Let’s Throw This Against the Wall and See if it Sticks

In trying to figure out the exact date of a friend’s birthday, I had to go through some old (should be deleted but aren’t) emails to keep from making a total ass out of myself by saying “happy birthday” when I’m not even close. The point isn’t whether I got the birthday right or not (I did, sort of), it’s that I was reminded of where I was this time last year. So much has happened I can’t believe I almost forgot. I was still living in a hotel last year, dutifully taking my laptop out into the hallway every evening to work, while my kids peacefully slept in their uncomfortable hotel bed covered with a delightful mauve and baby blue flowered comforter….the smells of curry drifting through the hallways. Ahhh……

            I was horrified with myself for moving my daughters from their home into a new one, not yet built and into a new school, sight unseen. Fast-forward, clearly we survived. But man, what a year! I swore I’d never go on another date. I did and lived to tell about it. (Dating around in your almost-40’s as a single mom…..not highly recommended, yet possible.) The girls did great in school, have friends, and are for the most part adjusting well. Oh, and we moved out of the hotel and into the house which I still don’t like but am grateful for. And in a year of hard knocks for a lot of employees out there, I managed to keep my job (ThankYouJesus) and am still typing for dollars. Wow. We did all that?

            So here we are in the final countdown to the school year starting and it occurs to me that I’ve got to get my shit together. School clothes have been purchased…backpacks (but now the oldest wants a different one)….school shoes (just waiting for, “I liked them in the store, but now they hurt”)….supplies, blah blah. I’ve written a check to just about every spirit organization, piano teacher, daycare, you name it……. It’s like an automatic reflex, check writing. And we’ve added an orthodontist to my payroll this year, so that’s extra amusing. Like everything else, I’m still (always) just trying to keep up. I’m on top of things at work, but not really ahead. The house is straight, but not clean. I know my daughter’s DS games are in the house, just not sure where. The cat is alive, but not because I want her to be. I lost weight, but I gained some back. The kids eat, but it’s nothing gourmet and barely registers as healthy. I sleep, but often still in my work clothes. We go to bed, but not on time. You get the picture.

            In the middle of all this, I tend to stop now and then and think about myself as well. I’ve become best friends with alone this year. Granted, as of late, I haven’t had to be alone as much but there are still very still and quiet moments. Not too long ago, at church, I couldn’t quit looking at this older lady, sitting all alone in her pew. Now chances are, she is a widow and alone because she lost her husband….not because she chose to be alone at age 36. Yes, I see the difference. I kept thinking that could really be me some day – kids grown and off at their own churches with their own families and me – wherever I’ll be – getting up, dressed, and driving myself to church in hopes of seeing a few friendly faces, driving back home, and doing some more sitting…alone, of course, while eating my Lean Cuisine. My daughter recently revealed that one of her biggest worries is about me being alone when she is with her dad. She pictures me by myself, missing them and she feels sorry for me. My heart broke for her to hear that! I’m fine, and I plan on letting her know I’m OK. But I see why she thinks that…. My life, for the most part, revolves around them and when they’re not in my presence, it’s like I’m missing my co-captains. We’re a team. Thank goodness they’re still young enough to really need me almost all of the time, because it keeps me going and gives me a reason to keep pushing forward. I hope I’m not alone on the church bench but the key to not being afraid of it, is to accept that it’s a possibility. What is it, expect the worst and be pleasantly surprised when it doesn’t happen? Yeah….I’ll go with that gem of wisdom.

            Now we have added drama of getting braces, a new school year with “OMG so much homework,” TAKS, last year of preschool (the bastards that yank $800 a month out of my account), fighting about shorts vs. undies under school uniform dress each day, commuting further to work, getting to piano on time, car always breaking down, Saturday dance class, visitation struggles, figuring out how to split escalating expenses for two growing kids who have a need a minute and a want every second, the oldest not getting into the same class as her friends (Her: This will be the WORST YEAR EVER! Me: No baby, that was last year), staying afloat in this craptacular economy, figuring out how in the world I’ll ever be able to afford all of the fall boots I want (read: not), and really wanting to move again when I know I shouldn’t. That’s just a start.

 At least I have the new Hoarders series and another season of Desperate Housewives to look forward to. And let’s not forget Glee. (Pathetic much?). I didn’t cancel my membership to the Y, even though I never stepped foot inside it last year except to sign up. I’ll consider it a banner year if I actually walk in and get my ass on at least one machine. That and getting the cat declawed. The life of a single mom….nothing but pure unadulterated glam.

            Basically every day is like hitting the road to a different and usually not-so-entertaining adventure without a map. (Wait, we don’t use maps anymore right? Navigation system?) I have no idea what I’m doing or where I’m headed. Based on previous results, chances are I’m going to screw up big time. Thank God for the family and friends in my life who keep me on course. Thank God I continue to hear “I love you” even when I can’t imagine why. Thank God my kids love me despite how I’ve muddied up their sweet little lives. Thank God I can still manage to get my work done and someone still approve of it, after almost 11 years. I don’t know if I could have made it without all of that. So maybe I have a map after all, but don’t really need it because I know we’re going to end up OK.

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Reason # 537,871,901 to Stay Married if You Have Children

This is particularly true if you are a working parent…
 
You get up at 6, or earlier, to get your children ready for school, fed, and overly snuggled, hugged, and kissed so they don’t feel like you are as bad of a mother as you are convinced that you are.
 
You get yourself ready for work, trying somewhat to look presentable and like you at least had more than four hours of sleep. You leave with a silent prayer hoping that if nothing else, you at least match and you remembered to put mascara on both eyes this time.
 
You rush Child A to school, navigate your way through the car pool line and explain for the hundredth time the day’s schedule and that no, she can’t skip dance and no, she can’t bring a friend home after school because we don’t get home until after 7 most nights, and cheer up…only one week left of school. She slams the car door before she can hear you tell her you love her. You’re convinced she doesn’t know this, even though you tell her hundreds of times per day minimum.
 
You rush Child B to preschool, slowing down every time you see a DPS. You know your days are numbered until that ticket has your name on it. Again. And then you remember you still haven’t gotten the registration done on the car. It’s about three months past due. You realize you will never, ever have the time to do this. A pang of jealousy runs through you, thinking of your friends whose husbands do this dreaded task for them or for, really, anyone who actually has the time to get this done. (Cop just go ahead and write the ticket for speeding and expired registration….might as well.)
 
Child B doesn’t want to go into the classroom. "Walk me in five steps Mommy." So we count to five. She grabs your leg…tight…tighter….. "OK, five more." The teacher gives you that stern "Remember Mommy we said no further than the cubbies. The children must learn to say good-bye to you." You think to yourself "but the other mommies don’t have divorce guilt!!! Let me walk the whole ten steps would you damnit!!!" Then come the tears…"Why do you have to go to work? Take me with you! Please Mommy. You always go to work. Can you pick me up early today?" So you lie… "Of course I will." (Early is relative, right?) About 20 or so "one more" kiss and hugs later, you escape to the wails of "I waaannnttt my mommmmmm!!!!" in the background.
 
