Begin Again

I don’t even know how I’m going to get y’all caught up on the awesomeness that has been my last week, but I will try my best.

FIRST…yes, I remembered to wear a sweatshirt to blog today no thanks to any reminders from my friends who read this blog…LOL

Life is about to make some HUGE changes for me. The hearing we had in July was FINALLY ruled on. The judge has changed the custody arrangement to give me 50% parenting time!! WOO HOO. I have to admit, it’s not ALL good though. My boys go to school in a town 22 miles from where I was able to find housing when I was forced to move out in April. I am responsible for transportation on the weeks they are in my care (one week at mom’s, one week and dad’s is the new arrangement).

So for those days I will have to drive 22 miles to take them to school, 22 miles back to town to go to work and then make that trip again at the end of the day to pick them up. This is not going to be easy on me or our budget. Right now I drive a mini-van. I am looking at selling it and getting a more economical vehicle just for the increased mileage. It’s just the boys and I for now, we don’t need a mini-van.

Their father is, shall I say, less than enthused about this new arrangement. No…he is PISSED. Not only does he lose the power over me of deciding when and where I see my children, he knows that Bubba will become much more defiant while he is at dad’s because I encourage him to speak up for himself and for what he believes is right. It’s easy to ‘beat’ that out of a child when they only get reinforcements for 2 days out of 14. When it’s 50/50 there could be trouble.

Bum already says he just wants to go to school in my town (unfortunately he has no say and for ‘right now’ I am not pushing the issue until a few more kinks are finalized).

The ex also has to pay me $1500 in alimony (for the first three months I was out of the house). He is not impressed with this either. I have no idea when this money will show up but I DO know that it will be a great big help with the increased expenses of having the boys for 7 days instead of 2.

The kids are excited to be able to attend church one more night each week (the Monday evening service). They are also excited that they now have access to things such as Boy Scouts, 4-h, AWANA, tae-kwon-do, and many other activities not available in their dad’s town.

I imagine that Bum will be wanting to  spend more and more time at my house and eventually free enough to request to not to return to his dad’s for the week days. I also believe that Dad, having no more control over the situation, will allow this to happen and eventually walk out on his boys. He did the same thing when his first ex-wife moved out of town with the children from his first marriage. He used the distance (22 miles) as an excuse to not be involved in their daily lives.

He has voiced his concern a number of times since the order came to light on Friday about how awful this is going to be for the boys…how tough it was going to be on me. Ya, like that’s EVER been his concern. My willingness to put these children ahead of everything else in my life only reflects back to him his own shortcomings as far as parenting them.

I’m not a super mom…just a mom who will move heaven and earth (and super sleepy boys at 0715) to be able to spend even a few extra evening hours with them. I am willing to cut out all my extra spending (even considering reducing my bowling commitment, maybe only bowling every other week or less) just to get ahead of the budget once I get back to work.

The change also comes at a time when both boys have birthday’s coming up (Bum in November, Bubba in December) plus Christmas so the budget is gonna be a challenge to say the least. Bubba is looking forward to being an integral part of financial planning. He loves that kind of thing. He loves setting goals and meeting them ahead of schedule. He has already learned the rewards of budgeting and planning. I love that kid’s brain!!

As far as the bunk beds donated to the boys…THEY CAME WITH MATTRESSES!!! I almost cried when the man dropped them off to our home. Super happy little men to sleep in actual beds for the first time at mom’s house. For their birthday’s I will be buying them each new bedding for their beds and donating our gently used items to the local woman’s shelter.

So much more going on, the job, the kids, the church, my friends…and it’s all good.

The boyfriend is safe and busier than you (or I) can imagine. Communication blackouts are more frequent lately for whatever reason and there are days that is hard on me. He is not surprised at the order and sees it as a stepping stone to the boys being with me full time by the time this divorce is final. I believe this as well…but my heart is a little more guarded about saying that out loud.

