Posts Tagged With: support

from substitute teacher to substitute parent

When Thing 1 and Husband N left Virginia for Georgia Sunday afternoon two weeks ago, Baby K became YBW’s and my responsibility.
It was simpler for her mom and dad to handle the business of her Nana’s death without the responsibility of her three year old self.
She was also starting preschool for the first time that Monday morning.

I was meant to be at school all but one day the first two weeks. They were desperate for coverage in the SPED classes until the new hire’s background check came back and I was ready to get back to school!
I made one phone call Saturday night and instead of going back to school Monday morning I took Baby K to her first day of school.

I went to stay at their house because it was easier than bringing Baby K and two big dogs to our house. Not to mention so much farther away from her school. YBW stayed at home because that was easier for him to get to work.

Let me tell y’all something, people in their fifties shouldn’t be solely responsible for people who are three.
That girl is an angel (also devilish) and I’m not that old, but wow! Being completely responsible for her wore me out!
Of course, she was processing Nana’s death. Her mom and dad literally took off on a moment’s notice. She wasn’t sleeping well. She was equal parts excited and nervous about starting school. And while Birdie is no slouch, that’s simply not the way things are meant to be.

All that said, first day of school went off without a hitch!

I was so sad after dropping her off.
I called her mom to report the news and we both cried.
Even though I feel so grateful for the experience, Thing 1 should have been the one to kiss her and tell her to have a great first day, not me.
Thing 1 told me that if she couldn’t do it, she wouldn’t want anyone other than me to do it.

Papa came out Tuesday afternoon to celebrate the first week of school. We took Baby K for cheeseburgers, milkshakes and french fries. Her very specific request.

She was amused that her shake had both a straw and a spoon so she put them both in her mouth and told us she was a walrus.

We had three days of school that first week.
She came home hot and sweaty, dirty and hungry, and damn tired.
She came home happy to have been at school, happy to be with me, and ready to make the journey to Georgia to see her mom and dad.

While I was meant to be at my school, and my daughter was meant to take her own daughter to school, fate had other plans for us.
We’re unbelievably fortunate that I was able to drop everything and substitute parent!
Thing 1 and Husband N were grateful we made their life a bit easier as they had to be responsible adult children by temporarily relinquishing parenting responsibilities.
I’m unbelievably fortunate my husband dropped everything and came to help Tuesday. I was so grateful to have another adult share responsibility for Baby K.

You show up for family.
It’s just what you do.
Our kids needed us and we were there for them.
I was lucky enough to experience that first day of preschool with Thing 1 all those long years ago and with Baby K last week.
It’s not the way things were meant to be.
But it’s the way things were.
We made the best of the situation and we did it with so much love.

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

another member joins the adult orphan club

The last couple of weeks have been chaos for our family.
Husband N’s mother died unexpectedly two weeks ago Saturday.
My daughter, her husband, and their daughter were heartbroken.
YBW and I were heartbroken.
I can’t tell you how precious a woman she was or how much she will be missed.
Husband N lost his dad in the mid aughts so he’s recently joined the terrible club of adult orphans.

He’s and only child with an enormous extended family.
Fortunately, the majority of this extended family was able to help and support him as he figured out what he needed to do.
He came to YBW and me for emotional support and guidance.
He and Thing 1 came to YBW and me for practical support and childcare.

My hear hurts for my son in law who lost his own momma. For my daughter who lost a truly wonderful mother in law. For Baby K who lost her Nana.

I could not have asked for a better (other) grandmother with whom to share my granddaughter. Nana was as kind and loving a woman as you’d ever want to meet. She had a childlike sense of joy and saw the good in everyone. She was always eager to share time, stories, photos, and love between herself, Baby K, and me. She never behaved as though she felt a way about Baby K spending more time with us. Even when we were all together and Baby K would sort of default to me and I would encourage her to ask or show or tell or whatever Nana, she never had her feelings hurt.
She was simply joyful to be all together.

I’m grateful my daughter had a mother in law who loved her so completely, who became another momma to her. I’m grateful Baby K had a Nana who loved her so completely. Who was eager and willing to share the grandmother spotlight with such an open heart.

I hope I can provide that same sort of love for Husband N. I’ll never be his Momma, but I can be another momma for him. One that loves him so completely he feels comforted in his loss.

