Tag Archives: children

the pity party’s over

Admittedly, I was feeling like a bit of a brat earlier this week. The moment I got over my bad mood, my focus turned to other tasks at hand…namely, some baking and other preparations for an event to benefit a neighborhood family whose son has cancer.

In other words, I am reminded once again that I am blessed beyond measure. My children are healthy. I am healthy. And that is enough for me to be content.

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Independence Day status report

Today, Independence Day to be exact, seems like as good a day as any to report on the status of my own independence…and I do have some good news to report:

Today I felt that old, elusive feeling…the feeling I recall feeling at thirty (a decade ago), after I’d purchased my first condo and luxury car, knowing that I was self-reliant and could allow myself abundance. I felt a glimpse of that in-the-flow, abundant feeling, completely fulfilled, with no need of anything more than what I have here; complete in and grateful for all that I am and all that I have.

Wow! Seems like it’s been a long time since I’ve felt this way, and recognizing it brings the realization that I’ve spent too much time in the past couple of years feeling inadequate, damaged or lonely… in a word, like a failure.

The hidden message or blessing in this is that I don’t feel like I need a man in my life to be complete. At some point, I’d love to find a co-conspirator and partner, but right now I feel happy to be single me, happy to be a mother to my littles and simply filled with joy at being present.

Sure, I’m still dealing with some lingering pain, loneliness and resentment…but even acknowledging that is an act of further letting go, further allowing myself to heal.

And here’s where I come back to the dating thing. At this very moment, I don’t care if I date any time soon. Sure, I’d love to go out and have some fun — and to have someone fun with whom to have fun. But I do have those people — I have girlfriends. Many of the men I’ve met online have proven flaky and seem to not have taken the time to heal themselves. I’m not saying that as a judgment, because I’ve been pretty wishy-washy, too.

What I am saying is “do the work, people!” It’s worth it to heal yourself and be whole before you try it all over again.


independent, with nagging doubts

Happy Independence Day! It’s an incredibly beautiful day here, and I’ve spent the first part of my day enjoying the sunshine and cool breeze, chatting with neighbors, puttering about doing some household projects, and reflecting on all I have to be grateful for this long, holiday weekend to myself.

This weekend, my daughter has gone with a friend to their family cabin. This is her first long weekend away with anyone other than family…and it kind of scares me.

While the girls have been discussing this potential for some time, I had cautioned my daughter that I hadn’t yet connected with her friend’s parents. First, I would have anticipated a call from them inviting my daughter to go along with them. And then I would have anticipated detailed information:

  • Where is the cabin?
  • At what number can my daughter / they be reached?
  • Who will be there?
Because I hadn’t heard from my daughter’s friend’s parents, I assumed they had made a decision that their daughter would not be bringing friends along for this “family” weekend. (Let me add here that I have at least met the parents, though I don’t know them well compared to other families of my children’s friends.) When my daughter brought it up during the week, I told her she needed to call her friend and begin the conversation. She never did.
Still, I suppose I should not have been surprised when my daughter tearfully called late Friday afternoon saying that she and her friend were still conspiring for this weekend trip. I expressed my concerns with my daughter and with my ex, who was “responsible” for the children for the weekend. While I allowed for him, my daughter and the friend’s parents to make this decision, I gave him a list of information to acquire in the process. He, of course, protested that I should have called the parents and gotten this information during the week. However, to my earlier point, I assumed the friend’s parents had no intention of including my daughter — and how weird is it to call someone and say, “So, are you planning on taking my child to your cabin this weekend? Because I have some questions…” It’s like calling someone and saying, “So I heard you’re having a party; am I invited?”
I have since heard nothing. So, while I would feel more responsible if I called my ex and asked him if he got all that information I’d asked for, just thinking about it makes me feel like a nag. And I’ve never considered myself a nag, never wanted to be a nag and have only occasionally found myself driven to nag under circumstances such as this, where there was no communication nor action. And I shouldn’t have to. My wasband should be as concerned for our daughter’s welfare as I am, and he should have the decency to fill me in on the details.
So, while I enjoy the weekend, I also occasionally stew, wondering if I should have been a firmer parent and just said “no” and being irritated with my ex for his lack of follow-up. Meanwhile, I trust in my daughter’s solid sense of self and her excellent memorization of my phone number.
At some point, we have to let go and trust that we’ve taught them well, right? I’m just not entirely certain I was ready for this yet.

