wants what she wants and is capitalizing on an opportunity made clear to her by one simple sentence written by my daughter.

Is there drama because she creates it?
Is there drama because I’m overreacting to it?
In all honesty, it could be both.

I don’t want to feel the urge to protect my husband and my daughter from this woman.
I know they’re capable. I know they don’t need to be protected.
But I feel protective of them.
When my husband is being manipulated, and when my girl apologizes for starting drama, it triggers something deeply protective in me.

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

we are not our feelings

Thing 2 was feeling her feels this morning.
Anxious and fearful.
Her sister and I (and Baby K) showed up ready to rock.
Y’all, I’m talking loving, supportive girl power to the nth degree. But that’s what we do for each other.

Thing 2 works in a cool Asian fusion restaurant. She is currently the senior-most server.

She wrote in our group chat: There’s a 35 top coming in as soon as we open
Me: May the Force be with you!

Thing 1: You are amazing, just be your charming self and you’ll get good tips and you’re going to be OK

I stopped for a moment. I realized we both jumped in to ‘rescue’ her. I considered that she might simply be expressing herself. Perhaps she didn’t need to be bucked up, perhaps she needed to be heard.

Me: It sounds like a complicated situation. Your anxiety makes sense. It’s overwhelming af! You’re feeling your feels

Thing 1: You got this!
Me: So wig out for a couple more moments. Like, seriously, set a timer. Then steel yourself. You are so capable. And(!!!) you can guide them along instead of waiting to see what they want.

Thing 1: (FTW) Don’t do that. Be pleasant and gregarious, and you’ll be great!

Thing 1: You’re the Thing 2est Thing 2 that ever Thing 2ed!

Me: Your anxiety makes sense in this situation. However, you actually possess the skills and abilities to make this situation successful for yourself and your customers!

Thing 1: And once it’s all over, you’ll be done! My therapist always says there’s a finish line, you just have to get to it and you can move on to the next thing. It will end and it will be behind you and you can move on.
Me: YESSSSSSSS!
Thing 2: Wow. I like her.

Thing 1:

Me: Breathe. You’ve got this! Look, if chubby, somewhat drunk looking Baby K believes in you…you can’t possibly fail!
Thing 2: I WAS JUST GONNA SAY SHE LOOKS DRUNK! What a beautiful tiny encourager
Me: You have the most powerful women on your side! We’ve got you, and you’ve got this! I love you more than the moon and the stars!

We did that.
We were her cheerleaders.
We encouraged her.
We reminded her of what she’s capable of doing.

We also honored her feelings.
We acknowledged her fear and anxiety.
We reassured her that her feelings are valid, and in this situation, made sense.
We reminded her she is not her feelings.

I think we all need to be reminded of that.
We are not our feelings.
We experience them but we are not them.
I read somewhere, I can’t for the life of me remember where, but it went something like this.
Feelings are like the rain, we might walk in the rain, but we are not the rain.

We don’t become our feelings.
We feel our feelings.

Thing 2 was feeling the hell out of her feelings today.
But, with a little bit of love and support from her momma, big sister, and baby niece, she didn’t let herself become them.

Later this afternoon we got this:

Me: Brava, Thing 2! You DID it!
Thing 1: Way to go! We knew you could do it!!!!

Taking a break to sit in the grass.
(I’m purposely ignoring the smoking.)
She needed to feel connected to the earth. She needed to feel grounded.

35 people came into the restaurant and Thing 2 served them.
The world didn’t explode, and neither did she.

Though she be but little, she is fierce.
Even the fiercest among us need a bit of encouragement now and again.

