Where was I

Oh ya…talking the eight year old out of Pepsi for breakfast, I quit my job, The Boyfriend’s deployment was extended, and my laptop was broke.

Well the eight year old is coming home tonight for the weekend and there is still Pepsi in the fridge, I finished work and have taken on the role of early retirement quite well, The Boyfriend is safe, and the laptop is still broke. It is a $5 part on back order (we are talking WEEKS). So although not much has changed, much has happened.

I will break this up into a few different posts and schedule them to post over the next few days so that you don’t have to read them all at once!!

My last week of work strengthened my belief that I was doing exactly the right thing for myself and my kids. I was filled with a renewed sense of hope and love and purpose. My coworkers expressed their sadness at my departure while my boss remained mostly silent (except for asking when I would be able to fill in on a part time basis). He still does not believe I quit and I have heard that he has told several people that I am merely taking a few weeks off and will be returning. One co worker bought an ice cream cake that we shared together (yep, two of us and an ice cream cake). Another coworker hand made me a basket that is absolutely amazing…I will post a picture of it, there is no way to explain the work of art that it is. Another worker brought cupcakes on my last day of which I ate four (ya, it’s ok, you can be jealous, I would be!) When she was leaving work that day she went out to her vehicle and returned with a gift. It is a beautiful jewelry set (necklace and earrings). So amazingly beautiful and thoughtful. I am one lucky woman!!

I don’t think I did ANYTHING productive on my first day off. I did meet with the Lunch Lady on Friday night I think we may have played Bingo…I remember we were at the Eagles Club…I don’t think we played bingo though…funny. Ran into some people I hadn’t seen in a a long time though and met a new woman who I think is going to be my awesomely awesome friend for a VERY long time…but for the life of me I CANNOT seem to find a name that fits her for the blog…her husband (whom I’ve never met is already Soldier Boy as he is a member of the Army National Guard), and one of the guys that we were talking to that night has inherited the name Sausage Man (don’t ask, it’s worse than anything you can imagine!) He used to work with my ex-husband and he and I have always gotten along so well. It was fun to rekindle that friendship that night. He also knows the ‘real’ me. Not the me I turned in to to try to save my marriage, this person knows my parents, has had supper in their home, he knows ME…and likes me anyway!! He and I had a great time catching up.

OH YA…Friday I went and helped the Lunch Lady set up for a rummage sale at the elementary school, it’s an annual event where you can get a table and there are tons of people there with all their stuff. I was bored and offered to help her set up. After we decided to go (with this other lady who is friends with the Lunch Lady) for a drink before heading home. Who knew that sending The Lunch Lady a simple text would forever change my life by introducing me to a woman who is AS crazy (if not more) than myself.  We decided that Saturday we would all get together and play bingo together and have a night out.  Home in bed by 9:30…I know, a late night for me!! The boyfriend was super happy that I had gone out and enjoyed myself. He knows weekends without the boys are difficult and I think he is a little worried about me not filling my time in a good way now that I am not working. They are real concerns, and ones that, come Saturday I even began to have myself.

Saturday morning the boys had sign up for the youth bowling league. Their dad brought them and nearly immediately Bum was in my lap and cuddled up as cuddled as a boy can be…he misses his mama.  Dad was busy in the other room getting them registered while Bubba, their cousin, and their sister (my step daughter) decided to bowl a few games. Bum couldn’t find a proper ball (the alley no longer has 6 lbs balls and he refuses to throw with two hands so an 8 lbs ball is a bit much for him. This started a pout…back on mama’s knee and curled up in a ball. Then Dad came out to where we all were. Bum and I were discussing going shopping just to get out of there for a little while and that immediately went out the window when Dad was back in sight. When Dad is around, he is different. it is heartbreaking. He now wants nothing to do with me. Instead of making things worse I tell Bubba that I will talk to him later and that I have some things to do and give hugs and kisses. I give Bum a big hug and tell him how much I love him. “How much Mom?” …More than mushroom soup…

I went home, and pouted…he doesn’t act like that when he is on my time, only when he is on dad’s time. When he is on my time if we run into dad, he has no problem showing love to both of us…when he is on dad’s time it’s like he has to choose, and it’s so sad to watch. I vented to The Boyfriend for a little while and then posted “Off the grid for the day, some days are just that hard, please do not disturb” as my Facebook status. My heart was hurting and I was going to let it.

Well, apparently the Lunch Lady missed that post and the ‘new girl’ didn’t know (or care) what I was doing, I got a text later saying to get my ass to bingo (in ALL CAPS). It was from the new girl. I asked if I was allowed to shower first and was told yes.

BEST DECISION EVER (no, not showering, going out). I was the designated driver and we played bingo in two different locations and then visited two other bars before getting home AT 1:30 AM!! I don’t even remember the last time I stayed out that late!