My laptop part may no longer be available so I am without a computer at home until further notice. Far from the top of my list of priorities…but it will be on the wish list the boys and I work on when we start our new budget!! I have not seen The Boyfriend for a month now and I won’t lie, it’s TOUGH. I send him pictures of the boys and I and the things we do…a taste of home I guess I see it as. We’ll be fine, we didn’t come this far for nothing. He still has more than six months on this deployment and although time has been going pretty fast, there are still days that take weeks to get through.

My heart is full, and happy. Change is tough, it’s hard, it’s challenging, and it’s exciting.

Advertisements

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!!

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.

Bridges

This was written October 24, 2011. I have edited it, but the message is the same.

I work very hard at forgiving others for their actions against me. A complete forgiveness should absolve them of their negative actions, right? I start to wonder about how to move forward. If they are forgiven completely, doesn’t that mean that it is erased as if it never happened? Or does it mean that the lesson is learned and you move forward based on that life lesson?

I don’t hold grudges; they are a waste of time and energy and a thief of serenity. I am also not willing to put myself in harms way. I forgive the person who took my virginity in an agonizing act of rape…but I sure as hell never saw him again. I forgave my big brother for knocking three of my teeth loose in the seventh grade…and I learned to never make him say ‘please’ again when he asked for his stuff back.

Maybe it is just that these are lessons that shape us and our path in life. Maybe once the bridge is burned, it is possible to rebuild the bridge, but it takes a lot of hard work, and time. Once a bridge is burned you can’t immediately return to the site of the fire because of the lingering smoke and potential for flare ups. You can purchase materials for the rebuild and leave them in a safe place.

If the person on the other side does not allow you to rebuild the bridge, at least you have done everything in your power to allow for the rebuild. The other person cannot complain that he no longer has a bridge if you offered to rebuild, and bought the materials. You then can have a clear conscious moving forward. It is your job at that point to move on. If you have honestly and completely come to an understanding of why and how you burned the bridge in the first place, your job is to admit the mistake and take steps to put the bridge back where it was.

I’ve been that person on the other side and there are times when there is no way in hell that the bridge burner is stepping foot on my land. Leave the damn materials on the side of the road, if I choose to use them, I will. If not, I can’t bitch that my bridge is gone forever if the material rots on the side of the road. Whatever you do, do NOT even think about trying to build that bridge without my permission…you will be shot on site.

As the bridge burner you must also be aware that I very well may use those materials to build a wall to keep you off my property forever. That is a chance you will have to take, and a very good probability that this is exactly what I will use the materials for.

As the person whose bridge was burnt, I also need to be mindful that once the materials rot there may never be the chance to rebuild that bridge…the burner may also choose to move on.

Personally, I do my best at allowing the bridges to be rebuilt. It is not uncommon though for me to post the rules for crossing the bridge at the entrance, and this helps prevent a reoccurrence.

 

Step One

This is not going to happen over night.

The first thing Miss Bug gets to do tonight after work is to come clean with all the relevant information regarding her latest boyfriend. She has told several stories to several people and I have made it clear that I don’t care what stories she tells to anybody, she needs to be honest with me.

We are also going to be going through her Facebook tonight. I made it clear that when she makes her entire life a public target people are going to take aim. Those are not the people she needs involved with her life.

I am not going so far to say she needs a complete Facebook lockdown, only that she needs to scale back the information that is available to her 711 ‘friends.’ While I would like to do a complete Facebook lock down, that is a little much at this stage. I understand that.

I am not trying to set her up to fail, I am only interested in setting her up for complete success. I received a message this morning from somebody who knows the job I have in front of me and I was told that I am the best person for the job. I love to get that pat on the back.

The Pastor from our church is doing some searching in helping to find her a mentor. I’m looking for somebody along the lines as an AA type sponsor…a Faith Mentor if you will. The more I work through the figuring out what she needs, I find it to be very much like a twelve step program at this time.

