Sunday, October 20, 2013

Roadside Assistance

More than a few years ago when we drove Megan across the state to drop her off at her tiny dorm to start her college life I cried until we got halfway home. What if she got sick? Who would make her feel better if I was ALL.THE.WAY.ACROSS.THE.STATE?

Megan and Kathleen have a mother but in my heart I'm their mom. I love those girls like they came from my body.

I'm sure she's been sick more than a few times but she's obviously survived. Calling her independent would be an understatement by any standard.

I missed her in those early college years much more than she missed me (or her dad, for that matter).  She's always been very resourceful. She is more than capable of taking care of herself but it doesn't mean I worry any less about her now than I did when we dropped her in her new college environment all those years ago.

I love when she comes home to visit, which she does often and with little notice. But I also can't wait for that phone call or text message that tells us she's home safe.

When the phone rang early this afternoon after she left to go back home at noon today I knew something was wrong. She hadn't been on the road long enough. She couldn't even be halfway. And she wasn't. Her car has FAR out lived it's life expectancy and had died on the side of the road about 100 miles from our house.

I was back to worrying about MY young daughter, regardless of how self sufficient, far away from her parents in one breath. She'll always be our little girl and I'm glad we are the one's she calls first.

She's safe back home with us for now. I think shopping for a new car is on the agenda.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

A Secret

I was never one of those little girls that secretly wished her divorced parents would get back together. I didn't ping pong between their homes each weekend like most kids of estranged parents. I lived with my mom and spent very little time with my dad.

I'm sure some custody agreement buried deep in a divorce decree somewhere says I should have but I just never did. Sadly, I missed out on some very important bonding time with my dad. While I can't get that back, now we have managed to forge a loving relationship.

Over the last year or so I let hurt feelings and angry emotions surface a little more often than I'd like where my dad is concerned. I blamed him for missing important events like births and weddings, which isn't entirely fair given the distance we live apart. A couple months ago he agreed to spend 4 days with my sister and I.

We picked him up at the airport late Thursday evening. I wasn't sure what to expect. I love my dad but we are two very different people and having not spent a lot of time together I wasn't sure we were even going to be comfortable together. It's not as if you can add water, stir and have an instant father/daughter relationship where only a strained relationship existed before. Turns out, you kinda can! We must share enough of something because we are comfortable together. We talked and learned things about each other. Things he regrets and things I needed him to know.

We had family time. REAL FAMILY TIME! I watched my mom and him talk and laugh easily. They shared smiles over the blond curls of their first great grand daughter. All of their grandchildren in one place at one time. We took pictures. Many, many pictures.

Tracey got a tattoo and mine will follow shortly incorporating dads handwriting because we determined that we didn't have anything that said "Love, dad" and now we do....permanently.

It was nearly a perfect weekend.

For a few minutes right before he got on that plane to go home, I was that little girl secretly wishing her parents weren't divorced.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Just Add Water and Stir?

His and hers.



Everything I had became his and everything his, became mine. I had so hoped my children would love him and that his would love me. Our littles were young, surely we could blend these two small families How hard could this be?

My baby, only 5 months old, virtually started his life with 3 sisters and 1 brother. He knew no other life. Nick called Pat Daddy from the time he could form word with his tiny rosebud lips. He is his dad in every sense of the word. Nick doesn't have step sisters. He just has sisters. And now, nieces and nephews. There are no steps in his life. As it should be.

My oldest at 6 years old had an established relationship with his father and I knew I was in for a struggle to acclimate him from an only child into a family of 5 children. I know now I was grossly unprepared. What I could have done differently I don't know but he still has a shaky relationship with his stepfather and a only a slightly more stable relationship with 2 of his step sisters. As an adult now, it's his job to foster these relationships and make them stronger. Pat's oldest daughter and Chris have no relationship and barely know each other.

In my opinion, I was lucky that Pat's girls didn't have a close relationship with their mother. It allowed me to nurture a mother-like relationship with them that provided my heart an opportunity to create love for them much like the love for my own boys. I tried to equally love his girls. Each of them and I have had our ups and downs. Tears and smiles. But only 2 of them will allow me to continue to love them and return that love unconditionally. With each of them at almost the age I was when I met their father we are extremely close and share many mother/daughter moments. They understand that  I never intended to come into their life and take any one's place. I wasn't an equal to any of them in Pat's heart. I didn't try to force my love for them, it happened naturally. I had hoped the mutual feeling would happen naturally as well. I've, in no uncertain terms, been informed that it hasn't with his oldest. I won't lie to myself or anyone else and say it hasn't hurt.  But what hurts the most? Pat gets hurt in the crossfire.