Y’all, my family is hurting.
But we’re figuring it out together.
We have memories and share stories.
We have laughter and tears.
Mostly we have love.

I’d be so grateful if you’d be willing to hold my daughter’s family in your hearts as they find their way grieving, handling the business of death, and adapting to this new way of being.

Categories: death, loss | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

without love we are nothing

In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul wrote many beautiful things about what love is and is not. One of his more important points is that love is meant to exist without conditions.

Unconditional love.
We don’t always find that in our world.
The worst thing humans do to each other is love with conditions.

My second daughter experiences a great deal of the way selfish love works. Love is a weapon. Love is power to hold over another. Love is a tool with which to manipulate so get what you want.

I plan to make a powerful statement on love, but first I have to provide a bit of background info…
Thing 2 and her friends lost out on the house they were trying to rent. That hit her hard.
She’s not been seeing her counselor regularly (because, covid) and she didn’t realize how much she missed it until she got a call last week saying he’s starting to see clients in the office again.
She and Boyfriend M are strong and healthy.
But personally she isn’t in the best place.
She started a new job last week, one she’s enthusiastic about.
She’s making an appointment to see her therapist this week.
She and Boyfriend M had a good talk about mental health and being in a good supportive relationship.

Monday morning she wrote in our group chat

She’s excited about feeling like she’s killing it and doesn’t even need help.
Then immediately not wanting to jinx it.

Thing 1 and I shared our joy at her enthusiasm, and spoke to many things.
But I became stuck trying to make sense of this contradiction.

(here’s where the connection to love starts to make some sense)

Acknowledging you’re ‘killing it’ does not jinx it.
And, ‘killing it’ does not mean you can’t use or don’t need assistance, support, and love.
‘Killing it’ means you’re doing your best.

I believe we must celebrate what’s good. What feels positive.
But more than that, I believe being good, or successful, or feeling healthy doesn’t mean you don’t need (or want) backup.
It’s not one or the other. It’s a delicate balance of relying on yourself and the love of your tribe.
Love and support foster your personal strengths.

‘Killing it’ and needing help are not mutually exclusive.
You can ‘kill it’ and still receive support from the people who love you.
And best of all, when you’re ‘killing it’ as well as receiving love and support the world is a truly wonderful place.

Thing 2 shared how fortunate she feels to have friends, family, and “a mans” who love and support her endlessly.
Her counselor said, “God works in mysterious ways.” and later that same day Boyfriend M told her “the universe works in mysterious ways”.
She was angry and sad and didn’t want to hear it. But she knew they were right.
She knew this because in one twelve hour span, she had love and unconditional support from ‘the boys’ (her core friend group), then her counselor, then her Momma, and then Boyfriend M.
She said, “Everyone cares about me, for me, not their own selfish gain. And that it truly magical, I’m glad I appreciate that now. At the time, I was cheesed off because it felt like I was fine and everyone was treating me like a broken toy all at once –turns out I was not doing fine and needed that huge multi-directional wave of love and support.”

To which her sister replied, “We will always love and support you, that’s what we’re here for. Even if sometimes it feels like we’re being mean or treating you like a broken toy, we just want you to be the youest you you can be.”

I hope with all my might that this experience begins to shift Thing 2’s understanding.
I want her to know you cannot jinx your success by celebrating the joy of it.
You can be ‘killing it’ and still require support.
You can be as successful as humanly possible and still rely on the love of others.

(here’s where the connection to Paul starts to make some sense)

Paul knew what was up.
In his letter to the Corinthians he wrote a great deal of what love is and is not.
He wrote he was nothing without love.
He wrote we should remain hopeful and faithful and do everything in love.

I’m not as eloquent as Paul, but these are some of the most important things I know about life and love:
Love is safe.
Love comes at you to lift you up.
Love is a celebration of who you are.
Love is the greatest gift.

Categories: love | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

learning to do what’s right

I know what it’s like to be poor in America.
And I mean poor. The kind of poor in which a family is chronically on the verge of homelessness.
I know what it’s like to be a woman in America.
A place in which my rights to my own bodily autonomy hang by a thread. A place where I remain constantly vigilant whenever and wherever I am out in the world.
I understand being fearful.
I understand being hungry.
I understand feeling my effort to improve my life falling consistently short.
But even though I know these situations, I cannot fathom the depth of feelings they would bring if I was a person of color instead of a white woman.