By this time, work has called at least twice and you have about a 45 minute commute left IF traffic is decent.
 
You get to work to discover more complaints about your work, extra work you weren’t expecting, and about 27 voice mails. Hook up lap top. 60-something non spam emails. Here you go. You start to feel a little hungry and realize it’s 3 p.m. Too late for lunch and it takes too much time to go anywhere. You suddently remember you haven’t even gone to the bathroom yet. You overhear the girl in the next cube making travel arrangements with her husband for an upcoming beach vacation. "Bye honey. Love you." You try not to go find the nearest high balcony and jump.
 
It’s dance day. This means three back-to-back lessons complete with three different outfit changes, plenty of "it has to be COLD mom" bottles of water, and ample snacks. It means leaving work early and risking falling behind in order to get Child A there on time. This also includes errands run at full speed — dry cleaning, bank, gas, etc. You look longily at the nail salon thinking you’d give just about anything for one hour in a massage chair and a nice, pretty pedicure. Wake up, lady. It ain’t happening now or anytime soon.
 
Child A is at dance. Go home and cram in one more hour or so of work before it’s time to get Child B before late fees are charged. Child B remembers it’s "date night." This is when you get your one on one time together whild Child A dances. You want to skip it but know this is her favorite night of the week. She chooses the restaurant and you go. It’s the first time you’ve sat down and talked about something other than word count, cutting copy, photoshopping, etc. all day. You learn that Child B proposed to Ethan today on the slides and he told her no. She decides he was just having a bad day, so she’ll ask him again tomorrow. You realize that a female’s disillusionment about men starts at about age 4 now. Nice.
 
Time to get Child A. Rush back. Collect Child A. Realize that dance teacher says she gave you the dance recital tickets. You don’t have them. She swears you do. You swear you don’t. Dangit all! You shell out cash for more. It’s easier and faster than looking for them and you forget so much these days anyway, you could actually be wrong. Child A is "staaarrrving….." because "you didn’t pack me any snacks I like." You drive through Wendy’s. Child B is jealous and wants some, too. She just ate. You don’t argue. It’s better to keep the peace.
 
Get home. Get homework done. Get bags packed for their weekend at their father’s. Bath time. Breaking up fights. Manage to write two profiles and return all remaining work emails in between all of this. Clean up cat litter box. Empty all trash. Drag trash can to front of house for trash day. Water flowers that seem wilty already. Wave to neighbors and hope they don’t feel like chatting because you don’t have time, even though it would be nice to chat to someone you don’t work with or didn’t give birth to…just for a minute. Go back inside to primal screams. The kitty has scratched Child B. Child B then decides to choke the kitty. Child A starts crying saying that Child B is going to "kill her kitty." Child B cries because Child A is crying. Child A says she is also crying because you can’t make it to field day tomorrow because "you always have to work!" You know you go to 90 percent of her stuff but miss one and it’s "never!!!" You sit down and hug one; the other says "No me!" You try to hug both and they fight for your lap. You’ve gained about five pounds this year (damnit) but the lap still ain’t that big. They’re crying and fighting. You want to cry. No, scratch that. You just want to leave — take a walk. Go get a Starbucks.
 
And here is the reason you should stay married….. It’s not because of all of the above. That’s Parenting 101.
 
You CAN’T go take a walk. You CAN’T get in the car and go for a quick drive and grab a Starbucks or a Diet Coke. You NEED a Starbucks because once you get them to bed, you have to stay up and finish a story long enough to fill five magazine pages and interesting enough to keep your clients happy and yourself employed. It could be 2 or even 3 before your head hits the pillow, only for the alarm to ring again at 6 and start all over.
 
See, when Child A and Child B are all snuggled in their jammies post bath and getting ready to drift off to sleep, you are still on duty. There is no "second in command." You can’t run to the grocery store at 9 p.m. when you’re out of milk. You can’t run to the store to grab cough medicine for one child at 3 a.m. when the other is fast asleep. You can’t clear you mind with a walk, a jog, or even a drive thru Starbucks for a latte to help keep you awake in order to finish "Cancer Care in Dallas" a day past it’s due anyway. You are where your children are, always. There is no "second set of hands." There is no "I need to do ____ so can you give them a bath tonight?" There is no, "I have a splitting headache. Can you cook tonight?" There is just….no one. Two little people look straight to you and only you, at least during the times they are under your roof. (The one they still can’t get used to living under, by the way…)
 
So there you have it. If you have young children, need to work late, and decide around 9 p.m. that you’d like a Starbucks to keep you awake or just need 15 minutes of alone time in order not to be on the 10 oclock news tomorrow night, then stay married. It’s the only way you’re going to get one. This is especially true if you decide to build a house in the middle of nowhere, where the nearest Starbucks is at minimum 15 minutes away.
 
I’m not sayin’….I’m just sayin’.
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The Next Chapter

And yet another from last year….

The Next Chapter
Current mood: blessed
Category:
Life

Today, I was offered – ok, tossed around  – the idea of becoming more management than writer. Big problem, right? (ha, ha.)

In a weird way, it is because I know that if I don’t write, I’ll always struggle with is the feeling I have right now.–a sense or urgency to write. Something. Anything. Now.

Writing. Inspiration can strike on a road trip—just zoning out, thinking. It can come in a dream. It can be something that happened to me that no one would believe unless I told the story in a relatable manner. It could be inspiration that strikes, right now, when I’ve had two glasses of wine and should be asleep….. but I can’t help it.

 

I write. Manage? Eh, maybe…….. but let’s move on shall we?

 

I’ve been doing this writing gig for as long as I can remember. When my parents fought as a child, I would grab my diary…spiral notebook…whatever I had and just write it all down – the confusion, anger, and emotions. If I had a crush on a boy, I would write about it until my fingers almost fell off. Certainly, I couldn’t reveal my secret but I had to just let it out, at least, on paper. As I recall, he wore an ID bracelet, and it was my inner-most desire in seventh grade for him to ask me to "go with him" and let me wear that bracelet. It didn’t  happen, but he did ask me to dance at our junior high dance. Of course, I used a lot of exclamation points that night!!!!!! when I wrote about it.

 

So now I am writing on the floor of what is, sort of, my home office. You see, just days ago, it was a true home office complete with décor, a desk, and a pull-out couch. Today, there is a "his" side and a "her" side with boxes and possessions divided—a marriage of almost 10 years and two lives divided by just a few square feet of hardwood flooring. My laptop – no, wait – his laptop — is on the floor. I sit on a pillow on the floor, my glass of wine beside me, work beside me too…… and I think…..

 

Think…. Haven’t I mentioned before about how I think way too much?