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

September gratitude

As September closes and we’re still having days in the upper 90s, it’s hard to pay attention to anything, much less what I’m grateful for. But Indian summer or not, I’m aware. And I’m grateful.

finishing my degree
celebrating finishing my degree

one of my alternative healthcare providers twice
my therapist
a truly amazing WHNP-BC who not only has helpful ideas but also really listens
YBW’s and my therapist

Rendon bobblehead even though Nats lost this game

my girls
Friday the 13th
finally going to school and teaching 2nd graders
my big sketch book
the shift in me
colored gel pens
productive conversations with my husband
making real plans for the future
watching Good Omens the second time
Rimmel Scandaleyes Curve Alert Mascara

porchlife drinking vodka lemonade with homegrown basil

Amber (she does my hair)
playing Superfight with Thing C and Girlfriend L
bookshop and lunch with Mike and Josie
celebrating a dear friend and neighbor’s birthday
hitting the game tavern with Nora and Dale
a whole afternoon baking with Holly
one rainy morning

reading books
particularly Daisy Jones and The Six
this line from Daisy Jones and The Six

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be honest and unmerciful

The other day when I was writing about covert incest, I sent Thing 2 a message letting her know I was writing about that subject matter. That I was keeping her personal work private but that I was discussing her and I wanted to make sure that she was OK with it.

Her response?

One of my most beloved scenes from Almost Famous is a late night phone call between William and Lester Bangs in which the latter says, “Be honest and unmerciful.”

Thing 2 is a also fan of this movie, and that particular line.
I love that about her.

Honest and unmerciful.
I feel like that’s my current state of being.
Perhaps it’s Thing 2’s state of being as she does the hard work of self?

Recently, I attacked a situation that’s given me great grief, with an honest and unmerciful look at myself. I came up with an (equally) honest and unmerciful plan on how to proceed.

Y’all might be questioning the whole ‘unmerciful’ bit.
To be perfectly honest, I don’t blame you.
Unmerciful sounds a bit…what?
Cruel? Harsh?
Sans mercy.

Here’s the thing though, when I say ‘honest and unmerciful’ I’m using it the way I feel Lester Bangs did.

I believe it’s my job to be honest about who I am and what I’m doing in my life.
I’m no longer trying to be what other people want or expect.
I’m being honest to myself, and unmerciful with both the beauty and ugliness of my truth.

I am viewing everything I was, am, and shall be through this honest and unmerciful lens.
It makes me a more real me.
It helps me bring my truth to the world without feeling guilty, or fearful, or shameful.

Not like, ‘This is me. Like it or lump it.’
More like, ‘This is me. I see me. I present myself to be seen.”

If I am honest and unmerciful with myself, I become a better human, because what I bring to the world is as true and real as possible.
Yes. That’s it.
I will be honest and unmerciful as I look at myself. At my life.
For that is the mark of a true (and uncool) friend.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

covert narcissism and emotional incest syndrome

I learned the term emotional incest syndrome last week. It is sometimes referred to as covert incest.
I know the word incest is a trigger. Reading it makes me anxious and shaky. That word is icky.
What’s even more icky is that parents actually do this to their children.
What’s even more icky is that the other parent of my children did, and continues to do this.

The Things father is a classic covert narcissist, and there’s no two ways about it. He is masterful at manipulating situations to shift the blame, embracing the rage, and twisting words in such as way as to seemingly impact reality.
Nothing is ever his fault, and he buys his own delusions to the point of borderline insanity. It’s only gotten worse as he’s aged, so much so that he is trapped in this fantasy of his own design without any real ability to see the world as it actually is.

When Thing 1 was about twelve years old, I would ‘tuck her in’ at night with a quick, loving conversation and a hug or kiss. Her dad started following me in the night time ritual so he could ‘talk with her’.

To be abundantly clear: I was truly never concerned with him being physically inappropriate with her, he is the least sexual human with whom I’ve ever come in contact.

Their bed time talks became longer and she became more sullen and withdrawn. I mean, she was a tweenager and all, but this seemed different to me. When I encouraged her to talk with me about how she was feeling, she shared that her daddy was telling her things that made her uncomfortable.
He talked with her about his grief after the death of his mother. About his dissatisfaction in his personal and professional life. Even about his marriage to me.
I reassured her that her discomfort was appropriate, that his behavior was not. I promised her I would handle the situation. I encouraged her to tell him that she didn’t like when he talked with her about these things, gave her some tools and encouraged her to build healthy boundaries.
I had many conversations with him about the inappropriateness of him oversharing to a child.
I remember saying these exact words, “She’s a little girl and you cannot talk to her that way. Get a therapist. Get some friends. Please stop using her as your confidant.”
Like any good narcissist, he twisted the truth and manipulated us all, but never acknowledged or changed the behavior. I began to find excuses not to leave them alone at bedtime.
Nothing I did made a difference and the only way it slowed and then stopped was when she left home for college.
His current relationship with her is strained because she’s married another man and he can’t control her anymore.
Neither does he like that she and I are close, he actually told Thing 2 that Thing 1 is ‘drinking the Robyn koolaid’ and that’s why she didn’t love him anymore.

