Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010 In review

One of the biggest reasons I keep up with this blog is to document my progress so that I can make sure I'm always moving forward and growing. Each year I like to look back at the past 12 months and really take in what I've been through. Even though this year ended on a little bit of a sad note (we put our sweet 11 year old beagle to sleep last Saturday just before leaving on our trip) I can honestly say that just as predicted, 2010 was an amazing year for me. But I can also say that after reading my review of 2009 again, the amazingness of 2010 wouldn't have been possible without all the bullshit of 2009. Every situation we go through on a day to day basis is just a fractal of our lives, and I am starting to believe that the big picture is more beautiful than I could have ever imagined.

Of course the biggest thing to happen to me this year was my engagement to Mr. Wonderful. My heart is just so full of love for this man, when I think of him and all he has done to ensure that my future was so much better than my past...I can honestly say I trust him fully. Not just to not cheat, but to not leave...not let our relationship go always do what it takes for me and for the kids. Thinking about where we were at a year in love but just so unsure of how this would all work...I am just so damn proud of everything we have accomplished together. He has truly become not just a father but an AMAZING one to my children, who love him more and more every day. As do I. I still get butterflies when I think of him, I adore his face and his body :) and his heart. I love seeing him as a son and a brother, as a father, and I can't wait to see him as my husband. The thought makes me positively giddy.

Another big thing that flourished this year was my relationship with my kids. I posted in my resolutions last year that I really wanted to concentrate on nurturing them and our relationship, after coming of a place of just survival. My middle child who would not allow hugs or kisses from anyone but her father just spent the morning in my bed, in my arms snuggled up to me. My son is confiding his feelings in me and talking about things I never thought he'd talk about. We've discovered our mutual love for basketball games and I'm working on finding more and more in common with him. My youngest is absolutely growing and processing and I couldn't be more proud of who she is becoming. The kids and I are solid. I can honestly say that, and that it just continues to grow.

The 5 of us are becoming a family. The kids go to Mr. W for things and help just as much, maybe even sometimes more often, than me. While in Colorado on our vacation last week, we took our very first family picture. It was a huge deal to me, and I absolutely love it. It wasn't forced or fake, but an accurate portrayal of our life right now. The five of us having a great time together, chaos and craziness but tons of love. And three kids who get to see their mom loved and respected for the first time in their lives. A year ago, Mr. W had not yet met my oldest two kids and would only briefly visit with my youngest. Who would've thought...

Friendship was HUGE in 2010. In my group of friends, we had a very rattling situation occur that had the potential to tear us all apart. Instead we circled the wagons and held on tight to each other, and rallied around one who we thought just might not make it through. I'm proud to say that friend is doing so well and is growing and stronger everyday. And recently, I've been bonding with Mr. W's closest friends and brothers. I love these people all just so much. It honestly makes my heart swell in my chest to think of them all and the roles they have had in mine and Mr. W's life. The greatness of getting older is coming to a place where you have purposefully surrounded yourself by a select group of people who bring nothing but joy, goodness, support, and growth into your life. I really feel like this year, I reached that point. I love my life and all the people in it, and their roles in my happiness and growth.

Also for the first time in my life, I not only LIKE my future in-laws, I freaking ADORE them. We share the same values and priorities, and while this shouldn't be surprising considering how open Mr. W has been to my kids, I've been so touched that his family has been just as open. They came over for Christmas and brought my children gifts and attention, and the kids could not be more thrilled to have yet another set of grandparents to love. In each of his family members I see a piece of the puzzle as to how Mr W became who he is. I'm just so thrilled to be a part of such a tight knit group of people whom I truly admire.

When I think of 2010 I will think of being surrounded by love, learning how to let that love in through all my fears, support, travel, new beginnings.

I've learned that love, all love, takes work.

I've learned that j'adore Paris, mexico, San Francisco, Colorado, or anywhere I go with Mr. W.

I've learned that fear is a defense mechanism stemming from anxiety and control. And that it can tear apart a relationship in an instant.

I've learned how to trust again.

I've learned how to have patience.

I've learned that there ARE good men out there and that I have one of the best.

I've learned that I'm worth it.

Happy New Year's. To New Beginnings!!!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


As this year winds down, I was thinking about this past year and how wonderful it has been. Although there is so much to write about, I haven't had time and decided to share last year's new year's posts instead. Reading my old writing is like watching myself climb a mountain. I am so glad that I recorded every step.

Here is my year in review, a year ago: 2009-?!?!?!?

And my resolutions post for 2010, which I'm really proud to say I accomplished most of: 2010 My resolutions

More soon.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Workouts and Mountains

I'm back to blog in the middle of the night; life is oh so crazy as usual and this seems to be the only time I can sit down without feeling guilty about not working or the whole raising kids thing, so here I am.

So many exciting things are happening right now. First of all, and I do realize that this will be boring and eye-rollish to the majority, but I have some new fitness goals I've been working on and it's been going really well. I've decided to take my workouts and my nutrition to the next level and really see what I can do with this body of mine. While I've eaten smartly for a few years now, I've never been on this healthy of a diet 100% of the time, and I have to say, I can't believe how amazing I feel. Some nights I really, really just want to eat some french fries and gravy, but for the most part I feel so energetic and "normalized" all the time, that it's hard to think of ruining it with bad food. My workouts have intensified and I'm doing actual push ups every single day and not dying. :) My goal is to recompose my body- lean muscle, lower my body fat percentage. In just a month I've noticed huge changes, and when the new year rolls around and everyone else is just getting started on their goals, I'm hoping to have completed my first. The end result which is more of a bonus and not really a goal is a lean, sculpted body for my wedding dress in September!

Secondly, Mr. Wonderful is so giddy about his first year playing Santa with the kids that we decided to make it extra special and surprise them with a trip to the mountains! We live in an area that sees virtually no snow, and we've spent more than a few Christmas mornings in short sleeves. My kids *dream* of snow and snowmen and sledding and all that good stuff, so we will wake them up one morning, tell them to get dressed for snow, and tell them on the way to the airport where we are going. I can't WAIT! I've never pulled off a surprise this big for them before. And on top of all that, this will be our first family vacation alone with no other families. We are really looking forward to the bonding time and think it will be a huge thing for all of us.

Things aren't all roses and daisies, I'm still having some issues that I'm working through in therapy about the wedding that I will save, because it definitely deserves it's own blog post. I don't want to kill my own buzz right now :)

Friday, November 26, 2010


I know I'm a day late, but who has time to post a blog on Thanksgiving day when you're splitting it between your own children, your divorced parents, your ex husband, and your fiance's family?!?

But it's very important to me to count my blessings. I know in the past when things were tough I sat down and forced myself to find the good in my life, and some years it was so tough. This year though I am absolutely overflowing with reasons to be happy.

