Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Way It Is

I have always wanted a family. I grew up with desires to have a house full of kids...dogs...white picket fence....the whole nine. Obviously, if you have been reading ANY of my blog, you know that my life hasn't quite worked out that way. Instead, I am a single mom, who can now compare her divorce attorneys. (In case you're curious, the second one wins, hands down. He's so incredibly on the ball, AND he wears a kick-ass bow tie.) I have managed to carve out a life for myself that JUST. ISN'T. NORMAL.

But every now and then I get a teeny tiny moment that borders on "the way it was supposed to be."

Yesterday was E's first dentist appointment. Honestly, if I were a good parent, he would have gone to the dentist when he was two...but I'm merely mediocre, so I waited to make his first appointment until just before DCS got involved. And honestly, I was dreading it. I just KNEW E would clamp his mouth shut and refuse to let "the nice lady count his teeth." I just knew it. So earlier in the week I sent Ex a text letting him know I had made the appointment. Since the appointment was on one of Ex's custody days, I asked him to bring E to the dentist and meet me there. We generally try to do medical appointments together when possible, just because it keeps us on the same page, eliminates any confusion about E's health and well-being, and I think it makes us both feel a little less crappy for forcing E into such a shit situation in the first place. (Or it does for me anyway.)

When I pulled up to the dentist's office, Ex was getting E out of the car. I hugged him (E, not Ex) and took his hand as we walked in. I didn't know what kind of prep work Ex had done for this whole experience, so I tried to get E excited about what was about to happen. "Are you ready for them to count your teeth?!? It's going to be so great! They will make sure they are all healthy and then you will get a special new toothbrush and probably a sticker!!!!"

We walked in, handed over insurance cards, signed papers, and then they called us back. And then cool stuff just started happening. E was a total champ during the whole thing, only shaking one time when he saw them aim the little scraper tool at his face. Ex held his hand. I patted his leg. And he did awesome! Then they gave him two little red cars, and he played until the dentist came to do the final exam. And while he played, Ex and I chit chatted about his need to get his teeth worked on, my work, and just life in general. It was downright pleasant. In fact, until I told the dentist that E splits the week between us, she probably didn't even realize that we weren't one big happy family.

Because here's the deal. Ex and I were horrible at marriage. But we are FREAKING AWESOME at divorce. E has never seen us fight. He's never seen us be mean. He's never heard us say harsh things about the other one. We have worked really hard through the course of E's life, so that his security is affected as little as possible. We have a really important common goal of making sure that our son is happy, healthy, and loved. And, apparently that his teeth are clean.

We walked out of the dentist office, and I was very aware that although our situation isn't the happy little family that I had once envisioned, that we are very much a team. And I couldn't help but wonder if E in fact does feel secure. Does he feel safe and fulfilled even though he goes back and forth all the time? Does he know that he is loved? Does he ever feel torn between us?

Is he ok?

And then E answered my question. He put his left hand in Ex's and his right hand in mine, took a flying leap, and hollered, "Daddy, Mama, SWING ME!!!"

So Ex and I walked through the parking lot, swinging our cavity free child, who smiled and laughed, because he knew we wouldn't drop him. He knew that he could fly through the air and come back down safely...because Daddy was in one hand and Mama was in the other.

So I guess everything is just as it should be.

Friday, May 21, 2010

The One with the Blue Balloon

The internet has been finicky at my house lately, which means I am spending crazy, insane amounts of time at places that offer free wi-fi. Mocha Frappe' anyone? When E was with me the other day, I decided to take him to the only place in town that has both an indoor play place AND free wi-fi, which also just happened to give me a reprieve from McDonald's. The only indoor play place, free wi-fi enabled place in town happens to be Chick-Fil-A. Yep....we're classing it up in these parts.

I needed to log some time on my work's database, and well, facebook has just MISSED me. So I loaded E into the car, we ate chicken nuggets and waffle fries, and then he headed off into the play area while I got some "work" done. He had a blast, and played hard for a solid hard in fact that little beads of sweat formed on his little forehead. On the way out, the cashier stopped him and offered him his choice of a blue balloon or an orange one. He chose the blue one.

As we walked outside I told him to hold onto his balloon tightly so it wouldn't fly away. He agreed. Ok. Good plan. I opened the car door, and while he climbed into the car, I put my laptop back in my bag, completely oblivious to the trauma that was unfolding. Apparently E was oblivious as well, because when he got situated in his seat he looked at me and said, "Will you hand me my balloon now?"