 

You see, it is 12:24 a.m. My alarm is set for 4:30 a.m. Why? Well, that is because I have to somehow squeeze more hours into my day. I woke up, fed my girls, got them ready for school, took them to school, came home to straighten my home for an appointment with my Realtor. (Oh, did I mention that when you get divorced and your spouse moves out, it looks as if you’ve been robbed?) Anyway, I rushed to put it together as much as possible so that she would be impressed enough to list it for a decent price….. Time slips away. I have therapy at 11. It is as essential as the "happy" pills they’ve prescribed me to get through this God-awful mess. I have just enough time to put on the bare minimum of make up and rush out the door, downtown to therapy. We laugh, we cry. I feel guilty. I feel relieved. I pay money I don’t have. I drive through Chick Fil A while talking to my supervisor about what has transpired in a week — the decision, the moving out, the finality of it all. My job. A possible promotion. Her new baby. I can barely stomach half my meal. I go to work to meet with our CFO. We talk all about my department – the good and the bad. We toss out ideas. I don’t know what to think, really, about what is being said other than Please God Let Me Keep My Job Because I Have to Feed My Kids. He’s talking about the good I’m doing and how I can possibly manage now, and all I can think about is how to get all of my work done and still have time to make my Realtor appointment, take my kid to her book fair, and make it to theatre class on time. The Realtor appointment was reschedule. I made it to the book fair. Spent more money I don’t have out of guilt. Was late to theatre. Got home, got kids ready for bed. Worked for several hours. And here I sit.

 

I bought a plane ticket for my sister to come into town this weekend simply for the fact that I don’t know how to "just be." I don’t. I have had someone "there" in my life for as long as I can remember….. Just last weekend it was my parents. She agrees. We will press on with what I know is right. Did I mention there are huge gaps in my home? Well, of course there are. Furniture, gone. Photos, gone. Evidence of a marriage, gone. Evidence of hope, long gone. I should cry, but where are the tears? I did cry here and there when the finality really set in. But the one person who claimed he couldn’t live one second without me seems to always find a way to live thousands of seconds without me, happily as it appears. He is my daughters’ father now. Not my husband.

 

Did I have a husband? Records reflect two. My heart, well…..I think it’s at a deficit. Neither ex would agree, but then again, neither knew my heart on an intimate level.

 

I once wrote a blog about a letter I would write to my teen-age self. Again, I would say to her….make sure he knows you inside and out and loves you—despite your shortcomings. Make sure that there is not one other woman in the universe who could make him as crazy in love as you do. Make sure that he lets you know every single day, even in the smallest way, that you are his…you are the one. Maybe you don’t cook, have sex, entertain, or whatever the way his best friend’s wife does…..but the point is, no matter how you do whatever, he should adore every inch of it and never let you forget it. If he doesn’t tell  you "good night, I love you" every night…..notice. Because he either loves himself too much, or someone else. Don’t fool yourself another second.

 

My therapist keeps telling me that I have all of these "gifts" to give….that I have all of this love stored up inside, ready and waiting. I think of the relationships I have had. How is it stored up when I gave it all away? But worse, why do I look at my "love tank" and it’s well below empty? When will I learn? When will I be "that girl" – the one who just can’t even believe "this is happening to her?" You know that girl. She’s in your office….a friend….a cousin of a friend….the girl who has the guy who just simply LOVES her. No strings attached. No this for that. No agenda. He just simply loves her and makes sure she knows it, even if it means being up with the baby all night so she can get a full night’s sleep at least just once this week. Even if it means a quick one second call to say "good night, I love you"  if you’re apart. Even if it means a simple text in the day that makes her feel 16 again. I don’t know what I’m talking about….I can hardly relate….but I know it exists. I’ve given up on this for myself but I’m telling you….no, begging you….. this is it people. Grab your life. With both fists, TIGHT. Hold on. Love it. Live it. Embrace it. Tell your children to do the same. Don’t waste another second.

 

I think I’ve mentioned in my previous blogs the porch swing I wanted to restore. It was my dear, sweet Papa’s. Well, I did it! Pictures to come. Oh, how I love that swing. I ordered a little emblem for it last night – "Papa’s Swing" Erwin John Sander. God, I love that name. It brings me peace. I swing and the world is right. What should be, is. I will restore that swing forever if I have to so that my girls can have it and I can tell them the stories behind it so they understand life is about so much more that right now. It’s about forever and then some. Grab it. Don’t let go.

 

My journey in this divorce started one year ago….mid April. I will never reveal the details but something happened last April that painted the picture as to why, despite what I want and crave and can pretend to have and be, I can’t be here anymore. It took a year for it to dissolve. But more than that, it took six years. I’ve been here before, but I’ve masked my pain with new homes, vacations, even a brand new beautiful baby girl. That scrapbook I kept as a child – that dream book – I should be a model on the pages of that thing, wherever it is because I fulfilled those material dreams. But yet here I sit, in an empty office, a half-filled home as he has already moved his things out to his new apartment……and still, no tears. I just keep pressing on. Money is dwindling faster than I can down my merlot. My job is so busy that I can barely tread water — and yet they still want to promote  me? How is the possible? My daughters will spend their first night away from me, with their father, tomorrow. I’m excited and relieved they are comfortable. Sad they are gone. Jealous they love his place so much, as it is similar to a five-star hotel.

 

I’m tired. I should have been I bed hours ago but I don’t sleep. I have probably logged 16 hours or less of sleep, total, in three days. I just keep organizing, cleaning, throwing things out, and convincing myself that surely I’m not going to hell for all of this Right? Or am I already in hell?

 

Months ago, I answered a calling of for a mission trip with my church to Mexico. I said yes, not really knowing what it meant. Turns out, I leave Thursday to minister and help women and children with whatever they need — repairing things, painting, fixing, feeding, hugging, playing with kids. They’ll feel like they won a million bucks if you give them a piece of gum or candy, I hear. I will be working my ass off, literally —building, painting, moving. But I don’t care. It’s a way to help, and it’s a way to keep me from feeling sorry for myself. I am a millionaire compared to these families. I should never complain again.

 

Did I mention perfect timing for this trip? I am so consumed with worry about money and homes…..and these people have neither.

 

And then there’s the Bon Jovi concert soon after. Also, not bad timing. A little fun can’t hurt.

 

And then I need to move. I need to make my life. I need to figure out my financial situation. I need to sleep. I need to pray. To do a good job at work. To kiss and hug my girls 10 times more than I would think possible because they need it. Ok, I need it too.

 

There are holes all over the house, evidence of where he left. But there is a bigger hole left in my heart because he, through my blog and through countless talks, had the road map straight to my heart but still didn’t take it. And I keep that road map out for public view….and it just stays there…..Will anyone ever pick it up, read it, and actually follow it? I used to think yes, but as  time wears on…… I realize that this may be it for me. I was once married. I have two beautiful daughters. I work as a writer. That’s my life.

