Cautiously Happy

My whole life I was told I was unhappy. And to this day my mom defends this by saying “I wanted to know what I could do to make you happy.” She even went so far as to say “You misinterpreted things (I said) as a kid.” Umm no….telling me I was unhappy, telling other people in front of me I was unhappy is pretty straightforward.

So now I look back and think was I unhappy? Or was I just living out what she placed on me, much like a self-fulfilling prophecy? I do know I was unhappy she would say this. I was unhappy hearing it. But was the core of me unhappy? I believe I was heavily unbalanced and seeking. Seeking someone or something to sit on the other side of the see-saw so that our legs would dangle as we sat perfectly balanced. Do you remember sitting on see-saws as a kid? It was no fun if the other person weighed that much more than you because you were left stuck in the air. And if the other person weighed that much less, well your legs would hit the ground so hard and your knees would bend to an uncomfortable angle. But when you found the perfect match, it was, well, perfect. And fun.

As I am trying to move forward to a healthier place in my life, I struggle with being wholeheartedly happy. Understand there are countless moments that bring me happiness. But…I proceed with caution. Divorce hurts. And I was hurt by others during this time. As a result, my heart doesn’t want to feel any more pain. It has become afraid. And timid. It has cracks and holes and bruised parts that are so desperately afraid of someone else taking it and not respecting all of it’s broken pieces. Or not even considering my heart at all.

Yes I am happy, but only cautiously so. Wholeheartedly?…..one day.

Christmas Eve!

It’s Christmas Eve! I would LOVE if I could just pause this day. So many wonderful memories since I was a child are wrapped up in this holiday. My boys are the same way. My youngest was given a writing prompt at school to write about Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. He chose Christmas Eve. Mentioning family, tradition, his cousins – he “gets” it. My oldest loves the lights as we drive home from my parents at night. Should I even mention that their father has chosen to spend the night with his girlfriend – forgoing an HOUR with his boys and seeing his nieces (my brother’s girls) who adore him because “my time is limited with (her).” Hmmm….but his time doesn’t even exist with his youngest son tonight. The very night that T holds close to his heart. And D just asked “why isn’t Dad coming tonight?” How do I answer that? And why is that my job? And by the way, if I did answer that question honestly, it wouldn’t sound very nice. But I digress.

Tonight is going to be wonderful. Amazing. And I intend on soaking up every single minute. Some traditions change. Life evolves. Right now I am looking forward to new adventures. New memories. New.

I wish everyone a very, Merry Christmas! May your night be filled with moments that you can cherish.

Thanksgiving – Top Ten

A time of year to reflect on being thankful. It reminds me of 50 Happy Things…. and then some. When you take the time to focus on gratitude and positivity, happiness flourishes. So without further ado, this Thanksgiving I am giving thanks for…

having a purposeful job – helping to change families’ lives for the better

a strong enough body – one that carries me to all the places I need and want to go

access to beautiful, tasty, and healthy food – and the ability to create meals for my boys

my home – it keeps us warm, holds our memories tight, and safely tucks us in at night

the crisp fall air – it replenishes, repletes, awakens

connections – to family, to friends, to co-workers, and to strangers

forgiveness – the freedom that accompanies, the lightness

hope – and the momentum it carries along

moments – being present, recognizing

my boys – without a doubt the greatest gift and one I will be forever grateful for

 

I wish everyone a peaceful Thanksgiving, one filled with moments, hope, and maybe even forgiveness.

 

Who is the Expert Anyway?

Is there such a thing as an expert when it comes to divorce?

When we too often follow the opinions of others and what mainstream is doing, we lose our “expertise.” Taking bits and pieces from here and there can help, but overriding our instincts, that deep-in-the-belly feeling of what is right and what is wrong, can lead us astray.

No one has walked in my shoes, lived my life, experienced my experiences. And so how can  anyone be an expert on my life? Although in a state of weakness, wouldn’t it be nice to have someone expertly know what you should do – and all you have to do is do it, to make everything ok? Seems easier. Less work. There would be less feeling. Actually, I am not sure there would be any feeling at all.