Step One: We admitted we were powerless over our problems and behaviors and that our lives had become unmanageable.

For me…the keyword in the above sentence is WERE. We WERE powerless. That still allows us to have hope that we ARE able to gain power and control. This is where I need to start with Bug. Until she understands that she WAS powerless and that it is her job to take the power back, I am fighting a losing battle.

Admitting is hard. Especially as an egotistical, narcissistic teenager. Admitting is also where the fight becomes a journey.

Last night we worked on a spending plan, a meal plan, and some house rules. These are easy on the surface, not so easy when it changes your life style.

She can do this. I know she can. I know the strength and will that lives deep within this child of mine. As I often tell people, “She is so much like her mother that it hurts.” She is also her own person. I think that will be my biggest challenge, allowing her to retain that individuality while taming the beast.

Wish me luck, pray for strength. I’m gonna need it.

Exhausted

The hardest job a parent has is being consistant. Tonight I am doing what needs to be done. It is tearing at every fiber of my heart. It has nearly crippled me into submission. For the sake of my child I cannot stop now.

My daughter showed up on my doorstep last night saying she needed to stay here for a couple hours…she fed me a bullshit story. I didn’t buy her story, but wanted to see where it went.

Of course she was still here when I got up this morning. I had slept in and told her several times as I was getting dressed to move it; no way in hell was she staying here while I was at work. As I was already late, and she was moving slower than molasses in December I yelled at her to move her ass. She yelled back. I said, “Oh no, little girl, this is my house, my rules and I have to go, move your damn ass and let’s go.”

When she was finished work she sent me a text: I’m done. I ignored it. She then called twice. I didn’t pick up the phone. She was expecting things to return to what she left last week when I would pick her up after work. Not happening sweet pea. She walked over here and I let her knock on the door a few times before answering.

As I was not ready to confront her at that time I let it go. She went into the bedroom without saying a word to me. I went back to watching TV and fell sleep (I’m a bachelorette, it’s what I do).

I rested and woke up ready to take on the world…and my daughter.

I went in to the bedroom and asked when she was leaving. She simply replied that she wasn’t sure. I told her to get her ass out of bed and to get out here in to the living room.

I quizzed her on what her plan was. I told her she was not welcome to stay here, “You cannot call me a c*nt on Facebook on Sunday and expect to just come in and eat my food and stay at my house on Wednesday.” Of course, she rolled her eyes at me…helping to strengthen my resolve.

I said she can spend tonight but that she was to be gone tomorrow after work and to not bother expecting me to pick her up after work as I am not her taxi service. I also let her know that she was to be ready to leave the apartment by 6:45 am tomorrow morning.

She has burned this bridge and without even trying to repair it she figured she could merely take the long way around. I don’t work like that. Not today, not ever.

I have enough on my plate right now, I certainly do not need this.

Bug Part One: The Overview

My daughter is once again severely unstable. My heart is hurting, my mind is racing. Once again I am doing my best to not interfere as it would only lead to turmoil.

There is only so much you can do for one who refuses to do anything for herself. As an adult I can talk to her psychologist, and give her information yet cannot receive any regarding her care. This is hardly relevant though as she has not been seeing her shrink for nearly a month at this point.

She is couch surfing, jumping from boyfriend to boyfriend and madly in love with everyone of them. This goes beyond the typical ‘boy-crazy-teenager” phase. This morning her Facebook relationship status is updated to engaged. My heart aches. She has known this kid for only a few weeks.

Although her and I had a fairly good week last week, it fell apart in a matter of seconds on Sunday night.

I am struggling to sit on my hands and watch the train wreck that she is making of her life, yet I understand that she cannot learn from my mistakes, she must learn from her own.

All I can do is pray, and document. If the spiral continues at this alarming rate I will take steps to have her declared a vulnerable adult and she will have no option but to listen to the courts. If this means having her institutionalized, then so be it.