 

The end.

 

Really? The end? I feel this urge inside me to get started on living – take a pole dancing class just for the hell of it. Yoga? Sure, go for it. Women’s retreat in May? Sign up. Girls night out when he has the kids? Say yes. Church and more church. Get involved the way I always wanted to. Be Jennifer Sander and love my two girls more than even humanly thought possible, which I do. They are my sole reason for being on this planet. If you knew them you would know why I say this. All mothers can relate. So now I have 3.5 hours of sleep left. I hate succumbing to sleep these days…..It means my mind has to turn off and I have so many things to think about and organize. I have so many shattered dreams to put to bed; so many hopeful thoughts to just erase because now I know better.

 

I have been blogging for more than two years…….. some of it as real as it gets. Some of it trying to convince myself that I’m "normal" when I’m told I’m not. It’s just real. It’s just me.

 

So here you have it. I’m 35. Divorced with two kids. A writer. Full of passion for all things good, pure, artistic, and real. I’m scared out of my mind. I remain hopeful, but nearly as hopeful as I’ve been in the past. I need a pedicure. I need to balance my checkbook. I’ve had nothing but a hard boiled egg and half a chick fil a sandwich to eat today. I drank 3 glasses of wine tonight. Did I mention I’m scared to death? I am going on a mission trip to Mexico next weekend and don’t know much about it, but that’s OK. I have a servant’s heart, and am ready. I have two beautiful daughters who love me and trust me…..I’ll do whatever I can to preserve it. I have absolutely zero experience with truly understanding "I love you" from a man. The words and actions, to this date, have never matched up. I fear they never will. I have to learn to be OK with the possibility of being alone and the pride of not settling just to avoid it.

 

I am finally sleepy enough to end this blog and to say that I’m officially back. Sure, I’ve been accused of writing only to my "legion of idiots" – their quote not mine – to fluff my ego, and I have been lightly "grounded" from my writing. But here I am again, doing what I know how to do……write. Write what’s real. What’s true. What’s On My Mind Right Now.

 

Care to join me in my next chapter? Buckle up……. I just have this feeling you’ll need to….

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This Is…

The Porch Swing one… from last year

 

This Is…
Category:
Life

…A big week for me in a lot of ways. I’ll write more about it at another time when the dust has settled.

You see, I do my best thinking when I drive. This holiday weekend, that is just about all I did. Drive and think. Hours and hours of thinking. Sure, the thought process was interrupted to break up backseat arguments between my daughters, dodging flying sippy cups and  goldfish, pulling over to kiss "owies", etc. But I have settled my soul, finally, with some big decisions. I punch "go" on the process of these decisions this week. I have to. I have been in a such a state of "spin cycle" lately. I can’t do it anymore. I’m worn out. Yes, people will be hurt. I’ll hurt. But hurt is temporary. Hurt heals. When the decision is right, everyone comes out better in the end. You just have to hold on to your faith. And that’s my plan. I like that plan.

I spent a lot of time with my sister this weekend. At one point, we were sitting in the "famous" rocking chairs on the porch of Cracker Barrel in Lubbock, Texas discussing, as usual, our love lives and/or the lack thereof. Much of the conversation was about our fears of the unknown….will we ever find "him?" Have we already found "him" and just don’t know it yet? Will we make yet another mistake? Should we just settle even when we feel that familiar tug at our heart to hold out?

 

I looked across the way to the two rocking chairs in front of us. There sat, who appeared to be, sisters….probably in their 80s. If they weren’t sisters, then they were best friends. They were looking over the menu, trying to decide what to order once their names were called. They were as dressed up as can be for west Texas and 80 years old–their night on the town. I looked at my sister and told her that no matter what decisions we make today, the inevitable truth is that we can’t escape growing old. Our appearance will fade. Our energy will diminish. What’s for dinner will become much more important than which heels to wear with what jeans. Hell, we probably won’t even own a pair of jeans. Point is, this is it. One life. It’s not a dress rehearsal. Both of us have been fortunate to enjoy second—even third chances. But we’re not getting any younger. Sure, we still feel 25 and most of the time, we act like we’re still 25. As each year passes, we’ll feel it and see it. But there is still a lot of time between both sets of rocking chairs. We both have the chance to get it right—to seize happiness with both hands and not let go. To appreciate the blessings we do have and not worry so much about the things—and people—we wish we have, but don’t. We have the time to take a new look at the people who consider us a gift—and treat us like one—rather than settle for men who look at us as only options…..men who may or may not get back to us when they realize the grass isn’t always greener. While they wait, so do we…..and time marches on.

 

The point of my trip this weekend was to go to my papa and granny’s farm house and get the porch swing. This isn’t just "any" porch swing. It’s the swing that I, literally, spent hours if not days, rocking with my papa and granny (usually papa) talking about anything and everything in the world. Without fail, he would reach over and hold my hand or hug me close when we talked. I could not have felt more special or more loved than on that swing with him. Sure, maybe his stories were long and about a time I couldn’t begin to relate to, but they were full of color, humor, nostalgia, intelligence, and warmth. That porch swing, to me, signifies love….life….all of the beautiful things that God wants us to know, feel, experience, appreciate, and give thanks for. The swing is well more than 20 years old and has seen better days. Even so, it was loaded up into my step-father’s truck (which I bravely drove with two small children) and carted off to his lake house where he has promised to restore it as much as possible so that I can rock my children on the swing and hopefully one day, my own grandchildren.

 

I can’t go to that farm without feeling a rush of warmth, love, and belonging. No one lives there. The homes are void of people, but still filled with furnishings, photos, and memories. The homes even "smell" the same as I remember them from my childhood. The farm is a reminder that I have a starting place in this world. People cared enough about me to love me and support me and push me off into the world to go find my own happiness.

 

While there, I discovered a beautiful photo of granny and papa on what my father believes, was probably their wedding day or close to it. They were hugging and all smiles. They made it about 70 years….together. In love. I have no chance of making it 70 years with anyone, but I do have a chance for love. This time, it won’t be the kind of love where the scales are so unbalanced—where I feel like my love is enough for the both of us. Where I feel like "he’ll come around." Where it’s obvious that he settled for me because I fit the bill of who he "should be with." If I could get in return what I give….well, I can’t even imagine…..

 

Once we left the farm we drove back to Lubbock and went to the Alzheimer’s/dementia retirement home where my granny now resides. She doesn’t really know anyone except for my father. She is happy, although she will never understand why she’s there or how it happened. And that’s OK. Frankly, we’re not sure if she even remembers papa, the farm, or any of the major parts of her life. She is always happy to see us, even if she’s not entirely sure who we are. I choose to believe that somewhere way deep down inside, there is a spark of recognition of love, even if she can’t identify who or how. As she ate her dinner, delighted in the smallest of things—a cookie or a smile from a friend—I thought back to the conversation my sister and I shared.

