Don’t be ordinary…

In love. In life. In parenthood. In anything. It’s a good rule – why be ordinary?

The above quote says it all for me as we head towards the big V-day. And I may not be going where you think I’m am with this. It’s not a “To heck with jerks! You go tell him where to stick it girl!” kind of thing.

We are all so incredibly unique. Nope – we’re not all special little snowflakes to be coddled and protected from every bump in the road. But we are unique.

No two people have exactly the same life experience, outlook, talents or challenges.

Valentine’s Day is bittersweet for many, sweet for some and just plain bitter for others.

We’ve heard it all, right?  ‘Love yourself first’ and ‘you can’t love another person until you love yourself’. And these are true.

We get totally sick of hearing them when  we’d rather have an awkward date with Mr. Not-Quite-Right than sit at home alone with take-out and binge-watching GOT one more night. There’s nothing wrong with going on that date if you are just looking for a fun night out, and everyone involved has a realistic expectation of outcomes.

But please routinely put in the effort to make those statements above true.

Don’t waste too much time on Mr. (or Ms!) Not Quite Right – buy yourself a treat instead – a handbag you’ve wanted, a ticket to a sporting event, a dinner out at a lovely restaurant – and it doesn’t have to be expensive – do it on a shoestring – a walk in the park or hiking expedition of your own can be so incredibly gratifying. Take a lesson in something you’ve been dying to learn – rock climbing or painting or whatever tickles your fancy.

Self-care takes a lot of practice – you might not have that rosy “I love me!” feeling. It doesn’t matter – do the thing anyway. Take the moment – if it’s nothing but stopping working on all the other things to read for 30 minutes and have a bath. Your heart, mind and body all three will thank you. (The rosy feelings do sometimes come! I promise!)

Next, let’s consider ‘Don’t expend energy loving someone who doesn’t love you more than you love you.’

A mouthful – I know. I’m no Oscar Wilde. But I think the point is important.

Once we remember how to love ourselves, we shouldn’t work so hard to love someone who doesn’t cherish all the parts of us at least as much as we do.

When you truly love someone, you even find ways to cherish the parts of them that drive you crazy.

My SO and I have this piece down. For example – he’s reticent. Completely. HUGELY. And it drives me totally bonkers most of the time. He doesn’t communicate AT ALL when he’s upset. Then I get upset because he’s not communicating – and then he’s upset that I’m upset, and it can get really stupid.

BUT – I’ve learned from his reticence. Running off at the mouth has always been a problem of mine – but being around him has caused me to slow down and consider more carefully the things that come out of my mouth. It has taught me that not everything needs an immediate response and sometimes it doesn’t need a response at all.

Still drives me nuts when he does it sometimes (and funnily enough was the most infuriating part to me about my dad! Wished I’d learned from him instead of waiting this long.) But it’s part of who he is as a person – and it does have value.

I *think* I’m teaching him something about empathy – which drives him bonkers. We have to stop before leaving DQ to say hi to the older fellow sitting alone with his cone. He has to wait for me constantly because I have a need to know EVERYONE’S story. I want them all. He was not previously overly concerned about other’s stories – or with sharing his own.

I think he sees through my crazy eyes that wanting to know about others, because you’re truly interested in their story, can be beautiful thing, and can create some wonderful bonds (and get you some fantastic stories!) He tells me routinely that it’s part of who I am – so he loves it too.

So if you’re going to be with someone, choose a person who is willing to think that you’re a special snowflake and treat you with all the care that should afford – but who’s also willing to push you and inspire you to being bigger, better and more than you were.

No one less is worth it – have many lovely friends and people around you – but don’t sacrifice your time and effort for someone who doesn’t cherish your soul.

Don’t expend energy loving someone who doesn’t love you more than you love you. 🙂

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Holidays and Unseen Illness

So I just found The Mighty the other day. How I missed it, I simply have no idea. But it’s brilliant.

They have a blog prompt that is a Holiday Wish List for those who are dealing with or related to someone who is dealing with a condition.

I don’t know if I’ve ever discussed that I was diagnosed with Meniere’s Disease – in the midst of the divorce (and no – it’s not gotten better) and it’s meant some major life changes. Yes – I have measurable and permanent hearing loss. Yes – I get intense episodes of dizziness that vertigo doesn’t start to cover – it’s full-on equilibrium failure. But mostly I have friends and family who simply can’t recall that I have dietary restrictions, and think that because they can’t see it, it’s all in my head.

