Finally, Merry Chrsitmas

So many people have made this Christmas exactly what it is supposed to be about…loving one another. We have gone from nothing to everything I could ever dream of.

I am not one of those parents who has to buy a million things for my kids at Christmas. I am fine with them opening up a few meaningful gifts as opposed to the endless gifts that some families do. B1 will get a long awaited for scooter and B2 a guitar that he has had his eye on for more than a year…you know it’s important when a child wants it that long. They will also both get 2 Hot Wheels in their stockings from Santa (a gift he brings every year) and a fleece blanket for Mom’s house. B1 will also get some underwear as we noticed the other day he seems to have too few pair.

The blanket is because that is the only thing that they have to haul back and forth from Dad’s house every week. This way, they only need to throw the Kinnect for the X-box into one of the backpacks and then I won’t even have to stop and see their father every week! so things are definitely looking up.

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve. We don’t have anything planned so it will just be more of the same…UNO (the current favorite household hit) and maybe some ice fishing if the weather cooperates. I am taking the boys shopping tomorrow to buy something for each other. My sister had sent them each $10 USD and then she suggested to use it to buy them something small. It was then that I came up with the idea of them buying something for each other. I am taking one boy and a friend has agreed to take the other…I’m sure they will each know what they got each other before we even get home…but it’s the thought that counts! LOL

Depending how tomorrow goes, Santa might be bringing me a year of Xbox Live and Netflix, but we’ll see…he might have to leave me an IOU for now. The ex is picking the boys up at 9am Christmas morning to begin his week. He was to pick them up yesterday morning to start his week but ‘offered’ to let me keep them (so he wouldn’t have to pay for two full days of childcare). Another day with my boys is NEVER a bad thing.

B1 did ask if they were staying extra at dad’s to make up for the missed days and I told him that no, when dad chooses to not take days, they are simply missed, there is no making up when it is a choice to give up the day. I explained that if it were something like he was sick and didn’t have a choice I would let him make it up but not when he just wants to leave them with me. It was extremely difficult to find the right words to use as I didn’t want to use trigger words such as “doesn’t want you” or things of that nature. B1 has enough issues, he doesn’t need me feeding his inadequacy fears.

Tomorrow will be about making new memories, maybe some cookies (but don’t hold your breath, I am NOT Betty Crocker). Brownie in a mug, we can do…cookies from scratch…that’s pushing it.

Thank you all for your prayers, love, support, and most of all for keeping me on the right track. I couldn’t do this alone!!

Reality Check

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Yesterday’s sermon at church was a reality check for many. We were asked if we really trust God with our whole hearts. My initial response was, “Well of course I do. He has always provided for me.”

Then came the challenge between my heart and my brain. How can I even pretend that I completely trust God when I am living in such turmoil regarding my current employment situation when I KNOW that where God guides, he will provide.

The above text says, “…and lean NOT on your own understanding…”

That has gotten me through this last six months in one piece. I cannot lean on my own understanding, I trust that everything that is happening right now is a part of God’s plan and that God is good. So how is it that I can completely trust Him when it comes to the futures of my children and the courts, and everything regarding my divorce, yet I can’t find it in me to follow the path He has made for me.

I feel like there is the path He has set out before me, and every time I step off the path…he merely moves it again and places it back in front of me. This isn’t something I can deny.

God is SCREAMING in my ear to quit my job, to move forward. Do I trust him enough to believe everything will be ok? Do I trust Him enough to provide for my needs? My heart says yes, I do trust Him. My brain is wondering if God will pay the rent.

I have filled out applications and am taking some online training that has nothing to do with my current job. These are steps in the right direction. My question is, how long do I allow my current job to drain me emotionally, physically, and spiritually? Do I hold out until something comes along? Do I wait until I snap?

I have a very real fear that staying here will cause a breakdown. I told a friend yesterday that it feels like the boss is doing everything in his power right now to get me to quit. He badgers me, blames me for things that I did not do, gets frustrated when I call him out. My friend said, “Of course he’s brow-beating you, you know way too much.”

I was once a great asset to his business. Everybody knows I ran this place. Now that I refuse to do his job for him (as I had been doing) I am of no use to him even as a peon. This was his decision to change my status and my duties. For him to expect me to do all I had before is allowing myself to be used, and I’m not okay with that.

I understand that with the divorce going on I cannot just up and quit my job without another one waiting. I’m sure the judge would not look favorably on me just quitting my job while asking for custody of my children.

I have court next week. It is the actual divorce trial. As the ex and I have not agreed on ANYTHING, it will be up to the judge to decide on every aspect of the situation. From custody, visitation, who is responsible for what bills, etc. I understand judges hate to make these decisions, they prefer people to work out their own agreements and then rubber stamp it. Judges know that they will never know the whole story, they understand they have no idea what goes on behind closed doors.

“…in all your ways submit to him and he will make your path straight…”

I need to put in my notice. I cannot stay here. If I put in my notice today for two weeks, I am confident that I will find something in time, plus that would give me two more paychecks, a full one and a half one. All my bills are already paid for  September, my next paycheck could pay all of October’s bills…just sayin’.