For one, last Thanksgiving, Mr. Wonderful was in Kuwait, mid-journey home to the states after 4 months of being away and having a long distance relationship. We spoke briefly over a crappy internet connection and daydreamed together of what our Thanksgivings might look like in the future. I remembered this yesterday as we sat together on our sofa, my girls snuggled up in his lap, my son filling his future stepfather in on all of our holiday traditions. This is exactly what we dreamt of but honestly weren't sure would ever materialize. We watched the Macy's parade together, he knew every Disney and Nickelodeon character after months of learning to be a dad on the fly. We all sat together as a family at my grandmother's Thanksgiving lunch, the girls hiding behind *him* when they felt shy of one of my extended family members. And then later, me at his parents' home, feeling like I had known them all of my life and laughing at his father's stories. I looked up at him absolutely overwhelmed at this life that is so damn near perfect. And woke up in his arms this morning more in love with him now than I ever could have imagined possible. I am so thankful for my soulmate, that the bad times in my life paved the way to this amazing time. I am so thankful for my ring that symbolizes a life together, FOREVER. I'm thankful for my children, how much they love Mr. W, how open they have been to having him in our lives. And I'm just grateful for them, each of them and their unique personalities that make them each so special and make life so interesting. I'm grateful for every hug, every kiss, every snuggle, every tear, every moment. I'm grateful for my career and the flexibility it allows me, that I can make money AND be here for my kids. I'm thankful for my father who continues to get better and work towards becoming whole again, and for his wife who never, ever gives up on him. I'm thankful for my mother who loves me, worries about me, loves me and my kids, would defend me to the death, and tries so hard even though I'm 34 to be the best mother she can to me. I so thankful for my brother, who inspires me and cracks me up, for his wife who is one of my best friends and also an inspiration. I'm so thankful for my friends: ALL of them, but especially my 4 inner circle friends, who loved me when I was impossible to love, make me laugh, and support each other through thick and thin. Other women would kill to have my group of friends and I do not take that for granted. I'm grateful for my health, for my passion for exercise and fitness, for the drive I found to transform my body into one I am seriously proud of and that makes me feel strong every day. I'm thankful for a home that I love in a neighborhood that I adore, and for the children on the street that laugh and play in my yard with my kids all afternoon until dinner. I'm thankful for my future in-laws, who have opened up their hearts and home to me, even though the thought of never having blood grandchildren was hard for them. It takes a special family to raise such an amazing man, and when I'm around them I see exactly why he turned out so exceptionally. I hope to have as strong of a bond with my own family the way theirs does.
I've had enough hard years in my life to know that years as amazing as the past one are special and rare. If the ones in the future are half as good as this one, I'm a lucky lucky girl.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Does Sharing a House=Losing Me?

When my ex husband first moved out of our house, I was totally and completely helpless. I had never lived alone without another adult around. I had gone straight from my parents' house, to a roommate, to living with him. I didn't know how to take out the trash. I didn't even know what day the trashman came. I suddenly had three kids to raise all on my own, not to mention run my business, and keep this house from physically falling to pieces.

I had a therapist at the time helping me through the transition. I would go to her in anxious panic attacks. "I CANNOT DO IT ALL." I would tearfully exclaim. "The kid's teachers need gifts for the holidays, I have a work projects and emails to return, I have to make a project for one daughter's school and sign her up for ice skating lessons. Soccer practices. Birthday parties. There is a pile of mail on my desk that needs to be sorted, two kids who need help with homework, 4 people's laundry that needs to be washed, groceries that must be bought, dishes that must be washed, a dog with a severe illness that constantly shits and pukes all over the house. How can one person be expected to do all of this??? I've sat down and literally added it up, there are not enough hours in one day if I'm expected to sleep too."

Together we came up with a game plan. Allow others to help where I could, set my priorities, and LET THE REST GO.

So I learned that things were not going to be perfect around here. I was ok with that. And suddenly, it was like my battle cry. Things don't have to be perfect!!! There is no one here to help me yet no one to clean up after either! And no one telling me I can't just do the dishes in the morning when I feel like it! And for that matter I can not fold this towel ever and just use it straight outta the dryer if I want and NO ONE is going to say anything about it! The silver lining became my focus, my mantra.

I found my independence for the FIRST time in my life. I picked out bedding for my bed that was totally and completely me. I *love* that bedding so much. Not just because it is beautiful. But because of what it represented. Me coming into my own and finding myself, not only surviving on my own but thriving. Owning it.

And then I met Mr. Wonderful. And then we fell in love, and he started hanging out over here more and more. And then the marriage talk, and the proposal, and now he practically lives here in what will, in 10 months, also be his home.

And then one night, he makes a comment (while he is cleaning MY kitchen, mind you) about me rinsing out my dishes before leaving them in the sink (so HE CAN WASH THEM FOR ME).


How DARE you tell me how to run MY HOUSE. How dare you tell me about dishes. I will tell you about dishes. I will tell you about my long days of working and parenting and juggling and how my only consolation at the end of the day is that if I don't wanna clean a dish I don't have to.

And actually while we're on the subject, I never wanted to get married again anyways and THIS is why. You by asking me to rinse out this dish are stealing my freedom and independence and I will absolutely not have that. Because first you are telling me how to do my dishes, next you will be changing my bedding set and then next thing I know I won't even recognize the house I live in and after that I won't even know myself anymore and then I'll be right back where I started in a relationship where I'm meaningless and that probably means you'll be cheating on me or leave me or both.........

All this....from a dish.....

I am very, very lucky that he is so patient with me and doesn't send me to a loony bin when I go through these freakouts. The panic is so irrational when it's happening, but it feels so real and I feel like the walls are all closing in on me and underneath it all, I'm just SO TERRIFIED that I'm about to go through it all over again...and I just want to run. I want to never be with anyone and just not risk it all again. And then the panic wears off and I can't believe I ever thought of moving on without him, I love him SO DAMN MUCH.

I have been scarred so deeply. Post traumatic stress disorder, my therapist said. I have to completely re-learn a whole different way of life and of being treated. The only way to do that is to move through these freakouts, keep moving forward and eventually I will see that he is not going anywhere, that our relationship is COMPLETELY different. That while I may not keep everything in my house, my independence can only be taken away by one person---me.

Monday, November 1, 2010


I'm just chug-a-lugging along over here.

My business is the busiest it's been in years, and I was totally unprepared for it and am so far behind I don't know how I'll ever catch back up...but I'm so thankful for it and for the money it's allowing me to put away to help pay for this wedding. Speaking of weddings...

The city has been chosen, San Francisco, and now with the help of our wedding planner, we've narrowed the venue down to two incredible locations, both outdoors with a view of the Golden Gate bridge. The date: 9-10-11...10 months from now. What could quite possibly be the longest 10 months of my life. I'm so ready to have this man as my husband, and these kids are so ready to have him as stepdad. Everything is beyond amazing. Even the ex situation worked itself out pretty nicely. (he agreed to stop putting my youngest in the middle of the situation)

It's a strange thing to be planning a wedding while raising three kids. Sometimes it feels a little, ummm....ridiculous. It's like, when you get married the first time, it is the biggest day of your life, and you don't know that anything will ever be that amazing. And then you have children and it makes something like a wedding seems so trivial and puts your entire life into perspective. I don't care about the perfect invitations or the perfect dress or decor or flowers. I just want to have a ceremony that does our union justice...this perfect union of my family with him. So when the wedding planner asks me about caterers and cakes and all that stuff, it just makes me wanna laugh. I don't care. (i'm kind of a bridezilla just because I'm so NOT a bridezilla) The thought of trying on wedding dresses after 3 children just seems funny. Having my 4 and 7 year old daughters actually there to help me choose... I don't know. Funny! (but I'm doing it anyways) Not to mention, who has time to pick flowers and caterers and dresses while raising kids anyways? There's a reason they do it in the opposite order!!!

