Gratitude

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“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home and a stranger into a friend” Melody Beattie

Today is the last day of November, the month we typically associate with gratitude so I need to throw mine out there. My first Thanksgiving post divorce, without my kids was so amazing. How many people can say that? I made my kids a lovely dinner the last night I had them for the week and we celebrated being together, and I wasn’t sure how to feel when I said goodbye.

I can’t seem to put my thoughts into words this morning but I am determined to try. I saw a post on Instagram that said it best,

“I am thankful for nights that turned into mornings, friends that turned into family, and dreams that turned into reality”.

A stranger at work asked me out after knowing me for a day, I had turned down most everyone when they asked me out, thinking it was too soon or it didn’t feel quite right. But this time it clicked, our conversation was easy and fun, so I said yes. And so far it has been so much more then I ever could have imagined. I now have someone to talk to about everything, who can back me up when I think something is wrong, but can also point out the other side when I need to hear it. Can I say enough about the value of human touch? A hand to hold, a really long hug that allows you to breathe again?

We spent the holiday hiking with his daughter and it was so beautiful and fun. It was one more thing right about this new “us”. To find someone willing to hike on Thanksgiving and Black Friday lol, thats a gift too! Someone who laughs at me when I’m taking a selfie but also reminds me when I’m about to miss an opportunity for a good one!

So maybe I can’t write a elegant post about it, but I can say thank you to the universe for my friend who is now more, and everything included with him.

 

First Thanksgiving Sans Kids

FullSizeRenderSometimes I wonder if there is something broken inside me. Well obviously I have lots of broken parts. I think our broken parts and our mended edges are what make us unique and human. Like Bruce Springsteen sings, “but hell a little touchup and a little paint…”

Tonight I dropped my kids off with their dad and told them I would see them on Sunday. Somehow until I was saying goodbye I forgot thats what was happening. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and they are spending the holiday with my ex and his large family who live or visit in the area. There was no way I was going to keep my kids from seeing their extended family and skipping all the traditions that we have been a part of for the last 14 years of living by family. I didn’t even consider trying to keep them for Thanksgiving or Christmas. Would they grow to resent me if I did? Maybe, and I’m not willing to risk it.

So here is where I wonder if I’m broken. I’ll miss them, but I’m not devastated to not be spending the holiday with them. I’m ok with it. Now maybe it’s because I am so fed up with the ex-inlaw family gatherings that I never felt really bonded to, so I’m excited to not have to deal with them. Maybe I am just so exhausted from the year of divorce drama that I am happy to step away from everything and breathe. My kids are also teenagers and a new adult, so I have spent all their holidays with them and this is part of life, learning to let them go have experiences without me. Am I broken, well adjusted, in denial? I don’t have the answer but I’m grateful for whatever it is.

I have seen several social media posts from my fellow moms not having their kids around for the holiday and they are discussing how to cope with the sadness, from the positive of exercise to the other side of drinking the weekend away. I plan on posting on social media as well, but of the adventure I am choosing to have.

I made my gluten free version of Thanksgiving on Tuesday for my kids, so I feel like I experienced the holiday with them. Now I am following the prompts of REI and I am going to #optoutside this year for black Friday. I am going hiking with someone I really like and his daughter. Crazy huh? If I’m broken then I’m mending with a little help from my friends.

Sunshine On My Shoulders Makes Me Happy

IMG_1428Remember the Garfield comics? Every time the cat Garfield crossed a patch of sunlight he fell asleep, sometimes he would attempt to go around it, or show that he was capable of walking through it without sleeping, but it never worked. I am Garfield.

In the house I lived in for the last 14 years I knew where the best patches of sunlight were, and what time frame I could best sit in them. All winter long when I was craving sunlight I knew where and when I could lay in them. But they were small patches and mostly on the hardwood floor. But hey, desperate time, desperate measures.

My new house has a large patch of sun right on my bed, everyday! This is such a happy place for me. I can sit there in comfort and feel the sun sink into my skin and bones. Sometimes I wake up as the sun leaves the bed and i’m hot and maybe a little groggy for sleeping in the middle of the day, but I sure love it. I have all white sheets and comforter so it can be a blinding patch of sun lol. When I don’t have time to stay long just seeing it makes me feel happy and a little warmer.

Isn’t it all about the simple things, the small things that make you happy?  Random hugs, a really cold coke, my latest anthem coming on the radio right when I need a cheerleader?

There is a post going around Facebook from a man whose wife was killed in the Paris attacks. I cried my way through it, his message is so beautiful and haunting. His point was to choose happiness. It was the only post or thought I wanted share about the attacks. I can’t imagine the pain and loss happening not just in Paris, but the various cities around the world being attacked. But this man is choosing happiness. I will choose happiness, in my own small tragedies of failed marriage and kids who are going down paths that will hurt them and me. I will seek out the sunshine and not hide in sorrow and shadows.

partly kind of a empty nester

Currently my children are 20, 18, 16, and 13. I knew that I was getting somewhat close to being a empty nester but I hadn’t yet begun to practice only feeding one person, or only doing laundry for one. Now that they only live with me half of the month I am thrust into this new territory. I feel so guilty running such small loads of laundry but if I wait to have a full  load I will be forced to do the laundry naked because it would require everything I own. I have forgotten to feed myself more then cereal on more then one occasion simply because I am used to making big meals. There are lovely parts to this however. When I clean my bathrooms they stay clean, my shoes aren’t hiding in my daughters closet, my special occasion cokes are still in the fridge. And today no one is rolling their eyes at the music I choose to blast through my apartment while cleaning. #choosehappiness

Self Doubt

When deciding to blog about my life and current journey I need to decide just how open I want to be. Are there ugly parts or insecurities I would rather keep to myself, that would be more appropriate if I kept inside?  I assume I can’t be the only one who feels the way I do, and wouldn’t it be wonderful to not feel alone? If we share the dark days and the hard issues can we find a kinship with others that will buoy us through it all? I hope so,  here we go.