A few days later I saw something that said something to the effect that missing somebody when you are lonely was easy, it really means something when you miss them even when you are having a good time. At the second bar I had wi-fi access and spend a good deal of time chatting with the Boyfriend. The best of both worlds…it was like he was right there with me.

I am at the public library writing this and computer usage is limited to one hour so I will end this post here. I have seven minutes left…

The boys and I will be at the library tomorrow so I can post while they do their thing. Take Care everybody…the story only gets better from here!!

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Sense of Humor

I have given birth to a certain eight year old boy that I love dearly. Lately, me and said boy get in to discussions that are like reading ‘If you Give a Mouse a Cookie’ written by Laura Numeroff.  If you have not read these series of books I HIGHLY recommend them.  If you give him a cookie, he’ll want milk, if you give him milk he’ll want a mirror to check for a milk mustache, if you give him a mirror he’ll want scissors to trim his hair…you can see how this goes. Bubba asks why for every answer I give him to see how creative I can get. Here’s a recent conversation:

Can I have a Pepsi?

No

Why?

We don’t drink pop for breakfast.

Why?

Because it’s unhealthy.

Why?

Because there is too much sugar.

Why?

That’s how it gets flavor.

Why?

So it tastes good.

Why?

So kids want to drink it for breakfast.

Why?

So they can argue with their mother

Why?

Because they like to have their x-box taken away

Why?

Because they enjoy standing in a corner

Why?

For exercise

Why?

Because exercise is good

Why?

Because it burns energy

Why?

because there’s some cycle that includes ATP that I don’t remember

Why?

Because I’m old

Why?

Because my kids ask too many questions

Why?

Because they think duct tape is a hot fashion accessory across their mouths

Why?

Because I haven’t figured out how to lock the closet

Why?

Because I am too busy answering questions

Why?

Because I’m an awesome mom

Why?

Because my mom is awesome

Why?

Because she had me

Why?

Why not?

I’ll ask the questions here, lady.

Why?

Because I’m the kid

Why?

Because you had me

Why?

Because I am your birthday present

Why?

Because you found out you were pregnant with me on your birthday

Why?

Ummmm, Mom….

HA…GOTCHA…you little shit!

Of course by now he still has not forgotten that he wants a Pepsi for breakfast, but we are all giggling and have just wasted a good five or ten minutes.

The pastor from my old church used to tell me that if I ever doubted God had a sense of humor to make a plan…lately God’s sense of humor is shining through in my life in SOOOOOO many ways. I still try to laugh…but lately He seems to have taken things a bit far.

I took the leap and quit my job. Tomorrow is my last day. I have my finances figured out, I have several job prospects, I have a plan in place. Looks good right? Last night I get home and go to plug in my laptop which is dead from a call with the boyfriend after work…and the pin to plug the charger in is busted. The milk man is going to look at it for me, but I think it’s toast.

I don’t have the money to replace my laptop right now…it wasn’t in the plan…and I am having trouble finding the humor in this one. I know I don’t NEED a laptop…but it sure is nice having a computer at home. I have the x-box, but I don’t have a keyboard for it…and I’m WAY too cheap to go buy one…and if I buy a keyboard I have to buy a camera/mic set up so I can use Skype…well, now I might as well just buy a new computer…but it’s not in the plan.

The library has computers for public access, the workforce center has computers for public use…but neither one of those places is going to let me sleep there in case The Boyfriend calls in the middle of the night. Neither one of them has Skype or Yahoo Messenger capabilities. So, I do what I do best. I pout, then I pick my head up and move forward. My birthday is coming up in April…I can save up after I go back to work and then spoil myself.

But this means that for the foreseeable future I may not be blogging regularly, I have to rely on snail mail with The Boyfriend which at the moment is not an option due to his current status/location…not funny God.

So, just another challenge to face, another hurdle to jump. We grow through adversity. In the last 6 months I have:

  • Been homeless
  • Lived with no furniture when I did get a home
  • Started dating
  • Quit my job
  • Learned how to be a Wildland Fire Fighter
  • Found a new church
  • Began teaching Sunday School again
  • Taught my boys how to fish
  • Got my butt kicked at mini-golf more times than I’d like to count
  • Taken my kids bowling
  • Loved intentionally
  • Lived intentionally
  • Moved on.

This little blip is nothing compared to some of those things. I’m a warrior, I got this. Just like rules are made to be broken, plans are made to be changed. I believe that everything is exactly as it is supposed to be at this moment.

Can You Feel It?

My boys are the most compassionate children I have ever met. They are eager to serve others and to show people love.