I understand grief. I understand trauma. I know how hard it is to experience these huge feelings.
I understand the need for peaceful protest. My God, I understand the need for non-peaceful protest.
I find myself working so hard to understand how deep and wide is the pool of fear and grief that causes people to destroy their homes and businesses. That the only way to express that desperate depth of feeling is to lash out at your own neighborhoods.
I have no way of understanding the endless generational racial trauma constantly pounding down on people of color. That level of pain. That constant barrage of fear and grief and killing.
No human should be made to live like that!

What is going on in America is frightening!
The status quo is sick and wrong! It needs to change!
I have so many feels and no where to go with them.
I don’t know how to help. I don’t know what to do.
But I have to try!

I don’t know what’s the right thing to do.
I am fearful of doing the wrong thing.
I am fearful that by doing the wrong thing, I’ll contribute to making the situation worse.
I am fearful that by doing nothing to avoid doing the wrong thing I am actively making the situation worse.

Because I’m a white woman, I feel like my voice can be easily misconstrued as disingenuous and I feel unsure about speaking out. However, I realize my silence is me being complicit.
I feel like my duty is to listen and learn as much as I can.
I feel like my duty is to support those who need it.
I feel like my duty is to help educate people. Especially people like me who won’t ever have to worry because of the color of their skin.

We are one human family.
I am resolved learn how to be a true ally.
I may stumble and make things temporarily worse. But I am committed to doing what is right. I am working toward being a true member of this human family.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

we regret to inform you

I got an email Friday morning.
It looked like this.

To be perfectly honest, I’m just beginning to process how I feel about it.
Here’s a quick look into that:
Wait. What?
Disappointment.
Incredulity.
Fuck you, Mason.
I’m not even surprised.
We regret to inform you? Aaand fuck you some more.
A competitive program. And I’m just not competitive enough?
But WHY am I not good enough?
Am I even mad?
I have absolutely no idea what I feel.
Shiiiiit! That was my plan. Now what am I going to do?

I sent the screen cap above to YBW and both the girls Friday morning before I went to school.
YBW was initially sad for me, “Oh no! I’m so sorry, baby!” then he was mad for me, “well…fuck them.”
It was the YBWest response, and it honestly gave me great comfort. Sometimes when you can’t get mad, it’s nice to have someone get mad for you.
Thing 1 replied, “Oh no!” then texted me a bit later on, “Oh no! I just got your email (sad face emoji)”
Thing 2 replied, “How are you feeling about that email?” then after a bit I got a text that said, “How are you feeling about that email? Or are you not ready to discuss it yet?”
These three people are my strongest support network. They each responded in a way that is unique to who they are.
My love, gratitude, and appreciation are bigger than I even have words.

I have been encouraged to feel my feels before I attempt to make any plans.
I have been encouraged to consider what my feels actually mean before I begin to decide how to move forward.
I have been encouraged with love and mindful conversation.
I have been encouraged with cocktails and hugs.
I have even been encouraged by Baby K’s sweet giggles. (Like, she doesn’t know what’s up she’s just happy to talk to her Birdie. Perhaps I should take a play out of her book?)

I asked my beloved friend and mentor Jessica to write one of my two recommendation letters.
I broke down and emailed her the screen cap this morning. She replied, “I’m speechless. My heart hurts for your heart. Hugging you! Loving you!”

My therapist wrote the second letter.
She doesn’t know yet. I’ll have that conversation with her when I’m there the first week of February.

Y’all, I am disappointed.
And a little sad.
And defensive AF.
I feel overwhelmed by making a new plan. (That’s exactly why I’m being encouraged to wait.)
This Destination girl is pretty much ‘fuck all y’all’ to the Journey right now.
However, I am aware that the Journey is meant to be what’s important. (but fuck that too)

YBW suggested I take an allotted amount of time to swim around in my feels. Then amended the suggestion in case it wasn’t enough time. I’m not sure I’m actively feeling my feels. I mean, I don’t actually feel anything.
Me calling out: I’m going to need a minute over here!

Am I feeling?
Am I suppressing?
Am I feeling all the things at the same time and therefore can’t sort them out?
Seriously, fuck this.
Well, it’s pretty clear I’m feeling that, huh?

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

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

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

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

chaos and big love

Oh God! Will it ever stop raining? ~ The Saw Doctors

Chaos rained down in big fat drops!