Fitness and nutrition has been on my mind a lot lately. I'm always thinking about the next way I'm going to push myself and come up with new goals for myself. Right now I'm working out 5-6 days a week- running 3x a week, and the other 2-3 days doing high intensity interval training and power circuit training with weights. I absolutely love it. I have some sort of mystery illness going on with my stomach and the days that it makes me miss working out, I feel depressed and weak. I have come to *need* my workouts so much. My new goal is to move that attitude over into my diet and nutrition. I still struggle with sticking to clean eating. I have done all the reading and research and know exactly how horrible sugar and processed foods are for you, but on the weekends or at parties when they are put in front of me I just cannot resist. My goal is to eat all natural foods (lean meats, whole grains, fruits, veggies, fats) 90% of the time and splurge 2 meals on the weekends. Having this stomach issue has made it really tough. (getting that checked out at the dr tomorrow)

Other than that life is busy and wonderful and chaotic just the way it should be.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Pardon this Rage


It's 11pm, I have just been awoken from sleeping curled up next to my youngest in her tiny bed, happily uncomfortable just to have the extra cuddle time with her.

My phone woke me up, I can hear a text message come in. I jump up to see what's going on and see my ex husband's name "Call me, we need to talk".


His lovely sister, who for some reason is (WAS) one of my friends on Facebook (stupid me for wanting to maintain a relationship with my children's aunt), has called him and has him all up in a tizzy about a picture I posted of my youngest daughter, hanging onto Mr. Wonderful's leg with the caption, "Don't go, T-Daddy" (the nickname that she has come up with for him).

He tells me that I must set our four year old straight, that there is only one Daddy. I agree with him, yes there IS only one Daddy and no one will ever replace you, he is her T-Daddy and she loves him in a different but meaningful way that she expresses by endearing him with this term. He is without a doubt, threatened and insecure that one of the children would actually place their future stepfather in a "father" category.

I know my ex husband very well. His own father is absent, only calling on birthdays and maybe sometimes holidays, and even then usually drunk. His mother moved him around from place to place, husband to husband, without a care in the world for her children or their best interests. He has no concept of unselfish love, which is a very big reason for our breakup. He cannot see that it is a GOOD thing for his children to actually LOVE the man that will be living in their house with them. That we have no plans to replace him as their father, but to supplement him. That the more people loving these children the better off they are. How LUCKY his children are to have a man that wants to love them as if they were his own.

Insecurity, jealousy make him blind to what is best for them in this situation.

And the truth that he never wants to accept: had he kept it in his pants throughout our marriage, instead of the constant lies and cheating and betrayal even with second and third chances...we wouldn't even be having this discussion. He created a new path and now he doesn't like where it has led and wants to control it. It doesn't work that way.

In the meantime, I'm still driving the kids everywhere because he still doesn't have a car. I've paid for every birthday party, every school need, everything myself. He is *this* close to being evicted from his apartment and will then have nowhere to live and even have the kids over. But yet he has money every weekend to go out with friends and drink, even on his weekends with the kids. I'm the grown-up. He's the child. As always.

It's so hard on nights like this not to be furious at myself for having married such a loser in the first place. I do know that without him I would never have my perfect children, and I would never ever change who they are. But to have this negative energy surrounding me constantly....I try so hard to let his childish behavior slide off of me but it does take ALL of my energy. I'm so sick of it all.

We left the conversation with him saying he would be correcting our youngest if he heard her call him T-Daddy again. That he's already done it once, "I'M your daddy". It enrages me to think of how that must have made my daughter feel...having been put in the middle of my own parent's divorce as an adult, it absolutely makes me want to scream...

It infuriates me that I can't stop him from doing this to her. That someone has that much control over my child and is essentially changing who she is and how she views the world with his selfish actions and insecurity. That he would put his own needs before hers. But what can I do. I can only do my best. Mr. Wonderful and I can only make sure that when they are with us, they are free and safe to say anything about their Dad. That their love for him isn't threatening to us. Someday they will resent him for putting them in this position. But try telling him that...

Monday, October 4, 2010

Where is this going?

I don't have anything to write about.

I have such a great life. I really sit back every single loving day in total awe, marveling at how this fairytale became reality.

My kids love Mr. Wonderful so much. My youngest is already telling her teachers that he is her stepdad. She asked him if he would go ahead and be her stepdad now, and lord, how could he refuse that.

Mr. Wonderful LOVES ME. I don't know why this is so damn hard for me to believe. It's not that I don't think I'm worth loving. I just never thought I'd find anyone who would recognize it. This man would do anything for me, for us.

Somehow, my business continues to thrive, even though I pay it so very little attention. I am supporting myself completely with no debts and no help besides the most measly little child support checks from the ex that don't even pay for 1 week of groceries.

These three kiddos seem to be doing great. Good grades, thriving at school, lots of friends, well-adjusted. Aside from wanting my pulled-too-many-directions-attention, they are just doing SO GREAT.

I even have a brand new kitchen. Mr. Wonderful decided he wanted to invest in the home that he'd be living in soon, and we gave it a facelift this weekend. I say we, but all I really did was make decisions and watch tv while he did all the work. I know. If I were you I'd hate me too.

I only write this because I've only ever written out of misery before. I kind of don't know what to write about anymore. I've found myself, I've found my kids, I've found my soulmate, and other than having the typical complaints of a single mom (who really has some help now), I've got nothin.

My greatest hope is that this blog has and will serve as a road map for others in similar situations (like my close friend is right now) and provide some sort of insight into a journey that is so scary but the best you'll ever travel.

I guess I'll be focusing upcoming posts on things like wedding plans and step-parenting as well as continue to write about myself and my continuing journey to bettering myself, as that is a journey I want to continue until my final days.

If anyone out there needs help or has questions about divorce or single motherhood, I encourage you to leave a comment and I can answer it to my best ability for you. I'm only an expert by experience but I would love to help or offer encouragement where I can.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Engagement Reflection

Last night was our tiny, casual engagement party. Just a few friends and my parents stopped by for a few minutes. The way I like to do things. Simple.

There was an amazing toast made by my friend, that brought me to tears and almost to my knees. I looked around at my fantastic group of friends, our children who now think of Mr. W as a father and love him with all their heart, my mother who has seen me through hell, and last but certainly not least, my sweet, loving man with his arms around me. How did this happen? How did I get so damn lucky?

I began to cry with humble gratitude. I am so INCREDIBLY grateful to have these people in my life. I love them all so much.

