And so it ends, this year that has brought me almost more destruction and pain than it had brought me joy.... almost: but not quite.
It's been a learning year.... a year of mirrors, exposing to me what I've done wrong as a wife, how I failed as a mother, where I've gone wrong as a woman.... and revealing to me ways in which I could do better. Be better.
I'm still waiting for this mystical mirror to show me how to heal both myself and the children... but those are answers certainly worth waiting for.
In the meantime, I have so many things that I have to figure out for the children and I - like... how we're going to get by and where we're going to live.... and how am I going to make that thing we call money?
I think, in terms of logistics - and not just pure emotion - money and how to provide for us is the thing I think about most.... after Yoga Girl and El Capitan, of course. sigh.... really wish I could stop thinking about that. It's a freaking waste of my time, that's for sure... but, like most women in my shoes: it's really hard to let it go.
There are so many things I did *not* like about this past year... at all. Full stop. So many things. Many of those things I've listed here in recent weeks and months. Many too painful to to remember on a night that should be about celebration and moving forward and looking ahead..... so I won't.
Instead.... I'll remember The Boy playing in the grass at the feet of The Statue of Liberty. I'll remember The Girl, still small enough to curl up in my lap and hold my hands with her tiny, dimpled, fat, baby hands..... those hands: sweet, fat baby hands. Next year they'll be the hands of a little girl - not my baby girl. That's a little bittersweet.
I'll remember the pain of writing the book - the emotional fog I seemed to be immersed in.... but that, of course, is taken well over by the joy of people actually *buying* the book and reviewing it. People I don't know actually giving the book FIVE STARS!!!!
Just.... really, humbling and amazing. I know it won't sell a million copies... I know it's not going to be a "Best Seller"... but thankfully, I set my sights low and already 'selling out' the first run on Christmas Eve and getting so many kind reviews... well, that's enough for me. I'll consider that a gold star, put a feather in my cap and move on humbly. I know it's no 'Catcher In the Rye'... but it's the honest account of my story and I can't expect to be any less flawed and raw and real as I am. I think on those points, I stayed true and honest and I'm proud of that.
I'm not only proud of myself for writing the book - but proud of that fact that Mick and Scarlet and members of Drew's family all 'approved' their parts and gave the "ok" to be in the book. Mick read his chapters and said it was actually a bit of a "mind f*ck" because my descriptions were so accurate and real that for a time he was right back on the Byers Road walking with me.... and that as a bit surreal. So I felt very proud of that.
Most of all.... I'm proud of the fact that through it all, my children still love me. I know that sounds a bit crazy... but I'm keenly aware of when I fail them, when I let them down - and navigating a road that I was not only totally unprepared for - but rather unwillingly being dragged down - can often make for less than stellar parenting moments.
I am proud.... of The Sign. I am proud that in the face of my own personal, emotional destruction, I had the courage to laugh both at my situation and at myself. I'm especially proud The Sign sold by house. lol
And... in spite of what people think, or how people judge me - I'm proud of that fact that I've not let go my own personal values, I've not traded on vengeance and anger and allowed those emotions to dictate my actions. while I have certainly *said* honest and true things to El Capitan that most certainly hurt his feelings .... I have not taken any actions to hurt anyone. I think, humbly, that that is something I should be proud of.
We cannot always control how people treat us, the things they do to us... and by all means: we should talk, blog, share with friends and family - all of our feelings and emotions - the good, the bad and the inner-ugly. So long as the *actions* we take keep us on a course that we can look back in a month or a year or even a decades time and still be proud.... I *think* that that is something I've achieved this year. At least... that was the goal.
I am also very proud of my friends. They were supportive - but not in the 'usual' sense. They were true friends - there when I needed them - but not in an obnoxious way. They don't crowd around me for the gossip or the horror stories... they are both reliable and strong for me (even when I know that the details I'm sharing are brutal for them to hear and given a choice... they would sometimes choose not to hear it at all).... they have remained steadfast - and that is amazing.
Jenny-Jen-Jen, Jenny B., Miss Chloe, Miss Courtney, Miss Janda, Miss Jaimey, Miss Megan... and dozens more. Each of them, supportive and wonderful..... providing a constant reminder of the blessings in my life.
Last... but not least; The Blog. I think we can all clearly see that I never set out to be a blogger... hahaha. My lack of proper grammar, spelling errors and well... yeah: it's clear I never set out on this road deliberately. However, now that I'm here... now that we're all here - I have to say, this has been really amazing.
So many of you have shared your stories, which have inspired me and kept me going when I really just wanted to give up. I know that seems far fetched and crazy... but I think our world is changing and we're realizing this cyber world, this social media that connects: for many of us, it has *truly* connected us. At least that is the way I feel... truly connected to many of you. Humbly, and perhaps even a bit awkwardly so.
In a year of the biggest disconnect of my life... it is both symbolic and crazy to think that I would stumble upon the biggest 'connection' in my life.
So I leave you all with one of my favorite poems, though written in the Scottish brogue, as it should be read. In Scotland there is no bigger day in the year than Hogmanay - and I was lucky enough to have three Hogmanay's there. It's truly an amazing night..... I spent my night with two amazing kids who ate their favorite dinner, their favorite desert and then suffered through Anderson Cooper and Kathy whatsherface - what a let down that was.... lolol - but they counted down the ball ad we all wished each other a Happy New Year.
So, I wish you all that as well: Happy Hogmanay.
(PS.... for those following El Capitan watch... it's now 11 days, no calls, texts or emails.... radio silent. again. sigh)
Auld Lang Syne
by, Robert Burns
Shid ald akwentans bee firgot,
an nivir brocht ti mynd?
Shid ald akwentans bee firgot,
an ald lang syn*?
CHORUS:Fir ald lang syn, ma jo,
fir ald lang syn,
wil tak a cup o kyndnes yet,
fir ald lang syn. An sheerly yil bee yur pynt-staup!
an sheerly al bee myn!
An will tak a cup o kyndnes yet,
fir ald lang syn.
CHORUS We twa hay rin aboot the braes,
an pood the gowans fyn;
Bit weev wandert monae a weery fet,
sin ald lang syn.
CHORUS We twa hay pedilt in the burn,
fray mornin sun til dyn;
But seas between us bred hay roard
sin ald lang syn.
CHORUS An thers a han, my trustee feer!
an gees a han o thyn!
And we’ll tak a richt‡ gude-willie-waucht‡,
fir ald lang syn.
actually, I don't feel very 'fine'... may be kind of okay... but surely not fine.
The Mayans mights have been wrong about last week... but my world came to an untimely, shocking, horrifying and catastrophic end nine months ago.
I'm not sure what's better - to see the end coming.... or just let it fall on top of you, flatten you, crush you, destroy you? No planets aligned..... just my husband passing through a 22 year old leaving behind his personal calling card.
I checked though, and they don't sell 'gas masks' that protect you, or your marriage, from the inviting aroma of a certain Yoga Girl..... still, that's what ended my world, ended my children's sense of security... their inevitable climatic finish.... also became mine, just in a different, not so sweaty, kind of way.
The goods news is that I've made it through the season - and I wasn't entirely sure that I would. So many first's I've looked forward to for the last eleven years - first kisses (which I still remember like yesterday) - apartments, first fights, first vacations, first kid, first home, first new car... first everything.
I did not expect 2012 to be the year of Our First... Father's Day, Mother's Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas.... living as one broken family in two homes. Needless to say... those are 'first's I really could have lived without. As the end of the year draws to a close... I'm a bit worried that someone is working on my first 'Trip to Court' for me.
For the last five weeks my daily numbers have more than doubled - the blog has more than doubled in "readership" according to google analytics. On the one hand - I'm rather thrilled by the thought... on the other, I begin to worry that the numbers reflect an attorney of some kind reading the blog, studying the blog for things to take me to court for.....
What will be will be I suppose..... I know that I am open and raw with my emotion - but I have also kept people's identities secret, and..... I have written permission to do both the blog and the book from El Capitan - so.... now I just wait and see.
To that end - my only thoughts on that are this: my *words* do not carry the weight of the emotion and the damage that have been done by people's *actions*.
The last few days have been .... relaxing. The kids and I have been running errands and playing with their new Christmas toys.... The Girl has been very clingy, always wanting to sit in my lap and cuddle and snuggle - even while we're eating dinner. I think she's sad, but at three, she's not able to fully articulate and communicate why. The Boy finally asked me where their Dad is..... i didn't have an answer.
There's another "First" I never dreamed that I would have to face..... answering for *where* El Capitan is. The El Capitan I knew was a great guy - and the greatest Father I had ever seen... attentive, kind, and fun..... this new version of El Capitan - the one intoxicated by the a certain aroma - allowing it to sink into in his skin, changing him, altering his view on the world -- and most importantly on his family -- .... *that* is an El Capitan I don't know how to explain because I'm at a loss for why he's done any of this......
So. I paused and waited to see if The Boy had theories of his own - but he didn't. So then he asked again - and so I said, "I don't know where Daddy is, I haven't heard from him, so I can't tell you where he is."
There was silence and then The Boy said, "Yeah..... okay."
I think that El Capitan and his friends want to think that conversations like that go differently - that I take moments like that to tell The Boy his father is a douche who never calls, and only comes around when it works for him - when he's not otherwise occupied with his hands down a certain someone's pants...... But I don't.
For my opinion.... it's likely to be the truth, however.... The Boy already see's the truth, he feels the truth - there's no need to share with him it's gory details.
At the same time, I wish I could shield him from that truth. I wish I could make it different and better... but I can't. Which.... I have to say, makes me feel a bit like I'm failing him: because I can't protect him.
