Dog Dilema

About 5 minutes after telling the kids about our upcoming divorce my daughter who was 12, asked if I would then buy her a dog. My ex has severe allergies and asthma and the kids couldn’t ever let the idea of pets go. In the last year she still hasn’t let it go. And there was a big part of me that wanted to give that to them.

Everyone who knows me and I actually listen to has told me that dogs wouldn’t work for me right now. My schedule is erratic with work and they can be expensive, and I would listen… mostly. Then one day one of those same people, my best friend called to say there was a dog at the shelter who desperately needed a foster home and I would be perfect. She was a rescue from what is called the griffen mud dogs, she was neglected and left in cages along with 30-50 other dogs living in mud and poop. She was in the shelter for a year and not adopted. Her online profile says she needs a saint.

They weren’t kidding. She won’t let us within 5 feet of her. The only time we can pet her is when we get her on a car ride and she is so mesmerized by the ride we can touch her without her flinching but eventually she looks at us through baleful eyes for ruining her ride and moves out of reach again. She only eats food if we toss her a piece at a time and only if she feels like it. I let her play in a fenced yard without her leash on and it took us 3 hours to corral her back into the house because she wanted to keep sleeping in the lettuce. I’m told by my friend that she just needs time and I’m told by another that my life is too complicated for a dog especially one that won’t bring me joy. One child think we should take her back, this is the one who had to chase her down when she slipped through my legs at midnight and raced off. It’s a miracle he caught her. Two of my other kids think I’m terrible for even considering taking her back.  As of now we are her foster family, so she can go back.

Pros:

She never barks

She doesn’t have accidents in the house

She sleeps for long periods of time so isn’t as bored when I work.

She’s adorable

Cons:

Can’t pet her

She doesn’t come when I say even when she really wants to go on that walk

Won’t jump in my car, I have to load her into a crate and then into my car

Looks at me like I’m planning on cooking her for dinner

Repurposed

I have strong feelings towards recycling objects as I frequently feel like my new life is me being recycled. I have been drawn toward the antique keys at the local fairs and began collecting them. I already had the stamp kits to make jewelry and stamp on old silverware to stick in the garden. So when my daughter asked if we could stamp some words for her on some keys she really loved it was the perfect activity. She chose to stamp “home” and “courage” on her keys. Once we started we just didn’t want to stop until we thought of all the words we could and we ran out of keys. We’ve been taking turn wearing the different ones depending on our moods. One day just for fun I posted a few on a brand new Easy shop called BoBelleCo that we started together using a blend of our names. We’ve only sold a few keys but its been such a fun thing to learn and do together.

My daughter is at girls camp this week and last week was with her dad so I feel like we haven’t had a lot of time together lately. I know it’s important to find ways to hang out with her while she has the time and interest. Lots of days she is so busy chatting with her friends by video I have a hard time getting a personal conversation in.

Let it Go

I remember the night in the hospital when I held my first child, a son. I wrote graduation speeches, practiced wedding toasts. I was a little delirious from the drugs I admit. But I don’t think I’m the only one that begins to plan their future from the first moment

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Not many of my plans worked out very well. Turns out kids come with their own personality and this spawns ideas and plans of their own. Some days I love the ride and the journey of it, they are so much more then I could have ever imagined. Some days I feel like my heart is breaking from the pain and loss, to see them go down hard paths that won’t end well. When they blame you for everything, point out all your faults in detail. Those days suck.

I find it’s important to let go. Let go of the fantasy, let go of the planning, it’s practice for letting them go. I can’t believe my son graduates from high school in 2 short weeks! I can’t wait to be done with his life in high school! School with him has been difficult. He is very smart but not at all interested in sitting in a class room.

