Wednesday, December 30, 2009


When I first thought about posting a year end review of 2009, the title in my head was "2009-KISS MY ASS" or "Good Riddance" or something of the sort. There is no doubt that this was a very tumultuous year for me. But I can't write 2009 off like that, because as much BS and heartache that this year brought for me, it also brought all the lessons and enlightenment that come along with all that crap, and many other blessings that I could now never see myself without.

They say that whatever you are doing at midnight on New Year's sets the precedence for how the rest of your year is going to go. Last New Year's Eve, the ex and I decided to share the kids for the evening and spend it all together one last time. It was awkward, miserable, and I spent half the night crying on the phone with my Dad wishing I was with him instead. Yes, I would say that pretty much set the tone for this past year.

Last January, the person closest to me in the entire world, my Dad, would call me and say he had a bit of news. He was hesitant to tell me, so I finally blurted out the last thing I thought it could possibly be: "What, Dad, do you have like a brain tumor or something?" Thinking of it is like a knife in my chest now. He comforted me over the phone as much as he could, as I was absolutely hysterical. But I knew that God would not take so much away from me at marriage, my family, and now within just months of my separation, my father too? The man in my life, my rock, the only reason I was getting through??? No way. God wouldn't let that happen.

Just last week, I sat next to my father at what I think is his 12th hospital. He lay there staring at me. Completely unresponsive, twitching, 130 pounds of bones and skin, almost unrecognizable if not for his signature salt and pepper hair and brown eyes. 10 months of nothing but torture and agony, never seeming to get better. Hell on earth.

So, in 2009, I stopped believing in God. At least, the "God" that I always thought I knew, the God I grew up believing in.

There are no lessons from what has happened to my father, and there will never be one that is worth it to me to have lost him. I would give almost anything in my life up to have him back in some capacity.

That being said, I can't deny that this year brought about great change for me in many ways. I liberated myself, found myself, learned what true happiness is. I found out that I have the strength to get through anything, even when all I want to do is curl up in a ball and die. I didn't.

I began this year apprehensive and depressed about moving on from a marriage that was no good for me or my children, to a man that did not respect or care for anyone but himself. I spent the first several months grieving the death of that dream, realizing that my ex would never be who I thought he was for 12 years, and letting go of the role of wife after it was all I knew for so long.

Slowly I began to emerge from my depression and realize that life may not only be ok again, but better than I had ever imagined. I started to love and relish my freedom. I gladly waved goodbye to the resentment and anger that resided in my home for way too long. I found out that the best kind of happiness comes from the kind you create for yourself, because you are incapable of disappointing yourself.

Maybe most importantly, I discovered the power and importance of friendship. I discovered that there are people out there who care, who will show up to my house with food when I just can't do it, who will paint my hallway after my 2 year old goes on a Sharpie rampage, who will watch my children for me while I visit the hospital, who will hold my hand when I have difficult medical tests to get through myself.

I learned how healing laughter is, how great it feels to go out to eat and to a movie alone, how to feed my soul with all the things and people that I love. To someone who spent her entire adult life "doing" for a husband and 3 children, this was huge.

I learned a ton about being a single mom. I learned that to have a happy mother is to have happy children. That laundry doesn't always have to be put in drawers. That my money is best spent on hiring help for things that take time away from my family. That true friends don't care if my house is a disaster anyways. That I can ask for help and not be thought of as a burden. That my kids don't need much more in life than a mom who reads them bedtime stories, is affectionate and caring, and does her best. That they may not appreciate it now, but will someday. That friendships with other single moms are invaluable. That my single motherhood is a badge of honor, not a scarlett letter.

I also can't leave out that I'm wading my way, although maybe not quite so gracefully, through trying a serious relationship again. Learning how to hold onto everything I've learned, recognizing when I'm losing myself, sifting through what is my past baggage coming up versus what is possibly an actual problem. Learning how to be a whole person and not 1/2 of a couple is not easy, but also not swinging to the complete opposite end of the spectrum and keeping someone at arm's length. But all lessons that must be learned at some point, and with a man I am absolutely willing to try with.

I titled this blog "Desperately Seeking Me" almost exactly a year ago because I had no idea who I was without my marriage and the role I had played for so long. I felt lost and scared and alone. I can honestly say that I know exactly who I am now, and that I love who I have become. But I won't change the title because that search will never be over, there is a lifetime to discover new things about myself, and that I will always be changing and evolving and learning.

So this year at midnight, I will be surrounded by my 5 closest friends and their spouses, the man I love, good food, good drink, lots of laughter and happiness, and wishing for a miracle for my father. (feel free to join me on that one)

Here's to the endless possibilities for 2010, and I wish the best to all of you and yours.


Saturday, December 26, 2009


Finally getting a chance to sit down in front of my computer after a marathon week or so of doing this Christmas thing on my own. PHEW is all I have to say.

Yes, the kids have a Dad and yes, he seriously does mean well but GAH it's like dealing with another child which makes me so glad every. single. time I deal with him that I made the decision I did.

For starters, he and I had agreed to take the kids to see Santa together. Some things you just can't do twice and this is one of them. I emailed him the date I could go weeks in advance, it was literally the only chance I had. A few days ahead of time, he wrote and said he had made an appointment with his therapist that evening, because he "really needed it" and couldn't do it any other time (evidently he's having a hard time with my boyfriend being back in town). He said he'd try to make it on time. He didn't make it and then got mad at ME for him not being there. I won't even try to explain that one. I also didn't think about it that much as I've come to expect things like that lately from him. Self-centered narcissist, that one.

Then Christmas morning, we had agreed Santa would come to my house. Now keep in mind: I stayed up til 2am the night before, baking cookies for Santa, wrapping gifts, getting Santa gifts from the attic, organizing who got what, finding batteries for each toy, stuffing stockings, cleaning up, preparing for my family to come over the next day. I usually try and have all the toys out of their boxes, assembled and ready to go, but gave up at 2am and decided to sleep instead. I assumed that the other parent would at least help with all the assembly in the morning. (You know what they say about assuming)

He walked in, took my last drink out of my fridge, ate all my food, sat on his ass and watched the kids open gifts, and then said goodbye and left. If you have children, especially if you have multiple children, then try imagining (maybe you don't have to) taking toys for 3 kids out of boxes (why do they use so many of those damn twisty ties!! and tape on TOP of the twisty ties!! WTF!), putting batteries in most of those toys, picking up the boxes and all the tiny ties, picking up the wrapping paper, in the meantime missing out on the best part of Christmas, watching the kids enjoy their gifts. I started out with the mantra "I can do this" but after about an hour literally curled up in a ball on the floor and gave up. Luckily, my mother arrived eventually, swept in and saved the day. Which is one of the major lessons I have learned over this past year: It Is Ok To Need And To Ask For Help!!!

Once she arrived it didn't feel so overwhelming anymore, she let me go take a shower and then I felt a little more ready to face the rest of the day.

The rest of the day. Once the kids opened gifts from my immediate family, they went to their Dad's, and I met my brother and his wife over at my Dad's new hospital. My Dad---just when you think it can't get any worse. That's all I'll say, it's really bad, and it was a tough afternoon. If you can imagine the worst nightmare you've ever had, one that sends chills up your spine everytime you think of it....that's what it's like spending time with my father right now.

And then I had to leave there and try to suck it up and not ruin Mr. Wonderful's Christmas in the process. He is very understanding but it was his first time to be home at Christmas, our first one together...and I didn't want think about my Dad. But of course it takes me a while to get back out of "worst nightmare" mode and back into "me" mode. He managed to help with that though by giving me the most thoughtful Christmas presents I've ever gotten, even a 3 page love letter that I've read a hundred times by now. That was probably my favorite gift of the entire day.

So much I want to write about but I'll stop for now. Hope everyone out there had the happiest of holidays.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Transition, Transition, Transition.

Sooo much to write about, there is no way I can get through it all.

I haven't written because well, it's 2 weeks to Christmas, I'm a single mom who runs a business, and adjusting to life with a boyfriend who lives in the same city as me, not to mention the same COUNTRY, is kicking my ass.