As we enter day 10 of non-communicato from El Capitan - it's easy to let my head and my heart get caught up in the anger of it all. I'm sure he has friends in town - I'm sure he's busy celebrating the new sights of the season and unwrapping alllllll kinds of new presents from Yoga Girl. I'm sure that, in the end, when he fainlly does call he'll say, "I stayed away because I thought it woudl be easier for you.... I'm just trying to make this easier for us all... bl I'm plenty effing pissed. Believe that. However... being angry never solved anything, and it certainly never *healed* anything.
2013 has *got* to be the year of healing - both for myself *and* for the children. No doubt we - and certainly *I* - will still be dealing with situations like the one we've been in with El Capitan as of late - but the focus has to be on all of us learning tools to deal with these kinds of situations and heal from them.
I don't want my children to grow up just writing people off.... I don't want them growing up in absolutes of love and hate. Life just isn't like that - life is muddy and mixed up and a little bit of everything. And, so are the people in our lives. Sometimes it's the people who are closest to us, who mean the most to us, who are capable to hurt the most; and do. It's not a life lesson I would wish on anyone - and in fact, I think it's the kind of life lesson we, as parents, are always trying to shield our children from. In my case... there is no choice.
It simply is what it is.
If we merely accept our circumstances, then we are cheating ourselves out of truly *living*. I don't want to half-ass this life..... at least not at any more. I want them to grow up realizing that sometimes people do bad, stupid sh*t and sometimes you have to take the good with the bad and move forward. You have accept that sometimes people are going to fail you because they are too busy failing themselves to see the fallout and collateral damage from their actions. It's not that they won't see or feel those mistakes, to their very soft-centered cores.... but I have teach them how to love anyway. Isn't that was 'unconditional' love is?
Now, let me be clear, that doesn't mean that we don't have to process and provide the appropriate weight to the things that people might do that hurt our feelings or are wrong - we don't wipe the slate clean and sign up to be hurt again... but I have to start finding a middle ground for them..... I guess that'll be my "First" resolution of 2013.
The next thing I have to do is start piecing things back together... I have to start making us a 'whole' unit of three instead of allowing my heart to hurt for lack of being a four. I have to start celebrating the three - so that they will celebrate the three of us together. Jenny-Jen-Jen is a big ole' scrapbooker. I swear - she has scrapbooks for everything: years, birthday's, Christmas's, trips, vacations. She told me about this scrapbook that you do everyday - Becky Higgins something..... so I went online and bought a digital version of it today. Each day you take a photograph and write down things - funny things the kids say, things we did together... just our family life.
One day at a time.... one week at a time - and our first official year as a new family will be done before I know it - and hopefully it won't have just passed us by. Hopefully I will have spent the year celebrating.
Celebrating and living...... so here's to End of The [my] World As We Know It.... and I for one - will be very glad when the clock ticks over to a new year and a new day..... a new dawn.
So today was humbling.... to say the least.
My parents, I think, raised me "right'. I was taught never to buy things on credit, to live within my means and to save more than I spend. I didn't do so well at the "saving" part.... but I *am* really good at saving money while shopping. In high school when I would present my Dad with my latest find he would say, "I can't afford for you to "save" me anymore money....." He may have a point,,, but like anyone - I have a hard time passing up a good deal.
When it came to buying our house, unlike most of our friends, I chose a house that was small - the kind of house my Grandparents would call a "starter" home. I bought a house that was nearly half of what the mortgage broker said we qualified for, but that as because I didn't go by *their* numbers... I went by mine.
I added up what we could afford if the world when to sh*t and we both had to work full time jobs at minimum wage, then I looked for houses in *that* price range. I loved our home, but it was modest, and it wasn't our "dream home". El Capitan wanted a 'man-cave' - I wanted a second living room so that the kids would have a place to play while the Mommy's have a separate room to chat and get to know each other better. It's hard to have conversations during playgroup over the choo-chooing of Thomas the Train or battle of Superman and Spider-Man.
I chose cars we could afford the payment on, I shopped for insurance plans and deals on cell-phones and cable to save every dime we could. If I wanted something fancy, I found a way to trade for it - even the upgrades on our home were often traded services. We carried little to no credit and I paid off every single debt we had......
So, today, sitting in the "Self-Sufficiency" offices at the DHS, I found myself wondering how the f*ck I got here.
Let me be clear, I *do not* think that I am IN ANY WAY above needing social services, or being poor or any such thing.... not. at. all. In fact, many of the people in the office looked much like myself - single Mom's chasing small children who were bored and still boiling over with excitement from Christmas. Some people, clearly down on their luck... and one girl in her UGG's, Pink sweats, and tapping away on her iPhone that she pulled out of a Coach purse... well... I did kind of wonder just *how* much help she actually needed.... lololol. But, you never know someone's circumstances without asking, and if you aren't going to ask - then you shouldn't pass judgement. Since it's not my place to ask, it's also not my place to judge.
I was there because the day after Christmas I got a letter in the mail from El Capitan employer telling me that the children no longer had health insurance. This came a rather big surprise to me because two days after El Capitan and his company parted ways and I was told about it - the *first* thing I did was tell him that he needed to go down and apply for Oregon Health Plan for the children.
It was one of the conversations that had happened during our marriage so many times. As soon as the words, "Hey - don't forget to sign the kids up for Oregon Health ......" - said *without annoyance or frustration or judgement* - left my mouth.... El Capitan was totally, completely, annoyed with me. He doesn't like "being told what to do" - these are the types of moments and conversations where El Capitan would latter tell me was part of the reason he cheated: I acted like his 'Mother'.
Knowing that that was where the conversation was headed, I simply left it at that and said no more. Let me be clear, because I think when El Capitan repeats our conversations, they go something like this, "Oh, you better get the kids on Oregon Health or I'm going to rip your balls off....." complete with Jerry-Springer-style-chicken-Necking on my part...... but again. That is *not* what happened. A simple, polite suggestion based on that fact that I am not keen on our children going without health insurance. (I thought that the parent who previously supplied the insurance through their work need to apply if that coverage ended.)
The weeks have gone by.... and I only mentioned it one more time and was told he was "on it".
Last week, the week before Christmas, The Girl needed to go to the doctor, so I called El Capitan and asked him to call the insurance to make sure that the children' still had coverage. He called me back and gave me some long song and dance story and said that they did. So I booked an appointment and took The Girl in.
The day *after* Christmas, I awoke to find a letter from El Capitan's previous employer to tell me that the health insurance for the children expired three days prior to the day I took The Girl into the doctor.
So. Today.... I had to go down to the office's and apply. Come to find out that on the same forms El Captain was filling out for himself - was the box to check "medical coverage" and had he checked said box.... they would have instructed him that he could not apply for coverage for the kids - that the custodial parent had to do it. Since I'm the custodial parent, then only *I* can apply. Which... I should have done weeks ago. Or on the day I wanted to take The Girl to the doctor. Oregon has a kick-ass insurance program for *kids* and starts the second you apply. They won't turn any child down - everyone who applies is accepted, and they use your application and circumstances to determine how much of the program you have to pay into.
I'm not bothered by how much we have to pay - only that the children have insurance. Sadly.... in spite of our circumstances, *I* do not qualify for coverage - because we "make" more than $436 a month, and that is the cap for coverage for adults.
$436. The very nice woman told me I have to pregnant or "make" less than $436 per month - which my child support is more than that. lol. I wasn't looking for *free* coverage - not at all. I'm happy to pay - certain that whatever it was would be less than the $430 I currently pay just for myself right now.... I asked her if Obama-Care was going to change the cap.... she said no.
It was humbling to be sitting there... feeling like I had made good financial choices as an adult so that I would never be sitting in *any* kind of social services office. But, like *many* people in this country - that's exactly where I was sitting.
I had made good house choices, good car choices.... but where I had failed, was in my choice of husband. that was blaringly obvious to me today. It's one thing to be a general douche... it's another to get annoyed at me, *lie* to me - and allow our children to be without health coverage.
The Boy has gone blind TWO TIMES - once in each eye - and he's been complaining as of late about his vision and his glasses. I have to get him into his specialist. He's had two full lens-replacement surgeries - having our children without health insurance is a terrifically bad idea.
However... *I'm* the bad guy - *I'm* the "MOM" telling El Capitan what to do... which means he won't do it - he didn't do it.... and now our children *went* without medical coverage AND I'll be on the hook for the FULL Bill for the office visit and all labs done during that appointment.
*That* is how it works though... I'm a b*tch when I tell him "what to do" - but no ownership on his part when he doesn't get it done... usually the fall out is nothing too exciting... *this* time, however, El Capitan's reluctance to do something I dared to tell him to do... left out children without health insurnace and has left me holding the bag.
I'm so tired of that. So... freakin' tired. Perhaps I wouldn't be the "Mom" if someone would ever step up and be THE MAN. Or... if someone wasn't busying being "the man" for Yoga Girl.
As it stands... El Capitan still hasn't called...... seven days and counting......
yet, more awesome.
On the plus side, I'm actually really glad that the kids are finally on Oregon Health - it's a great plan, and provides a lot of coverage for the kids - which great. I am ever grateful that my First World Problem is having an ex that isn't following through on things.... and that the end result is good health insurance for my children (though still not for me.... can't have it all, I guess)... these are privileged problems in a rather privileged society. I am lucky to have been born into it - to get to live in it. I was lucky to have the compassion and patience of everyone who helped me fill out paperwork and cross my t's and dot my i's to ensure that kids would get coverage immediately.
While I sat there, feeling like a failure, feeling like less than..... my questions were met with understanding and assistance and kindness, and I was very, very grateful for that.