Thing 2 is his current child-wife. He sucked her into his emotional incest hook line and sinker. And she bought into it for quite some time.
She’s said, Poor daddy, nobody should have to die alone.
Um…your daddy actively chooses to be alone.

But of late, Thing 2 is empowering herself. She is actively in a healthy pattern of growth for her emotional and physical life. She’s begun dealing with her childhood trauma. Her emotional baggage. Unraveling her own augmented reality.

I don’t feel like what she is doing, or how she’s going about this is my story to tell, but when she shares her efforts and progress with me, I am truly awed by the difficult and serious work she is doing.

She shared with me that someone recommended a book about this phenomenon and she told me “I’m very curious about it, I want to research on it but I think it’s going to be really helpful with dealing with (her father’s given name) using me as his therapist.”
I shared with her a quick version of how it played with her sister, how I tried and failed to protect either of of them.
She said to me, “You have to remember that I chose this, you didn’t put me here. I did.”
Talk about owning your stuff.
But I’m her momma, I will always have a desire to protect her. Especially from her father.

I once overheard my girls sharing that their father told them (independently) that if he had been more willing to have sex, I would never have left him.
I literally stopped in my tracks.
I went back to where they sat, and told them I couldn’t help but overhear them and asked them to verify if what I thought I heard was correct. They confirmed.
I sighed and said, “First of all, I’m so sorry that happened to you. You didn’t need to hear that. And secondly, that’s not why I left your dad.”
What the actual fuck, yo?

When Baby K was born, Thing 2 and I left the hospital in Savannah and went home to Thing 1’s house. We cleaned the house top to bottom. Did all the laundry. Grocery shopped. We wanted everything to be ready to rock when Thing 1 and Husband N brought Baby K home.
Their dad actually told Thing 2 that he was jealous that she was spending time with me alone, he was worried she would drink the same koolaid as her sister and love me and not him.
He even told her before she left, “Now, I know you’re taking care of your sister, but make sure you take care of yourself too. I need you to come back to me. You’re my rock.”

So. Fucking. Icky.

I get so frustrated!
You’re her parent, you emotional fucking cripple! You’re supposed to be her rock!

I know I am guilty of sometimes saying, “I wish you could be my mommy”, and perhaps that means I’m just as guilty as him.
Is there a difference?
I mean, I hope so. I don’t actually expect my twenty-two year old daughter to be my mommy.

I love that we have an open and nurturing relationship based upon love and respect and genetics. And it feels nice sometimes to be loved by a female who doesn’t want anything from me, who isn’t going to shame me for wanting to be loved. But I am her momma and she is my daughter and that means it’s my job to nurture and provide help and do a bit of protecting even though she’s a grown ass person.

My daughters and I have had our own share of chaos in our relationships.
Good. Bad. Ugly. And indifference.
I have worked to create and maintain healthy boundaries, and if ever I overstepped, I corrected and made every attempt to discuss and apologize where appropriate.
We have been to hell and back, my daughters and I. And from my point of view, this strengthens our love, our bonds, and our boundaries.
And though we talk about any and every thing, and they’re as engaged and (for the most part) supportive of me, and my decisions, and my life as I am of theirs, I can’t fathom using them as ‘sounding board’ (one of their father’s favorite words) for inappropriate things.
I can think of one specific time I did that to Thing 2. She claims to find it humorous, especially because I was inebriated, but I am wracked with guilt and have apologized with every fiber of my being.

This covert incest thing has eaten at the very heart of me since that quick conversation with Thing 2 on Monday last.
Knowing it exists.
Knowing the only other person in this world who is meant to protect them is the perpetrator of this abuse.
It makes me sick. Truly and deeply sick.