With that in mind – here is my Holiday Wish List for people with Meniere’s and all other ‘unseen’ illnesses. And it won’t cost you a dime!!

  1. We wish that friends and family would understand when  we have to cancel at the last minute. I promise I don’t use my disease as an excuse – but unless you’d like vomiting and my head glued to your (hopefully) bathroom floor for several hours – you’ll have to trust that I know my limitations, and am only bowing out because it’s worse for you. Trust that I’d rather be there than dealing with this.
  2. We wish people would stop giving us a hard time about our conditions. I know we use humor as a coping mechanism, and understanding an unseen disease is difficult – but please try. It’s *not* funny when someone with Narcolepsy nods off. It’s *not* funny when someone with Meniere’s wobbles when standing or can’t hear you on one side of their head, or when someone with high-functioning anxiety suddenly feels as though they can’t breathe for no reason in the canned foods section of the store. Yes- we know it looks and seems ridiculous. Yes – we can take a joke. Yes – we can occasionally pick on ourselves for these aspects of our diagnosis or laugh with you. But when it’s constant – it gets old. As much as you may be tired of seeing/hearing about/dealing with the result of our condition, we’re 10,000 times more tired of experiencing it.
  3. We wish people would PLEASE take our diseases seriously. Don’t ask “How’s the ear thing?” or “Still dealing with that panic stuff?” Belittling it doesn’t make it any less real. We’ve all been guilty of this – girlfriends dealing with PMDD or difficulty conceiving, high-functioning anxiety and depression, the list goes on and on – if you haven’t experienced it, and can’t see it – it’s easier to blow it off than to realize that it has very real and daily impact on our lives. We’re usually trying our best not to let it bleed over to you – just because we’re doing a damn fine job of coping (thank you very much) doesn’t mean it’s easy.
  4. We wish for graciousness. In general, as a human, figure it out. It’s not that hard. In specific, don’t get pissy when I politely decline your food or ask what it’s marinated in – (unless you’d like me to ruin your newly redecorated powder room – see above). No – I can’t and won’t drink your cocktail. Yes , alcohol content matters, sodium content matters. So does sleep. Further – IT SUCKS. I want to drink that cocktail – oh so very much! I want to eat that gorgeous hunk of salami. But the price is simply too high. And don’t get all crappy – I’m not asking you to provide me with a special meal. I’ll eat what I can, and have faith, I almost always have a snack handy that I can munch on so we all have a lovely time!
  5. We wish for Love. If you love me, love me as I am right this moment. This might get better or easier. It might not. I have to shoulder this load, I wasn’t given a choice – no one said, “Hey Sara – would you rather have Meniere’s or break your right arm twice?” You absolutely don’t have to walk this road with me. But if you choose to, do it with kindness and love. I don’t just need a kick in the ass to get over it. I don’t need your tough love. It doesn’t work here. Just love me, care for me, cherish me, and I promise to do the same in return.

Honest vs. Intentional

I’d like to talk for a minute about being honest vs. being intentional.

I don’t know about you, but through my life I’ve had several ‘mottos’.
“You ALWAYS have a choice – you may not like your choices, but you always have one.”
“Personal responsibility” I think that one speaks for itself.
“Don’t ask questions you don’t want the answers to” (this extends to questions you just aren’t *sure* you want the answers to.)

These have all been different themes since I was about 18. I felt strongly, even then, that once you’re an ‘adult’ you have to stop using “My mom did _______” or “The kids at school were ______” as a reason for not achieving what you wanted to.

Can the effects of traumatic circumstances be legitimate? Oh boy, you bet. But should you let them hold you back? I don’t personally think so. I think we should, as people, take responsibility (there’s that word again) for our future and do whatever work we need to in order to try tomove past these things. Easier said than done – yes I know.

My most recent motto is “Be honest, but be intentional.”

It’s hitting me in the face hard right now as we work our way through this divorce, which will finalize next week.

The ex (I’ve finally stopped calling him “not-yet-ex”) has a new ‘love’ – another one. He’s on his 3rd since we split up 1.5 years ago. This doesn’t really put a wrinkle in anything for me, but the kids are a whole other story.

This is where the rubber meets the road for me on being honest vs. being intentional.

If I’m HONEST with you guys – I have a ‘friend’. I have someone I’ve spent some time with. After a bit my kids have met his kid. We all have a great time together doing things we all enjoy – rock climbing or biking. And, if I’m HONEST, as much as I really do like and care for this person, when we’ve done things with the kiddos, there’s great INTENTION to the way that we do it.

