Thursday, September 3, 2015

Finding our new normal

This past year has been shitty, there is no way to soft peddle that fact. My kids have seen their parent's marriage dissolve, had to move out of the only home they've ever known and are dealing with their mother trying to hold down three jobs while juggling homeschool.  To say their world has been turned upside down would be an understatement.

This is all new territory for us and we are navigating the only way we know how, by sheer force and determination. There have been days when the only thing I wanted to do was stay in bed and give in; but I didn't.  I got up and even though I might not have gotten dressed when convention tells most of us we should, I eventually did.

Asking children under the age of 13 to understand grown up issues such as divorce is to say the least asinine.  Hell I don't know what happened most of the time - how can I expect them to handle this information? There have been some hiccups, we've re-adjusted and kept going.  I'm not saying any of it is perfect, honestly most of the time I have no idea what I'm doing.

There is one thing that keeps me going though - my kids, it's that simple.  They are everything to me and I will do whatever I need to do to give them a happy life.

Recently my son was talking to his gamer friends on Skype and I passed his bedroom and threw out a smart-ass comment - I have no idea what I said but I heard him laugh and say "Yeah, she is".  What? What am I?

"My friends think you're cool" 


Why I wondered? What had he told a group of kids he had never met in real life about his mother to make them think I was cool?  I have NEVER been cool! Never, not in school, n.e.v.e.r.

I asked him later what won me the "cool mom" title.  He said he told his friends about me and they think it's great I talk to him and he can talk to me. I care about what he think and ask his opinion often.  I may loose my shit and yell sometimes but I always come back and talk about what went wrong and will apologize if necessary.

It's the one thing I said I would do if I was ever a mother.  I may screw up a million different ways but I am at least - without even knowing it - holding up my end of the bargain I made with myself all those years ago.

We took the summer off from school, something we usually don't do but now it's time to get back to work and figure out what that new normal is. I might not be the first normal we find or even the second (or third); it's going to take time but I have that.  And as long as I have my kids to keep that time with we will figure it out. We will find normal again.



Wednesday, August 19, 2015

A new beginning

They say life is a journey.  When I go on a trip I don't usually like to travel on the interstate going from point A to point B.  I like to go on the back roads, sometimes driving aimlessly along the twisting and turning roads getting to the final destination but making stops and changes along the way.

Why did I think life would be one endless interstate road getting me to where I was going then?  I knew there would be bumps along the way, I just didn't know that my life would take the complete U turn it's taken this past year. I didn't know I would have to rethink what I wanted and how I was going to get it.  I've learned a lot through my journey but the most important thing I've learn is how strong I am and when faced with a hard decision I didn't cave, didn't curl up in a ball. Like Jed Bartlet I just keep asking "What's next".

I don't think it's wise to lay my dirty laundry out on the table for the world to see but I will tell you - I was in a bad place and my marriage was crumbling around me.  I tried for several years to put it back on track, I just couldn't do it alone.  So after doing all I could to work it out I decided it would be better for all of us to walk away. This is no easy task for a stay at home mom who hasn't worked a full time job in almost 13 years. It all started with a chance run in with a past co-worker, "You know they want you to come back to preschool" she said. And from that a seed was planted and I stared to take it one step at a time, until I had a plan.

In March the kids and I moved into a house 1/4 of the size of my wonderful old Foursquare - god I miss that house. I'm working 3 jobs now and still homeschooling my kids. It's been a hard year for all of us but we are trying to find our new normal, we aren't there yet but we will be.  I have to be confident that things will be okay, what choice do I have really? My kids are counting on me and they are watching me, learning from me.  I need to show them it's okay to be afraid but not to give in to that fear.  Once you find a new path; push your shoulders back, hold your head high and kick some ass.

I'm not sure what the future holds for us, but I have to believe that we're going to be just fine.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Here's my excuse...