I am so grateful to have 3 amazing children who have survived right along with me through the hell that was our lives for awhile. Not only survived, but thrived. They are so awesome.

I am so grateful for my friends, who rally around each of us when terrible things happen. Who celebrate our triumphs and support us through our defeats. Who make me laugh so much that my abs are always sore the day after I see them.

I am so grateful to have this man by my side who adores me, hunts down the very last yellow balloon at an event to give to our youngest when she is crying over letting hers go, picks up nightlights for my daughter who is lately terrified of the dark, helps my oldest with math homework, helps me EVERY NIGHT with housework and bedtimes. Who at our engagement party, let 6 little girls tackle him over and over again because it made them happy. Who already calls my three kids OUR kids. I just love him SO. DAMN. MUCH.

I'm even grateful to my ex husband. Thank you ex for screwing up and opening up the door to this amazing life waiting for me. :)

It's still such a new thing for me to feel happy every single day. But I do. Without fail.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Next Phase

I have sat down at this computer a hundred times to write this post, but my frustration at not being able to do the story justice with my words and writing has kept me from actually saying anything.

Because the story isn't just the one I'm about to tell. But an entire story about a sad, lonely suddenly single mom of three who worked her ass off to make her life better. How she dreamt of happiness and freedom and yes, even love, and never thought in her wildest dreams she'd ever be here.

A few years ago I found myself flying on a plane home from NYC after a vacation with my girlfriend. We had decided to get away for several days. My husband had moved out several months earlier and she was also going through a divorce. While I was in NYC, my husband was in our hometown, moving his things from his mothers place and into an apartment, permanently. My life, which had been in limbo, was changing. I sat on that plane thinking about the life I was flying home to. I pictured single motherhood- Loneliness. Exhaustion. Sadness. A gaping hole in our family. I decided at that point that I was not going to let that happen. This could not be my life. And I came here and began writing, seeking my own answers and path to happiness and completion.

I went to support groups. I read books on healing and divorce. I went to therapy. I learned how to take out the trash and unclog toilets myself. I learned that it feels better to be alone in a tension free home than to be with someone who makes you miserable. I learned to LOVE MYSELF. I learned that taking myself out and spoiling myself was more fun than someone else doing it. I learned to treasure my independence and freedom. I learned that taking care of myself made my children happier. I made the most valuable friendships of my life. I bonded with other single moms and began identifying with them. I was just fine being alone. But in the back of my mind I still dreamt of companionship, with someone who liked me like THIS. Independent, healthy, strong, and would never dream of trying to take any of those things from me. I never thought it was possible.

And then I met Mr. Wonderful. Right at the moment when I knew I didn't need a man anymore. When I had decided that I was fine being alone. I walked into that concert and there he was, as if he had been waiting for me.

And now, a year and a few months later, I found myself on a plane again. Mr. W had surprised me with yet another trip over Labor Day weekend. I didn't find out that it was to San Francisco until he handed me my ticket at the airport. We were flying through the sky at sunset, he was sleeping next to me, and I felt that same uncertain feeling that things were about to change. Am I really ready to move on to the next phase? Do I want to try this marriage thing on again? Certainly it will all end the same way...what a huge risk...

And then I looked over at him sleeping and all my fears melted away. Yes. I am ready. This man next to me knows what he has. He would never do anything to risk losing me. I have found The One.

We landed in San Francisco. I could tell he was "different" from the minute we landed. I caught many long, loving, contemplating glances from him at different times. And he seemed nervous.

On Saturday we went for a bike ride from the marina, across the Golden Gate Bridge, and into Sausalito. We'd stop at various points and he'd hold me and stare into my eyes, I held my breath each time. And then our bike ride would continue. I began to doubt my suspicions...maybe he's still not ready...

We had dinner at an amazing restaurant. He didn't talk much and seemed so nervous. I was convinced it wasn't happening that day (he would never propose in front of anyone at a restaurant) and just chalked it up to exhaustion. And then he requested that after dinner, we take a walk around Union Square.

Our cab pulled up, we got out and walked around a bit. He seemed to be looking for something, a spot perhaps...the perfect spot, I would find out soon. He pulled me into a corner garden, with beautiful purple flowers everywhere and overhead, and to my right I could see one of the heart statues. He pulled me close and I could feel his heart beating through his chest hard, like it might explode. And before I knew it, he was saying he loved me, and that I made him happy, and the kids made him happy, and he wanted that happiness to last forever (cue tears)...

And he was down on one knee with my hands in his hands, asking me to marry him. All I could get out was "Are you kidding?? Are you serious??? Are you kidding??" before finally saying yes. He stood up and pulled the most gorgeous, perfect ring from his pocket and put it on my ring finger.

And then a few days after we return from the trip, we went to our therapy appointment and talked a little bit about plans to get married. He told the therapist he wanted to give my children time to adjust, that he didn't want to rush them into anything or have them resenting him for moving in so soon. The therapist was taken back for a moment. She said that in the 20 years of her practice, she has only 2 or 3 times seen someone with that much care and understanding of stepchildren. That he is to be commended for the work he has done and for the way he is handling the kids.

In the car I began to cry and couldn't stop. A close friend is going through a separation and likely divorce with her husband, and seeing that happen for her and then watching the way my story is brought it all full circle for me. I remembered being alone in my bed, completely dependent on Xanax and anti-depressants and sleeping pills, crying alone that my life was so horrible, my kids would be damaged, and WHY was life so bad for me???? I put myself there again and then looked at my life today. I'm happy. Healthy. Successful. I've got the independence thing down. My kids are happy. And now, I have a man who loves me. Like, REALLY loves me. And loves my kids like they were his own. And cares about their feelings and puts them before his own (their own FATHER doesn't do that!) And I was so incredibly overwhelmed with how wonderful things have turned out.

And not because it just happened. My God. I worked so hard for this. The therapy and the support groups and the alone time and the play therapy for the kids and the reflection and self awareness. I dared to dream of this life and it is more amazing than I ever could have imagined.

The wedding will be about a year from now, a destination wedding with just immediate family. I want this time to be about he and I, just a celebration of how far we've come and what we've accomplished together. Not about details and dresses and flowers. Just the essentials of us and those we love.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Perspective, Belief

Pardon me for being so introspective and philosophical lately. With Mr. W gone for 12 days I have had plenty of nights to just think, and some of it has been pretty good stuff.

I'm reading a great book that I bought to help me get further in my business, called Simpleology. The basis of this book is that there is no reality, no one truth, that the world in front of us is only what our brain interprets it as, based on our beliefs and perceptions that we have developed since childhood.

This is a concept that I think I've always had a grasp of, but the author takes it further than I've ever conceptualized.

So if this is true, then we may grow up with certain beliefs about ourselves. We can't do this or we can't do that, or we have to be a certain way. For example, if you constantly think "I'm never going to have any money", then your world will morph to support this belief. Every tiny little decision you make will reflect that "reality".