A few weeks ago our church put together a night to celebrate all the graduates. They asked the parents to submit photos of their child growing up and prepare a small speech about their child. I didn’t know about it until 10 minutes after it ended. My ex didn’t tell me about it and he was receiving all the emails and requests. He called right after it ended to casually mention where they had been. I have been the photographer of their lives, the keeper of the scrapbooks and photo albums. I have been waiting to show anyone my kids growing up. My ex sent in a few pictures he had on his phone and Facebook. My son had half the time the other kids had. I have had a really hard time letting this one go. I called my son and cried that I hadn’t been there and that I hadn’t known. He laughed and told me he hadn’t even wanted to go and didn’t know I wasn’t invited. But this is my child who has always been sensitive to things and people around him, I know somewhere inside it was another strike on him from the divorce.

Next week he gets his yearbook. I made his senior post and chose the pictures and the really awesome Tony Hawk quote (my son is a major skateboarder lol). I have that.

Late Night Snacks and Giggles

This is the last night of the 2nd successful week of my kids staying with me full time during the school year. I was very nervous about it and I’m not sure they wanted to try it, but their dad was ready for it which made it happen like it or not. And I’ve loved it. So wonderful to have so much time with them again. I love cuddling my daughter and giggling under the blankets, for a few minutes she forgets she is a teenager and too cool for it.

Tonight she had her makeup off, in bed and comfy, when she realized she was hungry. This is great news, she has been so sick all week and not eating enough. So we had a lovely time warming up tomato soup which she loves with some blue cheese crumbles on top and I pan toasted some gluten free bread since I don’t have a toaster or bread with gluten in it lol. Its the small moments that are so wonderful and I hug them close to my heart.

I’ve tried several tomato soup recipes and this one I really enjoyed. It has a bunch of chopped carrots and whole tomatoes which makes me really feel like we are getting all our veggies in the soup and not just a can of V8. I got this off the Pioneer Woman blog and I love her pictures and casual explanations.

Parenting Blues

One of my sons is 18 and a senior in high school. He actually turned 18 about 7 weeks into senior year because the cut off in the state we live is Sept 1. Its both hard and nice to be one of the oldest in school. I think it was wonderful when he was in kindergarten and first grade when it was tough to sit still for so long, especially for boys.

Now that he is 18 and just dying to be graduated it’s harder. At 18 you are technically a man, and yet you live at home as a student.

So imagine my 18 man/child calls me with his girlfriend to say he’s going to dye his hair blue. This is my handsome tall, blonde son. I’m not a fan of blue hair, especially on boys. Honestly it makes me sing the “My Little Pony” song in my head, and I want to put pretty bows in it. But he’s 18 and it’s his hair. I told him; I didn’t think it was a good idea, its a tough color to really fix after, he’s about to have senior prom and all sorts of important things and lastly his dad will have a fit, along with his paternal  grandparents who live in the area. But ultimately it’s his hair, I just didn’t think it was a great idea.

So they did it. Bright, BRIGHT blue.

His dad, my ex, had a major fit. He called me quite angry that I didn’t tell our son no. I explained that I had said it wasn’t good idea and I didn’t want him to do it, but for all the reasons above I didn’t just say no. Because I don’t feel it would do any good, and at his age he can make decisions. I was given long lecture by the ex who is an attorney and can be very long winded. He picked apart all my wording just like I was on the witness stand.  And I ended it by saying when I told our 20 year old son no tattoos, did it stop him? No. When that same son wanted his nose pierced and I said no, did it stop him? No.

When I talk about this it sounds like I’ve raised some interesting kids, blue hair, tattoos, nose rings… lol and it wasn’t the way I raised them. We taught them to be pretty straight laced. I’m not sure whats going on. Other then they are strong boys with creative ideas and a desire to standout. Hopefully they will find even better ways as they grow and mature.

I don’t think I was wrong. I don’t think putting my foot down and forbidding him to dye his hair was the right thing. And it is just hair. And in 4 months he leaves for a service mission for our church where he will be very clean cut. I think he wants to get it out of his system now and I completely get it. Maybe I should remind his father about what he did to his hair and ears when he was a senior in high school… But would that do any good? No.

Post note, I saw a wonderful article on Huffington Post this morning about a  woman dying her hair blue. And I’m sure it was the universe talking back to me after I wrote this article! Wonderful read!