 

Outside of something purposefully tragic, you can’t write the last chapter of your life. It’s not for us to decide. When we’re born, we have this clean slate. We’re about the cutest we’ll ever be—perfect little babies—and we are surrounded by love, care, and constant attention. Then we live our lives—the good and bad choices, the horrible mistakes, the blissful moments, and the mundane hum of everyday life. But every breath we take….every minute that passes….places us closer to the only thing that is inevitable—the end. And when that happens, do you feel grateful that you made "safe" choices and did what everyone else (who are probably not even alive anymore) wanted you to do? Do you feel relief that you let fear of the unknown kept you on a predictable path where you couldn’t even feel this exquisite life that God gave you? Or, do you have regrets that you passed on chances. That you always took the traveled and worn roads. Do you wish you would have said what you always meant to say, kiss who you always wanted to kiss, dance when you felt like it, laughed until it hurt even when no one else knew why, said yes, said no, gone for it, said what the hell, helped someone rather than passed by, prayed more, hugged even when it felt awkward, said ‘I love you’ every time, danced and laughed with your children and friends…

 

I looked around the dining room of my sweet granny’s retirement home and I couldn’t begin to imagine the journeys of the people at these tables—many who could barely lift a fork to their mouth or have any sort of conversation with their seat mates. Why couldn’t that be me? It happened to my smart-as-a-whip grandmother who was so full of life and love. Why couldn’t my sister and I turn into the old ladies at Cracker Barrel where deciding on which sides to go with our pot roast is the biggest thrill of the day? Maybe their husbands were inside. Maybe they were still in love with those men after all of these years. Or, maybe not. Maybe they never met "the one" and they sit there, rocking….content, but settled. Wondering what if.

 

I drove home today with so many thoughts running through my mind, many of them scattered and unfinished at best. One very clear thought, however, was that for as long as I can remember, I have done everything in my life to please other people. And I am OK with that. It’s a nice way to live, and it’s thoughtful. I have waited patiently while the person I love hurts me time and time again before seeing "the light" and realizing I’ve been right for him all along, leaving me to feel alone and like honorable mention throughout our relationship. I have put together a list of what I want in a mate, only to settle for only a portion of those things just hoping that maybe, just maybe he’ll "grow into it." I have loved and given so much of myself to just about everyone in my life, and I have taken sheer joy in doing so. And when I feel it in return, it’s priceless. But that doesn’t always happen. What’s the saying? Show people how you wanted to be treated, and that’s how they’ll treat you? Well, the doormat aspect of my personality has really created a huge problem for me here.

 

So if in the end, I’m either in the rocking chair on the porch of a restaurant where the highlight of the evening is having pancakes for dinner or in a retirement home where someone is affixing a bib around my neck…… Well, who knows what will really be running through my mind? I hope I have great memories, a heart full of love, hilarious stories to tell my kids and grandkids. I hope someone is driving 7 hours with screaming kids in the back seat to pick up the porch swing that has made it through generations simply just to breathe in a special memory of me. I hope I can think of "him" and smile my biggest smile, knowing that in a matter of years our souls will be joined once again as God intended. I hope that "he" smiles that same smile, even when we’re 80. I hope our kids and grandkids use us an example for their own relationships. I hope that they forgive me for the choices I had to make for myself and also, in a strange way, for them. I hope they one day understand.

 

As I smiled thinking of the memory of my sweet papa taking my hand, every time, as he talked to me, I thought about how many times I saw him take my granny’s hand through the years…..just a natural gesture to show how he is there for her. I remember how his eyes would light up when he talked about their dating years, going dancing on Friday nights and such. Really, it’s that simple…..someone who reaches out and who lights up….because he loves me unconditionally in a way that speaks right to my heart. The answer has always been around me in the lives of my grandparents and other special couples in my life. Basically, the porch swing is a constant reminder of real love whether it’s a grandfather and granddaughter or romantic love—stopping everything to just swing, listen, hold hands, and be there for each other—even if it’s for a brief moment….a soul connection. Think of how much nicer it is to get back to our busy, over-scheduled lives after experiencing that, even if it’s just for a minute. Someone saying "I love you" without even really saying it all—feeling it, rather than just hearing it. My papa has been gone from this earth for more than two years, but I can still feel the love. I light up when I think of him, and when I think of his marriage to my full-of-life granny. Love is more than a word….it is an action. It can change everything when it’s right. Their love has endured through generations…..to me….and eventually, to my daughters. I owe it them, and to myself, to get it right and to not waste for one second this precious, fragile, beautiful life. If I know where I’m headed, no matter what, then why waste one more second?

 

Yes, it’s a big week. It’s a big life. It deserves jumping in with both feet—carefully but with somewhat of abandon in order to really experience it.

I’m glad I got the porch swing. I’m glad I made some big decisions. I’m glad I reconnected with what was real about my past in order to stay focused on what’s real in my present and my future. I’m glad my sister and I had that talk. I’m glad that things become more clear for me every day about what I’m doing right…and what I’m doing wrong. I’m glad I’m learning what I want, finally. I’m also glad that within a matter of months, I’ll be spending crisp fall evenings relaxing with my girls on the porch swing, soaking in and being thankful for life’s rich blessings.

 

Love life. Swing on.

 

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The View From Here

Last year…… again

 

The View from Here
Current mood: contemplative
Category:
Romance and Relationships

During my hour-long commute today, I struggled to remember the last time I was really single. By really single, I mean not even dating anyone. At all. I actually had to turn off the radio and think pretty hard about it. Truth is, I don’t exactly remember.

I dated the same boy in high school pretty much the whole time, and then on into college and even beyond. Yes, we had our "taking a break" moments where we both saw other people, but we always wound up back together. I was with him until I was 25. When I moved here, I immediately started dating an old college boyfriend — someone who I saw during the "breaks." We got engaged, then married. Eight months after we said "I do" I was pregnant with our first child. So technically, has it been since junior high that I was really single? Oh surely not. Wait. Has it?

As I maneuver my way through this new single life, I have become very in tune with The Way the World Works. This won’t be a revelation for the single pros out there, but truly, this is a world designed for pairs. (Or pears, 😉 if you will….shout out). I have overcome the fear of going to the movies alone. It’s actually pretty easy to get by with that, as in, it’s socially acceptable. I just choose the movie, buy my Diet Coke, and find a random seat away from the crowd. And truth be told, as a busy mom, I like the alone time. That said, I don’t mind shopping alone, either. No strollers or whiny kids in tow. I can actually try on clothes IN the store–a true luxury. But after a few hours in a mall, I begin to notice how everything around me is in two’s–or fours when they have the family with them. I’m only 5’2", but I start to feel even smaller in a big, big world. Not long ago, when the girls’ father had them for the afternoon and evening, I headed out to a mall to kill some time. As I was leaving the mall, the sun was going down. For the first time in a really long time, I felt scared. Alone. I looked at everyone with suspicion. News stories of women alone in parking lots being mugged, raped, or kidnapped started running through my head. My whole body began to tense up. I thought of my kids at home, in their pajamas waiting for me to tuck them in, and I got so frustrated that I wasn’t there. But I couldn’t be there. We’re not a family anymore. And as much as I am at peace with that fact, I’m not OK with feeling scared and out of control. I got in my car, locked the doors, and cried. I still had just under an hour before it was "my turn" with the kids, so I drove around until I could brush myself off and dry my tears. I tried really hard not to look at the couples and young families in my neighborhood taking their evening walk as I approached my house. 

