How I Do It

So often I am asked how I deal with disappointment, rejection, stress, and the general unknown with such a positive attitude. I did not get the church job that I had applied for and hoped the most for. When I got the call, it was hard to keep the tears at bay as I talked to the woman who called. She had nothing but praise for my skills, and thanks for everything I’d already been doing with and at the church in terms of volunteering and working with the children’s ministry, etc.

Well, if I am so awesome, why didn’t I get the job; the same thoughts I’m sure anybody in my position at that time would have had. I was sad, I was hurt, I felt rejected, I wondered what I did wrong, what I could have done better. All normal thoughts. I posted on my Facebook that although I know through all things God works for good, my heart was hurting.

The self pity and despair lasted only about 20 minutes or so…then it hit me; if through all things, God works for good He must have something super awesome in the works for me and I better be ready for it. The next day I had a short moment of financial panic and had to remind myself that I am fine until December. I have time, God has time. There is no need to call McDonald’s and tell them I need to start working tomorrow. I still have time.

I’m not sure how a new employer would like it if I called and accepted the job offer only to tell them I need Thursday and Friday of my first week off because I had already promised Bum that he could come spend those days at my house (he has a break from school). So I will pick him up after school on Wednesday and he can come watch me bowl with my league and then we will have Thursday and Friday to be bums together. I’m guessing the library and Netflix will be our best friends!!

It even crossed my mind that taking that job may not have been the best idea after all. I am now teaching the elementary aged Sunday School (two classes each Sunday), I have offered to help provide treats for the youth group meetings occasionally, I plan on attending the Monday evening church service (as I will miss it on Sunday due to teaching), plus I am attending this Bible Study group. Would it become too much? Would it start to seem like everything was part of my job and would the lines between the volunteer time and work time begin to blur? Good call God…well played.

On Thursday last week I had a speech in Fargo and it was amazing. I was going to stick around and attend one of what used to be my favorite AA meetings but half way there my event calendar on my iPod reminded me that I had signed up for a Bible Study group that same night, I would have to rush back as soon as I was done talking. I hemmed and hawed about heading back but in the end I knew it was where I needed to be.

Another one of those ‘best decisions ever’ moments. There were three of us in attendance and we shared some deeply personal stories and the study was amazingly fitting for where I am at in my life. It talked about God our Father and how it compared to our visions of our own fathers growing up and present day.

I said my Step-dad has always been there, through thick and thin. He made some HUGE mistakes as a man, a parent, a person; yet he never left my side. Sure, we’ve had our moments, who hasn’t with their parents? But I have never questioned my dad’s love for me. Just as I never have to question God’s love for me. I am confident in His love and that He will always be at my side.

I was able to share with the group how I see forgiveness and how I try to teach my kids about forgiveness. When I first taught them the Lord’s Prayer, I taught each petition separately. When it came to “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us” I explained that if we only forgave somebody on the surface (as many people seem to do) and God forgave us in the same way then eternity was a long time if we were forgiven in the same way that we forgive only superficially.

It is because of this thought process that I am easily able to forgive people completely. I don’t hold a grudge, I don’t have expectations, I know that if there is a debt to be paid for a sin, it will be paid. Maybe not in my time or even the other person’s life here on earth, but judgement day will come for them and God who is merciful and just will see to it that His will be done.

That’s how I get through the days, the weeks, the months…sometimes the minutes. With a calm confidence that I am exactly where I need to be at this moment in time and that one day somebody will be able to make sense of it all. Fortunately for me, I am able to see through much of the daily static and see the light and it’s not at the end of the tunnel, but brightly shining on the path directly in front of me.

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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!!

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.

Weekend

When it comes to returning to work after a relaxing weekend, I have it pretty good. Monday’s start out very slow. I have time to sit at my desk, have a couple (or ten) cups of coffee, check my email, and get read for the rest of the day. When the rush hits at about 10:00am it is non-stop for the rest of the day

This weekend was extremely wonderful for me. Saturday morning I got out of bed, made coffee…went back to bed. That’s where everybody belongs on Saturday. The boys were not with me so I was in no rush to go anywhere or do anything. I did leave the house at some point…I just don’t remember what for or where we even went. What I do know for certain is that my daughter and I returned home and took a nap. Some days just don’t get any better than that!

Unfortunately, that meant neither one of us slept very good Saturday night. I think it was about 4:30am when she came and asked me, “I’m guessing we are going to the 11:00 church instead of the 9:30 church?”

I told her I was still hoping to go to the early service because I had tentative plans with Bum to go to an event at the wildlife refuge. Turns out we were both awake on time for church.

After church I called Bum and he had decided he didn’t want to go to the refuge, apparently he was ‘in a mood’ as Bubba calls it. That’s ok, that works as well. Instead, I spent the rest of my day having the time of my life with The Friend.

Her and I haven’t had much time at all for just the two of us in a long while. We stopped to eat (we always do when we are out together), then shopping, and then bingo. Sometimes life doesn’t get any better than that. We even won at bingo. We didn’t win enough to break even, but that wasn’t the point…we went to have fun; mission accomplished!

I don’t think either of us actually bought anything for ourselves, I bought the boys each a cute t-shirt; we can’t be the only mom’s that go for a girl’s day out and end up getting things for everybody but ourselves…can we?

~~

Update on Bug:

Everything is still going well. She shows signs of steady improvement and this week we are going to approach the subject of mending bridges. She’s burned quite a few of them, and it’s not going to be easy. She needs to understand the hurt she has done and that she needs to ease into healing the wounds instead of jumping in and thinking everything will be alright.

Her first paycheck was swallowed up pretty fast (as I had predicted). Funny to watch a kid with that much money for the first time.

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?