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.