A few days ago, Pat received an invitation to his oldest daughters out of state wedding planned for September. At first, he wouldn't open it. I opened it for him and suggest that he go even though I clearly wasn't invited. I appealed to the parent in him but he's hurt or angry or, I don't even know but he didn't want to talk about it.

I think we A) Over estimated our ability to create a blended family. or B) Need to take Nicks approach and accept what is.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Little One

There are days when something happens and I immediately think...THAT'S GONNA LEAVE A MARK!  Maybe a tiny bruise for a couple of days or just an invisible mark on my heart for an indeterminate amount of time.

My heart was the target today.

I met a boy. He had blond lashes and sleepy eyes. I was hesitant to touch him at first but after hearing his story my arms instinctively reached for him. I knew as my eyes welled with tears that they were going to spill down my cheeks and splash onto his downy soft hair. Still, I cradled  him as close to my heart as I could. I wanted his heartbeat to sync with mine, just for a few minutes. He of course will never remember those few minutes but I whispered to him that some very lucky mommy who had probably waited for him her whole life was just waiting to hear "we've found a son for you".

Four weeks old I was told. This tiny infant was only one month old. I didn't ask anything about the person who decided she couldn't care for him and put him in foster care to be adopted by a suitable couple. As I held him he snuggled into my chest and it was almost physically painful to give him back. I'm not sure I would ever be strong enough to entertain the thought of allowing anyone else to raise my child and never see them again. Sure there are certainly circumstances that I can't see and there are people who are grateful for them because that is the only way that they will ever have a child of their own but today I couldn't see past the tiny little boy who at that moment had no mommy.

He'll never remember me but there will be times in the next few years when I will most certainly look at a little boy at a playground and think is that him. Oh, little one, how very lucky your new mommy and daddy will be to hold you and call you theirs.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Two Peas

Since the early days of elementary school when I was writing notes to the new girl with the phrase "Do you want to be my friend?" circle yes or no at the bottom in shaky print, I think I've been searching for that friend who just gets me.

Every grade, every new school brought new friends. Most drifted away over time, in fact I can't really think of any that I made the effort to stay close to. Facebook has made it possible to find and reconnect with those that I care to but still, those relationship are often long distance and on some level artificial. The small details of life shared online are hardly what friendships are built on. At least the ones that I am looking for.

I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that being friends with me is A LOT of work....stop laughing....the first step is admitting you have a problem, right?  From minute to minute mood swings and nearly unprovoked tears to fits of uncontrollable giggles.

My husband is legally obligated to be my best friend. A detail of our marriage vows that I'm sure he overlooked when he agreed to marry me. Too late now!! He'll always be the one who holds me together when I think I'm falling apart. The one who sometimes just stands there not knowing what to do when the tears fall but who's very presence keeps me from crumbling. But that Y chromosome keeps his brain from understanding the female in me.

In May of last year (or actually long before that but for the sake of this post lets go with May) my job out grew me. To keep me from losing my mind and my job the powers that be at my company hired someone to fill the open position. Let me just say the my life hasn't been the same since!

I knew she was applying. I had met her once, liked her. She was nice. I, for the most part had worked by myself. What if I didn't know how to work with someone else? What if we didn't have anything in common? What if we didn't have anything to talk about? Or worse, what if she didn't like me?!

What I never thought was "What if she became everything I didn't know I was missing?" There was no uncomfortable-ness. All there has been is this awareness that we should have been sisters. How had we not known each other forever?

We are two peas in a pod BUT so very different. Where I have extreme weaknesses she has intense strengths. I talk over her (which drives her crazy). She is beautiful just the way she is but refuses to see it. I cry All.The.Time.  She survived a loss that would have destroyed me.

Then again, we're not so different...we can dissolve in fits of giggles for almost no reason. We both love fiercely and often have to remind each other that anger is not nearly as important as love. We finish each others' thoughts with a look. We've been known to sit on the floor and pout then not be able to get up because we're laughing too hard.

I am exactly where I am supposed to be because she is exactly where she is.