It made me think hard about my own beliefs. What do I hold to be true? I know that I can run a successful business, but sometimes I think I put limits on myself as to how far I can take it or how much money could be made. Since my parents' divorce and my own divorce, I have struggled with the belief that no marriage is good, that there is something genetically wrong with me that attracts liars and cheaters, that relationships are doomed. And over and over I have found that if I am not working on changing that belief, I can cause that very situation to occur, all of my own doing.

I see the people all around me and the problems they create in their lives. My ex husband for example. He makes the same amount of money as me, yet recently had his car repossessed. He lives in a small apartment and his car payment was half what mine is. So why am I doing fine and he is in a huge financial hole? He watched his mother be financially irresponsible his entire life. Cars repossessed, credit cards maxed and never paid. He learned all of his life's beliefs from her and is now making all the same decisions she made. And cannot for the life of him understand why (the author of Simpleology calls this phenomenon insanity)

We all have that something in our lives that frustrates us that we can't figure out how to change. The secret is to look at the world as an open book with endless possibilities. It's so true that life is exactly what you make of it. There is no "can't". You are not genetically pre-disposed to being obese. You choose to make the same decisions about food that you probably watched your parents make and you believe this to be your truth. I am not genetically pre-disposed to being in bad relationships. If I'm constantly afraid that my relationship is doomed, I will see every fight, every bump in the road as THE END, all left up to my interpretation. And then I will run away before I ever give it a chance to work out.

What else do I believe about myself? I believe I should be living in a house, not an apartment, because I grew up in one. Oddly enough, the house I live in resembles my childhood home almost exactly. I believe I should be doing certain things for my children, because my mom did them. The problem there? She was a stay at home mother (amazing also at how close I am to being a stay at home mom considering I'm a single mom. But this belief causes me so much guilt.) I believe I should work out every single day so that I feel good. This belief I developed just after my divorce, and is something I was able to change myself.

So it's possible, you see, to change reality. All of us are not just assigned a place in life and doomed to follow. There are certain steps that can always be made to create a new reality, and with enough dedication, research and yes, work, we can achieve exactly what we want. We do not have to get up and go to a job we hate every single day because we think it's all we can do. We don't have to be stuck in an abusive relationship because we believe we're not worth more, or that children shouldn't have divorced parents. We don't have to be miserable or even just content. Life is just too short for that.

I work constantly to make my life better. What do I want? I want to do my job but only part of it, I'd love to have employees to do the parts I don't like. I want more money, a bigger house. I want to see the world. I want to spend the rest of my life with Mr. Wonderful, and have the happiest of relationships. I want friends around me who are honest, good, and real. I want to be an honest, good, and real friend and lover. I want to be surrounded by music and laughter and happiness. I want to live somewhere other than here, like in New York or even somewhere abroad (but don't want to uproot my children, so I'm still thinking about that). I want to be close with my children and have them never be disappointed in me.

Think about what is holding you back from what you want and what beliefs you may hold about "reality" that might be keeping you from it. It's a pretty eye opening experience.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Peace, and what it feels like.

I was driving this evening towards the sunset, the light was hitting everything in that gorgeous golden way that it does in the summer evenings, and I took a deep sigh and felt it....peace.

It seems to be coming to me much more often these days.

But this was the first time I could really put a finger on it, really see exactly the source of my peace, as clear as the sun was setting in front of me.

Mr. Wonderful is still away on his trip, 10 days away from each other. He emails when he has access to wifi, but we've had pretty limited communication on his trip. The pictures I see from him are of him having a great time, taking in the view, eating melt-in-your-mouth food, bonding with his brother. And yes, missing me too. While I miss him as well, terribly, I am truly SO excited for him to have this experience.

While he has been gone, I dove into my work. I made a list of what had to be done, and while it's taken 45 hours of work in just 3 days, I'm getting there. And it feels really good.

Tonight, after 3 days of work and the kids and more crap from the ex, I decided I deserved some "me" time. I went to my favorite sushi restaurant, sat at the sushi bar, indulged in a martini and a spicy tuna roll. Read a book, texted friends, and just let my mind and my mouth just be quiet for awhile. Ahhhhh.

It was on the drive from sushi to the movie theater that I felt the overwhelming peace. And I realized that my life is now truly in balance. That I am me, I know how to take care of myself, who I am, what I like...AND I'm in love.


There is something so powerful about knowing that you can take care of yourself, not only that but actually be happy alone with oneself. That no one else's love for you could ever compare to the love you can give yourself. And then to realize that you can have all this....and a partner to share it with...mindblowing.

Before this experience of "desperately seeking me", alone I was a mess, I felt incomplete, I felt anxious. Even if alone meant my husband going out without me. Now my lover can leave me for 10 days across the world and not only can I be ok, I have a full life of things that make me very happy.

It just so happens that the movie I was going to see was Eat, Pray, Love. (spoiler alert) I never read the book so I wasn't expecting much, just a typical chick flick. It was like watching myself on the screen, the scared, lost, jaded woman who emerges and finds herself and thinks that she is finished, that there couldn't possibly be more. And when love comes along, she feels she has to choose between this new version of herself or love, because they can't possibly coexist. The fear in her eyes when she comes to that crossroads is so completely recognizable that I began to cry and couldn't stop until everyone had emptied the theater and the lights came back on. Is it possible that I have figured out how to find me, AND find love?

I think it is. Mr. W is a piece of my life, a big one. He brings me happiness and joy and affection and support everyday of my life. As humans, this is something we naturally desire. We CAN have it all. It IS possible to live a full life and have complete balance, peace, and love.

Best quote from the movie-The key to balance is to never let anyone love you less than you love yourself.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

That's Me at the Bottom of that Pile of Laundry

I'm checking in because I'm not sure when the next time is that I'll be able to write. This happens to be the last week before school starts, and not only do I face shopping for school supplies, school clothes, getting haircuts and pediatrician checkups and eye exams and orchestra supplies COMPLETELY without help (my ex is officially broke, won't help with a penny, and had his car repossessed and can't drive them anywhere anymore), but business suddenly went from zero to 100 which I was SO not expecting and SO not ready for. Mr. W is out of the country again on another amazing trip, this time with his brother, and I'm so overwhelmed that I can't see straight.

I sat down tonight in front of my tv, turned on HBO, found every single piece of laundry in the house I could find, dumped it in the middle of the living room, and sorted through it all. I threw away an entire trashbag full of holey clothes, and another trashbag of clothes is going to GoodWill. It took almost 3 hours. But now the laundry room is organized and even though I didn't actually wash anything, I don't feel as overwhelmed to start it as I did before.
I'm trying to take the "organizer's" approach to this to do list that seems to lengthen by 3 things everytime I cross of one. Focus on getting one thing done at a time (but my GOD this list is like staring up at Everest from the bottom.)