That night, and pretty much every night thereafter, I experience a sense of panic every time I check the locks, turn off the lights, and set the alarm. I am the "grown up" in the house now — the only one my girls look to for safety. I’ve noticed that the oldest clings to me more at night and talks more about "bad guys hiding in closets" and "faces coming through the walls." I’m sure what she wants to say is that she felt safer when her dad was here to protect her. And while I can’t honestly say he did a great job at that (I can’t tell you how many times I set the alarm, shut the garage door, or locked the doors after he forgot) I can empathize with her in that "dads protect the family." I can’t say for sure she feels as confident in my "bad guy" fighting abilities. When she was little, I filled a squirt bottle with water and wrote "Scared Spray" on it. Each night, before we said our prayers, we would spray under the bed, around the window, and in the closet–just in case. Man, I wish that stuff really worked. I could certainly use it.

Why? Because I’m scared. I’m scared about a lot of things — my girls’ future, financial security, if we’ll be able to sell this house for the right price and find a great new one, how all of this will wind up affecting my girls, about our health and safety when I’m flying solo, and also for me — my future. I definitely give it all to God, but I’m only human. The doubts and fears inevitably creep in.

After all, this is a world designed for couples. While I feel OK having lunch out alone reading a magazine sitting at the bar, I simply cannot bring myself to dine out a restaurant alone in the evening or on weekends. Friends say to give it a try, but I just can’t. Suddenly, concerts, exhibits, shows, and events are no longer options. Even if I didn’t always like my "date by marriage" to these events, as least I had someone to go with me. Because of the fears and pressures of being alone, it’s like my world has suddenly become much, much smaller. I think of vacations I’d like to plan and eventually take. And, yes, I could take my sister or a friend–and I’m sure I will–but rather than make concrete plans, I just think, "maybe some day." That’s new for me, too.

One of the hardest aspects of single life that I have faced is school activities. Now this is something that is undeniably crafted for families. My oldest daughter’s "family picnic" is coming up. Because we went last year, I know what to expect–FAMILIES eating Outback hamburgers together on blankets, talking to neighbors and friends while games and music go on in the background. I can pretend all day that my daughter won’t notice that we’re a family of 3 instead of 4, but she’ll know. She’ll remember last year. We could put on a brave front and all go together anyway, which is plausible, but also very confusing to the kids at this stage of the divorce. The other option is just to not go. But she’ll know about it. She’ll hear about it at school all month, as the build-up to the big event escalates. And really, I have no one to blame for my anger and frustration over the matter except for myself. She didn’t ask for this. She didn’t do this. We did.

Also in this new life, I have noticed how difficult the tiniest tasks can become. For instance, I’ve had a smoke detector beeping for weeks now. It drives me crazy. But the truth is, I have one not-so-tall ladder, and did I mention I’m short? So even when I climb on the ladder, I can’t reach the smoke detector to change the battery. Tonight, I couldn’t take the beep, beep, beep any longer. So I go out to the garage, drag in the ladder, and then place a step stool on top of the ladder. I took a deep breath, said a quick prayer, and attempted my circus act. Damnit! I get all the way up there, balance myself….and I forgot the battery. I almost fell of the ladder climbing back down, retrieved the battery, and went for it. The good news is: I did it! The bad news is, I hated every second of it. A notice comes in the mail from the HOA saying I need more sod in the yard. Twenty phone calls later and a check to a manual laborer, and I have it. Not easy or cheap, but done. The pool has been green for a week. I actually had to ask the ex for help on this one. He obliged, thankfully, but it still doesn’t look right. And on an even smaller scale, I slipped on one of my favorite dresses this week for work, but I couldn’t zip the zipper in the back. The kids were already gone to school. Try as I might (I even tried scissors and a fork) I couldn’t zip it up in the back. Tearfully, I took the dress off and hung it back up. So now I have to be married, apparently, to wear one of my favorite dresses. Fabulous.

I would be remiss if I didn’t also include the fact about the chopped up social life. You see, when you are married or part of a couple, you get an insta-social life–his friends, your friends, your kids’ friends. You go to couples’ parties, dinner parties, out to eat, to the theater….or you host your own parties–which we often did. It is a painfully obvious fact that my weekend nights are wide open for the first time in a very long time. Now mind you, I enjoy being at home and curling up with a good book or movie…playing with the kids….that’s just me. But I am just now at the stage where I’m starting to miss some people from "my old life" — friends who are still friends in a sense, but are keeping their distance because everyone has to "choose sides" when a couple in the crowd divorces. It’s a fact life life. Sunday school classes–they’re either for young singles, young couples, or seniors. How about the divorced 30-something with kids? Where’s that class? I can’t get comfortable there, either.

One of my favorite hobbies is renovating my house. Whether it’s a small project or a huge knock-down-the-wall remodel, I have always had some sort of project going on and some contractor in and out of the house. Well, no more. Not only does my new budget not allow for this sort of thing, it also seems rather pointless. No one is coming over. I’m not hosting any sort of social gathering. My kids don’t care if the countertops are changed. And, truthfully, I won’t be living here in a year. So I miss that, too — antiquing, trips to Home Depot, accessories shopping. I used to save every home decor catalogue I received in the mail and would turn down the pages to my favorite items. Now, I just toss them in the trash. No need. They’re for couples who are creating a home together.

And last, but certainly not least, there’s the quiet. Because I was alone even in my marriage, the quiet in the house isn’t really all that new. It’s hard to describe the feeling. When the kids are in bed at night, or they are gone with their father, there is a certain stillness….lonlieness maybe? I haven’t been able to identify it yet. I feel it in the evening before I go to bed, and I also feel it around 6 p.m. when it’s time for dinner. There’s no need to cook anymore–it’s just me and the kids’ have their own requests that call for little more than a microwave. My three-year-old certainly isn’t going to ask about my day. Homework is the priority at this hour, along with bath time, stories, and extra hugs. Maybe the stillness is the big question mark that looms when you’re single: Will it always be this way? Once the kids are gone, are the hugs gone for good, too? What’s going to happen to me? Are we going to be OK? In my heart, I know my girls will be fine, but I haven’t answered the question for myself yet.