We have a basic set of rules at this time. It’s something we both agree on.

Look – my kids have been through the ringer already this past year and a half. Their parents are getting divorced. Mom has moved out. It’s been emotional and messy.

The last thing they need is for me to add one more layer of stress.  So – when we’re together now, it’s all about the kids. HONESTLY, we hardly speak. We ll have fun – we all laugh and act silly. His kid and I hang out and have fun – my kids sometimes sit near him and snuggle up or hold his hand.

But they initiate it, and, for me, that’s the key.

Might this all be “more” down the road? Absolutely.

But we’re very intentional. I want all of these kids to feel like they were part of things and this all developed in a way that made it easy for them. This requires enormous amounts of patience, forethought and very calm, in spite of how emotionally-charged it can be, conversation.

My ex said “Well I’m being honest.”

And he’s not wrong. He is being honest.

I think I am too. “We’re good friends and I like him a lot. I think he’s fun. What do you guys think of him? of his son?” This is how this goes for me. All of these things are true.

I feel good about my response – just as the ex does about his.

I feel like my kids are getting to express their feelings and their opinions. It’s because we do these things, that they pow-wow’ed on my bed last night to chat about how they were sad about the divorce next week (because they know. I don’t believe in hiding that.) and how they didn’t really want a lot more change right now. They wish their dad wouldn’t get married right now. They already don’t feel like they get as much attention from him as they’d like, they say.

Because my relationship with him matters – and for their sake – I share this stuff with their dad. I try to let him know how they’re feeling. I can’t fix it for him – or dictate how he handles his new relationship- but I can at least pass along the info.

He’s completely comfortable with holding hands and kissing in front of the kids, leaving the them alone while they’re his home for the two of them to have alone time.

I’m not saying that these are things that should never happen – absolutely they should! I think the kids need to see a healthy relationship. Physically and emotionally as is appropriate.

But I also feel strongly that my particular kids deserve for me to be intentional and calm at the moment. Not caught up in another person. But present – for them and their needs and wants.

I think this whole situation has made me appreciate being intentional more. Patience IS a virtue. And good things DO come to those who wait. In the meantime, we’ll have a lot of fun, and some difficult times too, and enjoy the process – the natural progression – that this all takes.

 

 

 

Why my relationship with my kids’ dad matters

Possibly uncomfortable topic I guess – and probably a misleading title.

Of course, the relationship any of us have with our exs matters. Good, bad, indifferent – it affects our children and our lives.

I should have said “Why it matters to me that I have a good relationship with my kids’ dad.”

I put a lot of effort into keeping things smooth with the ex and why is not necessarily a simple answer. Most of my friends don’t really get it – some downright refuse to support it – but it’s a conscious decision that I make every day. Here’s why.

It matters because I need my kids to see that people can act in a mature fashion. 

We’re the adults here. We haven’t always been mature around our kids. There was a time when there was more yelling than civil conversation and more stuff broken than was fixed. But we’re not in the place now. I want my kids to learn to learn that we can move past times like this and treat one another respectfully. I can’t tell them how they should behave as a reasonable adult human if I’m not able to model it.

It matters because I don’t hate him

And truly… I don’t. I understand this bit doesn’t work for everyone. I was not physically abused nor were my children, and etc. Our marriage didn’t work. Neither of us were kind. Neither of us are without fault. We went through some trauma as a family that we didn’t survive. But that’s the thing…. in our way we are surviving. We’re still a family. We can eat a meal together. We still make one another laugh. We still ‘team tickle’ the kids. How he’s feeling or doing also matters to me because that affects our kids. If work is bad or he’s upset with a family situation, maybe his patience is running low – if I can be sensitive to that – maybe I take the kids off his hands for the evening – we all get a respite. Everyone wins. The tables are turned, and he returns the favor. It isn’t possible every time, but kindness counts. And again – I want to model that for our kids.

It matters because I want them to feel love from us – simultaneously.

I think they need to be able to feel love from us not just when they have us one-on-one, but all the time. That’s hard to do when you can’t get along. How do graduations and weddings look then? I want those times to just be celebrations for my kids. I never want them to have a second thought of, “What’s going to happen when I put mom and dad in the same room? What about step-parents?” When someone asks them about these things, I want them to say, “We’ll sit them all on the front row – they’re cool” Or whatever answer it is that works for them.