First: Although I was a single mom during the holidays last year, the ex and I still had not worked out a custody arrangement and were still doing things together. We have annual traditions with the kids that I have carried over from when I was a child. Tree Day where we put up our decorations and tree and watch holiday movies, a day of ice skating around a giant Christmas tree at a mall nearby, a night of driving around town to see all the amazing Christmas lights, a trip to Holiday in the Park at our local Six Flags, and a trip to another mall to see what my kids think is The Real Santa. All of these things are usually spread out one per weekend in December, with the help of at least the ex, and usually one or both of my parents. This year, I have the kids ONE weekend in December before Christmas, and it was this weekend. So right after Thanksgiving we put up the tree, and this weekend fit EVERYTHING else in. Friday night amusement park, Saturday day ice skating, Saturday night Christmas lights. I. Am. EXHAUSTED. Luckily, I have my close group of friends to help me with many of these things, although the ice skating and lights I did completely alone. I think it's safe to say I won't be doing that again anytime soon. Ever taken a 3, 6, and 11 year old ice skating at a crowded mall on one of the biggest shopping days of the year??? Add in an 8am soccer game, a dead car battery, and a huge tantrum-laced argument with the pre-teen right beforehand and I was seriously in tears by the end of the day. But I made every attempt to focus on them and how much I love them and want to create these memories with them, because after all, they did not choose this life with a single mom. We did end up having a great weekend together, and we definetly needed it. I love those babies like no other and cherish every second I have with them, even if it is exhausting and challenging every second :)

Second: wow, what a transition it has been with Mr. Wonderful being home. I am happy to say that after this weekend, it finally feels like we are getting into our groove again. But there were some very slippery moments where we almost lost "us", mostly from sheer exhaustion and uncertainty. His first week at home happened to come at a time when a few things fell apart for me, AND at my most stressful time of the year for work and personal (see above). My back went out, and my father was put back on a ventilator, all the while Mr. W is trying to completely furnish an apartment starting with nothing and starting a whole new life here. Total and complete chaos. The "neediness" I wrote about in my last blog post dissipated when real life hit me again the next day. I had no trouble getting back to work and back to life, but getting he and I all back in sync has been a huuuuuge transition. I really thought we were done at one point, and couldn't sleep an entire night from the panic at the thought of losing him after finally establishing to myself that I don't necessarily NEED him (codependency) but absolutely WANT him (love). It took an entire solid day of communicating the way we learned when he was overseas, but we finally got it, and have been healing from that ever since. And like I said before, we are starting to feel like "us" again and it has been great. I did have the kids all weekend which left him the weekend free to catch up with his friends and family, and I think we both needed it. It was great to hear about him reconnecting with everyone, hearing about him happy makes me happy, and it was nice to hear that he missed me.

There will still be bumps and obstacles to come, we have so much more to face together; but we both promised each other this week that we would commit 100% to working through every issue until it was resolved, and committed also to staying together. This is the man I love and want to be with...the man who writes me love letters that melt me to the floor, who makes sure my ears aren't too cold when I forget a winter hat, who makes sure the first thing I see when I wake up is a good morning message from him, who is trying to get to know my overwhelmingly close-knit group of friends, opens my car doors and lets me pick the music, tells me I'm beautiful, and most importantly this week, rubbed my back and whispered into my ear how much he loved me while I sobbed over my father's broken body in ICU. I'm never letting this one get away.

I also need to say here, THANK YOU to all of the comments left on my last post. I love hearing from you guys and I soak up all of your words of wisdom and experience, from both my friends/family but also to those "strangers" out there. I am learning so much in this journey and I know that I learn just as much, if not more, from the valleys as I do the peaks. It also gives me so much joy to know that anything I've said here might help anyone else out there reading. That sounds so damn cliche, but it is SO true. This is a really, really hard life, not only going through a divorce but then figuring out how to be a single mom, then figuring out how to be a single DATING mom, and all that comes next. We all need all the help we can get :)


Sunday, December 6, 2009

Down Tonight

Having a rough night. Not really sure I can sleep until I get my thoughts out of my head and explore them a bit.

I had a wonderful dinner with all of my friends this evening, wonderful in the sense that I am so lucky to have such amazing, honest, supportive friends. One of the girls tonight let us know that she is just about to go through what I have gone through over the past year and a half, filing for divorce this week. She is my age and also has young kids. I knew somewhat it was coming, but hearing it "officially" tonight brought back lots of old feelings and emotions that I didn't know were still there. I am proud to have come as far as I have come, and to see her starting out at the beginning of that journey knowing what lies ahead is really emotional and bittersweet. I am so proud of her, so so proud of her, and know that she is doing, as she has always done, what is best for herself and her family. I am glad she has us, too. I would never, ever have made it through the past year without my friends, all of them.

On the way home I was riding with another girlfriend and we were discussing where I've been and where I'm at now. We were talking about the past week with my boyfriend being home, and she said something that really jumped out at me that I don't think I wanted to hear, but knew was true...not only when she said it, but all along. "You know from your last relationship that you have a tendency towards co-dependence".

There it was, staring me in the face. It's totally happening again. I joked about it at dinner with my girls, how thank God Mr. Wonderful is healthy and has boundaries because I just want to eat him up and never let him go. I attributed my neediness all week to having him gone for so long and finally back, and yes maybe that is catalyzing it, but it's there. I'm totally falling down the co-dependent slope again. Goddammit!!

And then begins the self-hate talk....I'm such a fuck up....why did I jump into a relationship when I wasn't ready, obviously...I'm not healthy...I'm never going to be healthy....I'm never going to be happy.....the spiral of self-destruction begins.

But I decided to come here and be honest about my feelings instead. I really don't want to do this. I really want to close my eyes and put my hands over my ears and yell "lalalalalalala I'M NOT LISTENING!!"

Mr. Wonderful deserves better than that though. And *I* deserve better than this. I hate feeling this way, so needy and incomplete without him next to me. And how exactly did this happen so fast, and without me admitting it??? It's crazy what the mind tells itself.

It's not that it's out of control yet. I still worked out this week, but barely. I tried to follow my diet but gave up by the end of the week, because he's not following one yet. I threw little fits when he wouldn't spend the night on the nights I didn't have my kids (he, unlike me, finds value in saving some things for later....I want it ALL. RIGHT. NOW.)

This is a recipe for disaster. I know it is. I have to stop it right now, but I'm sort of clueless as to how. I am fine and then he comes around and all of my resolve just melts away, like he is a drug or something that I cannot resist. Maybe some might find that sweet, but I find it scary.

It took me a good 6 months to be ok with being alone at night in my bed. Not only ok, with it, but happier that way. No one snoring, no one stealing covers, no one disturbing my rest, no one but me and maybe one of my babies every now and then. And in one foul swoop, after having him here a week, I am suddenly straight up miserable without him here and pathetic. UGH that pisses me off.

Conclusion: I'm not ok. I wasn't ready for this. Does that mean I can't now make it work? I don't think so. I'm going to try...

So this week, back to my life, for real this time. Work, kids, family time, working out, cooking, eating right, friends, music, movies, all the things that make me happy and make me ME, including this blog. I need it more than ever if I'm going to make this relationship work and more importantly, get through it with my self in tact.

Once I get back on track it will be easier to figure out where my relationship fits in, rather than the other way around (I'm not going to fit my life around my relationship like I did last week).

At least I was able to be honest with myself tonight. That's a start.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

So Far

He's back!!!!!

I went to the airport Sunday night to pick him up. I got there about half an hour before he actually came off the plane. That 30 minutes felt longer than the entire 4 months. The anticipation was insane. Every person who walked through the revolving doors, my heart stopped.

And then there he was...just like I remembered him and nothing like I remembered him, giant smile on his face. It felt like he was walking towards me in slow motion, so I think I made my way straight to him. Kissed him for the first time in four very long months, embraced each other long and hard. It was everything I dreamt it would be.

I don't know how to describe what I have been feeling the past couple of days since he got back. I have tried to explain it to him, thinking maybe he was experiencing the same "surrealness" that I have been. My mind hasn't quite wrapped around the fact that this is the same man I have been talking to everyday for the past 4 months, although it does recognize him as the man I was with for 3 amazing weeks this summer. So I'm finding myself a little more guarded than I thought I would be, a little more reserved, although at moments that are coming more and more each day, that is melting away. It's a hard thing to explain, and I wonder if military wives know what I am talking about.

For one thing, there aren't emails twice a day anymore, which means less verbal communication. I wonder a lot what is going on in his head because I'm used to having a written run-down. When we're together we're just that, together....which is great, but there's nothing forcing us to talk about things. He's quiet by nature and this is taking some getting used to for me.

We're also trying to get on the same page regarding boundaries and expectations. We both knew this would be an issue for us when he returned, and it will definetly take some time to work out our schedules, just like it did when he first went back to Afghanistan.

But for the most part, we're having the time of our lives, getting to know each other all over again. I find myself staring at him constantly, trying to memorize his facial features and the way he feels. My mind is still in "OMG-HE-IS-HERE" mode, and it's hard not to want to just drink him up every second after doing without his physical presence for so long.

This is all after just a couple of days being together, I'll be anxious to see what transpires over the next month or so and we get into more of a routine. Hopefully my "neediness" will subside once I wrap my head around the fact that he is not going anywhere.

In the meantime I just have to focus on living my life the best I can and fitting him into it the way I fit the other aspects in that I love. I need to live a balanced life full of a little bit of everything that makes me happy.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Next Chapter

Tomorrow, Mr. Wonderful is scheduled to arrive home.

I can't believe this day is finally here. Even stranger is I can't believe how I am feeling.

I feel numb.

I don't know what that is about, I thought I would be jumping out of my skin. I do know myself very well and I know that numbness usually kicks in when I am totally overwhelmed with emotion.