My birthday was actually quite lovely. YBW surprised me by staying home and greeting me with kisses and pressies as I woke up. Then took me to my favorite “dump” for breakfast! Heading into work late, he dropped me off with Sundance. She and I went to see her folks and had a little lunch with her mom.

Graduation was long, but not at all boring. And though he’s not “really” my kid, I was filled with love and pride as Thing C crossed the stage in his green cap and gown.
The added surprise of seeing a girl who was absolute best friends with my own Thing 1 from the time they were four cross the stage brought me so much joy!

I woke Friday morning (Friday the 13th even…my favorite!!!) to the news that my darling friend and mentor’s beloved died the night before.
Yes, he had been ill. But after the news of “four to six months” his illness took his life in one short week.
I started my drive to Charleston at four o’clock Sunday morning and spent the next three days loving my friend through her initial grief. There was much wine and laughter and some sadness as we celebrated the life of this man we all loved.
She kept thanking me for being there. Truthfully, there was nowhere else I would have been. My place in the world in those days was with her. There was no question. I was where I belonged.

I was able to squeeze in time with my sister-in-law. (I got to keep her in the divorce, the love we share made us sisters in our own right, it just so happens she was the former husbands sister first.) Got to spend time with my nephew and niece. That little girl is a bundle of kookiness if I ever saw one! She so reminds me of Thing 2 when she was that age. All “chatty Cathy” and bouncy arms and legs, trying so hard to be grown and still so little. She’ll be ten next week. I can’t believe how quickly the time passed!

I came home in time to celebrate Thing G’s birthday on Wednesday. Celebrating sixteen is so different for boys than for girls. It isn’t quite as big of a deal. Thing 1 had a huge “Punked Out Wonderland” party for her “sweet sixteen”. Thing 2 and I spent the day at the spa…facials, manis and pedis and lunch. She didn’t want a big party. That’s her personality though…

Last night my Arizona friend and her two daughters arrived! So much Robynbird joy!! They’re here for the weekend and then just as they leave, her eldest son rolls into town. Getting to love two thirds of their family is nothing to sneeze at!
She and I will go to the ballet this evening while the girls go visit old friends.
The oldest sister, my Goddaughter, just woke up and now we’re going to have tea and visit before everyone else gets out of bed.

Yesterday afternoon, YBW and I were up the street at our neighbors for cocktails. I remarked that I felt like I hadn’t seen him in a month!
It feels like I got on a hamster wheel on my birthday and just yesterday finally got off. The last ten days were fast, furious, and chaotic, but filled with great big love.
It’s time for me to keep the love but say “Bye Felicia” to the chaos…I need the rest.

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

mother’s day

I struggle with Mother’s Day.
My birthday is always the week of Mother’s Day. Sometimes even falls on that particular Sunday. I don’t remember it bothering me until I became a mom. First one precious little girl and later, two precious little girls called me their mommy. They were SO focused and excited about Mother’s Day that my birthday often fell by the wayside.
When they got old enough to understand, I explained how much I loved their beautiful appreciation of me. I explained that I was their mommy every day. That it was the most special thing EVERY DAY. But that my birthday was only one day and it was special. It took a bit for them to get it, but they knew how important I made their birthdays and they began to come around. So while Mother’s Day remained special, “birthday birthday” became the focus that second week of May.

Mother’s Day is painful for me because I don’t have my mom anymore. However complicated our relationship was, she was my mother and I loved her.
I took Thing C and Thing G to get cards for their mom. I went with YBW to get a card for his mom. I spent the day with YBW and his mom.
It was agony.
I no longer have a mom. It hurts more than I can even communicate.
Thing 1 called to tell me Happy Mother’s Day. She thanked me for being her mom. She talked about the life she’s building. She talked about going back to school. She told me she sent a little gift, but it was going to be late. She told me how much she loved me.
My heart sang with joy!
Thing 2 did nothing. (I don’t know if she was being purposefully hurtful or not…I honestly don’t think it matters. It was hurtful enough.) People that I did not actually give birth to called and texted to wish me Happy Mother’s Day. I’m just sayin’.

When my girls were little and I was teaching preschool, I was blessed to be surrounded by some of the most truly awe inspiring women I’ve ever known.
We were a family. If something happened to one of us, joy or sorrow, it happened to all of us. These women helped me realize who I could be. They let me help them see things from my unique and sometimes brash perspective. (I may or may not have publicly accused the director of being on crack at a faculty meeting…in my defense, it opened a new way of talking about a serious topic.)