Friends Are the Spice of Life

About 10 years ago I was sitting in a McDonalds with my 4 young kids. I believe my oldest was only about 10, and we didn’t normally sit in the playground at McDonalds but I had spent the morning at the elementary school with a committee debating reenrolling one of my boys back in school instead of homeschool.

A woman walked in with 2 kids and began talking to me almost immediately. I was not normally very talkative with strangers, and I wondered if she would ever go sit by herself. We spent over a hour with our kids playing and talking. She had just moved to my area less then a hour before and was only at McDonalds because she didn’t know anything or anyone in the area. Before we left we exchanged phone numbers and I laughed because I hadn’t given someone my phone number since my dating years.

Well she called and we hung out and I slowly became used to the fact that she is loud and talkative with absolutely anyone. I stopped being embarrassed when she talked to every clerk, bagger, waiter, stranger in the store and slowly began doing the same. She taught me to be confident and open up. One of her favorite things is to mention things or make jokes that make me blush, I am still an easy target.

She is my best friend. When my marriage ended she gave me courage and strength. She didn’t encourage me to leave but once I had my mind made up she gave me everything I needed to stay strong and finish the course. Sometimes I have moments of doubt on this difficult coarse I choose and wonder if I should have stayed on the safe path. She reminds me of how strong I am, and how brave I have become, and I can’t seem to hear it enough. We have been through so much, with our difficulties raising kids, husbands, health. I don’t know if I would be whole or sane without her support. I am so grateful that she doesn’t get sick of giving me the same advice over and over again because it’s hard. It’s not that I am a slow learner, it’s changing habits and feelings about myself takes a lot of time since I spent many years creating bad ones or accepting others poor opinions of me.

I believe that girlfriends are so important and I am blessed in mine.

 

Time with My Kids

My youngest 2 children are the farthest part in age then any of the rest. My daughter is almost 3 years younger then her brother, while the rest of them are less then 2 years. I have thought many times through the years that these 2 are actually twins separated by 3 years. I joke if my body could have handled twins they would have been sent together. Since they were very little they have had an amazing bond. They play the best together, get lost in their own world and were like little puppies playing together as kids. Even now when he is 16 and she is 13 they still love to talk and hang out. Sure the teenage disdain sometimes crosses his face as they talk or she makes fun of him in some way but it is always in good fun. When I drive my son to competitions we are usually very quiet and just kind of veg out for most of the drive. When my daughter comes along they laugh and play and roll around the hotel rooms bouncing off the walls. I wonder if that means I’m boring to travel alone with lol.

They have been able to stay at my house the last few days and I love it. I miss hearing them talking and giggling down the hall together as they brush teeth and tease each other about their bedtime routines. I am so grateful for how well they are rolling with life and adjusting to the many changes we have thrown at them this year.

I am grateful that I am adjusting as good as can be expected as well. When they are not here and I’m home  alone I go to sleep earlier and enjoy the peace and quiet. When they are here I love cooking with them, having them so close. I find I can enjoy the benefits of it all and I think thats a lovely thing.

My oldest two sons come over for dinner but prefer to sleep at their dads house since his house has beds for everyone. Which I understand, but I miss seeing more of them. I love to have late night talks about whatever is on their mind. But they are also 18 and 20 and very much on their way out. They would prefer to be talking with their peers.

I guess nothing is perfect and no family is perfect, we just love each other the best we can and roll with the waves.

Music for the Soul

Some of the advice I’ve gotten about dealing with divorce,  didn’t make sense at the time but then one day a light bulb goes off and I see what they were saying. My brother told me to not watch romantic movies, or listen to love songs, especially if they are sad love songs. Some days I am fine with all of those, and others I completely see what he was talking about.