I  love you Peapod!!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Weighing and Sorting

Deep in sleep, I could be having the most perfect dream and BAM  that damn scale scrapes the tile as it's pulled from it's home under the shelf in our bathroom! There I am wide awake until I hear it put back where it belongs. Every.Single.Morning that he gets up before I do that scale is pulled out. I can't explain why but it leaves a sickness in the pit of my stomach. Why does he care so much what that number on the scale reflects? Our bodies fit perfectly together. Don't they? Maybe he's not as sure as I am. THAT  thought scare me to death. I've voiced my concern. Or maybe I whispered it because I'm very, very afraid of the answer. My curves that so completely complemented his are now met with thin limbs and vanishing love handles. He's healthy and happy but my mind (and it's accompanied craziness) goes to gaunt and sick. He assures me he feels better and more energetic than he has in years but still that scale scraping that tile floor reminds me of everything that I have no control over.

In my current swirling mind of mess, lets throw in a call from my ex husband.

Long story, short. I used to give him back the child support that was automatically sent to me by the Social Security Administration because, well I felt sorry for him. A couple months ago he pissed me off and I quit giving it back. Anyway he called to tell me he was going to be evicted because he can't pay his rent with what is left (approximately 600.00 a month). I get it. That's not a lot of  money. What it boils down to is I created a monster. Can we afford to keep giving him the money that the court has decided is child support? NO! But, I can't let him be homeless either. Doesn't divorce mean I no longer have to worry about any facet of his life? I'm sure it does in some language. Am I going to help him? Probably. For how long? I don't know.

Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Writing Through It

Thick, darkness bubbles around me. Threatening to pull me under. I know it's there but I fight to keep my head above it. I'm not sure what triggers it or where it comes from. I do know it's uninvited and it scares me. I don't know how long it will stay or how far down it will pull me before I kick my way to the air above gasping just to fill my lungs with anything that allows me just a moment to breath without feeling like I'm suffocating.

I grabbed a book from my closet this morning to read during my lunch time. It was a book of inspirational stories and I thought it as a good choice giving the muck my brain seems to be drowning in lately. I thumbed though a few stories but couldn't focus on any long enough to get though them. Just then a St. Anthony medal fell out into my lap. I'm not really sure where the book came from or who the medal belongs to but there it was in my fingers just when I needed it.

So I'm going to try something. I'm going to write though this. I'm going to keep writing until all the black and thickness and anxiety gets manageable. I have to believe that it will happen.

I went for about and hour walk after work. I listened to music that I liked and as loud as I wanted and I just walk and walked. I thought about how lucky I was, it was about 70 degrees. I even found puffs of dandelions that I HAD to pick and blow the seeds from.

 I found pansies that reminding me of my grandma.

And before I went back into the house I looked up to see that the moon was smiling at me.

I wish I understood the pull of the panic and anxiety that scares me so. I wish I could control what it does to me but until then I'm just going to write though it.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Comfort Zone, Party of One

Being pushed even slightly out of the boundaries of  my comfort zone turns me into a blob of hyperventilating, anxiety filled, sweaty palmed mess
"What ifs" plague me like certainties of impending disaster.

That wouldn't be such a problem if my comfort zone wasn't a teeny, tiny space with room for little more than just me. Pushing me beyond it doesn't take more than receiving something unexpected in the mail. Like a summons for jury duty, which happened last month. That means I had a WHOLE MONTH to completely stress myself out about everything I didn't know about the courthouse, the parking lot, security, judges, criminals, attorneys. OhhhhhEmmmmGeeeee!!! What if I had to talk to people? What if I went in the wrong door? Or forgot to take some sharp object out of my purse and got stopped at the metal detector? I even considered pulling out the "I have Panic Attacks" card to get out of it. But I didn't, I went. And more importantly, I survived it. Yes, I sat there shivering like I was sitting in a freezer because I was sweating like I had just run a marathon (you know, if I knew what it was like to run a marathon) in an air conditioned room.  I was 95% sure I was going to throw up so I made sure I paid very close attention to where the restrooms were even though I never left the room....even when my bladder begged me to.  I was terrified of getting lost and not being there if they called my name. By the way, they never did.

I don't remember a time when I wasn't this way. I dreaded the first days of school beginning in June, about 2 minutes into summer vacation. Most kids were just thrilled to be out of school for the summer but my childish brain was conjuring up every terror filled possibility of the unknown of the following September.

I'd love to be the type of person who dreams of adventures. But with adventures comes EVERYTHING outside my comfort zone. Luckily, I have a soul mate who's not afraid of unknowns and who doesn't know anything outside his comfort zone. He'll share his comfort zone with me when he can and when he can't, me and my sweaty palms will just have to get thorough it.