My first Christmas in the UK I was working as a nanny and married to my first husband.... (you should read my book to find out more about that.. hahaha) - anyhow, there were all kinds of social customs and things that the family did that I was constantly clueless about. Not the least of which was Boxing Day, which is the Bank Holiday that comes the day after Christmas.
I had worked right up until Christmas eve, doing the housework, preparing meals - for which I had to prepare (from scratch) three per day including an evening 'appetizer' of fresh carrots, cucumbers - which were peeled and all sprinkled with sea salt. Every. Single. Night.
I wasn't expecting much from them, we were all traveling to Brussels where the Mom was a member of the "royal family"..... we so stayed in an actual Royal estate. The upstairs was totally rad. It was this huge house - shaped a bit like a giant square - and in the children's wing there was a set of pull-down stairs in the middle of the hallway.
The only way to get to the "Nanny Annex" was to pull down the stairs and climb up. I wasn't expecting much, just a small room up there. Instead, however, there was an entire floor of "servants quarters" complete with a large, central kitchen, to living rooms, four bathrooms and about ten large bedrooms.
Each room had a queen size bed fitted out in all white bedding and a thick, fluffy white covered duvet. A large armoir stood in the middle of the room and a "reading chair" was placed near a window. It was a bit sparse, but very, very nice all the same. I was.... mesmerized. It was like something out of a movie, honestly. This huge "secret" floor housing 'the help' was totally magical to me, I don't know why - but it really was.
We had traveled with the family and Drew (my first husband) just stayed up in the Nanny Annex all day reading or listening to music while I worked. I watched the children and peeled - my hand to G*d - I peeled five sacks of potatoes for dinner. That... that was less magical.
We had Christmas day "off' - so we walked around the center of town, they had a huge Christmas tree set up, and it was just cool to see the shops (even though they were all closed) - it was just nice to take in the sights.
The next day I woke up to prepare for work and was informed that it was actually *another* Bank Holiday (which means it's a paid day off in the UK) - so they handed me a large brown box filled with leftover food, a new scarf, some cookies and cakes and a hat and scarf for Drew and 100 pounds sterling. I couldn't figure out why they gave us leftover food..... then Drew explained that 'Boxing Day' is actually the day that (in the very old days) employers would give their servants and house workers a box of goods (often used, so if the woman of the house got new pots and pans, she would "gift" her old set to her cook, etc. - and then a small holiday bonus) - coining the term "Boxing Day".
It sounded a bit outdated to me - but Drew reminded me that we were standing gin an "Nanny's Annex" in the home of a Royal family member.... so they most likely took the idea of "Boxing Day" a bit seriously. I liked the scarf and the free food and the extra money - so I thought it was a pretty cool holiday.
None of my other family's ever gave me a box on Boxing Day - but, I came to learn that it's also a big like American's Black Friday - so it's great for sales and such. Best of all - most people get the day off - so Christmas is two days in a way. I loved that.
This year, no boxes of prepared food showed up... damn. lolol, but I did spend the day with the kids with the kids opening up the rest of their presents and then cleaning the house top to bottom. I wanted to make the house spic and span for the people who let us live here. I cleaned the bathrooms, did all the laundry and put away toys. It was nice to know that they would come home to a clean house.... *every* woman wants to come home to a clean house.
We had a great "Boxing Day", us, doing things around the house, playing around. It was great. There haven't been too many day's like this in the last 9 months, so I was very grateful.
I also spent a lot of time thinking about the last year - what has changed, what I don't like, what I want to change - how *I* want to change.
I'm still scared sh*tless about money.... I really have to start finding some kind of job.... which is just scary. At my age and such.... the idea of having to find work is more than daunting. The idea of leaving the kids at home while I work is .... painful. But, nothing that every other working Mom and single Mom hasn't already faced.
I also have to work on me.... healing myself, finding a way to be less angry.... a blog poster said in the recent past that perhaps 'co-parenting' won't work for us... perhaps it won't. I'm going to give it more time...
What I really want to do is .... work on my weight. It's time to get serious at the gym. I've had a gym membership for *years* - but I never go... I like to call it my own personal "fat tax" - the money I shell out every month as a reminder for what I *should* be doing. lolol. So..... the gloves are coming off. NO MORE 'fat tax'. It's time to get in there and start working out. It's time to run.... I mean - *walk* on the treadmill. hahaha. It's time to swim and lift weights (believe it not, I actually know *how* to do that) - and start working towards a goal.
I missed my Christmas goal by 8 pounds... which was a bit of a bummer, but I wasn't hanging my head in shame or anything.... but I have a birthday goal and I'd really like to get there. No pressure... but it would just be nice.
I think, too - that it'll be good for me to set a goal. Right now - sooooo many things feel out of my control - and I don't have any 'easy' answers. How am I going to earn money? Can I keep homeschooling? What does the future hold? Will the children recover from this? Where will we live?
Going to the gym is a slow and steady way to set a goal and work towards achieving it... I don't know a great deal about success, but I'm pretty sure that if I can't get that one thing on track - and find success there that that will bleed out into other area's of my life which will, in turn, affect the childrens life in a positive way.
So, there's no "weight" goal just yet.... just the goal of *going* regulary. Focus on that step first, then focus on the next step.... slow and steady - but one things for sure... the gloves are coming off. It's
I thought, after The Girl's "First Christmas" that I was done having that magical 'first' Christmas.... I was wrong. Needless to say... this kind of 'first' I could have lived without having....
I've tried to focus *really* hard one the kids and the time - and not let myself get stuck in my fog and space out.... I am *very* aware that this time is both precious and fleeting. I get angry at myself for wasting it being angry with El Capitan........
I try so freakin' hard to put that aside and just *move on* and move past it... but it just seems like crap keeps happening.... I keep "stumbling" on things that just hurt more.... prove more lies to be lies and keep showing me that not only is El Capitan not the man I married... but clearly, he was *never* the man I thought he was....
Which makes me angry.... but not the kind of throwing things around the house angry.... just like -
hurt and sad and disappointed in my heart and my mind - the kind of angry that you don't really act on... but you just kind of wear like a dirty shirt that never comes clean in the washer.
Honestly.... I'm a foul ass mood tonight and I'm going to assume that no one wants to hear me rant... but oh, if only I could put the details online tonight.... it's a freakin' mind-blowing awesome bundle of crap.
OK..... so. I stayed up until 4am working on the Elf - I stitched up his collar different, made a few alterations and then stitched an "B" onto the Elf for The Boy. By the time I got done with the wrapping and everything, it was just after 4am.
Thankfully the kids let me sleep in until 8:15am.... and then The Boy just couldn't wait a second longer. They were very good, hadn't left the room, had peeked at the tree - because they know I like to make a movie of them seeing the tree and stuff for the first time. So they sat on the bed just waiting for me to wake up.... that's kind of awesome.
We got up and first we always start with our stockings. Thank G*d for the dollar store because I was able to fill their stockings with all kinds of little toys and trinkets - I don't usually put candy in their stockings. Actually, they don't get a lot of candy period... but I usually just put toys in there. This year I had found a pack of 7 chocolate Santa's - just little 2 inch ones. I put four in The Boy's stocking, and three in The Girl's stocking.
The Girl ripped through her stocking fast and found her chocolates. Before I could say anything - she had masterfully unwrapped one like a three-year-old ninja and popped it in her mouth..... Hooray, Chocolate Santa's for Breakfast: Mommy Fail. lolol
But.... I try not to have "rules" on big days like Christmas. So who cares if we have chocolate before pancakes - so long as that happens once a year - I figure it's ok......
Then a few seconds later, she discovers a second Santa chocolate. I had my phone out to take a picture of them for Facebook... and right before my eyes, I watched as The Girl handed her second chocolate to The Boy. There was no other candy in her stocking. There weren't bags of Lifesavers or M&M's or what have you.... just a few small, chocolates.
Here was The Girl handing her only other chocolate to her brother: to share.
and.... then I started crying like a freakin' baby.
I just. They are such good kids. They are such good *people*. They are kind and they truly do *think* and *act* with other people in mind..... which is mind blowing for me. How many three year olds hand their candy to someone to eat when they *love* chocolate? Not too many.......
The morning wore one - I make them take turns opening presents - because otherwise it goes by too fast and it's just a pile of a presents on one side a pile of garbage on the other. I like them to enjoy what they opened and take joy in what other people are opening.
After a while The Boy noticed that the only two people taking turns were him and The Girl - I didn't have much. My friend Scarlet sent me the *most* gorgeous necklace.... which is stunning - oh, and she handmade it for me. Then, I got a package form a Miss Judy who sent me the sacred Snow-man tote that I had wanted from the gift exchange a few weeks back.
Miss Judy... I *cannot* tell you how touched I was to recieve that in the mail. That was so kind of you, thank you very much.
The Boy, though, noticed that I had very few presents and I noticed he started getting a bit 'foggy' himself.... I debated asking him what was wrong, but at the same time, I just wanted one day to go by where "nothing" was talked about. I just wanted this first Christmas to go by without discussions of divorce or Yoga Girl or such.... or at least I didn't want to ask for any.... does that make sense?
After we 'skipped' me the four or fifth time, he was a bit foggy.... then by the seventh skip, The Boy said, "You know what Mom... you don't have as many presents like me and [The Girl] .... because Daddy lives with [Yoga Girl] and he probably spent his money on her instead."
sigh. triple f*cking sigh.
I thought for a second.... and then I said, "Well, Daddy was already here and gave us all presents, remember? Daddy already gave us tickets to the Blazer game and stuff - and you guys always get more presents than we do......."
He looked at me..... I think if he was older he just wouldn't flat out called bullsh*t on me... lolol. Instead, he shrugged his shoulders and said.... "Yeah... I guess."