Since my marriage of 21 years ended this year it has been interesting to hear what my family members think of me and what I’ve been through. They were not aware of all the feelings and bad times I had, since I am a private person but they caught on to bits and pieces. Don’t get me wrong there were wonderful times and I certainly didn’t have a horrible marriage. I would say mine died of neglect, when you feel like you come last, after the kids, work, church, the house, chores, tv programs, video games, his parents, his siblings, his nieces and nephews, your children’s friends, hobbies, oh and apps on the phone like candy crush, you start to feel invisible. My efforts were never good enough, if he didn’t like the dinner I made he went and got fast food, if his parents didn’t think my car was clean enough for carpool they told him and he lectured me. If I asked him to please not play candy crush while driving me and the children in the car I was made fun of and ignored. Don’t we have DVR’s so we can record or pause a show when someone needs some time, a hug, some physical contact? Guess I was wrong about that as well.

Now I live in a place by myself, when the kids aren’t with me, and you know what?  I’m listened to. Its only me listening but it’s something. Do I talk out loud to myself? I sure do. My dad tells me I have become someone who doubts every choice I make.  How do I over come that? Well I start trying to make choices. I started by asking for the divorce and that was the hardest choice ever. Next I choose an apartment and a few months later realized I could have made a better choice and I fixed it. I have been asked out by good men but it never felt right and when one asked and it felt right I went with it. See, I’m making decisions. If I have moments of doubt at how hard some aspects of my new existence are, it’s balanced by the beautiful roads I’m finding myself on because I made the great choice of saying yes at the right time.

Broken Heart, Hungry Belly, My Adventure Into Celiacs

In April of this year I was diagnosed with Celiacs. I didn’t believe the doctor even after a biopsy where he witnessed the damage first had and labeled it “catastrophic” in his notes. They ordered me to have a blood test and after this came back as a 2nd witness I believed and my life has changed.

I am a foodie. I love to bake, cook and eat just about everything. Some of my favorite foods are Krispy Kreme doughnuts hot off the rack and dripping with lard and glaze, croissants with dark chocolate cooked inside or with Nutella spread over every bite, sourdough bread, bread, bread and bread. This has made my diagnosis a little hard to accept. But now that I am aware of how my body feels after consuming food with gluten I may dislike that more then I hate not eating my favorite foods.

Before this event I used to mock the gluten free trend, when I saw gluten free labeled on swedish fish I totally made fun of it, I mean really, swedish fish?? Now I am grateful for every label that helps me not to worry. When I am eating out I have learned to ask the waiter if the oil they cook the fries or tortilla chips is contaminated and more often then not it is. I learned that one the hard way. I ate some of my favorite french fries at Houston’s and forgot to ask and I was sick for several days, I was disappointed that for such a amazing restaurant they do not have a gluten free menu and there isn’t very much that is safe on their menu for someone like me to eat. This has sent me to find apps on my phone that warn me where I can eat and where to avoid. I use Find Me GF and Yelp to leave comments for others searching for safe foods.

I have found strength and knowledge through blogs, websites even social media like Facebook and Instagram. It helps me feel less alone and I am able to learn about my new way of cooking and eating. When I find a new recipe that replaces something I used to love but can’t have it is so exciting! I found a recipe that even replaces my beloved Pad Thai and when I cooked it for a man that I’m pretty much crazy about, he labeled it amazing and ate what I couldn’t finish off my plate. Lol a good sign, Bangkok Coconut Curry Noodle Bowls.

I would love any recipe recommendations!! Here are some of my favorite blogs about Celiacs

The Gluten Dude

Day in the Life

Surviving Halloween

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I survived my first holiday as a single mom without my kids. I had a little help from my friends and family thank goodness! My little brother drove 6 hours with his wife and adorable 3 little kids to spend Halloween weekend with me. I was able to have my kids over for a few hours on Saturday before they went to halloween activities. But I missed seeing them dressed up and waiting up for them to hear how their night went.  I know if my family hadn’t been here I would have been very lonely even when handing out candy to kids and meeting all my new neighbors. Being a mom is so exhausting and time consuming, and I used to fantasize about some time to myself. No one bothering me when I’m sitting on the toliet or relaxing in the tub. And don’t get me wrong I do love some of the time I have to myself now, and things stay where I put them and my leftover Ghiradeli cheesecake is right where I left it!! Holidays are a different beast however. Maybe I don’t just miss my kids presence, I miss their younger selves as well. Truly only one of my 4 kids is young enough to dress up and trick r treat without raising eyebrows. I miss the little versions of them running through the neighborhood and exclaiming in glee whenever someone gave them more then one piece of candy. I loved walking my new neighborhood my nephews and niece, who pronounced it the best night ever after the first house.

I think the key to surviving the burnt bridges is finding joy in the journey. Like being in love with that one piece of candy rather then waiting for a overfull bag.

#halloween #singlemom #burntbridges