…and I thought this was going to be funny!

So…when I began writing about all this divorce and dating garbage a few months ago, I somehow imagined that I would be having all kinds of interesting relationship experiences that I could write about, and that I would encounter lots of different men and have countless hilarious tales to tell about these meetings…

And that has not happened.

Why?

Well, it’s dawning on me, as it may have also on you, that working full-time and parenting the other full-time consumes a hella chunk o’ time. And there’s not much left for dating or meeting people or romantic or ridiculous encounters of any time. And, frankly, the filtering part of online dating eats up so much time that I’d just as soon spend some QT with my gals.

So, aside from the whole Chi-guy situation, which is funny on general principle alone, and the humor in which has very little to do with the way I tell the story, I have to face facts:  I am just not that funny! Not that funny anymore, at any rate. Sure, the bright side is that I’m blessed with a full range of emotions and that, overall, writing about all this stuff has been rather cathartic.

Yet all this makes me think back to more frivolous times, when I was light-hearted and delightful and embodied all manner of other characterizations inclusive of lightness, frivolity, fun and laughter…and I wonder, am I not there? What has happened to the witty, vivacious me?

I realize that, at home each night with grammar school-aged children, it’s easy to be silly. Silly is one thing; funny is quite another. And I used to be funny!

Of course, I am thinking about all this because I’ve discovered The Blogess who, as you might have already guessed, is Funny with a capital f! She does, naturally, have a relationship to write about…so no end to the potential for humorous fodder.

Oh, I know that I’m in there (here) all right. The irreverent, playful ol’ gal comes out to play at least every other weekend and sometimes more often. In recalling her (me), I am reminded of how much fun it was to come home to another playful adult during the times things were grand and we were, indeed, mirthful together.

Funny comes much more naturally when it has someone to bounce off of.

(And, yes, I’m fully aware that I should not be ending my sentences with a preposition, Bitch!)


advice from friends

Most of us could be a better friend to ourselves. By that I mean we allow our internal dialogue to run on, focused on our failures, our shortcomings, our fears and our doubts. If we actually confessed these same thoughts to a friend, he or she would say…well, probably something like the below:

From Max:

“Stop thinking about your marriage or life in terms of the failure. Instead, look at all that you’ve accomplished and gained in the past decade — you have a home and two beautiful children and more career and life experience. That’s a lot to be proud of.” He was right. Looking at my life in this way took some of the pressure off — it’s not as though I’m starting my life over from scratch, renting an apartment, my biological clock ticking as I desperately search for a mate.

Girlfriend Candy gave me this nugget:

“You are making all your dreams come true. You’re more than a writer; you’re a published author. Look at your blog and how it’s touched your readers — and you’ve made enough posts with enough content to fill a book!” That’s great perspective, too. Embarking on this blog has been cathartic emotionally, a great way to connect with some new people, and a way to discipline myself to regularly publish (which is difficult for my abstract-thinking, perfectionist side).

I am blessed to have surrounded myself with love as I go through so many challenges and changes! And, with all this support, I am learning to become a better friend to myself.


post-feminist dating

I was a staunch feminist in college and beyond. My serious papers took on sexist language and such things. I’ve been called a femi-nazi on more than one occasion. So let’s relate this to dating…

If I don’t come across as particularly adept at dating now, you can imagine what an idealistic (in all the wrong ways) fool about it I was in my twenties. One of my more memorable boyfriends lived hand-to-mouth. Much of the time he didn’t have a dime to his name — but when he did, he was sure to buy me gifts or treat me to an amazing night out. I went dutch with lots of guys, too. I remember reading an article that promoted the notion that couples should contribute equally to relationships, and should strive to date at the level that the lower-earner of the two can afford. But let’s get real:  very few couples are composed of equal earners or equally motivated partners.

Frankly,  I now wonder whether not allowing a man to buy dinner when dating could have landed me in a decade-long relationship in which I supported an entire family. Perhaps there is such a thing as too much self-sufficiency. And I’m through supporting a perfectly capable man!

Contrast my past approach with a sassy widow I know. She recently revealed that she asks men who ask her out to pay her sitter.