Funny, all of the fears simply because of the absence of one person who really wasn’t ever "here" nyway. It just goes to show that the very reason we came to this place–the illusion of a safe family–has even tricked us after the death of the marriage. It was an illusion then, but we held on to a false sense of security. And now that illusion has been exposed, I have a different vantage point from which to view this big new world. Everywhere I turn is a table for two. I don’t buy into the "there’s someone for everyone" or else there wouldn’t be so many lonely people in the world. Even a trip to the grocery store is depressing. You think of recipes you like or see things that sound good, but there would be a huge amount of food leftover–pointless. You look in your grocery cart and you have turkey, wheat bread, Diet Coke, and a bottle of red wine for yourself and everything else is for the kids. Yep, even grocery shopping is set up for pairs. I’m too old to "go to clubs" to meet people–sounds awful–but I’m too young to settle and give in just to have someone to share a burial plot with. And apparently, I’m one person short of getting any sort of buy one ticket, get one half price promotion too.

So the view from here….it’s interesting. I can see why people miserable in their relationships crave it–the freedom, the quiet, and the possibility–but I can also see how those who have been single for some time can’t stand it one more minute–the freedom, the quiet, and the possibility that this is it for them.

I bet you’re waiting for some sort of "Sex in the City" style wrap-up where I figure out life’s problems in 30 minutes with no commercial breaks. Sorry to disappoint, as I haven’t the slightest clue how I’m going to navigate this new life. About the only thing I know for sure now is that I’m glad my dog got sprung from puppy rehab and that my roommates, ages 6 3/4 and 2 3/4, are upstairs (sleeping like little angels) because they love me, single….not single….happy….sad….zipped or unzipped. And they never complained about the smoke alarm beeping for two weeks. Not even once.

Yep, I’m a lucky single girl indeed.

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The Great Divide

More…last year…..etc etc….

The Great Divide
Current mood: exhausted
Category:
Goals, Plans, Hopes

I have this mental picture of myself, standing on dry, cracked ground with one leg on each side of a fast-splitting earthquake type break in the ground. I’m starting to go down fast, and I need to make a decision about which side to choose. Neither side is optimal—after all, this is an earthquake right? The indecision hurts, and it’s dangerous. Both sides scare me, because I don’t know what they will be like once I get there, and I desperately fear making the wrong choice and regretting my decision. It would be next to impossible to switch sides once I’ve decided, because by then, the gap between each side will be so large that there would be no way I’d have the strength and energy to figure out a way to get across to the other side.

Every time I find resolve and confidence in this divorce, something shakes it. I doubt myself. Someone will give me advice that makes me re-think my choice on which side to jump to. Or, I’ll let my imagination run wild, thinking only the worst about what lies ahead. And then I am quickly reminded why the side I’ve chosen to try is a good side. You know, things like finding out my ex spouse has been on match.com for several months and met someone with whom he has developed a rather intimate relationship—little things like that.

Truth is, I’m tired. I. Am. So. Damn. Tired. The projects that need to be finished around here—endless. The paperwork that my lawyer needs me to complete to get this finalized—daunting. The bills that need to be paid—piled high. The money to pay them—diminishing quickly. Work–difficult. I have been sick for almost two weeks straight with different illnesses. The only times I have been constantly sick like this was my senior year in college, taking 19 hours my last semester and preparing for finals so I could graduate, and also when experiencing the gut-wrenching stress, guilt, and fear of untangling myself from a decade-long abusive relationship. I am just worn down and my body is screaming at me to slow down. Tonight, while brushing my teeth, I noticed that the circles under my eyes are darker than usual, and a bit puffy too. My skin doesn’t look right. My face looks….well…sad. My home, usually neat and organized, remains in a constant state of disarray. I have been on time to most everything my entire life—I am a huge advocate of punctuality–but recently, I’m late to everything. I have almost run out of gas twice in the last two weeks. I could stay home from work for two days and do laundry straight through and have a slight chance at finishing it.

This….the current state of my life…is so hard that it, quite literally, hurts. To add insult to injury, a guy in a 2001 (big) Chevy Suburban plowed into me yesterday from behind, totaling his car and completely destroying the back of my SUV. Fortunately, no one was hurt and it was totally his fault. Still, I have yet another thing to add to my to-do list—file the claim, get the car fixed, get a rental car, and deal with everything else that goes along with having a wreck.

I was talking to my ex husband today about the schedule for the upcoming week, and as I am doing my usual three things at once, all the while blowing my nose and coughing, he looks at me and says, "Would you like to go upstairs and take a nap so you can get some rest? I’ll watch the kids."

The rational, cautious part of me wanted to say no. If I take his help, he’ll see it as a sign of reconciliation…and weakness. But I was tired. Not just tired, but mentally and physically exhausted. Add to that running a fever and some residual pain from the wreck, and the thought of taking a nap in the secluded, locked guest room sounded like sheer bliss. I wanted to cry because I felt like I was admitting defeat in front of the enemy, but I also knew that if I was going to get better, I had to rest. So I accepted his offer. He didn’t brag or hold it over my head. He immediately told the girls that mommy is sick so they were going to play downstairs for the afternoon and told them to not go upstairs and bother me. All the way up the stairs, I second-guessed my decision but apparently not enough to keep me awake. I crawl into bed and instantly fall asleep—for almost three straight hours. I came downstairs to find the dishwasher going, laundry going, towels being folded, and kids bathed. I looked at him, in shock, wondering what to say. All he said was, "I could tell you needed to rest and I know things have been tough on you lately." He told the kids good-bye and was off. It was almost surreal.

I’m smart enough to know that one good deed does not a new and improved husband make, and it didn’t make my heart swell with love, but I was thankful. And then I realized that even in the worst marriages, having two people to navigate the life of a busy family is easier than one person doing all the work. That has been proven over and over to me during the past few months, although I am managing fairly well. Being a single parent is tough. Being a sick single parent is damn near impossible.

I started to think of how "easy" – and I use the word lightly – it would be to go back. All of the fears about moving, dating, being a single mom, money, and everything else that goes along with divorce would be settled. I could pick up where I left off—redecorating, remodeling, planning vacations, and being the smiling suburban mom and wife. At the end of the day, when all of those projects are put to rest, I know I wouldn’t be happy in my marriage on an emotionally intimate level—this too has been proven—but it would be easy to distract myself from that. I could do it again, but if that was enough then I wouldn’t be here in the first place. Lately, jumping over to this side of the cracking ground doesn’t look so bad. Dressing up and going out to a nice dinner most weekends, hosting dinner parties with friends, spending money on wants rather than needs, planning a beach vacation, getting bids on remodeling the pool, and preparing for a Christmas without divorce sounds really, really nice right about now compared to mediation, visitation schedules, child support, confused kids, moving, and adjusting to a new budget.