It matters because our problems are not their problems.

This is one of the biggest pieces to me. The kids didn’t ask for any of this. They wanted us to stay together. They love it when we’re all in the same place. Sometimes that’s hard for the adults here; we’re frustrated, angry or sad. I’ve had to physically remove myself from situations previously. Then I could step away from my emotion and bring the reaction that I wanted to the table. He has done this too. And lest you think we’re not showing them humanity or trying to paint some messed up Stepford situation here, there have been plenty of times where the kids have known there was a showdown going on  – guns they are a blazin’ – and they’ve also seen it de-escalate and be resolved. But I think we owe it to them to put all the effort we can into helping the piece of their life story that involves us be one that they can be proud of.

Finally, it matters because of my heart…

My heart has so long held enough hurt and anger to fill pages and pages. I don’t want to spend any more of my time than is necessary in that place. I want my heart to feel all the love and joy that is out there for the taking. And I can’t do that if it’s already full of negativity. So, maybe that’s a little selfish – but oddly it’s one thing the ex and I agree on easily. Let’s all move onward and upward together.

I get that this all takes two willing parties to do. But don’t be mislead. This is much easier somedays than others. He’s not always kind or thoughtful. He doesn’t always do what he says. He doesn’t always put the kids where I’d prefer them in his priority list. BUT – I’m sure he’d say the same about me in some circumstances or have other, no less important, gripes.

The thing is that we keep striving. We keep trying. We keep pushing past our comfort zones into somewhere that’s a happier place for all of us.

Like I told Sweet Pea when she asked me how my heart felt when she talks about dad’s new “friend” – “If you’re happy, and your brother is happy and your dad is happy – how can my heart be sad when everyone I care so much about is happy?” And from that perspective -it’s pretty easy. 🙂

S

Letting go of the reins

This is the hardest thing. Like ever, ya’ll

So I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve discovered recently  – I’m a total control freak. 

I sorta knew this already. But it’s smacked me completely in the face as I’m dealing with my ex moving on.

NOW – before anyone opens their yap – I’m actually good with him moving on and having someone new in HIS life. I’m not saying it’s not hard sometimes. I’m not saying there’s not emotion tied to it – but it’s something I can be okay with.

What I recently discovered is that him having someone new in our kids’ life is a different kettle of fish entirely.

Apparently it’s only news to me, but exes will do things we never thought they would. Things that are common sense to some of us, simply aren’t on the radar for others.

If you don’t think your ex would:

  • introduce a new ‘friend’ to the kids right off – they might.
  • let a friend stay the night – they might.
  • put off time with the kids for extra time with the friend – they might.
  • lie to you about what they have going on so you’ll help out and they get free time with the friend- they might.
  • count on the kids not ‘filling you in’ – they might.
  • have issues with the kids involving the split that they don’t clue you in to – they might.

 

No – my ex hasn’t done all of the above – but some.

And I absolutely had to deal with a meltdown from SweetPea (she’s 9) yesterday in the middle of a Mexican restaurant because she didn’t think we’d get divorced and she isn’t sure how to choose between her mom and a ‘new mom’ (they’ve been dating for approximately 2 weeks).

SIGH.

 

 

The desire to control so many of these things is very high.

I don’t like letting go of the reins. I like to give them a nice, solid death grip.

I don’t know how so many of you have done it with situations that are so much worse. Drugs and abuse and everything in-between.

What I learned this week is that I can ask myself honestly, “Can I let this go?” (Yes – outloud if possible – I look like an idiot in my car talking to myself and I just don’t care.)

Sometimes the answer is yes. One and done.

Sometimes it’s no – and taking the time to ask the first question gives my brain and heart the room to ask the others that are important – How would I like to handle this? What is a reasonable response? What would I like to see come of it?

And life is SO much better when I don’t react to him emotionally.

Some people thrive off of that – it’s where the small amount of control they exert comes from. But when we don’t react emotionally – we take away that power.

I may not be able to control him or his choices – but I can control myself and my reactions – and MOST IMPORTANTLY I can make sure that my example for my kids is what I’d like them to see. I can pick those reins back up with purpose, with the right mindset and attitude and steer that horse in a direction that I feel securely is healthy for myself and my children.

 

What do you guys do when you feel the need to take control of things? Anyone have other ‘tricks’ that work? I’d love to hear them!!