Tomorrow marks a very, very new chapter of my life. I have been doing the single mom on my own thing for almost a year and a half now, and I am used to this life. I don't know what it's like to have a man around. As excited as I am because I love this man so much, I am nervous of the change. I can't put my finger on it exactly, except that I have read about this same emotion on other single mom blogs before. I think it's a fear of losing independence...something we fought SO HARD for. It's also a fear of the unknown. I don't know how this new life really works, and I sure don't want to screw it up. There is also a fear of the not so distant decisions about when to let the kids know about Mr. Wonderful. It took me two years to leave my husband because of my fear of screwing up my obviously the next step is going to weigh just as heavily on my mind.

What if I see him tomorrow and things are different from the way they were this summer, or even over long distance?

A big part of my divorce was adjusting to a new role, the role of single mom. I had related to other married women and wives for 12 years, and it took some time to see myself in a different light. I'm going through a little bit of that now. I'm sure I will love my new role, but it is different.

I believe strongly in my heart that once I see him, all my fears will just melt away and everything will click, just like they did in July and August and throughout our 4 month long-distance relationship. He is the best man I know next to my Dad, he loves me with all his heart, and he is everything I have ever wanted but didn't think existed. My fears are just that, fear....of the unknown.

Stay tuned......

Sunday, November 22, 2009

My Top 10: How to be Single

I've been thinking about writing a post like this here lately, because of things going on in my friend's lives and because of comments I get on the blog from women who have just found themselves in my situation of going through a divorce. Here are some of my thoughts on how to do Single, and to do it well. (I've added links to the parts of my blog where I was going through these particular phases)

1-there is a period after you breakup with your husband or partner that feels like HELL. You feel like you can't stand to be alone, you feel needy, you feel vulnerable, you question everything, you want to run into the arms of the first person you see, or even the person who hurt you to begin with. It hurts and it hurts BAD. This is a VERY important phase. You MUST go through this. There is no skipping it. If you skip it or hide from it or even worse, go back to your ex during this time, it will come back to haunt you at some point, guaranteed and you'll be back here, only it will be worse. Don't be afraid of the pain. Feel it, get through it. Mourn what you had as if it were a death, let yourself be miserable for awhile. It's the perspective that you will need someday. It won't last forever!

2-Take a vow to not date anyone for a good amount of time. Why not? You have to learn how to not need attention or self esteem from someone else, and to figure out how to give it to yourself before you can be ready to get out there. It's setting the foundation for finding the right person someday, or hey, even not finding anyone and being able to be single and happy!

3-Take care of yourself! Eat healthy, exercise, buy yourself nice things that you love and make you feel confident. Do it in baby steps if you aren't already. Start by buying yourself one thing every week that you love (mine was pj's). Then maybe start a standing appointment to get your nails done. Then maybe drop unhealthy foods from your diet. Then try working out at the gym. This is building your confidence and self esteem from the inside out. You will learn to rely on how great it feels when you treat yourself so well, and you will eventually attract someone who can take care of themselves too. My mantra for getting me through this part: The best revenge is a life well lived (and eventually, you forget the revenge because you will just love how it feels)

4-Date yourself! Make a list of all the things that make you you and that you enjoy. If you don't know what you like, then try new things. Think back to things you liked to do in your childhood or youth that brought you joy. Seek those things out EVERY SINGLE DAY. You will soon learn that this is what life is all about, bringing joy into your own life and not waiting for it to come to you or for others to give it to you. Think outside the box, and try things /go places you would never have tried before. My list is here, it's the first thing I did when I started this blog. My favorite thing to do quickly became a regular Wednesday evening habit, I'd take myself to dinner and a movie. I stopped calling it "going to eat alone" and started calling it "taking myself to dinner". It's a small thing, but psychologically a big step forward.

5-See your friends OFTEN. You must find friends who are in the same situation as you. It is so important to have someone to talk to who gets it and understand. If you don't know anyone who has been through a divorce, try a support group, or ask around.

Having a close group of girlfriends is absolutely essential in getting through this. Get dressed up, get out of the house and be silly together. Laughter is so healing. Having your girls around will feed your soul and give you the support you need. Don't allow anyone around you who is toxic and negative's important to be surrounded by positivity and listening ears during this vulnerable time, not people who will tear you down or question your choices.

Guy friends are important too. My brother and I are very close, and I also have a few other married guy friends that can help me out with things around the house. Sometimes it's just nice to have a man's perspective on things, or to just sit with someone and not talk about anything in particular. Men are good for that. It's also important to have healthy male role models around your children. I've particularly noticed this for my son, he thrives on having men around and really revels in that attention.

6-Loneliness is a normal, human emotion that we all experience, even the healthiest of us. Seeing girlfriends often will combat the loneliness. A big problem for me was lack of human touch, which we all need. I am a very affectionate person and sometimes the need for human touch was so overwhelming that it almost caused me to make bad or unhealthy choices. I found that getting regular massages helps with this tremendously. My girlfriends and I have a little place we go to that is cheap, they do 1 hour foot and back massages. It is a safe way to not only relieve stress but relieve the need for touch. I also cuddle with my kids at every opportunity, but that's probably a given :)

7-Focus on the positives of being single. No one dictates when you can go out or what you can do, how much money you will spend but you. No one leaves dishes in your sink or underwear on your floor. The house may be empty but it is tension-free. You are free to make whatever you want of your life, and it is so incredibly LIBERATING! You will come to cherish your single-hood more than you ever thought you would.

8-Once you are ready to date, it's all about baby steps. How will you know when you are ready?? When you are regularly making yourself happy and joyful and don't feel like you "need" anyone. You know exactly who you are and what you love and have become so attached to that that no one will ever be able to take it away from you.

It's a big step to get back into the dating pool, so do it slowly. Maybe focus on just flirting at first, and then progress to dating and all that stuff. You want to be totally sure of yourself and what you are doing. Know that you will meet lots of Mr. Wrongs, and that is a good thing. It will reassure you that you know now what to look for and that you won't accept anything less than Mr. Right. This is where being self-sufficient and really cherishing your singlehood comes into play. If you are not desperate to have someone providing your self-esteem for you, then you won't settle for the first jerk that comes along and shows interest. My mantra: It is better to be alone than to be with the wrong person. I didn't believe it at first, sometimes being alone seemed way worse, but I truly truly believe it with every inch of my being now.

9-If you take one thing from this post, understand this: YOU WILL ATTRACT WHAT YOU ARE. If you are an insecure mess, you will attract someone who is just as much of a mess. Because what kind of person wants to date a wreck? Someone with issues. If you want healthy and strong, you yourself must first be healthy and strong. None of us are perfect and we all have hang-ups, but if at the core you are confident, independent, and centered, you will find someone who compliments that.

10-Keep tabs on yourself. I do this through my blog. I want to make sure that I am not slipping back into old habits by reading my own thoughts and analyzing myself and my behavior. For example, If I ever started to gain weight again or quit exercising, that would mean something is wrong, because the strong healthy version of me knows that I need to take care of myself to be happy, and I am responsible for my own happiness. If I stop doing the things that I love regularly, like hanging with my friends or seeing my Indie movies alone, then that is a warning sign too.

Hope this helps anyone who is struggling. It's a process, but one that is worth going through because the rewards are so so worth it. I would go through all of it again in a heartbeat to be able to get back to where I am today.

Monday, November 9, 2009


So sorry to have been MIA. 1-There was a huge scare with my father (more later) and 2-I'm in the throes of the busy season with work.

The good thing about that is the weeks have flown by, and before I knew it I looked at the calendar and OMG MY BOYFRIEND IS HOME 3 WEEKS FROM TODAY!!!

My life is about to drastically change. The reassuring voice that can comfort me from 15,000 miles away is going to be reassuring me right in my own ear. The face that I've only seen pixelated through a web cam lens since August is going to be right in front of me to touch and kiss and feel...

I have learned so much through this process. I have learned how I communicate best, how to get out what I need to say, how to listen, how to acknowledge, how to show love to this great man. I have also gained such an appreciation for the little things. I have told him that I will never, ever take something like a kiss for granted. Every little kiss, everytime I call him when I need him and he comes right over, every dinner together, everytime we hold hands...I will cherish every second of it.

Last Monday my father's wife called my brother and I hysterical saying we needed to "get to the hospital right away and see our father". We were led to believe that this was it, the end. He had pneumonia and bacterial infections, he's lost almost 100 lbs (he's 5'11 and 135 lbs right now) and just has not improved at all. But all along, we have not expected to actually lose him. So I was in absolute shock and then total devastation when my brother called to tell me to come to the hospital. My sweet Mr. Wonderful was actually on Skype with me when I got the call, and talked me through it. I couldn't get dressed, I couldn't think, all I could do was sob hysterically. I drove to the hospital thinking this was it, it was time to say goodbye. Once I was there, I found out that my stepmother had been given misinformation and while Dad was in bad shape, this was not necessarily the end. (He has since left the hospital and been moved to a skilled nursing facility.) That? was the worst day of my entire life. I came home and felt as though I had been run over by a freight train. I got in bed at 2pm, got up once to say goodnight to my children (my mom came over and took care of them), got back in bed and didn't wake up until 8am the next morning. It took me days to feel like a normal human being again.