Today I took my younger two with me grocery shopping. Almost 2 hours of trying to keep my 3 year old a)in the basket, b)to keep her shoes on, c)to not scream and touch my face with cereal boxes while I'm trying to shop, while also trying to keep my 7 year old from a)lifting up the back of my dress to expose my ass (WHY she thought this was so hilarious today I have no idea!!), b)begging me for every free sample, every item in the store, c)stop whining everytime her sister looked at her funny. At the end I was checking out, one hand keeping my youngest from knocking me in the head with the box and one hand holding my other daughter away from the back of my dress. The checker looked at me and asked if I had any big plans today. Umm ya. THEIR BEDTIME. We started talking a bit while she checked me out and I told her I was a single mom. She had "mad respect" for that and told me all about how she was raised by a single father, and how much she appreciated him now. It was the first spark of hope I've had in a long time. Everyone says "someday they'll appreciate what you went through", but it never feels like that could actually happen.

In the meantime I'm just putting one foot in front of the other. I'm definetly proud of what I'm accomplishing, even if it feels like it's just one tiny thing a day, and I am SO proud of my kids.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, August 12, 2010


I'm incredibly sensitive.
I'm terrified of confrontation.
I'm "focus challenged".
I live for laughter.
I can be insecure.
I keep it real. What you see is what you get.
I don't harbor any deep dark secrets.
I don't lie to my kids. Ever.
If you mess with my kids, the mama bear will come out and it isn't pretty.
I'm not always sure I'm good at my job and that it's what I should be doing, even though it's my "dream".
I'm harder on myself than anyone else ever could be.
I am chronically running late.
I give everyone the benefit of the doubt until they prove me wrong, usually more than once.
I'm stubborn and if I feel I'm right I won't sway.
I would never betray you.
I am a good person and my heart is always in the right place.

Saturday, July 31, 2010


I know many people, including my close friends and my own mother, were anxiously awaiting my return home from Paris if only to learn whether or not my left ring finger was a bit heavier than when I left.

I will admit to having wondered the same thing.

It seemed too perfect. I didn't think anything of the trip until friends began raising an eyebrow at the perfection, the timing (our 1 year anniversary), and the state of our relationship at this point.

He told me he wasn't proposing. That he wasn't quite ready yet. He told my friends this. They told me. I thought I was going on this trip completely prepared with zero expectations.

Until there we were, the way I had always pictured it. Bottle of wine, standing alone in a park under the sparkling Eiffel Tower at dusk. Holding hands and looking into each other's eyes. God, I just *knew* this was the moment. I couldn't breathe, couldn't speak.

I know he felt my anticipation, because then he held me close, told me that someday soon, he would be dropping to his knee and asking me to marry him. But that it was just not right yet. There is more work to be done with the kids, with us. I know this to be true in my head. I KNOW THIS. But I got caught up in the moment and let my fairytale emotions take over. I couldn't help it. I started to cry and couldn't stop. Talk about ruining the moment...

Me. The woman who swore to never marry ever again. Miss Independent Who Shall Never Rely On A Man.

He has made me understand the true meaning of what it is to be married. Of why anyone would want to. I want to call him my husband and for my children to have him as their role model. I want to be his wife. I don't need him, I could live the rest of my life alone and support myself and the kids and be just fine. But I want that life, with him. He changed that.

But the most important thing is that he is here in my life right now, and I need to get back to living in the present moment. Stop putting time lines on things and just enjoy what we have together, both as a couple and now as a family with the kids.

Paris was amazing. We spent seven days wandering around from museum to museum, restaurant to restaurant, garden to garden. We napped together in the garden outside the Louvre. We drank wine and people watched on the Champs Elysee. We picnicked at Versailles. We ate crepes at midnight strolling the streets of St. Michel. We kissed on the Metro. We snuggled under the Eiffel Tower as it sparkled in our eyes. We plotted ways to move the kids there and make Paris our home.

I'm very, very happy. And that's all that matters.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Hi There

I'm here, I'm alive, I'm CRAZED.

We just got back from our two week vacation extravaganza. First to Florida with 3 other families all in one beach house, and then to a lakehouse with 4 other families. Mr. Wonderful came along on both.

We laughed, we cried, we drove each other crazy, we bonded, and just generally "tried on" family life.

It wasn't perfect. With so many other families and kids around, there were lots of distractions. But it felt so good to have Mr. Wonderful there with me each morning and night. I forgot what it was like to have help, an extra set of hands. I got a little too spoiled. The transition back to single mom has been tough.

But he was amazing with the kids, all of them, not just mine. They all adored him and he fit right in like a pro.

Funny thing is that last year, it was the night before this same annual Lakehouse trip that I met Mr. Wonderful. We exchanged our first texts on the drive down, and I giggled incessantly to my friends about this great guy I had just met who was now planning an elaborate first date for after we got back. One of my friends teased me "Next year, you'll have him with you. Just watch." I cracked up, rolled my eyes, and said NO WAY.


This weekend we'll return to the same music festival we met at to celebrate our 1 year anniversary, and then....

Next week, we leave for Paris, just the two of us. I CANNOT WAIT.

Life is good.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Who's big idea was this summertime thing anyways.

Thought I'd stop by and leave an update or two on my life these days. Things are so busy and I absolutely hate not being able to write.

School let out and I suddenly found myself with all three kids all day long with no break, no freedom or flexibility that I am used to (that already isn't enough to get it all done). I honestly wasn't sure we'd all make it out alive the first week. At nighttime, I could still hear their little voices ringing in my ears "We're BORED! Can we go _____ (insert place that costs money or activity that involves me leaving my work)".

And then today I overheard my 3 year old playing dolls. One doll was telling the other that she couldn't play because "she had to work". Ouch.

And then later on today after my son tried to guilt trip me for the millionth time about not going out to eat, I had to actually sit him down with a calculator and show him how income and bills work and how little we have left after all is said and done. 'Twas fun.

I miss the summers of taking the kids to the pool every other day, going on summertime adventures, and eating popsicles in the front yard. But the restraints of single motherhood are choking all of us right now. I miss my babysitters, my assistants, my crazy nanny who used to insult me but also did all of my laundry (WHAT I WOULDN'T GIVE TO HAVE HER BACK).

On the brightside, to combat the boredom, my daughter has begun to enjoy reading chapter books in her room, my son is attending football camp, and my youngest continues to terrorize me. And the house. (As I type my son tells me she has written on the wall. Again.) All three have watched hundreds of episodes of iCarly and SpongeBob (God help me, I hear "Who lives in a pineapple under the sea" in my nightmares) and for right now, that is just going to have to be ok.

Back to work.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Happiness is...

One of my friends sent us a list of 100 things that make her happy, an assignment given by a therapist. Reading through her list made *me* happy, so I thought I'd give it a shot here.

