Struggling With….

I love D, my 18 year old son, with all of my heart. But I am struggling. Actions he has made, comments he has stated, points of view he has expressed, and small mannerisms he has made are in direct conflict with how I felt I raised him. Is this because I faltered more than I thought? Is it his Dad in him? Is it immaturity? Is it him simply figuring himself out too?

It’s probably all of the above. When I see his Dad in him, the parts of his Dad that I, dare I say, despise, well I struggle with that the most. Because I just don’t respect it. At all. And with this, D has turned to his father a bit more these days. Ironically, this is what I have always wanted. However, it’s become a bit of opposing sides if that makes sense. His father has become the one who just makes things easy for D. No thought, no push back, no parenting really. And so I have become the bad cop. The one to avoid. The one who is left in the dark.

Is it my ego that wants so desperately to impart wisdom with my words creating a change in D’s actions that I perceive as positive? Is it my own insecurities of not being a “good enough” mom fueling disappointment? Or is just life? Just life playing out as it does. Guilty is how I feel. For having any disappointment. For wanting him to be better. Guilty.

Struggling with…it all.

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Looking for Advice

Ah, the trials and tribulations of being a mother to a senior in high school. No one warned me that this time would be just as hard if not harder than those toddler years. But then again, if they had, I probably would not have been able to fully grasp what “hard” was until I experienced it myself. Here I am. Experiencing it for myself.

Frequent reminders to apply for scholarships, renew his expired license, provide me the schedule for his after school EMT course, etc, etc, etc. And all the while sitting with a constant worry as my son refuses to eat adequately. I’ve watched my son lose weight, skips meals, and even refuse to take a vitamin. My concerns are obviously warranted. And his pediatrician certainly validated this for me. Ironically though, my ex-husband has not. His feeling is “He’s fine. I see him eat. You are trying to control him.” I probably should mention here that my ex-husband has it in his head that I control everything. Despite my actions proving quite the opposite. It doesn’t matter. To him, I am controlling, and any time I try to “argue” this point, well, that just simply proves all the more I am controlling. Right?

So I’m stuck or so that’s how I feel. It has become quite impossible to co-parent with this man. I feel as though I am watching my son develop habits, learn ways to manage his feelings, and how to treat others by mimicking a man that struggles on all these fronts. And I am left to just watch, as though my hands are tied behind my back.

My brother, as always, has helped me, supported me, even opened my eyes when they were unknowingly closed shut. His advice in this case is to lay it all on the table, take no shit, don’t allow for the table to be turned, stay on the bus so to speak and drive off whether they choose to get on it or not. He recognized that this will be hard for me. And he recognized that my ex-husband will most likely respond in the same way he always does because it’s just hearing my voice that sets him off.

They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. So…I am going to quit the bullshit and change it up. I don’t need to accept any disrespect from my 18 year old son or my ex-husband. I don’t deserve it. And honestly, accepting it will only teach my son that treating anyone that way is acceptable.

So here we go…I’m ready.

13 Years Ago

It was just a short 13 years ago I was washing the kitchen floor, my belly uncomfortably big as it stretched to hold you, keeping you safe and warm and nestled. The phone rang. It was the doctor. “How do you feel about having the baby tomorrow morning?” You were a scheduled C-Section planned for October 10th. It would only be two days sooner, but it instantly became an overwhelming thought “No, I am not ready.” Having two days to finish cleaning, preparing mentally and physically seemed like a necessity. But, in the end the pros outweighed the cons. A few phone calls later, making plans for someone to watch your big brother, and the decision was made. I would be the first scheduled C-Section of the day. October 8, 2004.

I will admit when I learned I was pregnant for a second time, I was not overjoyed. I was scared. I felt guilty. Feeling as though I did not perfect being a mom to your big brother, I wondered how I could become a mom to two. I remember even apologizing to your big brother – he had no clue why – but in a weird, distorted way I felt like I was betraying him. I didn’t want to fail this mom gig.

You were here. And suddenly, I was a mom to two boys. You screamed as they quite literally opened up your world. I can imagine the bright lights of the operating room pierced your snug home. A beautiful, perfect baby boy. And how you looked so much like your dad. You had so many visitors, so many people who could not wait to hold you. A big brother who wore a baseball cap that proudly stated such looked at you admiringly. We brought you home a day early, ready to begin yet another chapter. I recovered much quicker and certainly much easier than with your brother. There were still challenging days and difficult moments, but it all fell into place.

You have been a miracle. A soul that is so full of love and kindness. A remarkable human being. I once thought how could my heart possibly have room for the love of another child. And yet, my heart does not remember how it felt without you in it. You and your brother together filled up my heart to completeness. You were given to me despite me not feeling ready or worthy. Someone or something obviously knew better than I. Thank you for being my son. Thank you for letting me be your mom. My world is so much brighter because of you. I love you my sweetest.