The Girl, was blissfully taking advantage of our distraction to be opening her 9th and 10th turn presents - like any smart three year old would. hahaha
I *wanted* so say that Christmas is about the people in your life and who you spend the holiday with... but I stopped myself because I wasn't sure if they would see their Dad or not... and I didn't want my words to make a bigger statement than they should.
Instead... I just let the fog roll by and the excitement of the day take over.
Time wore on.... and my phone never rang. El Capitan did not come over, nor did he call. AT ALL. No text, no email... no nothing.
Awesome. I haven't heard from him in a few days.... we talked on Friday - he mentioned seeing them again before Christmas or on Christmas, said I should call him if I needed help.
I called. He didn't answer. He hasn't returned my call.... and certainly hasn't returned my text about him using my Netflix account... and.... he didn't call to talk to his kids on Christmas. After the fiasco at Thanksgiving, I wasn't about to open that Pandora's box again - so I figured it best to let him call them.....
As usually, when left to his own devices: El Capitan makes stellar choices.
I can *already* hear the excuses now.... "Well, I was afraid to call because you were clearly mad about the Netflix thing".... or - "I know you were having a tough time this year and I wanted to give you your space to have your own day with them....." - if he's good at nothing else, El Capitan is *very* good at building a cross up which he can nail himself onto. Good times. Good times......
The truth is, my text on Friday simply said, "Really? Using my Netflix account to watch show with your girlfriend.....? Not anymore."
That's all. No insults, no nothing... just point of fact. But I'll be in trouble with him for that later.....
I was grateful that The Boy didn't bring up El Capitan at all... neither did The Girl. And neither did I. Our day was nothing but movies... they didn't like Night at The Museum - but loved The Grinch and Rudolph - which kind of played in the background while I spent the day cutting out toys from boxes and cleaning.
The Boy spent the day totally, utterly in love with his Elf. He's over the moon that Santa "chose" him to care for this Elf and be his friend and play with him.... one of the perks of homeschooling is that your seven year old son can *stay* seven years old longer than most can..... I know some people see it as a bit 'sheltered' - bu I see it as a gift... life is ugly enough - the longer they can stay innocent the better.
I worry the most, through our situation, that they are losing their innocence and their belief in magic - so watching The Boy cart around his new Elf today was really special. It helps me see that part of us can be broken, but not *all* parts of us have to be broken because of that.
Mostly though... I spent the day watching them play and feeling really blessed. The Girl and The Boy both got sick, so our family went on their trip without us... so our First Christmas AYG (After Yoga Girl) - was truly alone. Just us.... and it was brilliant. I don't know what - though we all know *who* - El Capitan was doing... but there's no way he saw anything as amazing as his three year old daughter sharing her last Santa Chocolate with her brother.... there's just no way.
Nothing is a better gift than watching your children be good, kind people who's first instinct is to act in kindness and a spirit of sharing - without being told or prodded..... - I'm sorry... but there just isn't. Not even something you can watch on someone else's Netflix account..........
I'm not sure how I feel today..... I think I feel a bit numb more than anything. Sometimes I wonder where he is.... of course, I already know *who* he's doing... but still... are they wearing matching "ugly sweaters" (which go perfectly with her Ugly Baby Teeth.... hahahaha) and walking around some 20somethings hipster holiday party?
I try not think about that though...... a friend of mine thought we should send a copy of the book to her parents with a note of congratulations on raising such a stellar human being.... and while I will admit that the very idea *still* brings a smile to my face.... but I passed on the idea because while they have raised someone bereft of a conscience and any kind of empathy or compassion.... it's not really cool to piss all over an entire family's Christmas.
I should know... Yoga Girl & El Capitan already raised their legs and took a piss all over mine... hahahaha.
So instead.... today was all about the things a *parents* Christmas is supposed to be about... like running late for everything, realizing that I had forgotten to buy "Santa" wrapping paper and had to empty the help of my every wonderful and awesome Sister In Law to watch the kids for an hour while I went and bought some.
Then we came home, had lunch and watched Christmas Phineas and Ferb... because they are awesome. Then we opened up our Christmas Eve Pj's and headed off, in our Santa Hats, PJ's and blankets to get dinner at Shari's and then drive around our favorite neighborhood to see Christmas lights.
Last year we went almost every night.... this year we have only made it once a week at best.
The Girl asked for a "doctor baby" - which I already bought for $35 (full price was !$50!!) - so I was pretty pleased with myself for that.... and a few other Princess things worthy of The Girl. The Boy.... well... The Boy wanted an "Elf on the Shelf" that he could play with.
It all started with a client who has done "naughty" Elf on The Shelf things for years (google it and look on the images tab, you'll quickly understand) - and so after they had kid - he and I concocted a plan to do a "bad Elf" photo of our own.
I drove out to their place and we shot their shot playing with the Elf (a HUGE no-no because when someone touches an Elf it loses it's magic and can die..... so this is a BIG deal. But we had the kid eating the Elf, kicking the Elf, sitting on him..... then I shot the Elf cutting celery and making a LBS Stew list.... List Brother Stew.... then we stuck his son in a huge pot, put it on their stove and staged the Elf with a spoon as though he were "cooking" the son.
It's actually an EPIC card.... honestly. Best Christmas card EVER.
The Boy takes our Elf on The Shelf *very* seriously..... and I was super careful with the photo editing - but one day he came up behind me and saw the pictures I had taken of the little boy kissing the Elf.... and now The Boy is asking Santa for an Elf on The Shelf that *he* can play with, too.
This is actually a big ass deal. Parents spend *a lot* of time keeping their Elf on the Shelf tradition going... so I can't just "give" The Boy one without causing heartache for every parent we know.... because then *their* kid might get upset/confused, etc....
Honestly... look up Elf on The Shelf: it's life and death serious for most of us. lololol
But he's been on and on and on about it.... begging every Santa we see for one..... so I think I came up with a solution. I'm lucky he's seven and he still buys this stuff... lololol.
So. In The Elf on The Shelf movie, Chippy get's touched by the nasty older brother and he has to return to the North Pole and stay in the hospital to "get his magic back". (Earthly Mom's all know that sprinkling cinnamon *around* your Elf will also restore his magic if he falls or is touched) Anyhow..... I played around with the idea of buying an Elf and damaging him... but I think I'm just going to label him.
Then I had Santa write The Boy a letter about his special Elf on The Shelf.
Last year, OUR Elf wrote the kids a letter (see below) - so, this year, Bob wrote them another letter, so getting one directly from Santa won't seem like that big of a deal. Still..... he's pretty smart.... I think he'll understand the idea that Santa is trying to tell him.....
At least I hope he will. I love him so much.... If I could have one thing for Christmas it would be to go back 365 day right now and stop all of this from happening to the children. To find a way to better protect their hearts .... find a way to keep us whole. But I can't..... so. perhaps a little magic and an Elf from Santa might help.
I think we could all use a little magic this year.....
.... Merry Christmas everyone! :)
2011 Elf Letter to The Kids
So...... it's Christmas.
Usually this time of year is magical... The Boy *really* get's into the season - last year our yard was like a Air-blow display with over 30 - yes THIRTY - different 3foot - 6foot Santa's, Snowmen, Elf's and the like....
This year, with no yard to put them all up, they stayed in storage. I was heartbroken, The Boy, though, ever understanding of our situation, didn't mention it.
Last year we spent nearly every single night from Thanksgiving to Christmas driving around the neighborhoods looking for bigger and better houses with the lights and Air-blow buys of their own.... this year I worked - quite literally - almost every minute of every day right up until two days ago. So.... we didn't get out to see those lights that often.
File that under: Mommy Fail.
This being our "first" divorced Christmas, I've been both frustrated by the amount of work I still had to get done - and then a bit blessed.... not only because I was able to buy stuff for the kids - but, I suppose having the constant distraction has been good for me. I'm not sure how good that's been for the kids... but work is work - and, it scares the sh*t out of me to realize that I am *completely* done with work. I have no outstanding orders, no money waiting to come in....that really, truly scares me. But, I've given myself a hiatus of fear - and I refuse to come to terms with "what" that actually means (the not having a steady income part) until after January 1st. I need time with the kids and they need time with me- not the distracted, behind a computer, frustrated, rushing around me - but the *ME* that is their Mom.
When we were first separated.... El Capitan was living with Yoga Girl right away. He had gotten what he wanted - his freedom, his girlfriend - a new lease on a new life.... I, however, was relegated like garbage back on the pile of a life he no longer wanted.... I resented that. My biggest fear, however, was what was going to happen to me on the holidays.
Several years before - I was pretty close to my sister-in-law, we call her Min-Min. My brother in law, we'll call him The Rooster (because I happen to think he's a bit of a c**k...... bwahahahahah.), had lived with us for nearly four years of our marriage. He worked nights and lived in our second bedroom of our apartment. When we moved, he would just move with us.
He was eventually got Min-Min preggers (I warned him several times that that was going to happen....) - and they got married. HE wanted to get married. Again - the In-Laws intervened and tried to stop him, but he wanted to marry her. We paid for some of the wedding and I did most of the organizing and did the wedding photos and flowers as well. (Oh, and the custom invitations :)
Min-Min and I were pretty close..... a few months before their baby was born I started getting sucpisous about The Rooster's activities. Turned out... he had a girlfriend. The day their baby was born I nearly had to pry the phone out of his hands to get him to hold Min-Min right leg up so she could start pushing. After the baby came out - I grabbed the phone, made a fast excuse and bolted to the elevators to read through his text messages.
It was alll kinds of sex talk ..... clearly he was having an affair.