And then there’s the other side I’ve been trying to get to for years—the side where my authentic self is just waiting for the shell that I’ve become to join her. The place where I don’t have to pretend, where I have a shot at finding someone to love who "gets" love and who "gets" me. A place where I can raise my daughters in a manner where material things aren’t worshipped, but God is. A place where I don’t have to loan out my mind, body, and soul for someone else’s pleasure. A place where what I think and say matters and counts. A place where I can freely breathe, think, cry, love, play, and just be. But also a place where I’m lonely. Scared. Remorseful. Guilty.

I don’t like either of my choices. Both sides, quite frankly, suck. This is like every decision in life—weighing the pros and cons. What can I live with? What can’t I live with? At the end of this awful, beautiful life, which side will I be most proud to have taken? And on that note, which side allows me to really live my life…not just life a life so that when I take my last breath I know I didn’t waste it? Which is worse? Guilt about selfishness or selling out to keep the peace (and the china?)

So there you have it. Between the tears, the Nyquil, the surrender to an afternoon nap, caring for a sick child (again), shuttling kids to school, dance, theatre, and choir, exchanging insurance information with a complete stranger in front of the Galleria, dealing with an ex spouse who doesn’t want to be an ex spouse, and well….all the rest of it, I find myself straddling the great divide, barely able to keep my balance. I have to choose, else I’ll fall. And I need to choose quickly because the pain of staying in one place only entertaining the thought of each side is becoming to much for me and everyone else to bear. I keep hoping that someone will just take my hand and pull me one way or the other so my decision doesn’t have to be so hard, but no one can do that. It wouldn’t be right. It’s a move I have to make on my own. Years of disappearing into who I’m with, accepting being that person’s "honorable mention," and essentially feeling invisible and unimportant in a relationship has to stop, but the trick is it starts with me. It starts with me choosing a side, being confident in that leap, and never….ever….looking back again

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Max 95 Characters

A random last year entry

max 95 characters
Current mood: awake
Category:
Automotive

That older song My Immortal by Evanescence…..never thought about it much but really listened to it tonight. It’s playing on my page. Good song.

And well, the dog ate my kid’s homework. Really, he did. I thought that was just a saying. And even if it was, my dog turned it into reality. No kidding. Now what?

I need a new default pic. I feel like I’m staring at myself. Weird.

No, I’m not drinking. But I am thirsty.

Tomorrow is operation organize. I’ll be rewarding my efforts with something sassy to wear. And I’m going to save it for something special. No, I don’t know what that something special is, but when it happens, I’ll have just the outfit.

My eyes hurt, but I’m afraid to fall asleep. I don’t like my dreams lately. I also hate those first moments of waking up, realizing why I’m sad and why my life is so hard right now. At present, I exist between the proverbial rock and a hard palce. I’m squished so tight that I even stress out in my sleep….that is, when I do sleep.

I miss hugs.

I have been considering a side career in public speaking. I want to speak to 20-somethings about marriage. I want to be the poster child for WAIT YOU STUPID IDIOTS WHAT’S THE FRIGGIN RUSH?! But I won’t use my default pic on the poster. I’ll let Zach take a new one once I lose five pounds, and then I’ll use that one. OK Zach?

Tonight I realized that my house is a potty training disaster, between my youngest daughter and the puppy. I am getting tired of it. Maybe it would help if I took her outside and put him on the potty. It’s worth a shot, right?

Is it wrong to just want to stay in your pjs and sleep for a week, never even getting out of bed except for necessary restroom breaks? I hope not, because that’s what I want to do. Except then of course, I’d have to dream and I’m not a fan of that these days. Can I be one of those mopey, can’t go on type of people just for a week? I promise I’ll shape up, but just once……

I keep having this vision of my grave site in some random big-city cemetery where all of these stranger dead people I never knew in real life are all around me with their better skeletal halves and I, of course, got the "single plot." All the "doubles" are around me, happy they are reunited for eternity. And even though I might be happy alone in the afterlife as I (pretended to be) was in real life, there I am, still single…. even in Heaven. I picture myself bumping into Bill and his wife…. "Yeah, sorry about that wacky til death do us part thing. Ooops. Party foul." And then I make a left and there’s Joe and his fifth wife (she got to keep her boob job in Heaven? Who knew?), floating along….. "Oh hey! Yes, isn’t it lovely here? Yeah, I know I still feel bad about that whole for better or for worse stuff…..like we really meant it, right? They really should take that part out of the vows. It’s so last century. Sorry about that, but I have to run and play bridge with all of the other old hags who died alone and single because they spent their time on earth dating, marrying, and then subsequently divorcing jerks like you. Have a nice eternity. No need to keep in touch."

This mental picture of that lone little tomb stone depresses me. Is it wrong to just get married right before you die in order to get the whole double burial plot deal? Could I just buy one and then keep the plot beside me empty, much like my bed was during my life on earth? I mean, who will know? And then I could make up whatever I wanted for his gravestone about how great my fake husband was and then it would be the coolest tomb stone on the whole row.

I have another fear of growing old alone, living in a tiny apartment or trailer with no heat or AC because I can’t afford it, yet I have all of these stray cats….or maybe parakeets…..some random pets to talk to in order to break the silence. I picture my daughters off on their own, checking in by phone here and there, as they vacation with their kids with their wealthy father, step-mother, and their offspring. I’ll be that weird little old lady who claims she used to be a writer (yeah right) and keeps a 1980s poster of some freak named Jon Bon Jovi on her bathroom wall. Eventually, the magazines from  my subscription to Hit Parader will pile up high enough for someone to check in on me, and I’ll have expired while digging around in the fridge for an old can of Sprite to soothe my upset stomach. Alone. And then of course, the cats and parakeets are happy to be spared anymore annoying hair band music coming from my vintage CD player, circa 1992.

I need to go to the grocery store. But more importantly, when I buy stuff this time, I actually need to eat it. I can’t tell you how much food I buy that just goes to waste. I either don’t eat at all, or I eat take out and just keep throwing out the rest. Cooking and preparing meals is depressing. But those kids the hospital gave me need to eat, so I guess I should be purchasing and serving something of nutritional value. I checked and Halloween candy, despite the protein-packed peanut butter filling, doesn’t really make the cut. Alas.

Chris, my trainer, won’t call me back. Are you mad at me? Call me so that I can hand over my next paycheck to you and then gripe at you for an hour a week for forcing me to inflict severe pain on myself while you yell at me for eating leftover Halloween candy I keep stealing from my kids’ stash.

I thought it was funny to use max 95 characters as my title. At least I think so now. I might not later. I change my mind every 10 minutes about everything else lately, so I wouldn’t be surprised if I read it tomorrow and realize how terribly uncreative I am. And how about that Automotive category….I’m such the jokester.

Well, I think this worked. I am finally sleepy enough to hopefully go straight to sleep without over-thinking things. Again.

Maybe I should work on my daughter’s scrapbook. Or not. I think I’ll work on a to do list so I feel productive and ready to go tomorrow. Or not.

But yeah, as I was saying, that Evanescence song is really good when you really listen to the lyrics.

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