Where the story ends and I begin it

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For years now I have had people tell me I should write a book about our journey with Rebecca.  What we went through when we were younger, how everything progressed over the years, and where we have landed now. If nothing else, to show people how the system can really be, how tough it is, how things should change and how if affects a child.

Through out the years I just never felt like that timing was right.  I didn’t feel like the story had an ending yet, better yet, the happy ending that everyone would want to read.  The ending that you would think would come out of all of it. I think deep down, I was waiting for that ending myself.

Now, in the past two years, I feel the ending has come. My time raising her has ended, abruptly and sadly.  The ending that we had always hoped for, doesn’t exist.  Sure, life can change down the road, as she grows older and wiser perhaps we can reconnect on some level but it will never be the same.  Her continuing actions are creating a journey that will be complicated and rough for her. I can no longer help her with that.

When we first found out she was 14 and pregnant, I cried for days.  I was angry, hurt, sad and every other emotion you could imagine.  I’ve prayed for her, thought of her every day, and miss her terribly.  I saw her at my Grandmas funeral in May, she stood feet away staring at me, a person I no longer knew.  A person about to turn 16 and pregnant with her second child, unsure who the baby daddy was, the possible fathers standing all within the same vicinity of us.  Yes, I just wrote all that.  I stood in the back at the funeral, my last obligation to this family and walked away for good, not looking back.

The day I found out she was pregnant with her second child, I had just left our fertility specialist.  Yet, I didn’t cry, I didn’t get angry, I didn’t feel sad, I felt nothing.  I called my ex-husband and we spent a lot of time in silence, on the phone.  Neither knowing if there was anything left to say that hasn’t been said over the years.  I couldn’t work up any type of emotion and I thought seeing her there, that day at the funeral, would work up something and it didn’t.  The person I knew is gone and I can’t do anything about it.  I can’t do anything about how she is living, the fights between the baby daddy and her, the cops repeatedly being called on her, the possible drug use, etc.  The system did/does its thing, she made and makes choices, and the consequences are hers and the rest of the family that is involved.

My character in this story is no longer needed, it is nothing more than a bystander , watching a disaster unfold, from afar and I can’t begin to tell you how fucked up that feels.

Years ago, when I was seeing a therapist for my divorce, we talked a lot about this situation in particular.  I can honestly say I think I have talked it out and around in circles but I need something else.   I’m now feeling that need to maybe put it on paper. Write the story in its final way, as it is today.  I don’t know, honestly, what I am looking to gain from it, aside from the chance to tell my entire side.  The side that people didn’t want to hear over the years, the side that my family ignored, the side that very well, may come back up in court, thanks to some custody proceedings that are current.  Also, I’m tired of explaining it to people that ask or that I meet or that have questions.  I’m tired of starting from the beginning because the beginning was 16 years ago and fuck that is hard to cut down into a 2 minute conversation.

Her story continues without me but I still want to share our story.  My hope is that, God forbid, someone else finds themselves in the same journey, they know that others have walked it before them and they are not alone.  Because Lord knows, it is a damn lonely path.

Saying YES This Summer

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Summer has made me a bit MIA here lately and I can’t apologize for it.  There are times I wish I would sit down and write about more of the little things, for Cora’s sake.  For my sake as well, honestly.  That was one piece of advice that I wish I would have taken, getting a journal when Cora was born to write down the funny little moments and words to look back on.  Not like there isn’t still time, she isn’t going to college tomorrow:)

Anyways, summer.  We all come up on summer with this picture perfect endless season ahead of us.  Thinking there will be plenty of time to accomplish everything, chase fireflies, catch up with friends and soak in the pool…and then summer flies by and comes to a screeching halt, only half of the fun list accomplished.  Last summer I was adamant about soaking it all up with my kiddo.  This summer is no different but I’m adding more to it.