Sunday, January 27, 2013


I was never much a fan of tattoos. They were fine....for other people. Not so much for me. All I really knew about them was that they were applied with NEEDLES. Needles that buried ink deep under the skin like a hole punch. NO THANKS!!  Paper cuts make me nauseous. Blood makes me dizzy with a side order of seeing giant black spots and hearing loss, potentially causing my body to hit the floor. Tattoos of any sort were never on my to do list.

Until I turned 44. I don't know why it happened. My reactions to the above have not changed but still after seeing a particular design (originally found by my beautiful niece) those things didn't seem as important. Apparently I am now invincible. I googled placement ideas and settled on my right foot. Then I  read EVERYTHING google had to offer on foot tattoos. They fade, they hurt (A LOT), they probably aren't a good idea for a first tattoo placement. Perfect, sign me up!

There was a tiny bit of green shading and the whole thing took maybe a total of 20 minutes. The time spent worrying about the pain was time wasted. It was kinda like an annoying burning sensation but I wouldn't really calling it pain. I delivered two full term babies after several unmedicated hours of labor each. This was worlds away from THAT pain.

I love looking at this tattoo and even now, about a year and a half later I still consider it one of the coolest ideas I've ever followed through on.

Side note: It's now become kind of a family tattoo. My niece, my sister and I all have them on the top of our feet. I think it's safe to say we all think they are perfect.

I like the infinity symbol but I wanted something that incorporated a heart so I combed the internet for my next design.  A couple of months after I declared my first tattoo a success I found it. Or so I thought...

This one I may have been a tiny bit hasty about. It's not my favorite. I love the color but it's a little more tribal looking than I'm crazy about and truth be told in my brain it resembles an 87 instead of an infinity symbol and heart combination. The thick lines hurt more that the first tattoo and I had to almost physically restrain myself from kicking the tattoo guy in the junk. I got through it, I can't say it was worth it. I'm mostly stuck with it unless I have some kind of cover up done but I'm just not that worried about it. is what it is.
I was content with the two...until Saturday. I went with a friend who had an appointment to get her tattoo. As we sat waiting for her turn I felt that familiar itch again. I knew then that I was leaving with fresh ink.
I haven't actively been looking at design ideas but poking around pinterest I found one that was scroll-y and delicate. It's probably what I wanted when I settled for the one I put on my left ankle. The one that I should have given a minutes more thought about then changed my mind. But didn't.
It took a little over an hour and hurt like I can't describe but I am enamored with it. I am fairly sure that it is my last but since I didn't plan to ever get my first, who knows.


Sunday, January 20, 2013

Wickedly Wonderful

Way back in October I had an opportunity to purchase tickets to the Broadway production of Wicked. I knew that this production was perfect for my mom and I. Many years ago we saw Cats together and it's a very fond memory that I will never forget. I wasn't passing up the opportunity to have another experience similar to that one. The tickets were pricey but I was able to put them on a payment plan of sorts. My employer offers a payroll deduction that is taken over several pay checks. January 20th seemed so far away that I really almost forgot about them.

Kinda like when I was very young and school clothes were put in layaway for several weeks before school started in September.  Days before school started I excitedly remembered that I had a whole new gloriously beautiful wardrobe just waiting behind the counter at Kmart.

Except let me tell you when we got to the theatre and found out that our seats were front row, that Kmart wardrobe? It became every dream outfit at Neiman Marcus!!

I'm not sure who was more pleased with our experience, me or mom. But had the tickets been quadruple the price, and I knew how much we were going to enjoy our afternoon together I would have sold a kidney on Ebay to make it happen.

We were practically in OZ!!

The only thing between those brilliant performers and us was the orchestra. Granted some of the lyrics were drown out by the musicians but seriously, can that even be a complaint?

I am the proud owner of a Wicked soundtrack CD, which has been on a 19 song, 1.1 hour rotation for the last several hours and a purple souvenir t-shirt which I will most certainly wear like a 12 year old girl with her first Justin Beiber concert shirt.

But what I cherish most from this afternoon was the time spent with the special women that God allowed to be my mother. Sure I tell her I love her and I have no doubt that she knows but sharing times like these together is what I want to remember above all. The play was amazing, yes. But sharing it with my mom?


Sunday, January 13, 2013

A Good Memory

My company plans our holiday party for after the holidays, which is really quite nice. Less stress. No trying to fit a supposed-to-be-fun-evening into an evening that is spent worrying about what is left to be done before the upcoming OH SO IMPORTANT DAY. The day where the perfect gift wrapping lasts 2.3 seconds and you barely have time to see the look on the face of the person receiving what you hope is the perfect gift.