I waited to tell Min-Min- but it wasn't a few weeks before she started to think the same thing..... she pressured him and he broke it off with that girl. Then only a few months later he took up with another girl..... there are more details in the The Book (MY BOOK - currently "sold out" on Amazon... bwahahahaha ) - so you can find them there.... but long story short, by Christmas Min-Min was calling my hysterical because The Rooster and his latest almost-underage girlfriend were walking down her front walk taking her baby for "visitation"... it was The Baby's first Christmas.
I was gutted. Totally, gutted.
El Capitan claimed to be "disgusted" by his brother and his actions - wrote him off, refused to talk to him at all. I spent a few months uncovering the entire affair - the lies, the deceit, the betrayal.... I found out things that most people wouldn't even bother looking for.
But... alas. I'm kind of smart that way. I take something and I think about from every angle I can - I come up with every problem and solution I can before I move forward. I like solving problems, I like finding out the truth... which is great - but makes me a pain in the ass during a movie because I usually know the twist and the ending... anytime there's character resolution that's always a solid indicator that your favorite person is about to die on screen.
My uncanny knack for figuring things out earned me the nickname: Secret Squirrel.
Over the ten years of my marriage - I always left my "secret squirrel" in it's cage, so to speak. If you don't trust someone, if you don't believe in them, but instead are always looking for ways to "catch" them lying, etc.. eventually you will because people don't like to feel that you don't trust them and will live up to the standard you set for them... if you set them up with the expectation that they will fail and you will catch them at it - then they will do just that.
I didn't want that to happen.
In spite of doing things over the years to jeopardize our marriage and certainly rock and (on occasion) even shatter it.... I still got up the next morning, things talked out, issue's (somewhat resolved) and moved forward in faith and trust - as any good wife should do.... even if El Capitan never lived up to his end of the bargain and went to counseling like he promised over and over and over that he would....
So. The second night after I found out about Yoga Girl, I was already reading the books and putting together our parenting plan. I thought back to the horrific phone call from Min-Min.... to the sheer pain in her voice about having to watch another woman carry her infant daughter down her front walk-way on Christmas day. The very idea of it made me vomit.....
I called El Capitan right then and there and told him that that was an unacceptable outcome. I told him that there would *never* come a day when I won't wake up with my children in my home on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas, my birthday, their birthday or Mother's Day. I had been a *good* wife. I had been a good mother... being a mother is the only thing I ever cared about. I told him while he was free to punish *me* as a wife... he was not allowed to punish me as a mother. He said that he understood my point and agreed with me.
I told him that I would write up the Parenting Plan in fairness to his erratic work schedule, but that I got the children on all holidays. Period. Now... don't go getting your panties in a twist just yet..... The have to say with me overnight - but I'm willing work out a lunch/dinner split on Thanksgiving, El Capitan is welcome at their birthday parties - AND - on Christmas, it states in our papers that El Capitan is welcome to come Christmas morning to open presents with us. (****see NOTE below*****)
I told him that until they are older (and don't believe in Elf on The Shelf and Santa and stuff)- trading houses on major holidays was out of the question. He agreed. I told him he was welcome to contest me - and, more to the point.... he was welcome to come home and work on things so that we could *both* be with them on holidays as a family.....
He told me to write up whatever I wanted in the paperwork and he would sign it.
Coming up to Christmas we *had* plans to go out of town with the majority of our family- El Capitan said that was fine and agreed to "celebrate" Christmas earlier in the week with the kids - but we left it open so that if our plans changed and we stayed, that he would come over on Christmas.
The kids didn't really "pick out" much for their Dad.... at 7 and 3 years old - they aren't really up for the task just yet.... so we picked out a few new t-shirts, he needed a new belt, so I got him one that is brown on one side and black on the other (reversible), I picked up Smallville Season Nine, and a few other things.
To my *great* surprise.... El Capitan brought *me* a few presents along with the ones he had for the kids. Which.... seeing as how three years ago he actually forgot to get me *any* presents AT ALL - bar a Snoop Dogg CD..... his track record in the gift-giving department totally blows (See Birthday presents presented in a tied down Target back here. lolol)
He had bought four tickets to a Blazer game for the kids and I - which.... boggled the mind a bit. For one, it's very expensive, and for two.... I freaking HATE basketball. I hate the sound of the shoes on the floor.... I hate hate hate how "two minutes" on a clock turns into a another 30 minutes of my time. The Boy and El Capitan used to go to one or two games a year - they would get all dressed up in their Blazer gear and watch games at home.... but it was never my thing.
I'm grateful for the thought and I recognize how spendy of a present it is.... but when I asked him why *he* wasn't just taking the kids he said... "Well, you've never been to a game before".
In the first place.... if I've been married to someone who loves basketball for ten years and successfully avoided ever having to go to a game - why the f*ck would I start now? lololol In the second place... I *have* been to several Blazer games.... I use to *date* a 'retired' Blazer the summer before I met El Capitan. He was nice enough... certainly tall enough even by my picky standards, but he ended up taking an announcers job at his old college and I didn't see us "going to the distance" so we split up. But yeah... I've been to a Blazer game. woo-freaking-hoo.......
Still, the thought was nice, very nice - and I'm sure that one some level he's either trying hard or being a manipulative ass... for the sake of the kids I'm going with "being nice".
Then he hands me a second bag with my name on. Inside is a car charger for a gaming system the kids use.... practical - I always love a good practical gift, especially if I can use it for the kids. And then.... there was a small box and when I flipped it over - it was a Secret Squirrel action figure.
Once upon a Hanna-Barbera time, Secret Squirrel had his own show and now has an action figure.... and there it was in my hand, complete with purple hat, a gun and a camera.
After MONTHS of accusing me of "following" him, having my friends follow him, cyber stalking him, etc.... he buys me a Secret Squirrel action figure for Christmas.
There's a sick kind of irony in that.... no doubt some people would find it a bit twisted... but I just think it's funny. Honestly..... he's a funny guy. So... I think it was a bit tongue -in -cheek.
He got some great presents for the kids - so they were pretty excited and I was glad to see them so happy. He had his time with them and we made plans for him to see them again assuming me didn't leave town.... I called him the next day he suggested he take the kids to Peacock Lane...which *almost* had me spitting nails.
LAST YEAR when *I* wanted to take us all to Peacock Lane- which is a street in Portland where every house on the street has a certain holiday them and lights and it's a pretty big deal around here.... - anyway - El Capitan bitched, pissed and moaned the *entire* time about having to go... in fact, that's what he usually did about everything from Birthday parties, dinner plans with friends, etc... he just kind of slumped along... detached, bored, etc.....
I pointed out to him the irony of that - that he's suddenly 'Disneyland-Daddy' taking the kids to the Zoo and for FroYo (hipster name he uses for Frozen Yogurt places) and to Peacock Lane.... it makes me angry because his lack of interest in doing things and his annoyance at *having* to do them was a constant source of frustration in our marriage.... if only I had been married to the person parading my children around town.... our marriage *might* have been a wee bit different for both of us.
He got annoyed at me and said to let him know if I wanted him to come get the kids to get a break or go holiday shopping etc... I said I would.
And then he stopped answering his phone when I called. Awesome.
Which is fine - I've actually been craving having this time with the kids... I feel guilty - as though I need to take every job, earn every single penny I can... but there are only 24 hours in a day and I'm lucky if I sleep four or five of them as it is.... - so not having *any* work means that I can spend every minute with them. Bliss.. pure bliss.
We've been to every great neighborhood, been out to THE Twilight Tree (where Edward first reveals to Bella that he's a vampire) and I shot the kids there.... until deer walked within 5 feet of us scary the holy hell out of all three of us... hahaha - we went to see Monster Inc. in 3D (I had NO idea how expensive that was going to be....) - went to Pittock Mansion, The Raceway (set up for lights) and the Victorian Mansion.... so we've been making up for lost time quickly.
This morning I was looking for Christmas movies and decided to turn on Netflix. Two years ago The Bubbie and The Papa bought us all Blue-Ray DVD players that streamed Netflix and then bought us a one year subscription to NetFlix. The Boy LOVES streaming Netflix on his Wii... so I've always kept the account going.
When we moved out of the house, El Capitan got the large 46" Flat Screen TV and I got the Blue-Ray player my parents bought for us... I was actually calling El Captain on Friday because I *still* can't find the Blue-Ray player and our DVD copy of The Muppet movie died and we only have the Blue-Ray version now.... He say's he doesn't have the player.... but I can't seem to find it anywhere. (***NOT suggesting the blu-ray player was "stolen" by anyone - I'm sure it's just buried... though not something I would usually bury anywhere... I'm just explaining events in the order they happened - not accusing anyone of anything! ***** :)
Anyhow... where we are staying, they have the same type of player that streams Netflix but they don't have an account, so I logged on to set up my account to work through their player. Having not brought up the account in MONTHS.... I was SHOCKED to see so many things RECENTLY watched in my account.
Like... several seasons of the TV Show Supernatural? Huh.....?
Then I realized.... El Capitan and Yoga Girl have been watching The Avengers and Supernatural and a ton of other stuff on MY Netflix account..... sigh. Yet again I stumbled right into pouring salt into my own gaping wounds.... that really ticks me off. Honestly.... I don't even have to *try* to find things out 'Secret Squirrel' style... sh*t just falls into my lap all the damn time.
You know.... what I need is a "Dumb Ass" action figure... I could wrap that bad boy up and drop it off on their door step..... oh... and who's the "Ho" putting the ho-ho-ho in Christmas this year who wasn't content with just stealing my husband... she has to steal my Netflix, too? Yoga Girl... that's who. lololol
Needless to say - I changed the password on my account.