This has been my summer of saying yes and following through.  Kind of backwards, I know.  Back in early spring (who are we kidding, we didn’t have spring) back in winter, a friend suggested a girls trip with our kiddos.  I said yes and walked away knowing damn well the summer would get away from us.  I decided to not let that happen, I shot an email out, picked a weekend, booked hotel rooms and it happened.

It felt good too.  So I decided to continue it.

I’m not stuck at home with a baby.  My kid is old enough to enjoy more things. We have more flexibility.  My child will FINALLY stay with a sitter.  We have two solid sitters at that.

I just made it a habit when someone suggested something, I pulled up the calendar and made it happen.  Picked a day, confirmed and followed through.  From full trips to coffee dates, brunch, pool days, adult date nights, birthday weekends, yoga meet ups, and more.  I’m saying yes to seeing friends I haven’t seen in a long time, taking new adventures, not putting things off for another day or another summer.  I’m letting the laundry go longer, my house isn’t spotless, my dog could use a bath but I’ve laughed a lot, hugged a lot of friends, shared drinks, soaked in the sun, and more importantly created some fabulous memories.

I get it, this can be tough.  Normally I have had a yes problem that needed to turn into saying the word NO.  Especially around the holidays.  Why is that? But I’m being wise with my YES.  The mom’s that bash their husbands, I’ve completely ignored them.  The negative friend, I’m saying NO to.  The person who has a kid that Cora doesn’t like, saying NO to them too.  Why even go down that road? Not my monkey’s and not my circus.

The key here is while our summer is busy, it doesn’t feel chaotic or like it is wasting away.  It feels like I’m still soaking it all up but the goal is that by the end of summer I feel content with it all.  We are saying yes to the moments that feel right and I’m loving every minute of it.

How is your summer looking?

 

Your Husband isn’t Your Trash

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On Monday, during a play date at the kids gym, I hastily picked up my kid and left in a hurry.  I was done, over it.  I called my husband on the way home and announced I was officially done with these mothers, foot down.  Fuck it.  Also, I proclaimed my love to him and thanked him for everything he does, in case I hadn’t told him lately. Things he says to me in return on a regular basis, this is not a one way street.  Later that night I made sure we had a damn good round of sex. Two way street.

First, let me back up a few hours though…

I wasn’t even through the doors of the kids gym when one of the mothers started in on her “crap” husband.  I’ve had a hard enough time anyways with this particular mom but damn it, it is hard to find moms to have play dates with. She was bitching about her husband not letting her spend money, her husband not letting her get her kids a swing set, her husband not helping, her mother fucking husband and on and on and on and then came mother number 2 in the doors and then they fueled one another’s misery.

If only their husbands would…

do more dishes

help more with the kids

understand how exhausted they are

take them on more trips

make more money

work fewer hours

let them spend more money

look at them like Prince Harry looks at his new bride

…then maybe their marriage would be better.  Then maybe they would be happier. One even made their husband watch the royal wedding with her so maybe he would learn how to look at his wife better.

BUT

none of that really happens because did you hear their friend is pregnant and OH JUST YOU WAIT till she has that baby and her marriage starts going down the shitter.  Because that is what happens when the honeymoon is over and you have kids.

They look at me….what about your husband?

They suddenly realized I hadn’t been offering any husband hatred in front of our children or ya know, AT ALL.

Side note-Not one of these women has anything to bitch about, they have good husbands and this happens every time we get together.  This isn’t one rough day out of all the good days.

I then offered my advice/lost my shit a bit, being the only divorced one standing around, knowing that grass isn’t always greener but perhaps you should water your own fucking grass.  Perhaps you should be grateful and see your husband as your ride or die, your best friend, and your partner in life and parenting.  You know, what you try to portray on Facebook to everyone SHARON.  Maybe you should learn that marriage isn’t perfect and it takes work every day, not when their work hours slow down, not when the kids are grown, not when whatever phase you are in passes- EVERY DAY. And why should your husband put work into it if you aren’t willing? If you aren’t willing to speak up and say something or do something???  Why can’t these people also look in the mirror and take some responsibility in their own marriage because I know who had an affair in that marriage and who didn’t KAREN.