Bonus, the dresses appropriate for a holiday party are on clearance. SCORE!!

Our parties are themed and this year was no exception. Viva Las Vegas. Complete with Elvis and Vegas style gambling.

So Saturday evening we stepped out in our party wear (read: suit and clearance dress with shoes that gave me GINORMOUS blisters)

There were 3 artists that were there doing caricatures, in between drinks, dinner and dancing. We didn't do one last year so this year we decided we would. We sat down in front of a young-ish guy. He began drawing and making small talk. I asked him if he saw everyone in caricature form, like at the airport. He said yes, most of the time and that it made getting a girlfriend difficult. We giggled, drank and continued our chat. We talked about where we were from. He said you're from Westerville, Ohio, I remember.

I was, like, WHOA! BACK THE BUS UP! Remember from where?? Oh shit! Did I know him?? Should I remember? I didn't have that much to drink, I should remember someone who knows where I lived 12 years ago. My eyes must have begged Pat to tell me he knew him from somewhere because I was FREAKING THE HELL OUT!! And this guy was studying us to draw our freakin faces! He shrugged, nope, didn't recognize him. I spent the rest of the night racking my brain trying to figure out how this random guy "remembered" where we lived 12 years ago.

We had a wonderful time (except for the amount of time I was trying to convince myself that the artist dude wasn't some crazy stalker). I'm totally counting the amount of dancing that I did as enough aerobic exercise for the next 10 years!!

This morning Pat remembered that we had a caricature done in 2001 at his company Christmas party when we first moved here. We thought it would be fun to see how much we had changed so I pulled it out.

December 2001/Signature reads Rich 01

The caricature done last night..........

January 2012/Signature reads Rich 2012 (2013)

Mystery solved!! But who remembers one couple out of 98450 that they've done drawings of over the last 12 years???  A little creepy. No?

Friday, January 4, 2013

Holiday Hangover

I love my Christmas tree. I lovingly place each ornament just so. I'm kinda particular about which ornaments go where. I may be known to move certain ornaments several days after the tree is up if it's on the wrong branch. And my sweetie is responsible for the garland and the lights. It says so in our wedding vows. He's crazy, neurotic about the pearl garland. It looks the same every year, but I'm okay with that. To me it's beautiful.

Exhibit A...

Perfectly straight. CRAZINESS!

I don't however like to take the tree down. I did my part on January 1st, removing each ornament.  Knowing that Pat is a bit of a procrastinator (I'm the kettle to his pot), I expected the tree to sit for several more days with lights and garland gleaming but when I came home from work yesterday the tree was gone and stowed back in the garage until late next November when we will start the process again.

I assumed the rest of the Christmas decoration would follow but my dear husband had other ideas.

He has a model train that he LOVES. This year he had it running through my Christmas village. Out of the reach of dimpled, three year old, granddaughter fingers and curious kitty paws. Although I saw Lucy sitting in the middle of the village more than once. Shhhhhh, I let her sit there it was cute.

Currently, I have a village with a train sitting in one end of my living room so my husband can play with his toys on a whim.

I'm expecting the Easter Bunny to be forced to leave egg and candy filled baskets at the train station.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A New Year, A New Me

I think I've finally found a name that suits my little corner of the internet. I've changed it twice in the 2 and a half-ish years since I planted the little seed and tried to cultivate it into something that resembles a blog.

Having slept through the midnight New York City ball drop we didn't have much fanfare to greet the incoming year in the early hours of 2013. An early work hour of 5 am for my sweetie meant he was home in plenty of time for us to enjoy some beach time before the sunset this evening. We walked holding hands watching people in bathing suits, dripping wet oblivious to the chilly (at least by Florida standards) air.

I made myself stop and just stand there. Looking, really looking at what any other day I probably would have just walked by. I don't make New Years resolutions. It's a sure set up for failure. But today I decided that too much time, too many days, weeks, months, years have past where I have missed details. Details, like how red the lifeguard shack at the beach is.

How cool and soft the sand felt under my feet, between my toes. Where the shells stopped after being plowed in by the waves, much like drifts of snow fresh from the edge of a shovel.

The seagulls were still. Their normally loud call was quiet like they were daring me to notice. I did notice. I heard the giggling of the kids in the cold water and the splashing as they tried to out run the chilly waves.

This year I'm going to fall more in love with him.

Learn more about me.

And write more about it here.