Of course, I, having never actually had a hand on the balloon, looked at him, then into the car, and then....up into the sky....where there was a blue balloon frolicking farther and farther away from its little "shree year old." Oops. There I go again, being so highly competitive for "Mom of the Year."


Ok, last year I blogged about my mom's dog, Bo. Bo was old and sick, and eventually had to be put down. E loved that dog. So my mom, knowing that the inevitable was fast approaching, began to prepare E by saying, "Bo is old and sick." And then when Bo died, Mom said, "Bo was old and sick, and he died." She tried to keep it simple. But then Ex picked E up one day, and when E said, "Daddy, Bo is old and sick and he died," Ex added to it by saying, "Yes, he's up in the sky in Heaven." AND THEN, E's other grandmother heard about Bo being "old and sick and he died and he's up in Heaven" and she added "with Jesus." with me? So all year long E has talked about Bo. And whenever you ask him where Bo is, he ALWAYS says, "Up in the sky with Jesus."


We're in the parking lot of Chick Fil A and the rebel balloon has just escaped, virtually unnoticed, until E requests that I hand it to him. I realized what had just happened, and the following conversation took place....

Me: Oh baby, I'm sorry. Your balloon flew away!

E: (confused) where did it go?

Me: It's up in the sky.

E: (complete dismay) WITH BO AND JESUS?!?!?!?!?!

Me: (thinking that maybe life just threw me a bone here...) Yes...with Bo and Jesus. They will be glad to have a balloon.

E: (again with the dismay) THAT DOES NOT MAKE ME HAPPY!

Me: (oh.) Oh. I'm sorry. We'll get you another balloon next time.

E: (alligator tears and wailing) BUT I DIDN'T WANT BO AND JESUS TO PLAY WITH MY BALLOON!

Me: I'm sorry.

****five minutes down the road****

E: Mama, next time I want an orange balloon.

Me: Ok. I think we can do that.

E: And Bo and Jesus can't play with it!

Me: Fair enough.

****The next morning****

Me: Good morning! How are you?

E: I'm mad that Bo and Jesus have my balloon. They should say they are sorry. And next time I'm going to get an orange one...and they CAN'T HAVE IT!

Me: Ummm.....Ok. (My son is STILL mad at the dead dog and the Christ for "taking" his toy.)

And THAT is why the mom should ALWAYS HOLD THE BALLOON.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


To all prayer warriors out there, please say a prayer for Ethan. He is a little boy whose family is from my hometown. He has been battling brain cancer for over a year now, and this week the hospital sent him home with hospice. I only know of him, and my closest connection to this family is that I sat next to Ethan's uncle in Spanish I in 1997. But I have followed their journal, and they are in so much pain right now. Please pray for Ethan, his parents, Farris and Robin, and his older sister Lanna.

You can read his journal here:

As a mom, there is just no greater gift than a healthy child. I am thanking God for mine...always...but especially today.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Dear E

Mother's Day came and went yesterday without much fanfare. There weren't any special gatherings we had to go to, or presents to open. There wasn't breakfast in bed or flowers. You didn't tell me Happy Mother's Day or paint your hand print on a rock for me to put in the flowerbed. In fact, from an outsider's perspective, it was just another day. Another day where you woke me up with your LOUD, but still so sweet, voice proclaiming, "It's MORNING!!! The SUN is OUT so it is MOOOORRRRNING!!!!" Oh sweet child...I really can't get enough of that at 5:59 AM.

To anyone else it would seem that we had a pretty drab Mother's Day. But they don't know what I know. They don't know that it was just me and you yesterday. They don't know that at the same time that I found myself absolutely exhausted by your energy, that I was also overcome by the joy of being the one you call Mommy. They don't know that each and every day I thank God for choosing me...because it means that I'm the mom to a child that owns my heart, that in the same breath you are someone who I want to live for and would not hesitate to die for. They don't know that when they see your sweet smile, or hear your sweet voice that they are a witness to my heart. They don't know that your kind spirit and zest for life make me spill over with zealous pride. They don't know that when you learn something new I feel like I have learned it all over again. They don't know that when your heart hurts that mine just absolutely shreds to bits of nothing. They don't know that sharing the same air with you makes life exceedingly more complicated but infinitely more rewarding. They don't know that when you smile, laugh, or crinkle your eyes, that my insides come alive. Sweet boy, they just don't know.

And they never will.

I have been given the most amazing gift from God, and I'm the only one on this earth who can claim it. I'm the only one who will ever be able to look at your sweet face and say,

Thank you, Lord, for letting me call him "son," and for letting me be the only one he calls, "mommy." If there were ever a reason to praise you, he is it.