 

The Bad Day Experiment

I was inspired by this pic I found over at kdelap.com today.

It was just the message I needed, and so I decided to share it over on FB …

It’s great isn’t it? Truth – plain and simple.

It hits home hard right now as I have friends going through some seriously challenging times.

Times that make the nastiest divorce or a kid’s broken arm look like a walk in the park.

Times that mean you have to figure out how you’re going to possibly say goodbye to your elementary-age children while facing your own mortality as bravely as you can – at the age of 38.

Times that mean you just buried your 31-year-old brother who was a victim of violent crime.

Times that mean you’re facing degenerative brain diseases much too young.

My heart breaks for them, and I am slapped – hard – in the face regarding the relative ease of my own life. Seems like we get these opportunities for perspective frequently if we’re just paying attention.

Divorce is no fun – but it’s not likely to kill me.
Dealing with difficult children is frustrating, but I know so many who can’t have children and would love to have a kid to fuss at.
Missing your mother who’s passed on is hard and sad, but so many never have the strong and wonderful relationship I had with my mom – or never had their mom present at all.

I need these reminders, daily, possibly even hourly. I am okay. My life is good.

I have to say though, I was (sorta) surprised by the response to the FB post.

Immediately, some of the kindest and most empathetic people I know chimed in – they agree – and they’re no surprise. They’re kind and thoughtful people – college educated and not, social and anti-social, friends from very different walks of life, and there’s no real commonality (other than MY amazing friendship of course!) other than a generally kind and empathetic heart.

What surprised me, and probably shouldn’t have, is that so many people I know, who are financially stable, healthy and, though not without problems, aren’t immediately facing their mortality or similar, have no comment. People who are actively posting that they need prayer and positive thoughts on a regular basis – just to get through an average day – people who spend so much time on FB that if I post a cute pic of a kitten or funny video of screaming goats, they’re on it in .042 milliseconds.

Nothing. Nada.

If I’m honest – to an extent it was bait. I saw several people, people whom I’ve stuck my neck out for in the past, people who always seem to run right back into the mess they ran out of, post “Pray for me!” type-things today.

And it struck a nerve.

Yes – we can all use and deserve a prayer or positive thought.

Yes – everyone has a different perspective and is in a different place.

Yes – some things are harder to see through to the other side of than others.

BUT – I feel like it’s our duty as human beings to take a step back out of our own mess long enough to see what’s going on in the rest of the world.

Yes – some things feel and seem like the end of the universe. But if you’re in the position to post on FB about it – you have something to be thankful for.

So – take it for what it’s worth – but the next time I’m feeling all ‘Woe is me’ – I’m going to try to turn that focus outwards – think of someone who needs those prayers more than I do. Think a positive and happy thought or say a prayer for that person.

And maybe my load will seem just a little bit lighter. Maybe it won’t. But at least it was off my mind for a minute or two if nothing else – and I’ve sent some good out into the universe for a fellow human.

It’s all transient.

Try to find some joy – and when you can’t find it in your own situation – give it to someone else – it always comes back.

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Because irises should bring us all joy. 🙂

** Bad Day Picture posted with the permission of Kristen Delap – Please visit her lovely corner of the web at kdelap.com. She has blog posts about writing and chickens and mommying – and is available for custom lettering and has prints for purchase!

Why I don’t reward for expected behavior.

I can hear many parents (and kids) out there growling at me right now. But bear with me.

When I say I don’t reward for expected behavior, I am NOT implying I don’t ever incentivize or reward my children.

I am not above mentioning the potential (begging) for a milkshake if they can get through the next hour without my having to explain on a conference call that I’m working with the kids in the background. I am certainly not above treating us all to donuts for breakfast because it’s the first day of spring break/summer/Tuesday – you get the idea.

However, it’s important to me that my kids to understand that life doesn’t consist of doing a task and getting a treat. Sometimes you do things because they’re kind or thoughtful – or darn it – they just need to be done. No one has ever given me a cookie for mopping the kitchen floor or taking out the trash. My reward is a nonsticky floor and not overflowing trash can. So……

I don’t reward for grades/similar.

I know this ruffles feathers for some. But I don’t. I have one kid who is a straight-A student, all the time. She does not receive money or treats or, well, anything for grades. It’s expected that school is her job and she’ll do her best. They do an honor roll breakfast at school, and that’s a gracious plenty. I also love that at their school, it’s not a parent-filled celebration. It’s a yummy breakfast for 30 minutes, and then off to class!