Here’s the thing, if you aren’t happy, fix it.  Talk to your spouse, find a therapist, find a compromise, read some helpful books, or SOMETHING.  If not, there is the door, try divorce, try separation but for the love, remember you are teaching your children what a marriage should look like.  I cannot stress that enough.

They shrugged their shoulders at me.  Rolled their damn eyes at me.  We can’t all be perfect like you, they say.

I will not be criticized for being proud of my husband and marriage. So I took my child and left.

Unfortunately this entire situation is more common in my circle of friends than I care to admit and the older we get, the more annoyed I get by it.  I have had friends go through some damn tough time in their marriages, MYSELF included and they vent to me, I support them (and their spouse), they support me (and my spouse), but I find that very different from husband bashing.  The things that women say about their husbands… I ask them if they would say to their mans face.  How would they feel if their husbands talked about them like that?

I’m not saying our marriage is perfect by any means but I won’t be put down for it. Life is short and I’m not going to go through it fighting against the main person who is suppose to be my rock through it all. Sure I yell at him for snoring, hitting his snooze button 5 times at 3am, dumping a bag of chips down his throat and I may need to vent about a tough time we are having but I refuse to take him for granted and bash him behind his back.  Nope.  Our marriage means more to me than that and damn it, I’m tired of being around people like that.

We are moving on in the play date department.  Anyone want to move to the Midwest and hang out with me on Monday’s? I’m open to conversations that include reality television and wine:)

 

Growing up overnight

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When your child turns 1, a lot of people seem to think your child is all grown up.  I didn’t quite see Cora as all grown up by any means.  She was still my baby with a diaper butt and a binky in that chubby hand.  She turned two and I remember rocking her to sleep that birthday night thinking, it will all be very different soon.  I knew that soon she really would start growing up on me.  It took her until these past couple of weeks but man, my baby is gone and a full toddler is in front of me.

First it was my husband removing the rocking chair in her room.  We had to take it out to get the carpets cleaned and my husband thought we might just go ahead and leave it out.  No more rocking my baby, while reading books before bed.  I cried because I didn’t know the previous night was our last night to rock.  It hurt me more than her because she was excited to have a new reading nook with her own little chair.

At 14 months Cora started showing signs of potty training and we bought the potty, bribed with stickers and pretty much left it at that.  Some days she would be great all day and other days she would stick to her diaper.  We didn’t push.  Then a few weeks ago she decided panties were cool and diapers were not.  She is now potty trained aside from wearing a diaper at night, although those have been dry the past few nights so we might be done with that.  The changing pad and diaper pail was moved to storage, creating more space in her room.

Remember the great big girl bed fail? The weekend she decided she was done with diapers was the same weekend she asked for her big girl bed back.  (It is still her crib but with a toddler railing on the side that opens.)  Aside from falling out of it on a daily basis, we are having total success with it.  But seriously, this kid flips every which way allllll night long.

Just like that her room is changing from the nursery to a toddler’s room.  The last of the baby items are being tucked away and the house is filling with toddler everything.  It is bittersweet moment and seems to be happening all at once.  At the same time I can’t help but think, yep, we made it through that baby stage. Whew!

Getting Comfortable

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I remember the days when writing was my crutch, my life support, and my way to make it through the day.  The words would pour out of my fingers and it was absolutely healing.  I really needed it in those days.  Soon days turned to weeks, then to months and now that has turned to years, where things have grown easier and life has changed.  I don’t feel that constant need to turn to writing out the words as my therapy.

When we had Cora we agreed to just pause life and breathe for a while.  No huge projects, no life alternating plans, just stop and soak in it all for a bit.  We have certainly done that.  Sure, we have had new parent moments and loss of sleep but all in all, our kid is pretty kick ass. Our marriage is pretty amazing.  I fall in love with my husband and our life journey more each day.  I don’t have a lot to complain about.