It makes me so happy to know that when things like this happen in the immediate future, I will have an actual arm around me, someone to come home to and just fall apart with, a chest to bury my head into, a supportive voice telling me it's all going to be ok. I know that would make my Dad happy too, to know his daughter has the support she needs, finally, to be able to make it through this impossible situation. Getting through the past 8 months of Dad's post-surgery nightmare alone has been almost impossible and I have found myself avoiding it just to stay sane. Maybe now that I will have support, I will be able to face it again a little more...visit more and be the good daughter that I want to be to him, because he deserves it.

Anyways, this is just one of many, many things that will be changing. I'm so incredibly excited for this next chapter of my life.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Miss Independent in a Relationship

So I have now been in my relationship for 3 1/2 months, the majority of that time being over long-distance.

This post is basically here to grade myself on how I am doing on maintaining myself and my independence throughout this process.

After a year of establishing ME as a whole and healthy individual, I thought it would be easy to just slip right into a relationship and maintain that same routine and state of mind.

It is not. I catch myself, more often than I would like to admit, slipping into a state of co-dependence again. Mr. Wonderful is an amazing man who loves to take care of me. There are times when I can take that for what it is, and then there are times when I feel myself relying on it....and that just cannot happen. It's one thing for him to say he can't wait to come back and help me fix things up around my house, it's another for me to let things go and not even TRY to do it myself because I'm depending on him to take care of it, just as an example.

The thing I am struggling the most with is the whole diet and exercise thing. Mr. Wonderful is a bit of a health nut and in perfect shape; ladies....I mean...PERFECT ;). Way before I met him, I was taking care of myself, staying in shape and eating right because I like the way it makes me feel. He loves me, loves my body...but my own insecurity took over at some point and started whispering things in my subconscious about how I needed to be "perfect". I fight it, a lot. The minute I start doing it to look good for him and not because I like how it feels and because I want to take care of myself, it becomes something else and that much harder to do. The mental leap is astronomical for someone like me who has always struggled with the psychological aspects of weight gain and loss (history of anorexia, etc). I must continue to concentrate on being healthy for myself or it will slip through my fingers. I've got to think about looking good for him as a nice bonus, not the goal.

Other than that, I have maintained my friendships at the same level that they existed before him. I still see my friends regularly for girls nights out and have never turned down a night out that I wouldn't have before. I'm still doing all the things that I'm passionate about, like exploring music, having nights out and nights in with my kids, trying new activities and things, and traveling. Life still feels fulfilling outside of the relationship. Work is going better than ever; I feel more inspired than I ever have, and I think my work is reflecting the fulfillment I have found.

I know things will change again once he is home (in HELLOOOO....34 days!!!) and we will be able to physically be together and fit a whole new routine into each other's schedules. But he is just as independent as I am, has his own group of friends who value his time as much as my friends value mine. He also has his own passions and interests that he can't wait to pursue. Some of those I'll be joining him for, others he'll do on his own. The goal is to be two happy and fulfilled individuals whose interests overlap at some points, spend time together when we can and as much as possible without losing ourselves in the process. I know it won't be perfect...nothing about this whole process has been...but I really do think I'm doing the best I can after being in such an unhealthy place for 12 long years (really, longer).

There have been times when I have felt that being alone and still single would be easier. Everytime we have a really difficult disagreement or have to come to a compromise on something, I do somewhat miss the days of not having to "answer" to anyone. When decisions were just mine and I didn't have to think of anyone else's feelings or situation. Many times over the year that I was living alone, I would cringe when a friend couldn't go out because her husband didn't want her to, or she maybe felt guilty about being away from the family too much. Being happy about not answering to anyone but myself on my nights away from the kids became a way to help myself cope with being alone: I allowed it to become a "positive", and for good reason. Now I'm having trouble letting go of that. And make no mistake, I'm holding onto a little bit of it. I will always make my own decisions, while yes, being considerate of other's feelings and opinions, but if I want to do something and it's not hurting anyone, I'll do it.

But in the grand scheme of things, it's worth it. I love him, everything about him, and he loves me like no one ever has. Our love is truly special, one that doesn't come along often. I've come close to losing it more than once and I know that this is what I want. I can't wait to have him here in my life and see where that road takes us.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Badass Single Mom

I love calling myself that. It feels pretty empowering. And this past week I think I sort of earned it.

The beginning of October is totally nuts for me. My birthday is Sept 30th, then comes my son's birthday, then the next day my youngest's birthday, then on the 10th of October is the anniversary I dread all year, the day my first baby girl was stillborn.

So here is what I accomplished this past week:

-attended family birthday party w/ all three kids in tow at a pizza buffet
-woke my son up on his birthday morning with a gift and a twinkie
-cooked homemade meal and made/decorated a cake for my son for that evening (he declared it the best meal EVER)
-woke my youngest up the next morning for her bday w/ gift and a twinkie
-tolerated dinner at my exes home for her birthday dinner that evening
-managed to find a last minute cake and party favors for my son's rollerskating party for Friday afternoon, hosted with no help from the Ex (but thank God for my mom)
-hosted a sleepover for son's two close friends after the party
-Somehow made it through the anniversary of my daughter's death Saturday by plenty of encouragment and love from Mr. Wonderful and support of great friends
-that evening hosted Youngest daughter's birthday party at a bouncehouse venue and then at ice cream shop (again w/ no help or even ATTENDANCE from the ex)
-Sunday got super ambitious and took all three kids to the State Fair, managed to stay on a pretty good budget and fun was still had by all.

Not too shabby for one person, right?

Things are looking a little rough again...I was denied for health insurance, my a/c is broken and going to cost a bundle to fix, money is so tight that I'm starting to seriously panic, and business is fairly slow considering it's usually my "rush" time of year. My father was also admitted to the hospital today from his rehab facility and I have no idea what is going on with that.

But as I told my friend today who was worried about me, I'm really just exhausted. Doing this all on my own is tough. Sometimes I just have moments where I need to throw a little temper tantrum and be mad at the world and declare the unfairness of my situation, just to get it out. I can't always be positive or Susie Sunshine. Then it's over and I can buckle down and figure it out, just like I always have. Sometimes I just seriously can't believe how hard life can be. But I know there are plenty of good things for me and I just need to fight for them. The fight will be tough but I'll gain more than those who never struggle. I have to believe that.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Divorce Par-tay

Saturday night was the big fun "Divorce/Birthday Party" for yours truly.

I know many people think the whole "divorce party" idea is a tacky one. But I look at it as 1)taking a bad situation and turning it into a positive one 2)the bachelorette party I never had and 3)I went through years and years of HELL and deserve to celebrate the end of Hell, dammit!! ;)

So I met 10 of my girlfriends for dinner and drinks at a little uptown mexican food restaurant. My sister-in-law even brought me a cake:
(the "forever" and the "rs" in forever yours is crossed out, and the envelope says "Cash for Gold")

We had a great time catching up, several friends I hadn't seen in a long time were there along with friends I see often. After dinner the entire staff of waiters with their thick mexican accents brought me the cake and sang "Happy Deeeeevorce to Youuuuu". HILARIOUS.

After dinner about 6 of us continued on to a lounge I'd never been to before. We walked in and were literally the only people in the place besides the staff. It was great though, we got to pick our booth and act crazy and be ridiculous before anyone could show up and witness it. I guess that's what we get for being a bunch of soccer moms showing up to a hip young lounge like that ;)

The server brought me 3 shots and a chaser to celebrate. I believe I might have toasted the Ex and said something like "Good Riddance" or even "Cheating Bastard" but it's fuzzy after that ;)

We danced, we giggled, I was incredibly obnoxious after the shots and drunk texted just about everyone I knew. I think I begged the DJ to play us some Britney, too (it never happened, but he did dedicate a song to me in honor of the divorce "Don't Want No Short xxxx Man")

There were some really sweet moments too, my awesome sister-in-law stood up at dinner and toasted me and my strength at getting through the past few years. That meant a lot to me.

Girls I know many of you are reading and I love all of you, Saturday night meant the world to me but more importantly, your support through everything I have been through has been phenomenal, and I love you all so much. There is no way I'd have come through this alive without you guys.

I am so happy to be moving past all of this and I am incredibly optimistic about my future. I am the happiest I have ever been in my life.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Just got back from an awesome vacation with one of my best friends to NYC, my absolute favorite place in the entire world. This is my 4th trip to NYC in 18 months.

I cannot describe the feeling I have when I am there. I don't know where it comes from. I have a connection to that city that I can't explain. Maybe it is from growing up watching Sesame Street, maybe it is the perfect environment for my ADD brain, maybe it is just the coolest place in the universe. Not sure.

We planned the trip this weekend on purpose: 2 weeks post divorce, 2 days before my birthday, and right in the middle of the busy season. It was a total mind vacation from all the stress both good and bad from the past few months. I really, really needed it.

We saw three Broadway shows, ate tons of mind-blowing food, navigated the subway and streets like old pros, shopped like crazy, and my favorite: just sat in Central Park on the most perfect of fall days and enjoyed the surroundings.