I can’t protect them from him.
I never have, I never will.
That cuts my momma heart to a depth that may never heal.
Only I’m not worried about healing my heart. I worry about them healing theirs.
I can’t protect them.
I can’t take away their pain.
All I can do is listen. Offer guidance and support. But above all, love.
And sweet baby Jesus, do I love them.
I love them as they learn more about themselves, the world, and their place in it.
I love them as they struggle and fight the good fight.
I love them as they call me out on my failings.
I love them as they accept and forgive.

I am awed by their resilience as they do the hard self work to discover, and heal, and become whole.
I know I made them and raised them, but this is not selfish pride of ownership, this is the awe of faith, and pride for them, and their ability to continue to learn and grow and love.
I am overwhelmed by their capacity to love.
I cherish being a part of their lives.

These women.
These absolute marvels.
They are truly awe inspiring.

Categories: on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

love is not a contest and I don’t have to choose a favorite

These thoughts hatched while I was washing my hair this morning.

I’ve always said parents have a favorite kid even if they don’t admit it. This is of course, if they have more than one kid. Each kid also has a favorite parent. Kids don’t like to admit it either.
The thing is, for the most part, cohabitating humans are not unaware of each other. Sometimes, it’s understood but never spoken. Sometimes it’s understood and spoken. Sometimes no one favors any one else.

The family I made kind of naturally split down the middle.
Thing 1 and her daddy.
Thing 2 and me.

Thing 2 was my favorite.
But not because Thing 1 wasn’t.

Thing 1 was all about her daddy. I mean, those two were like peas and carrots. I never felt left out, but I never felt that level of connection with Thing 1.
I didn’t feel like I was allowed to choose her as my favorite because she and her dad were already each other’s favorite.

Thing 2 came along and our bond was completely different than my bond with her sister. It was powerful and chock full of unwavering love.
We kind of became each other’s favorite by default.
For years that’s simply how our family was.

When the marriage dissolved, that down middle split became a chasm.
It was terrible for all of us.
I’m only now truly realizing how bad it was for the girls.
I humbly ask their forgiveness for my part in that time in our lives.

What’s interesting about this whole favorites thing, (I’m simplifying the hell out of this to get to my point.) is that I’m under the impression the Things think I switched favorites.

From my point of view, it’s not a switch in favorites.
It’s more that for the first time, I feel as though Thing 1 is an option to favorite.

I’ve discussed my relationship with each of my daughters.
This is somehow different.
I mean, partly it is about how we relate to each other, then and now. Partly it’s because we’re each at different places in our lives.
I never expected to feel as close to Thing 1 as I do now. I’m grateful for that. More than I have words for.
I don’t feel any less connected to Thing 2 because of it.
I have the ability to love them both at the same time in two completely different ways.

They can’t each by my favorite.
Yet they actually are.
Each one, my favorite in a different way.
Is that growth?
Is it that we’re no longer under the spell of their dad?

All I know is that I feel differently about favorite kids and parents than I did before.
I feel fortunate that I have the option to favorite either one, or both of my daughters.
Perhaps because I have the option, I don’t have to choose it?

Love isn’t a contest.
Love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love.
I love my daughters in exactly the same, yet completely different ways, and I don’t really want it any other way.

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

so far, so good, what’s next?

Now, you know I’m a planner.
I like lists and calendars and color coding by subject.
So, once I recognized what I can and cannot change, I broke it down further.

I ask loads of questions.
I know that.
Y’all know that.
My family and friends know that.
But what’s different about this process is that I answered my own questions.

I asked and answered questions to come up with a plan.
I used the same system of dividing the page in my big sketch book so I could see it all together.

The first question is:
What frustrates me?

*stagnation
(no real growth, no movement, no real participation in life or household, etc.)
*lack of effort to create growth or movement
*caring about (these things)
*wondering if it will ever change

OK, now what do I do about it?

How to stop being frustrated?

*accept that these are the choices YBW and Thing G are making
*accept that nothing I do will change their choices
*focus on myself and my choices
*accept that this is the situation I’m in…until…?

So far, so good. What’s next?

I know it’s hard to read.

Ways to feel more comfortable.