My child, no one will ever know what it's like to be your mommy. But I have the gift of knowing. And that is what made this very quiet, very uneventful Mother's Day, the most amazing gift of all.

And for that, my son, I am all shades of thankful.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Liar, Liar

I am getting divorced.....again. In case anyone is keeping track, that's TWICE before I hit 30.

How do I get myself into these situations???
Years ago, before I began testing the true boundaries of social acceptance and the patience of my family and friends, I was a good kid. I hardly ever acted out. I rarely threw fits. And with the exception of that time in the second grade when I lied to my mom for a week straight about something that can only be described as S-T-O-O-P-I-D, I never really lied. The sing song mantra "Liar, Liar, pants on fire" was never really aimed at me.
And then I entered my twenties, and began lying to the worst possible person, myself. I told myself I had it all together. I told myself I was ready. I told myself I knew what I was doing. I told myself I was, ahem, stable. And now I think it's safe for the powers that be (along with my parents and the FAS) to all point their fingers and join in the chorus of....
Because everything I once thought to be true about myself has recently been aired out as dirty laundry on the clothesline. My issues and my drama are once again a public spectacle, gossip fodder for facebook if you will. I have turned myself into a one woman "did you hear" water cooler conversation.
But truth be told, I'm ok with that.
Because I know things now. Granted, I know things that other people could probably grasp without having to actually experience it, but I've never been one for the easy route. So in honor of the new life that I'm (again) building for me and's what I know for sure:
He deserves to be able to be 3 without the fear, consequences, and general wrath of someone who thinks that being 3 just isn't really good enough. So I know now, that in my home, and in the homes of all of the many that love him...He can be 3 in peace.
I deserve to be valued by anyone who enters my home. I have the right to hold onto my beliefs and the core of who I am without the criticism of someone who won't accept the core of who THEY are. My value and worth will not be compromised. Ever. Again.
Never again will I hear these words, and believe them without loving action. I believed them easily the first time I fell in love, and found myself picking up the pieces of a broken family. Because actions speak louder than words. And I believed them easily the second time I fell in love, and found myself fleeing my own home in the night out of sheer terror of staying put. Because actions speak louder than words. So to the next guy, I appreciate the prove it. Because actions speak louder than words.
I wanted life to be a certain way, and when it wasn't, I forced the hand of the universe. To any of you out there who are contemplating doing this, IT DOESN'T EVER END WELL. I told myself that I could make it right, fix it, take it back, work hard enough, love strong enough, be good enough, fight long enough to overcome the bad stuff. And I told myself that I would be ok in the process. I LIED TO MYSELF. I'M DONE NOW. I can't make it right. I can't fix it. I can't take it back. I can't work hard enough or love strong enough, or be good enough or fight long enough to overcome the bad stuff. If the bad stuff is there, I will no longer know deep down that it is bad stuff, while I turn a blind eye and call it good. I am done now.
There's a fairly long list of people in line to say "I told you so." They have every right. They knew I was lying to myself long before I did. So I can't blame them for pointing fingers...for being annoyed with the sheer determination I seem to have to see how many things I can possibly screw up and then blame it on "I was in my twenties." I really can't blame them for saying, "I told you so." But I JUST MUST BE LOVED. Because they haven't said it. (to me.) Instead they have said things like, "I'm here for you. I'm glad you're safe. I am proud of you for getting out. I believe in you. You deserve so much more. I understand. I LOVE YOU." So to Mom, Dad, Stace, Amy, Jenny, Kat, Lisa, Jennifer, Brandon, Steven, Jonathan, and Beth....Thanks. I love you too.
Dear God, I prayed for your voice. I HEARD your voice. And then I ignored your voice. Umm....sorry 'bout that. Any chance you might want to make something good out of this??? I thought you might. Knew I could count on you. And, for the record, I'm listening.
There's a pretty hefty possibility that even though I have a healthy grip on reality today, that tomorrow my fingers might slip. If history is any indication, I may let go altogether. (But I'm REALLY committed to not letting that happen, Dad! So tell the vein in your forehead to retreat.) I'm just saying, that even though I am on a better path today than I have been in a long time, I still lack the navigational skills to meander through this journey without messing up. So again, I am thankful that I intimately know THE ONE who shows up when I ask, with a REALLY GREAT MAP. And I'm thankful that He stockpiles Grace....because anyone who calls me His child....let's just be honest....He's gonna need it.
And to anyone else who may still be reading this, point fingers if you must.....
but I am moving on.