Tomorrow is set to be a fun and festive day of pajamas, movies, games, more movies, baking cookies, more games and dinner and going to bed. I can't wait.... I almost feel like waking them up now to get started. lol... but I think I'll take a wee nap first..... they are still the only gift I need....
Mind you... I'm also grateful that after all this... after Yoga Girl and The Sign and The Blog and even after The Book came out.... El Capitan and I still have the same sense of humor we've had for eleven years.... perhaps it wasn't enough to keep our marriage together... but I'm thinking it's the glue that will help bond this whole co-parenting thing...... if nothing else, I have to actually laugh out loud at the fact that *this* Secret Squirrel comes with a tiny toy gun....
Merry Christmas-Eve to me.... and a Ho-Ho-Ho...... for El Capitan.
NOTE: For the sake of clarity. El Capitan moved into a two bedroom apartment with Yoga Girl the night he left us. A short while *after* that, he moved out and into *another* two bedroom apartment where he signed a lease with Yoga Girl and their roommate. There is NO ROOM for the children. Clearly... spending the night is out of the question and by default, the children would be here on holidays (all nights, in fact) until El Capitan has a place to live where the children can be there, too. Just FYI... before a few of ya'll flame my ass... :)
I always knew I liked kids.... all kids. I like crying kids and happy kids and screaming kids... just kids in general.
When I was younger my Mom wouldn't let me charge more than $1.00 an hour to babysit. Period. Even when I was 15 and 16 years old- she would only let me charge one dollar per hour.
She said, at the time, that going out and paying for dinner and a movie was expensive enough - and having to come home and shell out $40 on a babysitter was too much and she refused to me do it.... so - $1.00 it was.
My first "real job" was at Pizza Hut. I went down the day I turned 16 to the only Pizza Hut in a 60 mile radius and was hired on the spot, skipping the seven blocks home with my grey pencil skirt, red pin-stripped shirt, grey blow-tie and visor in my hands. I did well - customers liked me and the tips were good... I was certainly making for than $1 an hour! lolol
That summer I made friends with a waitress, she had three kids all under the age of four. She was this beautiful woman, tall with blonde hair. They lived in the trailer court in our (very) small town. She was working several jobs and having a hard time keeping a babysitter who they could afford.... so one day I offered to watch the kids on my day off.
She was pleased.... and me.....? I totally fell in love.
All three kids had blonde curls that flopped and fell as they ran around the small living room, they were polite and well-mannered and so freaking adorable. It wasn't long before I was going there every day after school and working for them instead of waiting tables.... I hunted down a car seat at the Goodwill (even *then* I was a car seat whore....)- and I started using my tip money from my weekend shifts to take the kids places.... still only charging their Mom my standard $1.00 per hour.
I loved it. Every, Single. Second. I loved it - and.... I knew that not only was I getting payed to play with children (how stupid is *that*?!?!?), but I knew that I was helping their Mom get their family to a better place financially because instead of working just to cover bills and childcare - she was actually making forward progress and paying off bills and gathering a savings.
Eventually, when she had saved enough, they moved back to Florida. I was gutted... but thrilled she was moving back home to her parents place. Shortly after.... I found another family to start working for every day after school. They had a fantastic Billy Joel collection of LP's - and I would sit and listen to them for hours.
Right out of high school I found a nanny job.... little Lauren. I potty trained her in three days (booyah!) and .... broke her of her screaming/hitting tantrums and helped her lose 6 pounds (her last nanny waaaay over fed her - so I would take her to the Lindale Mall and make her little tiny two year old legs walk the mile circle every day..... everyone at the mall just adored her.)
I moved to London and soon realized that *there* I would be making $65K a year PLUS a car with all expenses paid if I worked as a nanny.... so it wasn't long before I was full time with a family in Maida Vale.
I don't know ... honestly... if I love kids or photography more... it's a push.
Oh... and kids....? Kids LOVE me. Adults.... sometimes not so much - but kids- *all* kids love me. In the 17 years I've been working I've only had TWO kids bail on a session where we didn't get anything I felt was "good" enough to constitute a session and getting paid.
Kids seems to understand that I'm am a bullshit free zone. Period. Kids like that... sometimes, like I said - adults, not so much. lololol
When I thought I wasn't going to be able to have kids of my own.... while I *should* have been hysterical - I wasn't. I had El Capitan, who I adored, so I thought it would be ok if we didn't have kids. We were happy together... just us.
We weren't using protection... actually - and this it *totally TMI* - but the one and only time in my *entire* life that I did not use "protection".... I got pregnant. Which... that in itself is crazy - BUT - when you take into account that I was told I would never get pregnant or stay pregnant.... it was nothing short of a miracle.
From day one - from that first Sunday morning when those two pink lines appeared.... I was smitten. I would lay awake for hours dreaming of what my child would be like... I couldn't wait for him or her to come out and start playing, start cooing and crying and just.... being.
I really, couldn't wait.
The Boy was born and El Capitan and I were soooo proud. We were so happy - The Boy quite literally never hit the floor or a bed - we held him all the time. We held him while he slept, we held him while we played... we were totally infatuated with him.
Now.... 7 years later... I'm *still* infatuated with him. He's .... amazing. He is kind and thoughtful and introspective. He looks at the world and see's a problem and starts to think about compassionate and appropriate solutions. He doesn't see color... he thinks God is a African-American woman named Whoopi, he knows that kids can have two daddies or two mommies and he doesn't seem to "understand" that that's "different".... he just see's a family where other people see a political statement. He doesn't avoid his classmates who are 'on the spectrum'... he seeks them out, draws them into the general play. He is kind and funny.... oh - he is so damn funny.
One of the highlights of "school" for The Boy is putting on these little comedy skits he comes up with. Usually they are seasonal - so Christmas themed or whatever... and he sets up a stage and get up in front of the class and does his schtick - which, he makes up completely on the fly. It's not the usual "poopy diapers" types jokes... it's like totally legitimate conversational humor. HE creates funny stories an scenarios and tells them in various voices - and the kids (and teachers) love him.
With his comedy skillz.... I have endeavored to teach him *timing* - that there is a time and a place and that a good comedian doesn't take over a classroom, but waits patiently for his turn to shine. The teachers *swear* to me that he isn't a distraction and that his shows are so "popular" with the kids, they are usually asking for them at the last 5 minutes of class.
He's .... unique and silly .... and better than anything I could have dreamed of.
I *want* to say that I have completely shielded him from everything.... kept him in the dark about what goes on between his Dad and I .... but I haven't. Sometimes I have tried and failed and sometimes... it's just *there* and he knows it - he can feel it and see it without my saying anything.
I worry constantly about the affects of everything on him...... I thought he would be sad to leave our home - and he was.... but he loves living where we are. He, like his mother, is always making the best of things.... which stuns me. Well.... *he* stuns me.
He's polite and a little bit loud (how could he *not* be - he's my kid... hahaha) - he's a little quirky... and he believes in things like magic and Santa and The Elf on The Shelf. Oh... our Elf is big sh*t around here - he spend alllll day worried that the Elf might fall or someone might touch him... he really bought into that one hook, line and sinker.....
He's a believer.... and for some reason... he still believes in me. Which - it better than being loved. You can love someone and not trust them, believe in them - or even like them..... so, having his trust and his belief in me means more than anything else....
That's why I have to just keep getting the f*ck up when things are hard..... I can't get caught up reading into things like - El Capitan did this stupid thing or *that* stupid thing - things that other women who have walked in my shoes say things like, "Oh, you should take him to court over that...." or - you know.. the kind of 'usual' back and forth getting divorced thing that often happens.
I can't do that stuff because (unless something is happening that would actually harm my children, not just be annoying to me) I know that my son trusts me to make the right choices for *him*. That means I can't allow my anger or frustration with El Capitan to encraoach on that.... sometimes I want it to. Truly.
There are days when I want to say - screw this and just stop. When I'm calling El Capitan and he doesn't answer for days on end.... and I hear El Capitan and Yoga Girl were enjoying pancakes at a local breakfast place (but seriously... what do you expect - marathon tantric sex must require some carbs......right?) it makes me freakin' pissed because El Capitan *should* be spending that Sunday with his children since he hadn't seen them for over a week.....
But these things - these bits of knowledge are *mine* to be angry about. They are *mine* to blog about and talk about and even to yell at El Capitan about... but, all yelling aside.... I have to suck it up and set up their next visitation because that is what my son is trusting me to do.
It's total b.s. that I'm the one in charge of things.... El Capitan get to destroy me, decimate me, ruin me as a person... leaving me to feel as though no other man on the plane will ever want me... because if you're own husband - who has picked his nose, his ass and his nut sac in front of you -... is willing to leave that trust and that level of love behind.... well, let's just say that it doesn't feel like too many men are going to line up to take this chic to dinner.
And that's ok... because the *one* little man who needs me is already here - already apart of my 'forever' and now instead of me living my own "Happily Ever After".... I'm in charge of making sure *he* get's one... and his baby sister too..... and it's just b.s. that I didn't *do* anything to get here- and now I have to fight my own anger and feelings just to try and keep a status quo for the benefit of the children.... and El Capitan.
sigh. That's the lot of every single Mom out there. It's totally unfair.
While I'm not at all grateful for the position we're all in..... I *am* grateful that I have The Boy and The Girl who keep me grounded, who keep me tethered to reality - so then when I'm in my fog.... I can find my way out of it by using them as my guide. I don't *always* do it - or do it right... but I am always trying to get sh*t right so that they come out of this with the least amount of emotional damage possible...
I'm grateful for the snuggles and the laughter... for the love and the kisses, for the fights over Little People and watching The Bee Movie for the billionth time.... I'm grateful for the fact that The Boy knows what Twilight is... and has assessed that it's very important to me... as in, "No, [The Girl], don't play with Mommy's Twilight blanket, you don't want to rip it...." lololololol
I am so grateful to be a Mom. I'm certainly not as good of a Mom as I want to be... and not nearly as good of a Mom as many others I know.... but I'm *always* trying. Always.