Damn, girl! The last time I was in the dating game, it was common to split the tab. It was only the older, wealthier men who you knew with confidence were buying dinner. Either that, or I was just too dumb or too feminist. (And, no, I don’t believe they are the same thing.)

At this point in my life, I’ve developed an appreciation for receiving male attention in many of its forms, including gifts, meals, etc. In other words, it’s pretty unlikely that I’m going to pull out my wallet on the first couple of dates. Still, I’m not sure how that conversation goes…

He:  “So, wanna go out for a drink sometime?”

She:  “Sure, if you’re willing to pay for my babysitter.”

Which brings me back to my point:  If we get what we expect, then I’m okay with expecting a lot. I’m a successful woman; I deserve a successful mate. But I have yet to master the language of high expectations — i.e. the language of asking or negotiating for something I know I can provide for myself.

My friend puts it this way:  “We pay for the manicure, pedicure, brow wax, facial, we get made up and do our hair — look at the investment of time and money we’ll put into looking and feeling good for a date! And all he’s gotta do is pay for dinner and a movie?! No. I let him know that if he wants to go out with me, this is part of it. Maybe on the second and third dates, I’ll split the cost of the sitter and, if I like the guy after that, I may leave my children with my mom or sister. But my reality is that I have children, and he might as well understand that now.”

This woman has set the bar high. I can respect that. There are some dating experts out there who might refer to this as “Degree of Difficulty,” as in, a woman should have a high DoD in order to attract a guy who is willing to work hard to make her happy.

In any case, if she can rock it, I’m gonna learn to rock it, too!


reflections on the one-year milestone

My ex moved out a year ago today.

Thinking about that still hurts my heart just a little. There’s a tender spot as I reflect on the heartache and pain I suffered (and just as likely caused for another) in my marriage, as well as the failure to provide my children what I believed was so important to give them — a solid, secure and loving family environment.

(As I write this, Dusty Springfield has rotated into my iTunes playlist with I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself. Would you call that ironic?)

The melancholy in reflecting on this stems from two sources:  First, that I loved so much and so deeply and yet didn’t know how to love, as surely causing pain to object of my love as he did to me. Second, that I chose so poorly in the first place. It’s difficult to accept that I knew so little about myself or was blind to so many signs that I picked a partner who would draw out so much pain and anger, forcing me to deal with them and grow (while he simply pointed fingers). I can’t help but believe there had to have been a kinder, gentler way to learn these lessons.

(And now Joan Armatrading’s Willow — “I said I’m strong, straight, willing to be your shelter in the storm…”)

I still remember the first day of it being just us:  my two elementary-school-age children and me. I explained to them that, without Daddy here every day to do things for them, they would have to help out by making their own school lunches, among other things. I assured them I would step in to help when needed, and that we were all capable and would be fine taking responsibility for ourselves and helping each other.

This is when my son teared up, “I don’t know if I can do it, Mommy.” He is a tender-hearted young soul, and so generous with his empathy and feelings! He continued to stress through the evening and even as I tucked him in to bed. My daughter, on the other hand, was excited about being given more independence and responsibility.

The next morning, everyone got up just a little earlier and pushed through the morning tasks of dressing, eating breakfast, making lunch, etc. just a little more diligently. We all got out the door on time, successfully. My favorite moment was at the end of the day when my son remarked, “Mommy, I guess I didn’t even need to worry.”

These past twelve months have also brought a number of lessons and much growth. I recall feeling that taking out the trash and recycling wasn’t really adding to my workload. And I also remember discovering other areas where my ex picked up more slack than I ever realized or gave him credit for. It hasn’t always been easy, and there have been plenty of hiccups along the way — my ex appears to be declining to communicate with me right now, as an example. Yet I can’t help feeling that we’ve come a long way.

My children have gained patience, self-reliance, a greater understanding that their parents are merely human and the capacity to be more helpful and responsible than I might have thought possible for their ages. (And still I work to balance this with their need for innocence.)

As for me, I am gaining confidence in making the choices and life decisions that nurture me. I am seeing more clearly what happens when I neglect to do important things that I’d prefer to ignore (the banking, taxes and money management, for instance). I am growing stronger, more clear and determined in my life path. And I am learning how empowering it is to commit to my own happiness, even if it requires making choices that once seemed impossible.

(Citizen Cope If There’s Love)

So I keep going back to my son’s wise words:  “I guess I didn’t need to worry.”