Do we grab a treat after she rockstars out her speech on living history day? Sure! She did something she was apprehensive about, and did it with gusto. THAT I’ll reward. But going to school every day and doing ‘her job’? Nope. Do your best. It’s expected.

My son doesn’t perform as well – he doesn’t get rewarded or punished, so long as I know he’s trying his best. He may never be the A-student that she is, but he does have to work his hardest and to the best of his ability. He gets the same attaboys for breaking through something that was a struggle as she does.

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An evening by the fire pit is a perfect “starting the weekend” reward – for all of us!

I don’t reward for good manners or good behavior.

Again, It’s expected. I’m not giving you a treat because you were on green all week or came home one day on blue (or whatever the heck color is better this school year.) As far as I’m concerned, that’s basically treating you for not being a pain in the teacher’s ass.

You don’t get a prize for holding the door for a stranger. A pat on the back and “That was kind – thank you for being kind to others!” You bet. Treats? Nope.

Now – when a kid finds themselves in a truly adult situation (like a funeral) and pulls out all the stops? Again, that might be cause for a slushie or pack of gum – a “your amazing self-control made a hard situation easier, and I’m grateful” reward.

I didn’t reward for potty training.

You heard me. No treats for potty usage. Both of mine potty trained over a weekend. I didn’t give them a choice. They were each old enough to understand what was happening in the big toilet and that if they didn’t make it to the potty, wetness was happening.

Was it 1,000% fun for me? Nope – but having a kid who was potty trained when they went back to daycare on Monday – oooooooh yeah. I was happy, the daycare workers were happy. It was all win. (Pull ups at night/naptimes as needed are a different story, and I’ll advocate for all day long. I am also aware that this doesn’t work for everyone so don’t start chucking stones here.)

I don’t reward or pay for chores.

The kids empty/fill the dishwasher some days. You ate on the dishes. They put away their clean clothes. You wore the clothes. I washed them. You can put them away. How I feel about giving kids responsibility is a whole other post that we will certainly cover soon. You live in this house, and to a degree that is appropriate for your age, you can contribute to the running of it.

The baseline here is that I don’t reward for things humans are generally expected to do.

Do I thank them for being considerate and kind? Oh boy, I do. Do I help and give guidance while they’re doing their chores? Yup. Can I check and assist with homework? Of course! This doesn’t mean we’re all drill sergeant in my house – it just means that I’m trying to teach them, that when we all do our part, we all get to enjoy our time.

So if you’re hankering for getting out of the reward cycle, give it a try. I am the first to say that everyone has to do what works best for them – this is what works for me – right now. Ask me next month, I might be the queen of rewards. 😉

 

 

 

If we were having coffee… 4/2/16

It might be a beer instead because it’s now afternoon and it’s been that kind of a week. Thought I’m always glad to press some fresh joe if that’s your preference.

You’d definitely be listening to me prattle on about how proud I am of my fearless girl and her 1st time mountain biking this week. She hit the single-track like a master and my cheeks hurt from grinning.

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<Awww – that’s sweet! You go girl! You say.>

I’m certain I’d have some choice words about a dear friends’ not-yet-ex who left her because ‘God told him to’ after he got saved and realized that he’d rather be knocking boots with his ex-wife (which he’d never stopped doing in the first place.) It chaps my hide for people to blame their choices on God. Grow a pair. Read up on free-will. Own it. Personal responsibility is a thing. Give it a try.

<What a jerk! You say – I love how supportive you are when listening to my rants>

You’d get to hear all the gory details of my ass-bumping trip down the stairs a couple of days ago and how my adorable son tried to come to the rescue. Let’s not forget the resulting ass-shiner – as I am now dubbing the bruise that dons my derriere.

<Bahahahaahahah! You say – because it’s funny – and because you’re now noticing that I’ve been sitting on my other hip this whole time>

This would be about the time I’d realize that I’ve been gabbing at you for too long and am embarrassed. I also have to go call out the children who sound like a herd of wild buffalo upstairs. Excuse me for a second, then I need to hear all about your week – please?!

<Crash>

Crap! What is it now? KIDS!!!

 

 

 

Everything and nothing…

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So I’ve been hung up on what to write about these past few days.

It’s spring break here and the kids are alternately amazing me with their stellar behavior and flat-out giving me a run for my money on sanity.