I accomplished another one of my little "dreams" by spending a morning running the Brooklyn Bridge, like a real New Yorker. It almost killed me (did you know that the first half of the bridge is all uphill??? I forgot) but I did it. Me, little old me, ran from Manhattan to Brooklyn and back again. Pinching myself the whole way:

The last time I was in NYC was last December, 4 months post-separation. The night before I left, my then estranged husband informed me that he was moving out of his mom's and into his own apartment. He seemed so excited and happy to be doing it. I thought I didn't care, but spent my entire trip in NY thinking I had a stomach bug. On the plane on the way back, I realized what I was flying back to--a new world, a new life with just me and the kids, sadness and anger and depression. Any tiny glimmer of hope I had of him magically figuring out how to make it all right and coming home began to melt away. I cried my eyes out looking at my city from the plane, and tried to tell myself that it would all be ok. The weeks following would bring major depression and grief, and the next month would bring the news about my father's brain tumor.

This time though, leaving NYC wasn't so bittersweet, as it has been. I loved my trip, but I also love my life at home. I love being a single mom to these three amazing kids, I love how strong I have become in such a short period of time. I love that when the plane hit major turbulence on takeoff and I was scared to death, I knew I could get through it because I can get through anything. I love that my home is happy and carefree, that my friends are always here for me and make me laugh constantly, that I always have someone to talk to, that I love my job again, and that I MADE THIS HAPPEN. Me, all by myself, like a real grownup. I am so proud of my life.

And then there is Mr. Wonderful, my "icing on the cake" who is becoming so much more than that. The morning of my run across the Brooklyn Bridge, I had an email waiting from him with encouraging words and a weather report. He encourages me every single day to continue on the path that I was on before I met him, just now with him by my side (figuratively for now, but literally soon), cheering me on every step of the way. I met his mother last week, and our amazing conversation ended with her hugging me and telling me that her son and I were obviously meant to be.
My happy ending, complete with Love...I got it.

The next time I'll be back in NYC is in December. This trip was an early birthday present from Mr. Wonderful, and it will be our first vacation together. I can't imagine anything more perfect to end this year, it has all come full circle in such an incredible and unexpected way.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Aftermath

It's been almost a week since I finalized my divorce to my now ex-husband. I still kind of flinch when I say that word. I've wanted to call him that for so long, it's so strange that it is now actually true. I remember when we first got married, we loved to introduce each other to people as "my husband" and "my wife". My how things can change.

The first day I couldn't get out of bed, didn't want to talk to anyone.

The second day I got out of bed (only because I had to work), but still didn't really want to talk to anyone. It wasn't so much sadness anymore but more of a numbness that had set in. As I've mentioned earlier in this blog, numbness is my defense mechanism when things get too hard. It's great for getting me through trauma, but also sort of puts off the inevitable.

By Thursday I was feeling well enough to get to the gym and hit the treadmill and yoga. I worked off a ton of stress by running the hardest I have in a long time, and then centered myself with the yoga class. I felt much better.

Somewhere in those few days my ex had a literal nervous breakdown. He called me from his car in the middle of a total panic attack, had to leave work and get his mother to take him to the doctor. He has been put on medication now, thank God. But not before having another crying attack while picking up the kids for the evening. I kept firm to my boundaries...but to say watching him have an emotional breakdown isn't draining and upsetting would be a lie, especially since it's happening in front of the kids.

I also struggled with my own internal "freakout" dialogue again. I told myself I was crazy to be putting myself into a vulnerable position with Mr. Wonderful again. That there is no possible way I could ever go through with getting married again because look at how this ended and I refuse to EVER, EVER go through this again. I honestly had NO IDEA how difficult this divorce would be. I still haven't had a glimpse at those feelings of "freedom" that I was sure I would experience. Just sadness, mind-gripping fear of falling into the same traps in the future, and a lot of numbness.

I'm talking myself through the freakouts by asking myself daily if the good that can come of the risk of trying again outweighs the potential bad of losing another love or going through another divorce. Not even just daily....sometimes lately hourly. I had to get myself through another disagreement with Mr. Wonderful while battling those feelings, and I've so far come out on the other side feeling like I can keep going forward. It's a battle right now, but I'm sure that once I get some distance from the pain of the divorce it will get easier. He's an amazing man, and I'd regret letting go of him for the rest of my life and that always wins out over any fear of possible future pain.

I go through periods of feeling really strong and unbreakable, and then I go through times of feeling completely broken and exhausted. During those times my body literally shuts itself down...I had fever all weekend and today a migraine. It didn't help that Saturday I was out with my brother and a bunch of friends at an outdoor festival and ran right into my ex and my children. It was so jarring and unexpected that I felt as if I'd been in a car accident.

On top of everything, something has been building up under the surface regarding my father. It's the time of year I think...fall with my Dad means watching football together EVERY sunday, it means my birthday (he always does something special for me), it means him helping me with my kids' birthdays (two of them a week after mine), it means going to the State Fair with him, it means him trick or treating with us, it means Thanksgiving at his house, it means his own birthday at his favorite German restaurant. All of our traditions since I was born, every single one of them in the fall and every single one of them without them this year. It's hard to accurately describe the state he is in right now, but he is not Dad anymore, and I'm coming to a place of realizing that he will never rehab from this. That he's stuck, forever, in a body that makes him like a baby. On top of this, his wife has stopped all communication with me and my brother. There is guilt for not visiting him enough (I have major panic attacks everytime I go now, so I have to limit my visits). I wish this situation would somehow resolve, but it seems like it's going to be a wide open wound that I carry around for a good long time. I don't know whether to grieve or hope. I don't know how to do anything in between.

I realize that I'm dealing with two major traumas at once and I am cutting myself slack for wanting to just crawl under the covers and avoid the world and all of it's cruelness at times. I also know that I always come back to a place of happiness and strength and I just have to be patient with myself and pay attention to my own needs.

I have planned a "Divorce Party" for myself in a couple of weeks. I'm hoping that celebrating my freedom with my friends, who I love so much and without whom I never would have made it through, will help me get to a place of being proud of everything I've done and to feel the freedom of being out of a bad marriage. If nothing else it will be an evening surrounded by people who love me and have supported me through my decisions and have lifted me up in the bad times, and will be here to celebrate the good ones with me too.

Friday I leave for my favorite place in the entire world, NYC, with one of my best friends. I'm hoping being in my very own "happy place" will pull me out of this lull or whatever it is. Four days of pure bliss and self-indulgence and enjoyment.

Until then I will just stay here under my covers I think. It feels safe for now.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I'm Divorced.

Today was the big day that I've been anxiously awaiting/dreading/apathetic to for an entire year. Well, really, three years.

It all began three years ago when I was pregnant with my youngest child, and discovered my husband's infidelity while in my 35th week. Upon this news I went into pre-term labor, and delivered my youngest just 3 weeks later.

We worked on things for another two years until last August, when I found out that he was at it again. I made him leave. Part of me for a few months hoped he would have some big realization after leaving. He didn't until this week, and of course it was too late.

It was a very, very long year. With moments like this, this, and especially this making the decision easier to file for divorce. Dad's brain tumor and then disaster of a surgery threw me for a major loop, to say the least, and delayed everything quite a bit. Then there were moments that led me to the point of feeling strong enough to go through with the divorce, like this, this, and even recently this.

It's been an emotional process and one that I am glad to say is finally over. That doesn't mean the last step wasn't the hardest one of them all.

I woke up early this morning to get ready and felt nervous and shaky. Considering the emotionally draining week I've had, this wasn't surprising to me. I dropped my youngest off with a friend. For some reason, getting back in the car after leaving her, I started to cry and couldn't stop. I tried to tap into why I was feeling this way...desperately searched for the feelings of relief and freedom that I've been feeling up until now, but all I could come up with was this overwhelming sense of grief and finality. August 2nd, 1997-September 15, 2009. 12 years of ups and downs, three beautiful children. Being married to my husband was part of my identity for all those years, a third of my life up until now. Today was the final nail in the coffin of our marriage.

Driving to the courthouse, I got a call from Mr. Wonderful all the way from Afghanistan. He is completely understanding of my feelings and my tears, and offered loving support and encouragement. He even found me directions to the courthouse when I got lost (thank God for technology)

I finally arrived, still teary but hoping I could keep it under control. Of course, the same apathetic clerk from the day I filed called my number today. And yes, while tears ran down my face in the office again, she was just as apathetic today as she was 60 days ago.

They gave me my file, more paperwork to fill out, and sent me to the courtroom. I sat outside the court and filled out paperwork, having to text my ex the whole time for information. He kept it businesslike thank goodness, because filling out the paperwork was the only part of the entire morning that I didn't cry.

After being sent first to the wrong courtroom, I finally figured out where I needed to go. I had a little "conference" with the bailiff as he explained to me the procedures when my name was called. I managed to keep the tears stifled long enough to sit back down and wait my turn.

And then, one sad face after another sad face after another sad face filed before the judge to ask for a divorce. Every 3 minutes, someone in that courtroom ended their marriage. Just THAT courtroom. This of course did me in, and I went from teary to downright sobbing. Luckily, the courtroom clerk was more sympathetic than her co-worker in the office, saw me sobbing and brought me tissues. This just made it worse. I sat and prayed that I would just be able to speak when it was my turn.