*let go of wife and ‘mom’ guilt
*stop apologizing for choosing growth
*accept as much as possible
*pay attention to myself and where my power is
*be kind and courageous
*stop judging
*accept limitations (cannot change situation, only how I function in it)

Ways to regroup if I’m triggered.
(frustrated)

*immediately stop and breathe
*quickly assess if it’s something I can change (if not – do my best to accept and let it go, if so – make the appropriate change)
*accept that this is my work and I may not ever be met with the same
*remove myself gently from the situation
*tap into vast support network without engaging in ‘shit talk’

OK, so in the meantime I have a plan.
But…

How to remain sane in the long game?

*accept this is my work
*accept change may never come
*be peaceful in the knowledge I did all I could do the best way I could
*love

I don’t know how or even if the situation will change.
I do know that if I can do these things I will feel better. I will make the relationship with my husband more positive.
Maybe that’s all I can do?
While I know I have magic down deep in me, I only have power over myself.
If these changes I’m making serve only to keep me from being frustrated, angry, and resentful in an unchanging situation, at least I’m content in the knowledge I am going at this in a mindful and loving way.

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

my me things

What am I doing with all my free time now that I’m finished my degree?

I’ve decided to get my shit as much together as humanly possible. (Is there a ‘duh’ at the end of that sentence?)
I even have the perfect notebook with which to handle this task.

All kidding aside, I intend on putting forth as much effort possible into organizing my own personal chaos.
My goal is to get/have all my ducks in a row between now and August of 2020.
That’s when I want to start my Clinical Mental Health Counseling, MEd Concentration. It’s 60 credits plus another 15 to go through licensure.
It took me two years to make this decision.
The decision involved many conversations with YBW, my girls, friends, my therapist, and my creator. (and finally finishing the degree plan I was already in)
I knew I no longer wanted to teach for a living, but wanted a way to help people. I believe I will be good at (as Thing 2 says) ‘therapizing’ people.
I am content in my decision.
I mean, I may be bordering on crazy to jump back into school with both feet, but I truly believe it’s right for me.
(100% believe, 89-93% decided, just so we’re clear)

That’s not actually my point though.
My point is getting my shit straight/ducks in a row/chaos organized.
I don’t actually feel too chaosed…but I do feel the need to be organized.

How will I spend my time now that I’m not always spending my time doing course work?
P.S. still haven’t been called in to school yet. This concerns, but does not worry me. I’ll be turning down days soon enough.
I can be productive.
I keep myself occupied. (TBR much?)
I can run the errands, etc.
I can do the things.

But how can I do me?
What am I doing for me during this gift of ‘free time’?
How am I living my intention?

I want to explore my me options.
Get all my me ducks in a row.
I saw my therapist Tuesday, we spent our time pretty much catching up since I haven’t seen her since I first came home after Baby K was born. We celebrated my achievement with my degree. We briefly discussed the new degree plan.
I intend to spend more time with her as I organize me.

It occurs to me I spend a great deal of my time and energy outwardly focused. The other side of that coin is that I spend a great deal of time and energy focusing on everything ‘out there’ from my own particular point of view.
What I’m after is to focus a bit more inwardly, but from a broader perspective. I think…?

Anybody know that song Complainer by Cold War Kids?

You say you want to change this world
Well, do you really believe in magic?
But you can only change yourself
Don’t sit around and complain about it

I’m talking about healthy boundaries and productive conversations and improving overall comfort.
I’ve become weary of sitting around and complaining about it.

I can change only one thing in this world and that’s me.
Changing me isn’t going to be easy.
But what’s that saying, nothing worth having comes easy, or whatever? Teddy Roosevelt, maybe? (will google after I finish my thought so as not to lose momentum)
So, if it’s worth having all my me ducks in a row in order to live a more mindful, grateful, and content life. Not to mention aid in my preparation for 75 new credits, I’m willing to do the hard work.

I have a brand new notebook and pen.
I have some vague ideas.
I’m going to write down stuff that makes sense.
I’m going to develop those ideas into a plan I can utilize.

Instead of looking around me at what I cannot possibly fix, I’m going to fix me.
My ducks.
My shit.
My chaos.
I’m going to concern myself with me things.
Not in a selfish way.
In a way that makes me the kind of human I want to be.
Mindful.
Grateful.
Content.
Learning.
Growing.
Living my intention.

Now that’s for working hard for what’s worth having!

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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