Cue romantic music, doves flying over us, as we sing kumbayah, in a circle, holding hands.  I KNOW. Gross.

Well, we all know when we get comfortable in life, God will throw you some curve balls.  We have had some over the past couple years (Currently dealing with a few)  but man, I will always go back to THIS WAS NOTHING LIKE THAT DIVORCE TIME IN MY LIFE.  Yes, everything gets measured to that moment and if I survived that, I can survive anything.  It gives you an appreciation for what you have.  Or maybe part of it is age.  Either way…perspective.

Several months ago my husband had some health stuff happen.  He spoke with his doctor, ran a few tests and came to the conclusion that it seemed to be a fluke situation.  We aren’t ones to get over dramatic so we left it at that.  Then last week the “episodes” happened again and at a larger intensity that actually caused him to have a seizure.  I won’t go into the details because they don’t matter.  Back to the doctor he went, who is doing a bit of head scratching and listing out possibilities that range from something we can handle to are you fucking kidding me. I’m pretty sure those are medical terms.

Blood tests, EKG, and yesterday was the CT scan.  All came back normal, so those are crossed off the list and specialists are being lined up. Normal means good but at the same time we want an answer, as much as we are fearing it.  It feels like fighting infertility all over again in a way.

At the moment, we are keeping this to ourselves and trying to not let it get to us.  Yet, there it is hovering over us at the dinner table, more emphasis is behind every I love you, it sits in the back of my mind at work and it hangs in the air when we talk on our lunch break.  Honestly, just unsure of how to truly feel and scared of what could be lurking around the corner.

My husband canceled some side jobs, moved some others around.  He decided to lower his weekend work loads until we get this all sorted, whether it is something minor or something much larger.

It is strange, I’m the one with the bad heart problems.  We tackle those, we adjust life to that and we plan on me falling over dead randomly.  We don’t so much plan for my husband to do that.  Him fall out of a tree, slice off a finger? Sure! Health problems to alter our world? Nope.

Which brings me back here.  To the little spot that helps me sort my thoughts and my words, in that calming way I have come to count on.  The place where I have dedicated many hours and logged my life with all the good, bad ugly and beautiful.  We shall now see where it takes us next.

 

Learning Patience

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I think one of the main things a mother will say that her children taught her is patience.  I couldn’t agree with this more.  I have never spent so much time telling myself to stop, breathe, wait, and have patience.  This moment shall pass, we will get to where we are headed, don’t explode, give her a moment.

I have a pretty easy toddler but it doesn’t mean we don’t have our moments.  Our moments of trying to get out the door, of mamma just needing to pee, of dinner on the stove or cleaning needing to be accomplished.  She is hanging on a leg, asking me to sit and play with her, requiring a cup of water or a snack.

For the love of God child can you just please get in your car seat and not literally stop and smell the flowers along the way?

But then I remember she is still new to this world.  She doesn’t understand the rush, she needs a moment to have a tantrum because learning shoes is tough, she wants to stop me to discuss the poopy she did in the potty earlier in the day, she needs to inspect the flowers that spring is slowly trying to produce and is that a bug? Better follow it somewhere. All these things I quickly do myself, quickly glance at, shove feelings down to be dealt with later, and don’t give a second thought about.  She is discovering the world around her, learning and processing it all.

Therefore, she gives me patience.  She teaches me daily to take a step back, listen, feel, and pay attention to all the little details of life.  It is such a cliché what kids can do for us but a cliché that many of us take for granted. Even find down right annoying because dude I can’t fetch you a 4th blanket because the water is boiling over on the stove.

It isn’t always possible, but giving her the extra time and space has been a game changer.  The art of letting go a bit and letting her, not take charge, but lead at times, has taught me more than I thought it could.