This last weekend the boys were talking about a trip they are going on with their dad’s family. Bubba still hasn’t figured out why or how I am ‘kicked out of the family’ if I still have the same last name. He sees no reason why I shouldn’t be going on this trip with them because I am still his and Bum’s family and it’s been sold to them as a family trip. I explained that their family is different now than it did before.

Now, it’s like he is blessed with two families. Sometimes he will do something with Dad’s side of the family that won’t include Mom, and other times he will do things with my side of the family that won’t include Dad.

Earlier in the weekend Bum was telling me about the trip and he said, “Mom, did you know the babies are coming with us too?” I asked what he meant and he told me, “You know, all our angels, they are coming with us too.” Apparently he had asked his dad if they were going to be going with them and was told that yes, the babies are always with us wherever we go and they will be on their trip as well.

When I was in class with Bubba I was introduced to the little girl beside him. She is new to his school and I asked where she came from. She told me and then said, “But something bad happened.” The look of devastation in her eyes was striking.

A little while later she asked Bubba where he lived (she lives in the country). He told her, I live in town and I live at my mom’s house when it’s her turn. I explained, “Bubba’s mom and dad are getting a divorce…”

Her eyes got big and she whispered, “That’s exactly the same thing that happened…” I said well, then you and Bubba have somebody you each can talk to about it. Bubba turned to her and told her that they could talk in class or that they could go sit somewhere at recess and just talk privately and that if she ever needed to talk she could come to him.

The love, the compassion, the desire to help and serve…that’s my boys. I am honored that God choose me to be their mom.

Lord, continue to give my children the compassion and strength to reach out to others even while their hearts are aching.

 

What I Need

When people find out I am getting divorced I get the normal sympathies. When they find out my boys are living with their dad, they often are overcome with shock and wonder. I get everything from ‘how did that happen’ which my brain translates into “what kind of mother looses her kids” to “OMG, how are you doing?”

I’m fine…I’m one of the lucky ones. Yes, I’m very lucky. I know my boys are only 20 miles away. I know my boys are healthy, I know my boys love their dad, I know that their dad loves them, I know that the boys and I love each other.

I spent enough time beating myself up when the judge granted him temporary custody in March. I don’t have a need to continue that. I don’t need to be depressed because my boys are at their other home.

In some ways…and I mean this as no offence to parents who have lost a child, I am only trying to put a face on it for others who may not understand. In some ways it is like the first time you laugh after the death of a loved one…you catch yourself, you beat yourself up. How dare you move on, how dare my body betray me by allowing me to feel joy and happiness. I am supposed to be drowning in depression. I did that. My first weeks without the boys were absolute hell. I missed them, my heart ached, my body screamed for them in my arms.

Then I took a breath. I knew that if I was going to be able to enjoy what limited time we do have together I was going to have to learn to enjoy life without them as well. When you live in misery, you cannot just turn it off at 6pm every other Friday…it follows you, it embraces you, it drowns you.

I couldn’t focus on the look on Bubba’s face when he realized I couldn’t tell him when I would see him again the day I moved out. I couldn’t focus on Bum calling me two days later telling me he wanted things “back in order.”

What I could focus on were the positive things. The fact that this is a huge learning experience for all of us. Bubba and Bum are great kids. They needed the mom who had been lost for a long time in a miserable marriage. They needed the awesome mom that Bug and my step kids experienced when they were younger. The fun mom, the playful mom, the mom who runs through the sprinkler with them, plays Frisbee, teaches them to cook, digs for worms, and plants flowers. The mom who isn’t afraid to shout, “WE DON’T SHOOT UNARMED PEOPLE IN OUR FAMILY” out the front door not caring what the neighbors think (a rule with water guns and Nerf guns…it’s only fair).

Over the last couple of months, I’ve found that mom. I wish we had a sprinkler at our apartment but we make due. We enjoy (almost) every minute we have together…c’mon, they are real live boys they still get in trouble some times.

There are still times when I am overcome with a loneliness I cannot explain, the physical ache of my empty arms…but for the most part I am okay.

What I don’t need is people trying to tell me ‘dirt’ on their father. I don’t need people to try and tell me how the kids act or look when they see them with their other parent. That is his time. I know we don’t always look like the Cleaver family either, nor would I want to.

I need people to understand that the boys’ father’s personal life is just that…HIS personal life. It is no longer mine. Just as I don’t wish for people to ‘report to him’ on my comings and goings, I really have no desire to hear about his.

Yes we are still in the middle of an extremely nasty, dirty, mean divorce…why try to add fuel to the fire. It is the hands of the courts at this time. If you want to help, pray for the judge who is charged with determining the lives of two very unique children he has never met.

If you see my kids and they are with their other parent, please PLEASE treat them the same as you would if they were with me. Acknowledge them, hug them, talk to them…if you joke around with them when they are with me, continue that. You don’t have to like their father to love my kids, you don’t even have to like me. Nothing hurts more than your child wondering why they are invisible all of a sudden to certain people.