Just a few weeks ago when we were at The Great Wolf Lodge were sitting in the outdoor hot tub which the children LOVE.... (little Elle secret: I love hot tubs. There is just something magical about sitting in the warmth of the water watching the vapor crystallize in the cold weather at night... i just love it.) So we were all out there and another Mom was there with her kids and she asked me if I was there alone, which I told her I was... she thought that that was hilarious - and went on and on about how there was *no way* she could ever take her two kids to a place like this alone because she didn't think she could handle it - and how she'd need a bottle of wine a day just to cope with the stress.... and blah blah blah - laughing the whole time she was talking.....
I sat there, first thinking that you don't *really* know what you can do until you're actually having to do it... and second.. that I was sure as sh*t glad she wasn't my Mom... lololol. good grief.
Perhaps she was just trying to be extra nice to me.... but, she doesn't need to. Being a single Mom isn't nearly as hard as dealing with the betrayal and lies as an ex-wife... *that* is brutal and (if I did drink wine) would certainly require a bottle a day to deal with the stress.... but ... alas, I can't do that either because The Boy is trusting me to *do this* to handle this - on *their* terms.... not mine.
That is a lot more responsibility then handling the children on my own at Disneyland or The Great Wolf Lodge.... the two things just don't compare.
So on this final day of five days of gratitude, I'm grateful to be a Mom. I'm grateful that The Boy trusts me with his heart and his emotions and his future.... and I'm grateful for The Girl - and her silly smiles and sweet kisses and.... most importantly, I'm grateful for my Grandma who taught that were are *worse* things happening to people all the time.
My Grandma who taught me that life is for the living..... and what I know now - 9 months into this new journey - is that living through my children's eyes, looking at problems and solving them not as an angry ex-wife, but as my kids' Mom..... is the only way we'll truly be living in happiness and wholeness again, even as one family in two houses.....
I am grateful that my world is full of people - big and small - who patiently wait for me to figure things out and move us forward.... most importantly: The Boy and The Girl... without them, I have no direction.
There many levels to the onion of just *how much* this sucks. So many layers.... and we've cut open those layers time and time again.... probably one of the first layers to properly get peeled back was selling our home.
We bought it when The Boy was only 6 months old, we painted and updated every room - I poured over various hue's of blue until I thought I found the perfect Superman-blue, then we edged the windows in bright red. The perfect room to raise a strong young man.
I went all retro in the kitchen spending hours hunting down the perfect metal signs for the walls. I got my black and white checkered floor and fantastic new appliances (over time and payments, that is).
I planted The Lily Garden the year we had our ectopic pregnancy (at almost 11 weeks) and spent years watching my Lily return to me from late Spring until Fall. I couldn't grow a field of dandelions if I tried... but for some strange reason those Lillie's grew taller and thicker every year.
The idea of selling our home, giving up my independence and losing (almost all) of our investment in the home was hard.... the children had to say goodbye to the only home they knew - to their sweet rooms with shelves that lines the walls holding The Boy's CARS collection and The Girl's room holing my Shirley Temple collection. All packed away, all put into storage.
I couldn't decide at the time what was harder, - *my* having to say goodbye... or watching *them* have to say goodbye to their toys and their lives... and their space. The door frame where I had marked The Boy's height since he could stand, the pin-striped wall-paneling in the bathroom that my brother did custom and by hand.... just, every little thing we did to make it ours. To lose that all... to a stranger.... it was so hard.
After the sign went up, life went.... crazy. I had a few offers from people: a man calling from Japan wanted to buy the house for full price. A man in North Florida wanted to buy the house at "wholesale" (whatever that means) because he said he was in the 'transportation' business and needed a place to 'store' some of the goods he was 'transporting'. I wasn't sure what that meant... but I was pretty sure the neighbors didn't want to find out what that meant either. Another nice man in South Florida called, he was retired and widowed. He said he lived very well and had a large home with a pool and he offered to let the children and I come live with him... but seeing as how I didn't think I wanted to spend day potentially locked in a man's basement applying lotion... I kindly passed on his offer.
We got investment offers from Texas and Arizona and all over the country.... but I turned them all down. This house had always been a family home since the day it was built, I wanted it to stay that way. I wanted my home - a place where I thought I had found myself - and found the most happiness I had ever known... to continue to be that place for someone else. So I turned every one down and waited for my family to come.
Then.... 20 days into the insanity the phone rang and it was a family who wanted to see the house. They had had some recent troubles getting a house and were at wits end when a co-worker showed them the site for our home and they were hooked.
They came out that day and made us a full price (and a little bit over, actually) offer on the house only 23 days after the sign went up on the front lawn.
I instantly liked them. I felt very connected to them, I felt very comfortable around them. The children - well, they *adore* them.... and standing in our living room negotiated terms - it already felt like they belonged there - which I found incredibly odd at the time.
Three weeks into the process they were having a yard sale and I thought it would be fun for the children and I to stop by and purchase a piece of them to have with us... I know that sounds bat sh*t crazy.... but it's true. A trinket - a wee statue or some kind of knick-knack that I could put on a shelf later and know that it represented this time in my life and these people who were buying our home.
Of course, five minutes into trolling the goods on the front lawn The Boy had to go potty... of course. So, they led us into the house and I nearly stopped dead in my tracks. Their mocha-walled living room hosted a sectional and the walls had white time..... just. like. mine.
The kitchen... was a retro 1950s kitchen with a Formica table and trinkets everywhere... it was like standing in a slightly differently version of my own kitchen.
The weeks and months of uncertainly and tears and pain over selling my children' childhood home... it all came to rest standing on their tiled floor. I saw so many things I loved about their kitchen - things I would do in my *own* kitchen and I knew right then and there... the *right* people were buying my house.
I left that day feeling a millions pounds lighter because I could see that my home was *already* their home... sure, they will change my wall color (best not touch my bathroom dammit) and they will change it and make it their own - but.... I could see that what I had loved about my house - they also loved about my house.
Weeks went by and we all grew to become friends... well, not so much El Capitan. They weren't terribly impressed with his "work schedule" and that because he was working it was on me to seal and grout EVERY crack in our 100foot driveway, back patio and front walkway.... or, any of the other repair requests from the mortgage company. They weren't too impressed at all... and yet, they showed me so much kindness and patience and love.
Honestly.... when you show up to help pack and move out some crazy banshee/crying woman who is at her emotional wits end - *not* because you have been friends with her for years... but simply because you know no one else is coming to help... that is love.
To take apart furniture and lift boxes and load trucks and unload trucks into storage for hours, when you have your own home to pack up and move.... that is love.
El Capitan was 'working' and unable to help. That was *not* love...
On our last day I was a total wreck... a full scale 9.0 on the emotional earthquake scale... and yet they never got mad, never got annoyed - they, with my parents, Miss Cheryl and Jenny-Jen-Jen & family - all came to hold my hand and carry boxes.
Knowing them... watching them laugh with my children, see their happiness at getting our home... it made it all so much easier because while I was sad to be leaving behind so much of who we were as a family - I knew that our home was *meant* to be their home.
Slowly.... it didn't even feel like my home anymore - which made packing up that last box a little bit easier. I still had a total meltdown on my living room floor and cried and cried until my eyes were puffy and swollen and raw from rubbing.... but, believe, that was a step up.
Knowing that these wonderful people were going to live in my house (and promised to take care of, never remove my Lily garden) - it made it ok... because I wasn't just "selling my home" - the children and I were gaining lifelong friends... and houses come and go: but friends matter the most.
Point in fact, just today I got a text message, "Presents for the kids, love to see you - come by this weekend?" - and it's from one of the buyers. I'm looking forward to seeing what changes they've made and the children are excited to see *them* - not the house mind you.... but people living in it. That's pretty amazing..... but then again, my kids *are* pretty amazing sometimes.
So today.... I am grateful for the people who bought my home. I am grateful that the *right* people bought my home and even more grateful that they have been become friends to me and the children.... what an added bonus. If there is nothing I've learned int he last 9 months, it's that things and objects and cars and homes can *all* be replaced if they need to be.... but the *people* in our lives are what truly matter, they are the only thing that really count.
I may never find someone again to love me... but it was incredbily healing for me to find someone who would love my house the way I had.... it was a real blessing. I'm grateful for them, for the friendship they've shown me and for the blessing that it was to sell my home to them.
| |***** FIRST: I want to start this post by saying that I am *simply* the President of the North Beaverton sister chapter of MOMS Club International. *THEY* are running an international fundraiser to build a Memorial Playground. As the President of our local MOMS Club chapter, I have created a new front page to our clubs website and a DONATION button for our chapter to help raise monies to be fully donated to the International MOMS Club fundraiser. I am *not* running a separate fundraiser. Our chapter is a registered non-profit 501(c) chapter of MOMS Club International. OK... now that that is out of the way.......When I first had The Boy I wanted to get everything right...mind you - is there really any such thing? Getting everything right? | |
MOMS Club International fundraiser to build The Sandy Hook Memorial Playground.
Before he was a month old, we had joined a Mommy & Me swim class and I was looking into classes at the local req center. I wanted to run out there into this new Mommy-hood and start making friends and going to play groups... but, I noticed... and heard complaints from several clients - that lots of MWAC's join local area Mom's groups to drum up business..... What's an MWAC I hear you asking? Let me elaborate.An MWAC is... I suppose a not very nice - but often totally accurate - term that some photographers use to describe the new 'mommy based' "studios" that started cropping up a few years ago.