I don't have one, I've just been trying to navigate life.  We just started our third year of homeschooling and although I'm feeling better about our direction I still feeling like I'm traveling to parts unknown without a map.  Both of the kids have done very well on their "proof of progress" test and I can tell they are learning a lot, it's just one of those things you don't know until you know.  This year we have joined a co-op in order to give the kids a break from each other and to let them explore their creative sides.  There are some things you just can't do at home, we can sing in the kitchen all we want but we really can't call ourselves a choir...  I'm excited about the co-op, I think we all need an outlet.  I have a really great group of friends to join us on field trips or park days but it's always nice to have more!

As far as the house renovations go?  Well that's a different story.  I'm pretty sure one day we will get back to projects but for now we are waiting for a new bathtub and the house is going to have to be painted this fall.  I'll keep you posted, hopefully that will happen sooner than later.

I want to be better this year about posting, it's good to be back.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Judgment Day

As I’ve gotten older I realized I don’t want to “fit in”.  I am who I am and you either like me or you don’t.  I’m a good person, I try to help and be good to others.  Do I always succeed? No.  Do I always do the right thing? No.  But do I try? Yes.  Don’t get me wrong I like people and I want them to like me but I’m not 16 anymore.  I’m not going to change and be someone I’m not just so I can have you as a friend.  If my life were to end right now what could you say about me?  Well, the most important thing you could say is “She was a good wife, mother and friend”.  And if that was all you could say about me, it would be okay.
 
I have very strong opinions and I’m not afraid to tell you, if you ask.  But I don’t shove my opinions down your throat and I don’t insult your beliefs.  I feel everyone is entitled to their beliefs without fear of judgment.  I do not choose my friends based on their color, religion, ethnicity, sex, choice of partner, amount of income or any other prejudice – I choose them based on whether or not they are a good person and hold certain values. 
 
Certainly there are people I don’t like but instead of being friends with them and talking behind their backs, I just won’t be their friend.  Life is too short (and sometimes too hard) to surround yourself with negative people.   I want to surround myself with people I can trust and count on when I need them.  I have very few “best” friends, in fact I have 3 of them.  I know if I needed anything I could call any one of the three and they would be there for me.  If any one of them needed me I to would do whatever I could to help.  I have a lot of friends and acquaintances, they are all very important to me too.  I value all of my friends, besides my family they are what make life interesting and worth living.
 
I guess what I’m trying to say is, choose your friends wisely.  I would rather have a few well chosen friends than be that person who has 1000 Facebook friends.  Really, I don’t know that many people!   And if you are going to be a friend to someone, leave your judgments at the door.  Be a good friend.  Enjoy all that being a friend and having a friend can be.  Be nice to people and the people who aren’t nice?  Well, give them a wide berth…

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Dog days....

I can't believe how long it's been since I have stopped to write.  There always seems to be something else left to do around here, right now it's 10:30 p.m. and I still need to fold clothes and finish the dinner dishes.  So much has happened since my last post; Thanksgiving, Christmas, the New Year, Louisa's 7th birthday and we got a dog.  Yep, we got a dog.  This may not sound like such a huge thing to some people but to me it's more than huge.  I had a cat for a few years when I was young and a rabbit when I was 20 something; but other than that, no pets.  I'm allergic to everything, my husband jokes I'm allergic to water - which isn't so far from the truth.  The funniest thing I was allergic to was our first Christmas tree.  I had never had a real tree before so when Matt and I got married he wanted me to have one.  He drug home this huge 12' tree and proceeded to hack off a foot of it so we could squeeze it into the house (think Clark Griswold).  Every day at work I was fine but every night when I would come home I couldn't breath and my eyes would water.  Finally one of my cousins told me it was the mold in the tree I was reacting to, it never dawned on me it was the tree. 