I was the last person in the courtroom to be called. The judge called my name, my husband's name, and "in the interest of" and then named off my three children one by one. Dagger, dagger, dagger.

I stood in front of him, raised my right hand, and read my "prove-up"; explaining that my marriage was over and could never be reconciled. I sobbed hysterically through the whole thing. The judge never looked at me. When I got to the section where I had to list my children's names and ages, I had to stop and compose myself. I can't describe the feeling in that moment. Not only was I changing my life, but I was changing theirs forever too. I managed to get out two of their names, but on the youngest, my voice broke and I had to stop again.

Somehow I finished reading what seemed like the longest page ever. Looked up, and the judge, just like that, approved the divorce, handed me my paperwork, and I was done. I was divorced.

I ran out to my car, got in and just sobbed into my steering wheel. The whole feeling was so unexpected. I honestly expected to feel so free and imagined myself practically skipping to my car.

But my mind was like a movie all morning. I saw clips of the good moments, the bad moments, the amazing moments, the tragic moments, the beginning, and now the end.

Came home, climbed into bed, and didn't leave that spot until 6pm. I've been getting texts and phone calls all day from concerned friends, and I just can't face anyone.

I hope this is over tomorrow, and I wake up finally feeling the relief I expected. Maybe it will come slowly, I don't know. I'm lucky to have a partner who understands that these feelings aren't about still loving my ex, but just about the death of a dream, and the culmination of years of emotional ups and downs coming to a head. I know he is relieved that my marriage is over so we can truly be together, but he is also just as concerned for me and I love him so much for that.

I think my sister-in-law put it best (she always has the best words of wisdom) when she said "You are so strong. I know it hurt like hell. You just climbed Everest. People are often emotional on the peak of mountains."

Here's to a long period of time with no drama, no major life-changing decisions or moments, happiness, and just plain boring coasting along. Cheers.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Add it to my List of Me

This morning I accomplished something that I NEVER thought I would do.

Years ago, pre-kid religiously and then off and on as a mother, I was a runner. I LOVE to run, love the high and the way it quiets my mind. After my youngest was born, I developed achilles tendonitis in my right ankle and wore a boot and then a cast for an entire summer. I was told by doctors that I'd never be able to run again, and for the longest time had trouble even walking long distances.

A few weeks ago I started going back to the gym and to yoga again since school had started back. I was doing the elliptical machines but had to keep them on the highest settings to even break a sweat. I guess after losing 30 pounds my stamina had improved that much on it's own. So I started kind of eyeing the treadmills again, and one day hopped off the elliptical and decided just to try it for 10 minutes. No pain.

So the next time I did it half of my cardio. Again, no pain.

And eventually I was able to run my entire workout and haven't had one bit of pain in my ankle. The lost weight? The lost "baggage"? I don't know, but feels great.

Every year my close group of friends go to a 5K together, put on in memory of our friend's daughter who passed away from cancer. Usually, they walk the "Family walk" which is 1K. I was planning on doing that, and then last week I was at dinner with one of the girls, and she said she was going to try and run the 5K...just for fun. She asked me if I wanted to join....sure, why not? A 5K is just about 3 miles, and I had done that much on the treadmill just the day before. Couldn't hurt to try, right?

I honestly didn't think too much about what we were taking on until we arrived this morning. The families took off in the 1K, my kids included (except my youngest, I kept her in a jogging stroller). I looked at my friend and we sort of had this moment of WTF are we doing?????

And then the race began. We walked for a minute then decided to go for it. It was really, really humid and having the jogging stroller made it more difficult than I had anticipated. We did some walking, but pushed ourselves to jog it as much as possible. We got to the last mile marker and started to run...the whole final mile there were volunteers cheering us on, then a photographer taking our picture, then the last stretch where I thought I was going to throw up from pushing myself. I looked to my left and saw my friends and their families jumping up and down cheering for us, then looked to my right and saw my children with the proudest looks on their faces yelling for their mom. The adrenaline kicked in and I ran the final stretch without throwing up :)

We were so incredibly proud of ourselves after the race was over. We hugged, we high fived, we took pictures, we planned our next 5K. What an amazing high and such a great metaphor for life. You start out with no idea how you will do, you reach a point where you don't think you can take it anymore, then suddenly you get your second wind, put your head down and push yourself farther than you ever thought you could; and if you're lucky, your friends and family are at the finish line cheering you on.

When all was said and done, we did the 3 miles in about 40 minutes, not bad for a bunch of first timers who didn't even train!

I'm so incredibly proud of myself, not just for today but for all that it represents.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Ex Factor

Mr. Wonderful has been counting down the days until my divorce is final (as of today, 5!). I thought it was cute and when I've asked him about it, he has expressed his concern that the Ex would suddenly change his mind and come running back before everything was finalized. I scoffed at this idea, knowing the Ex, and knowing that in the past year since we separated, he has never expressed any interest in "winning me back" or whatnot. I expected the begging and pleading after I kicked him out or after I told him I was filing for divorce, and never heard it. So why now?

Wow was Mr. W dead on.

A few weeks ago the Ex was dropping my youngest off in the morning, and looked very disturbed. He told me he had a dream that morning that I was seeing someone, and that I was pregnant with the new man's baby. It had shaken him up so much that he had sat straight up in bed in a cold sweat and complete panic.

This past weekend out of the blue, the Ex called and asked if I had time to talk. He wanted to know if I was seeing anyone.

He took me by surprise. I told him that yes, I had met someone, and we had been dating just a couple of months. I didn't go into details at first, wanting to gauge his reaction. He seemed pretty devastated.

Then came the crazy psycho babble. "Are you sleeping with him??? Does he do for you what I never could??" He was OBSESSED with the sex subject. I let him know this subject was completely OFF LIMITS and if he continued to push it, the conversation would be over.

And then the apologizing and regret began. "I'm so sorry. Everything was my fault. You always tried with us and I don't know why I wouldn't try too. I regret everything. I will always love you."

I'll admit that during the phone call, I felt a little smug. It was nice to hear after three years of never hearing any apologies or regret, just blame (it took me almost that entire time to figure out that I was NOT the one to blame).

And then, after hanging up, he TOTALLY lost it. Text after text after text started coming in. "I cried today." "This is really hard to accept." "I wish I could take it all back." "Losing you is killing me." "I never stopped loving you." "I can't bear the thought of someone else losing you." "I didn't know how to fight for you." "You are so beautiful....tell me you feel nothing for me..." "I am feeling very inadequate, he is good looking" (at this point, he had managed to find Mr. Wonderful's facebook profile)

The next day, email after email. More truth comes out. He has just been dumped by someone.

I didn't respond to him except to say that his emotional diarrhea was inappropriate and that if we were going to continue to be civil, he needed to talk to someone else besides me. I've moved on, and even if I had never met anyone new nothing would change. The damage is done and I'm too happy and healthy to be dragged back into that black hole.

I'm glad that this happened when it did, because this time I feel strong enough to handle it, and I have the absolute knowledge that I can never be with him again. A year ago or even 6 months ago I might have convinced myself to take him back for the children's sakes. But now I have the perspective that our relationship is toxic, and I am not healthy when I'm with him and therefore the kids cannot be healthy if we're together.

Not to mention, I have ZERO feeling left for him, except that I feel sorry for him. I wish that he could get his shit together and become a whole person the way I have, for his sake and for the kids' sake. I don't see that happening. I look at him as a child who may never grow up.

When he saw that the begging and pleading and emotional threats weren't working (he made me feel like he might hurt himself, which I quickly turned over to his sister), he decided to go for the jugular...child support.

He is now saying he can't afford to pay me child support. He says he shouldn't have to anyways, because he has them about half the time (I have them 80% of the time, even though he does keep them an extra night from the norm). I won't back down here. Luckily he has already signed a waiver saying that he won't fight the terms of the divorce decree. Whatever I turn in is what he has to agree to.

Even though I've tried to keep my distance from the situation, being bombarded with texts and emails and phone calls has been truly emotionally exhausting. There is only so much ignoring I can do, because we have to stay civil for the kids. It has been draining. I find myself tired all the time.

I'm angry about this because I had an amazing weekend of celebrating all that I have accomplished over the last year. Leave it to him to find a way to taint it.

More on the celebrating later...that's a whole other post :)

Friday, September 4, 2009

It Ain't Easy.

It's amazing how naive one can be when one is madly in love.

My last post was just the tip of the iceberg.

I have been picking fights with Mr. Wonderful. Like. MAD.

I knew I was doing it. I knew it was my fault and that he was still being Wonderful. I called myself crazy and insane the minute we would hang up. Luckily, I was sane enough to call my girlfriends and say "WHY AM I DOING THIS TO MYSELF!!!"

And of course, being the AMAZING friends that they are, they offered me the insight I needed to get through this and be forgiving of myself.

Mr. Wonderful kept telling me "I make you cry all the time and upset. Are you sure you want this?"

And I told myself...if not him...then WHO???? Because he is the absolute definition of the PERFECT man for me. Should I just be alone forever? Maybe I am too screwed up to be in a relationship with someone so amazing?