As the divorce is not yet final, we are still finding our new normal…we don’t even know what that might look like at this time. We are loving each other, we are loving other people, we are loving ourselves.

They Made Me

I don’t understand people who blame their parents and how they were for the choices they make in their adult years. GIVE IT UP already. Who did have a childhood that was all puppies and butterflies? Sounds pretty boring to me.

My childhood made me the adult I have become, I am the parent I am  because of the things my parents did right AND the things they did  wrong…I am thankful for both aspects of my youth. I have no  regrets…the things in my childhood are not mine to regret, they are  only mine to embrace as part of what makes me who I am.

When my mom met my step-dad, I was not quite five. On the day of my fifth birthday we had gone to Leaf Rapids for the day; I’m  guessing it had something to do with the construction company he and his  brothers were co-owners of. Anyway, we spent all day in Leaf Rapids,  went back to our apartment, and STILL…no cake. The man who would  eventually walk me down the isle at my wedding was still there when mom  sent us three older kids kids to get jammies on. After getting ready for  bed, I went back out to the kitchen…and there was a chocolate cake. I was sure everybody forgot it was my birthday! This is still one of my favorite birthday memories, only to be topped by my thirtieth birthday, when I found I was pregnant with Bubba!!

I must say that my parents worked very hard to raise seven  children in a blended family. Looking back, knowing what I know now  about the difficulties of blending extended family, I do not know how my  mom did it. It must have been hard to watch one pair grandparents treat the  children as “sets.” I know it was hard from our point of view. I also know now that I am acutely sensitive to how the families on both side of this divorce treat my children.

I had so many opportunities growing up, several of which I blew…the Jasper and California band trips come to mind immediately as does the opportunity to mentor with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. I also had many opportunities I embraced, babysitting a deaf child, volunteering to help take the Special Ed class swimming are two of my favorites.

This is how I got to where I am. I don’t hold blame against anybody for the ‘negatives’ in my life as they really aren’t negatives only opportunities for growth…well damnit somedays I wish I was done growing because if EVER I knew growth spurts were painful, it is now!

So, I move forward…one step at a time, one day at a time. Sometimes one minute at a time through the pain and anguish that is growth. 

My friends and family continue to lift me up when I fall down, my children are beams of light in a dark world, and I’ll be okay.

Out of the Mouths 2

I complete forgot about this one until I was chatting with a friend this morning. Bubba (formerly known as B1) drove to the refuge on Sunday with The Friend, her children and her father-in-law. Bum (formerly known as B2) and I followed them in our van. It’s about a 45 minute drive and I had been hoping he would pass out for a few minutes as it was going to end up being a long day.

He didn’t.

We get to the turn off, three miles to go and I get this:

Bum: Mom, you should have another baby.

Me: I should?

Bum: Ya, you should have another baby in your belly.

Me: Why? Do you want to be a big brother?

Bum: No, I want a sister.

Me: Oh, but if I have a baby, you will be the baby’s big brother.

Bum: I want to pick out the name.

Me: You do?

Bum: Ya.

Me: Oh

Bum: So can you have another baby in your belly Mom?

Me: Well, I don’t know kiddo.

Bum: Maybe when I’m six? (he will be six in November)

Me: No

Bum: After Six will I be Seven?

Me: Yes

Bum: Maybe when I’m seven. You should have a baby in your belly when I’m seven.

Me: Hey look, we’re here, are you excited?

Where does he come up with this stuff?

 

Days

The last eleven days have, by far, been the most difficult of my life. My children are so close, yet so far. I have been doing my best to not allow the sorrow to swallow me whole and it is not always easy.

To hear my baby tell me he wants things “…back in order” was crippling. I could not tell him everything was going to be ok. All I could tell him was that I loved him and that I missed him too. I let him know when our next visit would be. I told him I was sad that he was sad, and how much I loved him. That’s all I could do. I could not bring comfort to the baby I spent 23 weeks on bed rest for. I could not take away the tears of my baby boy. I cried myself to sleep that night.

I started the new phase of this journey by posting “Day one: I feel _____ .” on my Facebook profile. People filled in the blank. Day two was I am: _____ . Each day has been a different sentence starter. The responses have been overwhelming and more often than not bring tears of happiness and heartbreak at the same time. It is so encouraging to know that my friends and family have my back through this all.

My kids are facing challenges that seem agonizingly insumountable. I can be confident that I have given them the tools to speak, the strength to cry, the security to question authority.

This post has taken me all day to write, and I am not even going to reread or edit it before posting. I’m just going to post it as it is.

Bug, Bubba, and Bum…I love you to the moon and back. I love you more than Skittles. I love you forty hundred and eighty seventy.