MWAC literally stands for: Mom With A Camera.Usually, it's some well-meaning, nice lady who bought a nice camera when her children were first born and had a bit of skill and talent in the picture taking department... over time that hobby grew into a home-based "studio" of sorts and .... they usually have websites that say as much...." I've had a camera in my hands since I was three years old... I've always taken pictures... after my children were born....." blah blah blah.*Some* of these MWAC studios are great - they do great work and grow into huge, successful business's
who produce quality images. However.... as most of us photographers know: a lot of them close their doors nearly as fast they opened them under a cloud of angry clients and broken promises and crappy work that didn't live up to it's promise. Just recently I was hired for a large job - and before hiring me I had to listen to the client list FOUR such MWAC style photography studios (all now defunct) who had screwed up their job year after year leaving a bad taste in their mouth for dealing with photographers in general... who can blame them?In 17 years... I've had exactly four *angry* clients. One lady *wanted* photojournalistic photos of her large, extended family- outdoors. BUT, she could only hire me to cover said family on Christmas Eve when they were all in town - which meant it was pouring rain and pitch black outside (because I had to come at 3:00pm after she had baked her Christmas Turkey).
I had brought a black backdrop and studio lights that I ended up setting up in her living room. She was supposed to pay me $135 in advance. She didn't. In the end, she ended up sending me a nasty email saying that they were nice "studio" portraits but they weren't "what she wanted' and for this they could have just "gone to Sears". This was *after* I spent six hours on CHRISTMAS EVE doing her job.... so I emailed her back and told her she was right and that next time she do exactly that: go to Sears. And... since she hadn't paid me a dime, I took her photos offline and refused to sell her or anyone in her family any copies. That's what we call being "no-souped". I'll have to write a post about what being "no-souped" means... *all* of my clients understand what being no-souped means and... almost without exception, they don't want it to happen to them. lolol (and if it happens to one of their friends, they quickly call me to tell me their friend is a dumba$$ and please don't no-soup them, too).The second lady was Baby Ava's Mom. I did the job, turned it around in four days and got out her birth announcement three days before Christmas. I drove 30 miles to meet her with her order two days before Christmas and let her know that her album would be done in the New Year. Her album was done and I emailed her and never heard back. NINE months later she sent me a nasty gram telling me she was contacting the Better Business Bureau to report me for failing to give her her product. Her dusty album was mailed to her certified and she was... no souped.There are a few others who were no-souped for being crazy or rude or wanting things even *cheaper* than they are... which royally ticks me off. In short though.... while the list of clients who get annoyed because they feel they "waited too long" for their images is a loooooong one. The list of clients who don't come back or are genuinely pi$$ed with me is less than ten names long... which in 17 years of being a working photographer... that's pretty damn good.Mostly... I'm cheap. I'm about 1/4 of the price of anyone in my area who does my style of work, and my work is consistent and GOOD. Families and clients get HUNDREDS of images - not just a handful. My clients are *good* to me - loyal and kind and .... many of them have touched my life in ways that are immeasurable... so I always try to be good to them.But.. running a business is *hard* and for a lot of MWACs... it becomes too much and they fold up their doors and quit. Then the rest of us pay the price for that......So, knowing that MWACs love to join Moms groups - I stayed clear of joining any. I don't like being lumped into things.... I lived in London - which meant I was *not* a tourist and therefore I REFUSED to do any touristy things. Period. I'm not an MWAC, so I was not going to join a Moms group which might give people the idea that I *was* an MWAC.I kind of always regretted that decision....
but I can be stubborn about stupid things sometimes.When The Boy was four we made friends with another family at our preschool and the Mom was on the board of the North Beaverton MOMS Club, after many months of dragging me to events - she convinced me to join. (IMPORTANT NOTE: they had had TWO MWACs join the club, hand out their business cards, get business to their studio and never show back up to club events... and both studios closed in record time.... sigh). Anyhow.... I joined the club and quickly found our social calendar filling up with play dates and activities and Moms Nights Out.
The coolest part of MOMS Club is that it's full of Moms from all different social and work backgrounds so there is a wonderful variety of friends to be made.And make them I did.Last year I became the President of our local chapter... but before you roll out the red carpet and the ticker tape parade, you should know it's a position no one else really wants... lolol. I revamped a few things, moved our newsletter to an online forum (kick a$$) and made a few other changes to our club meeting structure. I have an awesome board of ladies who work their tails off for the Club (Jenny B.... *cough cough*).
Oh... and it's goes without saying that I'm the potty-mouthest President EVER of a MOMs Club... hahaha. I do things a little differently than *most* Presidents of any organization.. I'm pretty sure about that and yet... they keep me anyway.Towards the end of last year..... when Yoga Girl decided she wanted to join my marital bed (but forgot to send me my invitation) -
I was..... decimated. I was an emotional ruin. Lots of my friends rallied around me, holding me up... but the thing about belonging to an organization like MOMS Club is that *those* friends are.... organized. Without asking - I found myself getting meals delivered five nights a week for four weeks. MOMs coming by with offers of play dates, willing to take the kids to help me get time to process the devastation.These women... these amazing friends were unfailing in their support and help. Coming over after the children had gone to bed to hold my hand while I cried.... bring me food and flowers and their unconditional love and support. It was amazing. Truly.
I only ever expected to join a few play groups and make a few friends... not discover a line-life of women who keep me tethered to them, to my life, to my children - while I emotionally started to tumble down that endless hole of emotional devastation.MOMS Club is "ideally" for stay-at-home MOMs... so I wasn't sure how my new role of 'single Mom' would fit in. I wasn't sure if my marital circumstances would make some of them uncomfortable and cause them to turn away from me... if anything, they only reached out more. Amazing. Just... head shakingly amazing.Then the sign thing happened and I wondered if International would be shocked... while they are nondenominational, they are a teeny, tiny bit conservative... I worried that my new-found internet status would cause them to ask me to step down as a chapter President. Instead.... International asked me to join *them* on the International level. Again... humbling and amazing. Part of the reason I could pick myself up and keep going, even though the hits just kept on coming.... were my friends - Jenny B., Miss Chloe, Carrie, Kerrie, Cyndie, Natz, Miss Erin, Miss Sarah O and more..... every time I felt like the day was too long, too miserable.... too much... there they were.Standing amidst the most catastrophic event of my own life to date, I couldn't help but still be filled with hope and love, not only for myself, but for my children. MOMS Club was, and still is, a huge part of my life and the children and my's collective healing. So..... it goes without saying that Day Three, I'm grateful for Miss Chloe who talked me into joining. To all the wonderful ladies named above who befriended me and took care of me when I needed it the most
- which helps me be a better me - which in turn.... helps me be a better Mother, which is the whole purpose of MOMS Club to begin with.I was already writing Day Three for MOMS Club when International sent me an email letting me know that three of the children from the Sandy Hook tragedy were former MOMS Club members in Newtown, CT.
I know a lot of our MOMs have had a hard time with these events and to know it's affecting Moms within an organization we all love just seems to make it a little more personal.I was not at all surprised to find that MOMS Club International is already working with The Untied Way to rebuild or refurbish or build (depending on what they decide about using the current school/building a new one, etc) a Memorial Playground for the children at Sandy Hook.
As always... in the face of devastation and catastrophe: MOMS Club whirls into action to do what they can.
I'm especially excited because I think when these kind of disasters happen - we all want to *do* something. We want to donate or help... but often, we don't know where to donate or how to make sure our money goes where we want it to. MOMS Club will be an active part of the Memorial Playground process with a member from the Newtown sister chapter being apart of the planning board. Every single penny of the monies raised will go towards the playground and if we raise more than we need, MOMS Club will find families or another Sandy Hook-based project to donate the remaining monies too. No one is taking a cut for "administrative" costs, etc. If you read the blog, or have read the book, you know that I love love love playgrounds. I truly do not think there is a better, more blissful, peaceful sound than that of screaming, laughing, playing children. Truly. I have always sought to live right next to a playground so that every morning I can wake up to the sound of children playing.... so, for me, this kind of fundraiser is right up my alley. I think that, as a country, we *all* want to do something. We all want to help... and while we can't answer for *why*this tragedy happened, we can be a positive part of the healing process for the children, families and siblings that are left behind. We can raise money to provide a place for them to run and laugh play: when they are ready. We can build them a place to house their smiles, their squeals of delight, their skinned knee's and their slip-slidding-butts. *MY* personal catastrophe seems..... silly and rather insignificant in light of recent events. It's not about comparison *at all*... but for me, it is about perspective. On a personal note, while the depths of my pain doesn't even begin to go as deep and dark as that of the Mother's of Charlotte, Noah & Benjamin - it provides me a very small amount of comfort to know that the same people behind an organization that brought me hope during my hardest times.... is striving to be there for them now. I have already donated so that I can be a small, teeny, tiny part of that Memorial Playground. I'm asking you to click on the link above and donate even just $1.00 to the MOMS Club International Memorial Playground fund.... and then you will have the comfort of knowing that in years to come, there are children smiling and playing in Newtown because you were kind enough to donate and help build an awesome playground for them.Then.... we will *all* have something to be truly grateful for.*********************************************************************NOTE: The MOMS Club International site for donations keeps crashing from use... so being the savvy girl I am- and because my chapter is *also* a registered 501(c) - my chapter can accept donations and then pass those funds on to the MOMS Club International Sandy Hook Memorial Playground fund. We are an all volunteer board... so again: ever single penny (aside form paypal fees) will go STRAIGHT to the fund.
You can donate at either our North Beaverton MOMs Club site
, or the International site
.But.... if you donate through my site, then I'll know how much ya'll donated and I can thank you properly. :)