But then my friends pointed out that Hey...someone else told me not only that he loved me and would never leave me, but he stood in front of a church in front of all of our friends and family, had three kids with me, and promised. And look how that turned out. Mr. Wonderful is the first real relationship after this heartbreak. Of course I'm going to freak out. Of course I'm going to be scared!

Ideally, there probably should have been a couple of trial run relationships to figure this all out on. But we're together now and he's the one I want, so we have to figure this out.

As I mentioned in the last post, I am incredibly lucky that he is willing to be so patient with me and my freakouts. And everytime he does, it helps me trust him a little more. I freak out, and he reassures me that he loves me and will never leave me, he sends me flowers, he sends me messages reassuring me of his love. It's like he's read a manual on divorced women or something...

Another friend who has been divorced and remarried went through the exact same thing with her new husband. It has done wonders for me to not only know and understand where this is coming from, but to know I'm not alone.

While I'm sure this won't be the last freakout, I do feel very empowered now with the knowledge of what is happening and how to handle it, and also just knowing he will stick with me through them. I think it's all gonna be ok.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Absence makes the heart grow fonder

So I am now in month two of my long distance relationship with Mr. Wonderful. It is everything and nothing like I imagined it to be.

We Skype almost every day at some point. This has proven to be very difficult because our days and nights are completely opposite. There are a few brief windows where we are both near computers, his morning and my nighttime, and then my morning and his evening. We have jammed a lifetime of conversation into these tiny windows of "face"time.

People kept telling me that a long distance relationship would sharpen our communication skills and make us stronger. I honestly didn't see how.

But after the last several weeks of having nothing to do but talk talk talk, I am amazed at how true that is.

Our talks are intense, passionate, and stimulating. We have already had several disagreements, but I have learned something great from these disagreements: I AM SAFE WITH HIM.

Something very interesting that just came up...we had two nights of conversation with several disagreements back to back. I panicked when I realized that he must be starting to see me as a whole entire person, scars and all....and there are SO MANY. My plan for my future post-divorce and as a single mom to three kids, was to keep men at arms length, because I couldn't imagine someone being strong enough to deal with all of my baggage; and frankly, I didn't want to see it all unravel. Who wants to be there, vulnerable, while the man you have feelings for discovers exactly how screwed up you are thanks to the cards you've been dealt? It seems like insult to injury. I think that this is why, in the beginning, I pushed him away and felt so averse to him. He thought I was this amazing, wonderful strong person, and maybe I am...but sooner or later he would find out the truth. That I have trust issues, that I have so many fears, that I have an ex who will be in the picture until the kids are grown, that I am insecure about my body, that I tend to run away from pain and confrontation, that I tend to think the worst after so much has gone wrong. The raw, real me, the good the bad and the ugly.

And because of our accelerated situation, we're now in the throes of that part. He has seen all of the above.

This all came to a head today. He was being calm, understanding, and amazing while I freaked out. But my scared little girl voice in my head was telling me "Run, run now, run fast. It's just a matter of time before he can't take this anymore and leaves anyways." I was rude to him, short, and punished him for nothing. I told him hey, this is it. Love me or leave me, but this is who I am.

I fell asleep and woke up to a beautiful email from him. The first line: "I choose love."

The rest of the email went on and on about how I am safe with him, and that as long as I love him and never betray him, nothing that I say or do will make him leave me. It was a letter of reassurance, of promise, of love. It's as if I threw a tantrum and he waited patiently for me to stop, then embraced me and said he understood. Wow. It takes my breath away.

Tonight I saw the movie Julie and Julia with two girlfriends. The movie is centered around two marriages. I was thinking about the blog post I wrote not that long ago about how I couldn't watch movies like that anymore, because I wasn't sure that kind of love existed for me, and it just depressed me.

Now here I am not only living the kind of love they make movies about, but I think my love is better.

Another really great thing about him being across the world is that I am forced to continue to live my life, and learn to incorporate my relationship in slowly. I still hang with my precious friends, I had a date night Friday with my son, I am seeing a concert this weekend, I'm enjoying my career, I'm still living the happy life that I made for myself before I ever met Mr. Wonderful. I never want to give it up. He is and will be a great addition to it. But never again will I need to rely on anyone else for happiness, it's there already. He is just the icing on the cake.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Sitting here trying to work and feeling totally and completely overwhelmed with life. I don't even know that "overwhelmed" is a strong enough word. I feel like I'm in the middle of the ocean and it's thunderstorming on top of me.

I know my posts lately have been super happy and I am still happy with that aspect of my life. I wonder sometimes if being so close to having a partner again is making me impatient with doing it all on my own.

Or it could be the fact that it's August, school is about to start, my busiest time of year with work is also cranking up, and sometimes single motherhood just SUCKS.

Maybe it's the fact that my soon to be ex is enjoying himself this week on a vacation in my favorite place in the world with God knows who, and I'm here with no co-parent to ask for help.

First there's back to school. New clothes, new shoes, new backpacks, school supplies, school lunches, paperwork paperwork and more paperwork, open houses, meet the teacher, parent orientations, grade level meetings. Times three. Then there are extracurricular activities. Soccer practice and games, basketball, gymnastics, and dance. The exhaustion of practice nights when practice falls smack in the middle dinnertime, and rushing three kids out the door to get there on time, making sure we are in the correct clothes and shin guards and have all the right equipment and water. Times three. Then we have the busy season for work. On top of the already overwhelming duties of laundry, cleaning, cooking, buying groceries, and making sure our sick dog doesn't die. I'm behind on bills. I need to find health insurance. I have paperwork to sort through to finalize the divorce. I need to take my ex off of all my accounts. All while a two, six, and 10 year old terrorize my house.

My shower doesn't work, I need to get a plumber out. My carpet and couch are disasters. My office is a disaster. Everything is a mess.

I feel like a horrible mother. My kids watch way too much tv and never listen to me. I've been yelling a lot.

I feel myself hitting that spiral point where I'm starting to lose control. I can't seem to sit down and get anything done. My mind just wanders to the next problem and then the next, then I start beating myself up for everything, then I panic over it all. Repeat, repeat, repeat.

When I get to this point I just become paralyzed. I'm hoping that sitting it down and writing it all is going to help me sort through and mobilize again.

But all I really want to do is crawl under my covers and hide.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

This. Is. Right.

It's truly amazing how terrified I am of being judged.

I know where it comes from and I've always been this way. I know that friends and people who read my blog worry about me because I've been hurt SO MUCH over the past few years.

But right now, I feel like everything in my life that has ever happened to me has prepared me for this moment.


I remember when my parents got divorced. I was probably more devastated over that than the failure of my own marriage. I was 28 years old, and they had been married for 30 years. Their relationship was my foundation. It was all I knew of love. Did I ever think that in just a few years, I would be so grateful that they divorced that I can't imagine it not happening? No. But God. This was meant to be. My father lies in a hospital bed right now, and has been there for FIVE MONTHS. First of all, had my parents still been together, my Dad would not have health insurance right now. His work dropped his after 3 months, and my mom is self-employed. My Dad's wife works and has the best health insurance that has covered just about everything. Second, while I may not feel that Dad's wife is the perfect "step-mother" for ME, I 110% acknowledge that she is my father's soulmate. The person who was meant to get him through this. If not for her vigilance and devotion to him, my Dad might LITERALLY be dead right now. She watches out for him, she raises questions. She has caught things that the doctors missed, more than once. She keeps his spirits up. She loves on him and snuggles with him and does her own physical therapy with him. I used to be upset that his wife had sort of taken my place in my Dad's life. But I couldn't handle this. Not with the situation I went through, not with my three kids, not at all. I am so grateful for the way things turned out. That's such an understatement.

Many nights I have cried myself to sleep wondering why I have had such a tumultuous life. I don't feel I've done anything to deserve it or to bring it upon myself. Everything that has happened has been out of my control. It has all been so incredibly devastating. But from everything I've been through, I've learned...I've perfected...I've listened to the lessons...I've changed...I've regrouped...and I came out stronger, wiser. I really, really like who I have become. I'm grateful for the bad because it created so much good.

I have been able to find my own happiness without outside influence. I found it inside of myself. And the minute I did that, I found the icing on the cake. Mr. Wonderful.

He is what everything in my life has been leading up to. I've never been so sure about anything before, EVER. I never felt this way about my husband. I never felt this way about anyone. It's as if the energy between us has always existed, and we just tuned into it. This is IT. This is the pendulum swinging the other way, paying me back for the years of hardship and difficulty. This is what it was leading up to. Because if I had not experienced all of those things, I would not have been in the place to find him. And if I had not lived through so much darkness, I would not appreciate the unimaginable beauty of the light.

And so yes, I decided not to see other people. I could put hundreds of men together with the qualities I wanted in a man, in a relationship, and not find someone so perfect for me as Mr. Wonderful. Something I have learned over the course of the demise of my marriage is to listen to my instincts. The thought of dating others and wasting everyone's time just literally made me sick to my stomach. The fact that he was so patiently waiting for me to do this because he knew I felt I needed to made it that much harder to go through with. I just know. I don't need anyone else.