I busted my ass down the stairs two days ago and have what I am dubbing the ‘ass shiner’ as the bruise is perfectly the color and shape of being punched in the eye – just on the other end of things. (Dear God, I hope that’s not a ‘thing’ – if it’s some sort of ‘thing’ that I’m not aware of, someone save me here. I will *not* be googling, just in case.)

There have been riding lessons and some family movie time, some work and some play. We did go mountain biking with my dad and step-mom. That was fantastical. Sweet Pea knocked my socks off. it was her first time riding on a trail and she owned it. I’m a proud mama.

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Wide single-track, but single-track nonetheless. I’m a proud mama!

So – other than the ass-shiner and trail riding – it’s been relatively mundane.

What’s one to write about when it’s like this?

  • Life is good.
  • Not-yet-ex is pleasant.
  • Kids are… kids.
  • House is slightly messy, but not terrible.
  • Mountain biking was fun.
  • Nutella muffins were hockey pucks.
  • Blueberry muffins were a hit.
  • Listening to the kids play and make up things is the joy of my life.
  • Tiny cans of Stella are the best thing since big cans of Stella.
  • Ass-busting sucks.
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These FTW – Nutella muffins FTL

That’s when you realize that these are the moments. This is it. This is living. We’re doing the thing, with little-to-no-drama or insanity. That’s really pretty damn exciting! So there it is – it’s everything and it’s nothing – but I’ll take it any day over dramaland!

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In which my daddy tries to help my boy with riding a bike. He just pushed me down a hill. Not sure why the technique has changed, but what the hey!

A letter to my daughter when she thinks she’s found “the one”

 

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When my kids were really small, I had journals in which I would write letters to them regularly. I recorded funny things they were saying and doing, and how I felt getting to be their mom. As they grew, and my free time lessened, I haven’t kept it up as I wish I had.

I’ve recently had a spate of friends who are ill and facing saying goodbye to young children too soon, as well as friends who’ve lost parents in an untimely fashion. It got me thinking about what I’d want my kiddos to know – and this was one of the first things I’d want to tell my kids down the road if I’m not here to say it in person.

 

Dear Sweet Pea & Future Beau-

So you guys have been dating a while – and you each think you’ve found ‘the one’ eh? He certainly seems to be considerate and kind (yes – I’m making assumptions here – if he doesn’t seem to be considerate and kind at least to my face I hope we’re not having this conversation.) And I’m fairly disposed to give you my blessing.

I’d just like to give you just a few things to chew on, while we squee and happy dance and get ready to break my bank account for as much of your dream wedding as I can give you. Check in on these things regularly – they matter – a lot.

  1. Make sure you’ve seen one another at your worst.
    Have you seen him lose his temper? Or be really depressed? Over the course of years, hopefully you have more good times than bad. But the hard times will come, rest assured, and you’d rather find out sooner than later how you each handle those situations.
  2. Be open – about everything. 
    You have to be able to talk about everything. Maybe you choose not to sometimes, but don’t marry someone that you feel you have ‘restricted’ topics with. That’s bad news. The more honest you can be with each other about all things, small and big, the better off you’ll be.
  3. Listen.
    Take the time to make sure the other person knows that you’re hearing them when they’re talking to you. Think about what they’re’s saying, and try to understand, whether it’s his golf game, her horrific haircut, work or family concerns, they’re communicating to you because it matters to them. Take it in.
  4. Don’t poor mouth one another.
    No matter how mad you are at him, try to only take it up with him. If it’s a safety concern – different ball of wax – call me and I’ll come kick him in the pants, hard. But if you’re arguing over money or intimacy or any of these other things, for heaven’s sake, don’t go run your mouth to all of your friends about him. If we’re really lucky in this life, we get one or two friends we can vent to who won’t judge on the back end, who support us no matter what. But if you’re not 1000% certain you’re speaking with that person, shut your piehole – bringing others into your marital problems is a recipe for disaster.
  5. Choose one another every day.
    This one is the hardest of all. It takes so much work. Choose one another every day. And I mean every day. Choose one another when you’d rather scream at than kiss them. Take their needs into consideration with every single choice. If you’ll each look out for one another first, you’ll never need to look after your own needs. The very best marriages I’ve seen start and continue in this manner. When you feel like you hate them, stop, breathe, DON’T open your mouth, and force yourself to remember 5 reasons why you love them. Then speak.

I love you, sweet pea, with all of my soul, and can’t wait to see what this amazing life has in store for you!