There is a song by Brandi Carlile that I love. I love the words and it doesn’t make me sad to listen to it, I think she is singing about the kind of love that I aspire to, someone who knows me and my stories (plus it’s super fun to sing really loud in my car),

All of these lines across my face
Tell you the story of who I am
So many stories of where I’ve been
And how I got to where I am
But these stories don’t mean anything
When you’ve got no one to tell them to
It’s true… I was made for you

I climbed across the mountain tops
Swam all across the ocean blue
I crossed all the lines and I broke all the rules
But baby I broke them all for you
Because even when I was flat broke
You made me feel like a million bucks
You do and I was made for you

You see the smile that’s on my mouth
It’s hiding the words that don’t come out
And all of my friends who think that I’m blessed
They don’t know my head is a mess
No, they don’t know who I really am
And they don’t know what I’ve been through like you do
And I was made for you…

All of these lines across my face
Tell you the story of who I am
So many stories of where I’ve been
And how I got to where I am
But these stories don’t mean anything
When you’ve got no one to tell them to
It’s true… I was made for you

Oh yeah, well it’s true… that
I was made for you…

I love having theme songs, for the day or the month, music that I can play and know I will feel better after. One of my favorites to blast right now is by The Struts, Everybody Wants. Kind of a loud rocker song but the words do something for me right now. Music does things for the soul and mood that nothing else can.

Do you have a favorite go to song or anthem??

Hugs and Goodbyes

IMG_2388When my oldest son was in the 5th grade he went through a faze where he wanted to hug me all the time. He was just tall enough that when he hugged me his face was exactly in my chest, and he would stand there and hug me for as long as I would let him. There were times I had lots of time to stand there, but other times I had to cut it short because I really did have to make dinner or walk to another room for something. I am so happy to say that someone caught a picture of him hugging me once at a lake so I have a beautiful reminder of what felt frustrating at the time. As a mom sometimes I really felt like I just needed a little personal space and so didn’t always appreciate it the way I should have.

Now that he is 20 and after surviving the last few years with him, I really feel as though some part of his heart, soul, psyche, something inside of him needed to say goodbye to me. Something knew what his teenage years were going to be like and he hugged me as much as he could. He is a very smart child, and he loves to debate, which actually feels like arguing. His father was an attorney and would encourage it and they would argue for hours. But this became very difficult as he choose to go a separate way from the faith that he was raised in, or didn’t stick with our values as a family. He became very involved with pot. So much so that he went to rehab once, which sounds silly considering now they say it’s not addictive and its being legalized. But he would use to it to such extremes that he had very high peaks and very depressed valleys that were hard on the rest of the family. I’m so grateful it didn’t evolve into harder substances but it was hard. I happen to have a extremely sensitive nose and we had several fights when I would sniff out his well hidden stash without even trying.

Now that I have divorced his dad he has another thing to debate with me. He enjoys pointing out all of his fathers good points, and all of the things his father really did well at as a husband and dad. He likes to underplay the difficulty he knew only parts of. He feels that because he is 20 he should get to know all the details of my defunct marriage so he can cross examine all the choices I made. Luckily I have been to counseling and the state mandated parenting class both of which taught me that my marriage and it’s problems are not to be discussed with my kids. I tell him over and over that I will always be grateful and love his dad for giving me our beautiful children but I won’t discuss my relationship with his dad with him, I will discuss my relationship with him as my son anytime. I don’t know if he’s just being a normal child trying to reconcile his parents or if he’s so happy debating that he knows every button I have and that the guilt I have over the divorce is a easy way to get me riled up. I also know that his dad, his paternal grandparents and his fathers siblings all feel that is it a great idea to discuss our marriage and problems and my percieved weaknesses with my children. So, many times when my son is debating with me I hear all the ex-inlaws voices and thoughts in his words. This doesn’t seem fair that he is getting one sided information, however I have been assured by multiple therapists that I’m am doing the right thing in not discussing my side and someday my children will know what they already feel in their hearts. Today was a particularly rough afternoon with my son,  I had gone out of my way to take him to lunch and spend time with him. I think I held it together very well, dropped him off, drove to Target and sobbed in my car. I was just so exhausted and bruised from his verbal barrage.

I hold on to the hope that someday he will grow up and acknowledge what I believe is in his heart. Until then I have a beautiful picture of my son hugging me, when all was right and innocent.

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.