I understand that people will worry for me. I love them for that. I know this is a huge risk, or that it may seem like one to the outsider looking in. I love what my sister-in-law said about me. That I don't do anything half-ass, that I go big. In job, my family, my win big, you have to take risks. Yes, I might lose him and I might be hurt. But I'm ok with that, because the pain of that could be nothing compared to how this feels now, and I will always be happy that I went through this. My own personal fairytale.

And to someone who has never experienced that moment of "synergy" with someone else, it's going to be hard to understand. I myself, before meeting Mr. Wonderful, would have looked at this situation as a huge mistake. That's before the light went off. I know I have made the right decision. I feel it so strongly. This is right.

He has been back in Afghanistan for a week. We keep a blog for just the two of us that is private. We write to each other everyday and post pictures. We Skype every night. It's going to be a long 4 months (106 days to be exact :) ), but again, I feel like it was meant to be. I'll be able to perfect living my own life and being my own person, and slowly incorporate a relationship into that. I'm learning, he's learning. Our communication skills will be sharpened by being half a world away.

Something he wrote to me this morning on our blog I think really sums up my future with him:

"There is so much I want to do and experience with you. Everything I have ever done I want to do it again, but this time I want to do it with you."

I, my friends, am madly in love with Mr. Wonderful.

Monday, August 10, 2009

All is Well

He left to go back overseas on Saturday.

We spent every single waking (and non-waking) moment together for the 6 day reprieve that we got from his cancelled flight.

We talked all night, all day. I feel as if I've always known him. He feels the same about me.

He printed up a list of questions he found online, "86 questions to ask someone on a first date". After less than 3 weeks, we found he already knew the answers to most of them.

I swore to my friends that there was no one out there for me. That I would hold everyone from here on out at arm's length. That I'd never trust again. That no one would be right for me because of all my stipulations and baggage.

And yet here he is. Placed in my life as if by a force greater than us.

I'm not dillusional. I have my head on straight. I am being super analytical. Watching for red flags and such. I've talked through any thing I've seen with him. He has assured me that I am not crazy. We have found each other...this is for real.

On Saturday, I drove him to the airport. We stood in the terminal holding onto each other for an hour before he finally had to go through security and head back. We talked about how we were going to make this work. How it would make us stronger...sharpen our communication skills, give both of us time to think things through and tie up loose ends. And then he looked at me and said "It's time." Until that point, I had my thoughts together, I had control of my emotions. Those words left his lips and I lost it. Started not only crying, but sobbing. Yes it is temporary. But here I found something AMAZING, someone who I never thought could even exist...and he is leaving to go halfway across the world. As far away as you can get without coming back closer.

I cried. He reassured me that we would be ok. That I was strong and independent and a whole and complete person without him, and that I'd be fine. That this was good for us. I knew it all to be true, but I couldn't stop the tears. Then the sobs. He walked through security. Walked over to kiss me. Got to the other side, blew me a kiss, and that was the last I saw of him. The next time I see him in person, it will be cold outside, and Christmas decor will surround us.

Where does that leave me??? I am being very honest here because this blog is here to help me. I will go on some dates. I've already had some guys I've been in contact with in the past call and/or email me. I'm gonna go through with it. But I don't want to.

The struggle here for me, and even for some of my friends: I need to find a balance between doing what I need to do, and figuring out WHY I even need to do it in the first place, and not losing the best thing that's come along. Ever. There are details I'll never go into because they're so sacred. This man thinks I am amazing, and that is mutual. He sees ME, the real me. He brings out my best. He has my children's best interest in mind. He is willing to forego having his own children for their sake and mine. He has his own admirable goals and dreams, and is already following through on his plans. He's smart. He's funny. He's devoted to his family and friends. How often does this happen?? I'm walking a fine line between being "realistic" and smart, and hanging on to something so obviously amazing and meant to be. It's tough. The realist in me is battling the romantic in me. Who will win....

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Two 1/2 Weeks.

I have been living a fairy tale for the past 2 1/2 weeks.

I have also learned some of the most amazing life lessons, things about myself that are going to prove invaluable in the future.

Where do I begin???

There was the first date. Then the second. Then the third. I was being pampered, complimented, surprised, swept off my feet. Things changed on the third date. This man, whom I like to call Mr. Wonderful, picked me up and I felt so averse to him all of a sudden. I texted my friends and told them I was soooo over being treated like a princess and now I was bored. That it's boring being told how great you are all the time. I was thinking these things the whole way to our third date (a baseball game) and decided to just ride out the rest of the two weeks and then he'd be gone.

About halfway through our date, he made a comment about me dating other people while he was back overseas for 4 months. I turned to him and said "Listen, I have to date other people while you're gone. I really appreciate all you've done, really and love how you treat me. But I'm just not ready for a relationship and I have to see what's out there."

He was pretty much completely unphased.

And then, all of a sudden, he was totally and completely irresistible to me. Total confidence, total masculinity, and a real desire to see me and know me. ME!

The pressure seemed to be off, and we both let loose. We laughed, we talked all night, we learned about each other. The next day he sent me flowers. My mom called and upon learning of the flowers, informed me that she thought he was just trying to pressure me and she was suspicious. And then it hit me why I had become so averse to him that night: my mother has brought me up to believe that if someone, particularly a man, is nice to me...they must want something. And it can't be good. No one could actually be that nice, I'm not worth someone treating me that way, is the message I got.

I'll admit that about some men, she would be right. But I've been soul searching for a year now. I've learned how to stand on my own two feet and not only that but to be happy that way. I've graduated from therapy. I've done the support groups and read the books. I know what I am doing now and I trust my instincts. This guy is seriously just plain crazy about me, from what he knows so far, and happens to know how to show it. And why shouldn't he be? I'm a pretty good catch.

Many dates have followed, including a few nights of staying up and talking all night. We texted all day and all night. I wanted to know everything about his life, and he wanted to know everything about mine. He has the utmost respect for me, and for my life. The night before he was set to leave to go back to Afghanistan, I got the most amazing card from him...the card every girl dreams of. I thought about sharing it here but it is just too sacred to share word for word. Here is my favorite part, that made me cry: "I cannot believe that anyone could be so blind as to do anything to risk losing YOU."

Sunday morning was our goodbye. We stood at my front door. I couldn't hold back the tears. I can't explain the connection that has been made between the two of us in only 2 weeks. Except that if you have ever fallen hard for someone and something has just been so RIGHT, you know exactly what I mean. I didn't want to let go of someone who not only gets me, but respects and appreciates me. Treats me the way I always dreamt about as a little girl. I've always said in this blog that I would know a guy was worth my time if he felt about me the same way my friends do. And he does, so much. And I've loved learning about him, his fascinating life, his family relationships, his passion for music and the world and all the little things in life. So yes, I cried saying goodbye to him. He left, and I decided to give myself a day to recover, climbed into bed, and we texted back and forth his whole ride to the airport.

We sent messages of wishing we had just one more night together. How hard it was going to be to let go of something so amazing so soon after finding it. And then he let me know that his flight was delayed. And then delayed again. And possibly cancelled?????

I was at the grocery store when he called and said "So...what are we doing tonight??" I left my grocery basket right there in the store, ran to my car, sped to the airport; and we had a movie moment of me jumping out of my car in the middle of the road and us embracing. We both laughed the whole way home at how it was like this was all pre-ordained, the universe trying to tell us something. We spent another amazing night together.

He sent an email to his boss in Afghanistan asking for one more week. He said that realistically, he was doubtful...but for some reason we both felt it was supposed to work out...and it did. He's still here, and we have two more date nights together before he leaves on Saturday.

I know some will worry that I'm getting ahead of myself. Here are my thoughts on that.

I knew exactly what I wanted from someone this time around, and I have fine-tuned my instincts and I'm watching for red flags.

He knows that I will still be dating other people while he is gone. I still look at this 4 month separation as the best thing that could have happened. I will have the chance to finalize the divorce, date a little bit, get things in order, and have him come back to someone who is very sure and thinking straight. If it's truly meant to be (and doesn't it seem like it is??) then it will still work in November. He isn't crazy about the idea, but he understands it.

While he is overseas, he will be sorting through the whole children thing. I let him know right off the bat that I am D-O-N-E DONE having kids. He wants his own. The fact that he does makes him even that much more desirable to me. But I just can't and I won't compromise on this one. I wanted to tell him now so that if this is a dealbreaker, we can break it off now rather than years later when things are more complicated and serious. I don't want to waste his time and don't want mine wasted either. As I told him, I've done the marriage and kid thing, and now I am just looking for the love thing, and that is all and that is what he gets with me.

So many more details that I would love to write down for my own records, but I'll refrain because they are just so sacred. This is an interesting new twist and one I never expected in MILLION years, especially not this soon. But I am feeling somewhat vindicated. It has been an awful 2 years. Actually, my entire 20's were pretty damn horrible. I deserve this, damn it. I SO DESERVE THIS. Whatever "it" is...even if it is just for 2 1/2 weeks.