Lord, I know that you will never lead me astray and that where your path leads, I will be provided with the necessary resources and tools to follow you. Quiet my heart as I learn to submit to you Lord. Amen

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.

Sometimes…

There are times in a little girls’ life when all she needs, all she wants, is her Daddy. There are just some things Mom can’t do.

Daddy sees his broken little girl and takes her fishing, snowmobiling, for a drive, throws a football…he doesn’t bother trying to make it better or try talking about it. Daddy takes his little girl out to the garage and works on cars, and snowmobiles, teaches woodworking skills, and keeps his mouth shut.

All I want right now…all I’ve ever wanted, is to be Daddy’s girl.

 

What I Heard

Acts 3:

1 One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer–at three in the afternoon. 2 Now a man crippled from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. 3 When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. 4 Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” 5 So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them. 6 Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” 7 Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. 8 He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. 9 When all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.

The sermon at church Sunday focused on these first ten verses of the third chapter of Acts. The youth pastor and his young assistant (who did wonderfully) preached about how John and Peter were…(where the heck did I put my notes?)…I love the fact that our church includes sermon notes as part of the bulletin. Each week I follow the sermon, take notes, and usually have some great epiphany (yes pun intended Pastor Jeff) that needs to be blogged about. I’m sure if I look through the debris in my van, I have MANY wonderful sermon notes just waiting to be blogged upon…but I digress…

A. Peter and John were heart ready. When they saw the beggar they were open to helping him, they did not rush past with they eyes to the ground. Instead, they looked right at him.

B. Peter and John are not afraid. They didn’t care what people would think of them performing God’s work in the midst of a crowd. They did not feel awkward sharing their gift, their knowledge, their understanding.

C. Peter and John are not typical. They could not give the beggar what he asked for. What if they had only walked by when they realized they did not have exactly what he was asking for. He wasn’t asking to be healed, he was asking for financial consideration. Everybody else just gave him what he asked for.

For me, when I pray, I rarely ask God to provide me with what I think I need. Who knows my needs better than the One who created me? I’m a little stressed out lately…I’m not even sure what I’d ask for…oh ya…I do…a maid. A maid who doesn’t require cash payment…never mind, I won’t go there…my last wish for a maid got me in trouble!

Sorry sweetie…I promise…no male maids…but a pedicure would sure be nice right about now.

ANYWAY…how the HECK do these posts go off the track like that? No warning…then BAM…totally off topic…back to my scheduled thought…

A long time ago I learned to not ask God for what I wanted. Instead, I ask for help understanding the journey that I am on.  Before I was ordered to move out of my home I would have prayed and prayed and prayed to be granted custody of my kids and use of the house. Being that I did not get those things, I would have been extremely disappointed in God. Not me though, I asked only for God to help the judge make the best decision possible for the sake of my children…and I believe he did.

Although some people are right now thinking I need to have my meds adjusted…just wait, hear me out…

The worst of the worst case scenario happened…Mr. Ex was granted custody and I was kicked out of the house. The lessons I learned through that were that I am strong enough to get through anything, I found out who my friends were and that they would stand by me no matter what,  that all the hard work I put in to raising my children gave them the security they needed to know that no matter what I would always be there for them. I also learned that my love for them was strong enough to last the 12 day span that I don’t see them. That once back in my arms, I don’t have to remind them they are loved, they just know it (but I remind them anyway).

Although a great take on the reading, I had a completely different take on it. I’m sure my current situation colored my view, but it is one that I think needs to be expressed.

As I’ve mentioned before I believe strongly that everything happens for a reason. I choose to believe that every experience, even those deemed negative by the majority, have a purpose.

With all the kids and I are going through at this time, I believe it is a lesson teaching my boys just how wonderful they are, teaching me how strong I am. It is my choice to embrace this struggle with as much of a positive attitude as I can manage. I know that when God’s plan is revealed I will be able to celebrate my own growth and the growth of the boys.

If I was negative through all of this, my children would not be free to express their emotions. The potential to miss all the positive things we have seen and done in these few months would be a waste. All the teachable moments would be colored with negativity.

My brother was born with Down’s Syndrome. Not once…NEVER, would I have wished him born with only 46 chromosomes. I would not have been involved with the Special Olympics as a child, I would never have been able to appreciate the little things in life…teaching him to read…little monster books were a favorite while we sat in a steamy bathroom through yet another round of croup. I don’t know if I would have been so eager to learn American Sign Language which led to a regular babysitting gig with a deaf girl…which led to me teach all of my children sign language (B2’s current obsession…you should have seen him signing like a mad-man as he pulled away in his dad’s car last week…TOO AWESOME).

This beggar was born lame for a reason…so he could be healed in God’s time. When God decided the time was right. God made him lame from birth so that so many more people could see how wonderful He was through these three men. I wish more people could embrace their journey where they are instead of always wishing for something different. Things are as they are for a reason, and they are good.