When I started this blog I promised my family and friends anonymity. That’s why I never use anyone’s real name…apart from my own. My girls and Sundance have expressed their ambivalence regarding this promise. I keep it because YBW is especially protective of his identity, and the identity of his sons. I respect that. Nobody “signed up” to be part of my public words regarding my private life. I want to keep those who need to feel safe feeling safe.
That said, I’m going to use the names of the women from that perfect moment in time when we lived and loved and worked in the safest and most creative environment.

It kind of started this way:
On Sunday, Nicole posted in our private group chat:
HAPPY MOTHERS DAY!!! I would not have survived young motherhood without you all!!

I was thinking something along those lines when I was washing my hair that morning. I was thinking about some of the women that influenced my life. What I learned from each of them and how I incorporated that into my parenting style, and into my own personal development.

I learned from my mom that always having to be in control will wear you the eff out. That it breaks you and makes you miserable. My mom taught me the value of creativity and expressing opinions because she squashed those out of us as children. She taught me that love is conditional, you must be exactly what someone wants or they can’t love you.
She taught me that you just have to keep fighting for what you believe in. She taught me what true sacrifice looks like. She taught me that a color book and box of crayons eases heartache. She taught me that birthdays are the most important celebration, because the day you came into the world is sacred. She taught me to love books. She taught me Elvis is the King. She taught me that being redhaird is the most precious gift, and that only a few of us ever have the luxury to receive it.
Some of the things she taught me made me a better mom because I did the exact opposite of what she did. Love is unconditional. Creativity and expressing yourself are the most important life stills to possess.
Some of what she taught me formed my most basic ideology. Birthdays are sacred. New crayons are priceless. Books are uniquely portable magic.

Nicole taught me that organized chaos is a great way to raise children. She taught me that love is fierce. She showed me how to see things through the eyes of a child. She taught me the value of true and long lasting friendship.

Jessica taught me that I was more capable than I ever realized. She taught me to listen differently so I could truly hear. She taught me to ask the most important question: What’s best for children? She taught me the value of my own mothering. She taught me when life hands you lemons, make lemonade. She helped me believe in myself at the lowest point in my life. She showed me the fire in my belly still had embers to nurture. She loved me when I couldn’t love myself.

Becca encouraged me to trust my gut, because she never seemed to be able to do that for herself. She taught me to appreciate every contribution. She brought out even more nurturing in me, she needed and still occasionally needs to be taught self-love. She taught me how innocent kindness can change lives. She taught me that my tough as nails hide could benefit from softening up a bit.

Terri taught me to see my firstborn in a new and different light. She provided much comfort and support when I was struggling with learning how to mom a three year old and a new and extremely sick baby. She was an example of love and tenacity through her own terrible illness. She taught me how to approach the enigma that is the three year old with the perfect mix of fear and appreciation.

Nancy taught me that I must embrace and celebrate my gifts. She is the first person who said out loud that I am a writer. That moment caused a change in my life that I will be forever grateful for. She supported me with love and hope when I didn’t know who or what I really was. She taught me that life is so much more than simply putting one foot in front of the other.

Marianne taught me that letting go is so much better than holding on too tightly. She taught me the importance of repetition. She helped me realize that a classroom was one of the most loving environments in the world.

Cory taught me that I matter. She helped me understand how to be a mom and a real person too. She accepted me for who I am. She guided my learning of that most important skill. I’m not great at it, but I am working at it every single day…even all these years later.

Julia encouraged me to take risks. She helped me realize that fear is a part of life, but if I didn’t try new things I might miss out on something extraordinary. She taught me a new kind of patience.

Sara gave me the courage to breathe when I needed to take a step back. She showed me the importance of kindness when Thing 2 and I experienced serious separation anxiety.

Like Nicole, I would never have gotten through young motherhood without these women. The gifts they gave me have gotten me through the last twenty two years.
It takes a village to raise children.
It takes a village to raise parents too.

I’m so blessed to know and love these women. I would not be the woman I am without experiencing their love and support.
I saw Becca this weekend, we talked about how those years were a sacred moment in time. We will never be able to recreate that, but we’re lucky enough to forever be better mothers and better women because of it.

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

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