Let me confess. There have been moments during my lengthy separation and ultimate divorce I was led versus leading. And I have fought and continue to do so against society’s norm as it relates to divorce. Realizing I stretch the limits, I can’t help but stay true to what I so strongly believe. Telling myself “If I were to die tomorrow, would I regret doing this or not doing this?”

At the heart of my choices are my boys. But my ex-husband (I can’t stand that word! Isn’t there an alternative??) can be quite flimsy in his views. And…he has had a girlfriend for several  years now. The boys have not been introduced to her nor have I. And in fact, the boys are not aware he has a girlfriend. Honestly, for now, I like it that way. Even though I am acutely aware I am playing into a state of ignorance.

Somehow in other’s minds though, she has become a priority on a level. Family holidays, car pooling to games, day trips, all must be considered with his girlfriend’s feelings. Wrapping my brain around this is beyond difficult. So I must consider her insecurities ahead of what would be best for my boys? Please understand I do not want this woman to hurt or feel hurt. And ultimately it would be ideal if she were included in large family gatherings at some point. But we are in the now. Today. My boys are only this vulnerable age once. And this is the time we emulate strength as a family or forgo that because the “norm” says it’s not okay.

So really tell me, who is the expert in this case anyway?

 

A Mishmosh

What is life? A compilation of moments in time. Somehow it’s still so hard. It’s all so disappointing. And I struggle to find solid ground. Yet, we – meaning my boys and I – are all doing okay. Maybe even better than okay. Do you ever wonder and dream? I do. Every day. I feel as though I’m lost. The wonder keeps me from losing all sense of reality I think. It’s facing everything straight on…no ignoring, dismissing, forgetting. Can you tell? I’m scattered. Peace awaits.

Proud

I had just been telling a friend I wish I could fast forward in time to see my boys in a good place. And to hear them say “Thank You Mom.” To have them be in a place, at a maturity level, where they truly understand and can look at me all-knowing and say “Thank You.” Then I feel like I could be a little less unsure of myself as a parent for I would already know they get it, they are grateful. Does that make sense? I obviously can not travel forward in time, so I proceed cautiously fully understanding that as a mom I will not be perfect, I will make mistakes. But…there are those moments in time. Those moments when my children do or say something. And in those moments, I am that much more proud, for I see how wonderful they both are becoming. Sometimes it’s in the simplest of acts. For example, when I see my 15 year old approach a door, step aside, and hold it open for a person. (It has amazed me how this tiny act of kindness has seemed to be lost in many). Yes, this a moment when I am proud. He also told me last week he convinced his Biology teacher to place him in Honors Chemistry next year. This was all his own doing, I had no idea. He is being proactive, vocal, persistent about his academics. Yes, this is a moment when I am proud. My 10 year old was presented the Sportsmanship Award two weeks ago at hockey. The team parents vocalized what a great kid he is, always with manners, always supporting the team. When they lost the championship, he was not crying…he was the one telling his teammates they did a good job, tapping them on their backs. Yes, this is a moment when I am proud.
If I remain present, it’s apparent I don’t need to travel through time in order to see that my boys “get it.” They are showing me all the time they do. They get it. How lucky am I?

Days

There are times when I feel I am going through the motions of day to day life. I have noticed, however, I am better at stopping and truly being in the moment. Moments go by so very fast. And then there are times when I just want to turn my brain off. To sleep away any uncomfortable feelings. Taking a deep breath is at times medicine. I have come to realize so much is perspective. Training my brain to look at things a bit differently. What a difference this can make.
I had this conversation with my ten year old two days ago. He was starting to feel like no one was getting along – not his friends, not his brother and he, not his father and I. I told him what I saw – him sledding with his friends, his brother giving him a hug, and his father and I having nice conversations. He could not deny these statements. And once I put those happier perspectives in his mind, he calmed. His perspective was changed ever so slightly, but enough to give him, and me, a bit of peace.
So with each passing day, I am learning and growing. I am stronger. As days go by, moments slip by, I am getting stronger.