1. Kisses from my babies
2. Listening to my 3 year old sing
3. the sound of a text message coming in on my iphone
4. having a client sincerely thank me for my work
5. the sound my camera makes when I take a picture
6. my neighborhood with all of it's gorgeous trees and greenery
7. Watching my 7 year old dance joyfully to her favorite song
8. Seeing my son dance like Michael Jackson
9. the feeling after an awesome workout
10. the hot shower after an awesome workout
11. getting dressed up with full hair and makeup
12. cheesy pop music that reminds me of my childhood
13. seeing an amazing band sing the songs I love live
14. the relaxed feeling after a glass of wine
15. seeing my two youngest follow their brother around like ducklings
16. cooking a meal for my sweetheart and him loving it
17. seeing Mr. W's sideways smile
18. Mr. W's arm around me or a kiss on my forehead
19. watching my baby take Mr. W's hand or reach for him to hold her
20. laughing with my friends
21. seeing my body morph into that of an athlete
22. peanut butter and chocolate anything
23. getting onto an airplane knowing I'm about to experience something totally new
24. traveling with Mr. W, anywhere
25. showing my kids something they've never seen before and the looks of amazement on their faces
26. being a single mom and owning this house on my own
27. thinking of a great gift for someone
28. hanging out with my brother and my sister in law
29. singing along to Michael Jackson songs with my kids in the car
30. seeing a really great movie, especially one that makes me cry
31. reading a book so good I can't put it down and finish it in days
32. getting a pedicure
33. massage
34. play fighting with Mr. W
35. the look on Mr. W's face when he's impressed with me
36. falling in love with an album and listening to it non-stop
37. Diet Cherry Dr. Pepper
38. pizza
39. curling up on my couch and watching tv, snuggled up in a blanket
40. taking myself out to eat alone and seeing a movie alone
41. the fact that all 3 kids still call me Mommy
42. a quiet house
43. waking up and seeing Mr. W smiling at me
44. the sound of the ocean waves
45. an amazing restaurant experience, with great food and atmosphere
46. making my Dad happy by visiting him
47. lunch with my Mom
48. going for a run in the rain
49. watching my kids' sports games
50. baking at Christmas
51. watching the Macy's Thanksgiving parade with my kids
52. walking through Central Park anytime, but especially in the fall
53. Fifth Avenue at Christmas at nighttime
54. having people ask me for directions in NYC and being able to tell them
55. learning French
56. the smell of baking bread
57. making a snowman with Mr. W
58. rollercoasters
59. singing
60. having a close network of girlfriends who have my back and who I can go to for anything, anytime
61. knowing that I have met my soulmate
62. liking the way I look
63. liking who I am
64. admiring who my kids are becoming
65. Lakehouse
66. hot yoga
67. my baby making up stories
68. my baby's funny faces
69. taking the kids to see Santa
70. knowing I can do this on my own
71. sleeping late
72. making a new friend
73. reconnecting with an old friend
74. riding the subway and knowing what I'm doing
75. GNO's
76. dancing
77. Buzzbrews
78. Epic nights out with Amy
79. laughing til my sides hurt
80. my bedroom, especially my comforter
81. bookstores
82. a new haircut or color
83. wearing a new outfit
84. pictures of me and my friends, me and my kids, me and Mr. W
85. watching football
86. Fall evenings
87. Mr. W's car
88. my house after the housekeeper leaves
89. playing soccer with the kids
90. taking the kids to the pool all day long
91. doing my own yardwork
92. knowing that I have the power to change pretty much anything for the better
93. running the Brooklyn Bridge
94. running a 5K
95. going to baseball games
96. popcorn at the movies
97. The State Fair
98. the F word
99. driving with the sunroof open on a beautiful day
100. staying out all night and feeling like I made the most of every moment of the night

Honestly I could do a hundred more...loved this!!!!

Monday, June 7, 2010

War Wounds Reopened

Sometimes it feels like it's been a million years, another lifetime, since I was married to my husband.

And then something happens and the pain feels as if it all went down yesterday.

One of my closest friends discovered a couple of weeks ago that her husband had been unfaithful to her over the course of their marriage. This couple is part of my innermost circle of friends, and I love them both.

I wanted to blog about it when it happened, but I just couldn't. Actually, when I found out, I couldn't do much of anything. I tensed up so much over the next couple of days, that my back actually went out and I was stuck in bed. My stomach was sick. I'd love to tell you that I'm that great of a friend, but in reality, it was like reliving my entire "atom bomb" all over again but with a muffled scream instead of a voice.

Today my stepfather had a major surgery at the same hospital that my father had his brain tumor removed and then subsequently spent the next half a year at trying to recover from it. I could not make myself go, even though I knew how much my mother probably needed me there. I have panic attacks just driving by that hospital, I can't imagine ever setting foot in it again. But my brother went for the both of us. He struggled just parking in the parking garage; the garage where we would aimlessly search for our cars after horrible news and devastation. Then he had to walk into the same surgery waiting area that we had spent that fateful day waiting for Dad to come out of surgery, the one where the doctor came out and told us our father would never be the same. It was the little details that got to him, things he forgot, that triggered panic attacks. He sent me a picture of a computer screen where you watch your loved one's surgery progress, and I felt like someone had punched me in the gut. It was this screen we stared at helplessly when he did not come out of surgery after the 5 hours we were promised, but 12. Re-living all of those little horrors....I don't know how he did that.

But this is exactly how it feels to watch my friend go through this in her marriage. She tells us things he has said, things I've heard before. She feels torn, like she wants to kill him but yet loves him and wants to help him. Things I've felt before. It was so disturbing to me and brought up so many of those feelings again that I spent the majority of my couples counseling session in tears over it. I was angry all over again and felt so outraged and hurt, and I couldn't let go.

And tonight I'm writing about this because I decided for some reason to read my private blog I kept in the months after I kicked my ex out. The pain in those unfiltered words is so pungent and profound. I look back at that time...a time when I was forced into doing this job of motherhood all by myself, running my business all by myself, and somehow doing it all while feeling like I was going to die. How did I even do it? I don't even remember that period that well. I remember little moments, like sobbing in my closet, physically shaking constantly from anxiety, not being able to eat or sleep....God how did I get through this?

All I did was put one foot in front of the other, and each day tried to do it a little better than the day before. I was not always graceful, I was not always smart. I drank a lot of vodka and took plenty of Xanax. I slept when I should have been watching my children or working. I obsessed over my ex. I secluded myself and didn't let anyone help me. I would blow up over nothing. It was not a pretty time.

But here I am now. The happiest I've EVER been in my life. I'm physically, emotionally, and mentally the healthiest I've ever been. I love everything about my life and am so glad that I went through that pain, if it means I am able to be where I am today. I feel lucky to have gone through a situation that catalyzed growth and enlightenment for me. My therapist pointed these things out to me, and reminded me of something very important:

I wouldn't change a thing.

I hope that no matter what happens with my friend's marriage, that the same will happen for her. Actually, I already see it happening and I'm very optimistic for her. It sucks that it seems to take such dark times to wake us up to our truths, but sometimes it just does.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

I Need To Remember

I was once 22 and already a wife and mother, while my friends were single, partying, finishing college, and at a totally different place in life than me. One by one I watched them fall to the wayside as we had less and less in common. What I learned: the good ones came back when we were back in the same place. And not only did they come back, they apologized for leaving in the first place. The others? I don't miss.

I need to remember that it has taken me 11 years to adjust to the absolute craziness of being a parent, and I did it one child at a time. Each baby step was hard, but it was a natural process that developed gracefully over time.