What has your toddler taught you lately?

 

Big Girl Bed

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At 2 1/2 Cora is still in her crib.  We asked her pediatrician at her last appointment when she thought the best time to move her would be.  She said every kiddo is different and you’ll just know when it is time but a lot of kids are around the age of three or when a sibling comes along to kick them out.  Since the sibling thing isn’t true for us then we figured we would just let her tell us one day.  She has never made a move to climb out and really loves her crib so we just let it be.

We have occasionally asked her if she would like a big girl bed like her friends or her cousin and she always answered, no, I am fine with my crib.  We watched my nephew seamlessly go to a toddler bed a few months ago so we figured it would be simple when the day came.

Fast forward to our recent night of sleepless hell due to nightmares.  Top that with this weird habit she has with needing her feet perfectly covered at night.  Both things will wake her and Lord help me I’ll just assume I’m never sleeping through the night again.  Cora sleeps with 200 blankets but not a true comforter that fits her crib.  I got to thinking that maybe ordering her big girl bedding and transitioning her crib to the toddler stage would be a good idea.  Maybe it would solve some sort of problem.  Yes, I was reaching for anything.

So we ordered the bedding, made a big damn deal of it all, waited for the weekend and Daddy took down the front rail and put up the toddler railing.  Wonderful! She was pumped.  She talked about how she could get in and out of her crib by herself. She played in her room all day, taking her baby dolls in and out of her bed.  Then nap time rolled around.  Normally we stick her in her crib and that is that, she sleeps.  Not this time. Crying for an hour took place until I sat on the floor, in her room, and she finally fell asleep. Then bed time came around.  Bath, we read books, she talked excitedly about her big girl bed and then we laid her down and walked out.  Crying, tantrums, whining, pleading, negotiating, bribing, wine…..Three fucking hours later this child stood in the middle of her room and demanded that daddy put her crib railing back.  So 10:30 at night he put that thing back together and she fell asleep 3 minutes later.

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The next morning she asked to call daddy and the conversation went like this.  Daddy can you come home and put my big girl bed back up?

I can’t even with this kid.

We told her she has to wait two weeks before we try again.  I’ll let you know how that one goes.  On the positive side, the big girl bedding is a huge hit.

What is the game plan in your household for a crib to toddler bed transition?

The Great Binky Take Away

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Before we left for Aruba, the binky attachment was at an all time high.  We told Cora that when we returned, the binky was going to go bye-bye. We talked about how her friends don’t have binkies and she was a big girl now.  She basically gave zero shits about those reasoning’s and every time we face timed her from Aruba she waved around her binky, taunting us.

I will say, my husband was much more adamant about getting rid of it than I was.  I’m not sure why, it has just never stressed me out.  It wasn’t in her mouth 24/7 so it didn’t bother me.  Never the less we came back and operation take away binky was in full force, with zero plan of how to go about it.  We heard every plan in the book from other parents and all I knew was that cold turkey was not going to be our method.  We decided to narrow it back down to nap time and bedtime.  While there were some meltdowns, especially in the car, she was fine with it.  Within a couple of days she quit asking for it at nap time and completely didn’t have it at daycare.  Within one week we were down to just bedtime and that is where we currently stand.  There has been a few nights she forgot to ask for it and she went to bed without it.  She comes out every morning, sets it on the counter and goes about her day, never asking for it.

We are really at this point where I think she will just forget it one night and that will be that.  Why are we not pushing to just take away night binky? We are having some sleep issues again.  Mainly, nightmares. She goes to sleep fine each night and for naps.  It is the middle of the night when she wakes up screaming and I have to go in and cover her back up, rub her back for a few seconds and that is it.  If the binky helps get her back to sleep when we are doing this upwards of 5 times a night then I really don’t care if she still has it.  It is all about sanity.

How is operation not binky in your household?  I have to say, I thought the fight would have been stronger with her but I think giving her the heads up was the best plan.