Laugh

I can’t think of a more beautiful way to complete my day. The laugh of my 17 year old son. With me. It might just be one of the best, most honest-to-goodness happiest things. Ever.

Stepping Back

I like to think of myself as someone who doesn’t quit, who fights for what I believe in, who doesn’t give up. I think that’s a big reason why I struggle with coming to terms with the divorce. I feel like I quit. I do know it’s much bigger, much more grey than black and white. But when I observe others not fight, not try, not do what they can to move mountains, I admit it bothers me. Particularly when it comes to my oldest son. D does not have a good relationship with his father. In fact, he doesn’t have much of a relationship at all. This is nothing new. Not a result of the divorce. I had actually, naively, hoped their relationship would improve with the separation and divorce. Some feel my ex-husband was/is jealous of D because D took attention away from him. But as long as I can remember, there has been a tension that exists between the two of them. Honestly, I am downright appalled sometimes at the direct attacks at D from his father. To say this rips my heart into tiny pieces is an understatement. Along the way, I have created opportunities for them to bond; I push for them to spend time together; I often act as a middle-man trying to calm situations. But no more. It’s not my relationship to save. And as hard as it is to see their relationship crumble even more, I know it’s the right thing to do – step back. My ex-husband feels as though he is trying and I do believe he feels like he has gone above and beyond. As long as he feels this way, things won’t improve. One first needs to realize the problem in order to fix the situation. And so I am reminded of the Serenity Prayer:

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

As a matter of fact, this Prayer will be helpful in other aspects of my life too.

Have there been times in your life when you have had to hesitantly step back?

 

Sweet Treats

Oh how I love yummy treats! Yesterday we celebrated my father’s and my birthday with my family. My talented brother handcrafted an Italian versus Irish Cornhole game. A match quickly ensued…but I’m sorry to say my oldest son and I did not win. We did give it a good go however! Turkey burgers, steak, hot dogs, hamburgers, corn on the cob, potato salad, chips, fruit salad, and dips. Lacking for food, we were not. The smell of the grill, the cool breeze, the sun peaking around clouds, and the constant laughing of cousins running around was all so peaceful. Yet, it always hits me that I am “alone.” No one to steal a quick kiss from, no one to grab hold of their hand, no one to share a bite of my turkey burger. In these times, I don’t dwell on that thought – it passes through. The moments of being with my family, in that moment, are much too positive to allow any other feelings to bring me down. But it always makes an appearance.

Anyway, back to the yummy treats. My mom, in lieu of cake, purchased the most delicious looking cupcakes. One problem – I am currently following a low FODMAP diet. Ugh. So I happily wrapped up one of these beauties and placed it in the freezer to hopefully be enjoyed at a later date. I should have taken a picture of all of them – there was a variety. But the picture below is of me and my dad’s. The red candle is the one I made a wish upon just before I blew it out.

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Happy Birthday to me and my father!

My wishes tend to be the same from year to year. Intentions they are. Maybe this is the year. Maybe me blowing out a candle on a cupcake I have to patiently wait to eat, is simply a metaphor for my life right now. Be patient. The best is yet to come.

Giving

I stumbled upon a blog mumturnedmom.com¬†and was intrigued by the weekly “The Prompt.” Writers use the prompt provided to create – a poem, a story, a blog entry. Love the idea. So here I am participating in my first Prompt – Giving.

As I held my first newborn son over sixteen years ago, I was giving. I was giving all that I had. Energy, love, time, attention. Looking back, I was also learning so much. I was lost trying to find the place where I could feel competent and confident as a new mom. Yes, I struggled. But there is no doubt, I was giving – the best I could.

When I became pregnant with my second son, I remember feeling sorry. I was sorry I had not perfected being a mom to D; that I would take time away from him. I now know and realized soon after T was born that my thoughts were not logical. Amazing how a heart can love so much!

Honestly, though, I have cried myself to sleep many a night feeling as though I had failed as a mom that day. I am starting to realize I may never get it “right.” It will never be perfect. Or exact. Or precise. It’s time to let myself just be – be in the moment, be happy, be grateful, be a mom – in all my imperfections.

I’m so incredibly lucky to be a mom to two boys who give to me all the time.

Two days ago when dropping D off at the bus stop, I wished him a happy day as I often do. Just before the door closed, I heard “I love you.” I suddenly looked to my left and watched this boy, my son, walk away. All I felt in that moment was so loved, so happy. My heart swelled.

Last night when tucking T into bed his final request was to let him know when I was tucked into my bed. As I pulled the covers over me, I did just that. And I heard “OK. Good Night Mom. I love you.” Giving.

I will always give to my boys. My heart, my love, my time, my thoughts. And so it seems, my boys are doing the same for me.