Anyway, when we were at my sister's house for Thanksgiving Marty was having so much fun with her dog he didn't even want to come in to eat.  Matt and I were watching him and he said we needed to get a dog.  Um, hello? Allergic!  I told him there was no way we could get a dog, end of story.  After Christmas he went to see one of his customers who happened to be a Vet. He asked the doctors if there were any dogs we could possibly get, well long story short....  he won me over.  It wasn't easy, I thought (and thought and thought and worried and worried and wondered) for about a month before I finally gave in.  I did a lot of research and talked to tons of people and then finally found our little puppy.  I have never been an animal person.  Not because I don't like them but because it's always been so uncomfortable to be around animals, I won't even touch them at a petting zoo!  The last time I touched an animal had to be 20 years ago, it just wasn't worth my eyes swelling shut and not being able to breath. 

We decided on a Bichon and boy did we get lucky.  We got Scout about a month ago and he is the best dog.  I am so in love with this little puppy, it's almost sickening!  He has been such a great addition to our family.  It's one of those "I didn't know because I didn't know" kinda things.  And I'm happy to say my allergies are fine, well as far as the dog goes - the weather is another story.  The funny thing is I read somewhere that this breed of dog can also be allergic to dust.  I guess we are a match made in heaven!




And as a side note, the homeschooling is still going great!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The best-laid plans...

We have all heard this saying and I'm sure we have all planned something that hasn't gone the way we wished it would. It seems this is my life theme.

When I was little all I wanted was to be a Mom. I even remember telling my very disappointed parents, "I don't need to go to college, I'm going to be a stay at home Mom and you don't need a degree for that!". I moved out when I was 21 and lived by myself for 10 years. The first 5 years were hard, if it weren't for my sister, brother-in-law and parents I would never have eaten meat. I remember having only $30 to buy my groceries and that had to last me 2 weeks. But I finally got to a place I wanted to be; I had a good job, nice furniture, enough clothes, my own car and all my bills were paid. I didn't accomplish all this by myself, my family helped when I really needed it but by in large I did it alone. I was and am proud of the fact that I was self reliant.

When Matt and I married he knew (and very much supported) not only would we have kids but that I would stay home with them. I assumed it would be hard living with one income but for the first couple of years we did okay. We never had an excessive amount of money be we had enough to pay the bills and go away for a long weekend once a year.

Life has a funny sense of irony. Perhaps when I was so adamant about what I wanted to be when I grew up I should have added the note *a stay at home mom with financial security *. My husband is one of the hardest working people I know, he works 12 hour days most days. Times are hard and a lot Matt's customers are small businesses and small businesses are having to tighten their belts which mean we are having to tighten ours as well. It's been a hard couple of years and sometimes the stress gets to both of us.

 I find myself jealous of friends that work because they are able to do much more than we are able to. I have to remind myself what's important to our family, what my goal is and honestly what my hearts desire has always been to keep that green eyed monster away. I'm not greedy and I'm not unrealistic. I just want to be secure enough that our finances are met, we have enough to take care of our basic needs and have some left over to tackle one of the "old house" jobs we have. That's it; no fireworks, no fanfare, no big expensive trips.

It's hard to keep my eye on the prize but when I think about what I'm gaining by being at home with my kids it makes all the struggle worthwhile and I know I'll be stronger for it in the end. Just like my "meatless" years.

"What doesn't kill us only makes us stronger" - I think I'll make that my new life theme. And when that monster starts rearing his ugly head I just need to look at this picture and remember what's really important.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

The end of October already, how did that happen?

I guess you can say I've been busy so I haven't posted lately. I'm still trying to navigate through my days and boy are they flying by! Homeschool in still going great and we are enjoying all the field trips we get to go on.



Enjoying the new fire pit (and smores!)


We took the kids to their first Fair - the reviews were good.



Homeschool sweetie


Trip to Petersburg with our friends


Marty turned double digits (I'm still trying to wrap my brain around that!)



Playing with electricity at the Virginia Air and Space Center




And I even found time to decorate for Halloween.



Hope you are all enjoying this beautiful Fall weather!


Kathy

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