I need to remember that I lost myself to parenthood and marriage. I forgot that I loved music and exercise and friends and laughter, and that I was full of anger and rage and resentment most of the time, and didn't understand why until I found myself again through the divorce. Finding myself again and holding onto it was the most important thing I ever did for myself and everyone around me, and is what I now want for those around me whom I love, more than anything.

I need to remember that even after 3 kids and 11 years of parenthood, I am still completely and utterly overwhelmed by schedules and functions and planning and providing and balancing. As a VETERAN.

I need to remember how hard it is to look at my life and realize that as a parent, I cannot do all that I want to do and please everyone around me.

Because my sweetheart has only a few months experience with it. And as great of a job as I think I did with the transitions over the years, he is showing me how it's done. I am so proud to call him my man, and we are so lucky to have him in our lives. Someone who cares so much about the people in his life-that is hard to come by.

Imagine going from having no children to three, from having the same lifestyle as your friends to completely the opposite, having the pressure to bond and nurture a relationship with your three possibly future stepchildren. He's doing it like a pro with class and love and I am so very proud of him.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Cool Girl

When I was 12 years old, I had a friend whose boyfriend was in high school. Being middle schoolers ourselves, this made us SUPER cool. We would go hang out at one of his friend's houses, also a high school student, who lived with his father.

The father was a middle aged man who lived with his son in a nice neighborhood near my school. We loved to hang out there because the father let all the kids drink, smoke, curse, and even supplied some of them with drugs.

Another thing he supplied an endless amount of was porn. There was a tv in the backroom that was constantly playing a porn video. You have to understand, I was so young that at this point in my life, my parents had only told me that sex was a man and a woman lying close together. Imagine my shock when I walked in that back room and saw what I saw. This, pornography, was how I learned about sex.

Sometimes my friend would disappear with her boyfriend for awhile, and I would be left alone on the couch. Little bad ass 12 year old me, sipping on my wine cooler and trying not to let on that I didn't know how to smoke the cigarette in my hand. At some point, the father at the house took an interest in me. He'd sit next to me and ask me about boys. He didn't talk like a normal dad, he was cool and never asked about homework or school or parents. Nope, just wanted to know about boys. Which ones I liked, if I liked to be kissed. Many times when these conversations started, the son, who was a few years older than me, would come "rescue" me and usher me off to another room. I never understood why, just thought at the time that he had some sort of crush on me or was embarrassed by his father (which OMG why?? He's so cool!)

And then one day, the father sat right next to me on the sofa and put his arm around me. His hand was on my shoulder as he asked me about boys and girls and what goes on at school. I suddenly realize that his hand has slipped down on top of my breast, but he is still talking , and I am absolutely positive that he doesn't realize it. I'm too scared to tell him about it because it will embarrass us both. I figure eventually it will move on it's own. Then, as suspected, he does realize it. "Wow, look at that!! My hand was on your boobie that whole time, and you didn't even move it. Wow! ha ha ha, you're such a cool girl!!" To prove that I'm a cool girl, he went ahead and actually grabbed it, and what can I say at that point, because I want to be liked and would never want to be banished from this house. I laugh it off, stand up, and walk away, completely unsure of what has just happened. I never told anyone.

I avoided the father at all costs every time I was there from then on, but instances like this occurred many times over the time I spent there. Finally other girls began coming over and he seemed to lose interest in me.

I didn't think about what had happened and somewhat blocked it from my mind, until one day we were at his house and he wasn't there. When i asked where he was, the son informs me that he has been arrested. One of the other girls was undergoing the same situation with him, and had gone forward to her parents, who called the police. The mood in the house was outrage. Everyone was angry at the molested girl for turning Dad in to the police. That was just messing with someone's life, no matter what he did to her, and she must have wanted it anyways because she kept coming over here, she could have just said no thanks.

As an adult, the repercussions of those few months as a pre-teen affect my life every single day. Although I have tried intense therapy for the effects of the abuse I received, and I have made some progress, I have somewhat given up ever being "normal". He robbed that from me, back when I was just a child. Because of him, everytime I have had sex, every single time, since I became sexually active, I enter a period of panic and black-hole like neediness. I can't shake the feeling that I have just been used, abused, degraded, and dismissed as a person. Because of him, when I try and discuss sex or what happened to me, I glaze over and my mind wanders. My protective instincts kick in and I numb out. Just while typing this blog post, I've stopped multiple times and forgotten what I was even writing about. That survival skill that kept me sane as an abused child just won't go away.

Sometimes it's manageable. Sometimes it's so bad that I have to just shut down and wait for it to pass. I cry, I want to be held tight like a child, I want to feel accepted and loved and safe, but most of the time I just can't. All I can do is apologize to the one I'm with and hope that he understands.

Let's face it. It's not easy to understand. I don't always. It gets old, to me and to my partner. I try to put on a brave face and hide it as much as possible. But sometimes, it is so overwhelming, that it takes over for days at a time. I slip into a needy depression. I shut down because it's easier than explaining again. I hold back tears and blow up at odd things.

I hate it.

Because really, who wants to have sex with someone when you know that afterwards they're going to act like that???

I found out recently through Facebook of all things that my molestor passed away several years ago. I can't say in my life that I have ever been happy to hear of someone's death. But for some reason, the world felt a little safer to me the second I heard it.

Friday, May 28, 2010

I'm Here

Although there is much I want to write about, I just don't have time but am getting text messages (ahem) from worried friends wanting to know if I've stopped blogging.

No, my life has just been an unbelievable whirlwind of family, birthdays, end of school, girlfriends in crisis, and work. May is always a crazy month for me but this year has been one for the record books.

So, a summary.

My son is about to graduate elementary school. I have of course known this for awhile, but man it hit me this week. My baby boy, who has had the unfortunate role of basically growing up WITH me, since I was only 22 when I had him, is just growing before my eyes into a young man. He's smart, he's sweet, he seems so well adjusted and I'm just so proud of him. I'm looking forward to spending as much time as possible with him this summer before he realizes how uncool I am and stops calling me Mommy.

Couples therapy is going so so well. I always leave with new insight and am training my mind to think in new, positive ways that don't lead me down a path of fear and panic. Each time we leave I'm reminded just how lucky we are to have found each other. I'm also learning to stop thinking about my marriage and the cheating as the biggest tragedy of my life, and start thinking of it as the best thing that ever happened to me. Traumatic? Yes. But it brought about the best changes I could have ever asked for.

In just a few weeks I am taking my kids to Florida, in what I think will probably be our last vacation as just us 4. I'm kind of sad in a way, mourning the phase of my life where I was doing it all on my own and it was just our little team...but also ready to move into the next phase that includes Mr. Wonderful. The following week will be a very small vacation with our group of friends and their children, and Mr. Wonderful will be joining us for that one.

Another trip coming up-Mr. W is taking me to Paris the end of July. I've never been overseas before, and absolutely cannot wait!!! Our plan as of now is to just sort of wander the city for a week, eat tons of bread and chocolate and pastries and cheese, drink wine and see the most famous museums and churches and buildings in the world. Heaven.

That's it for now, I do have a lot I want, *need* to write about, coming soon.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Single Mother's Day

I am incredibly grateful for all that I have. I have three children who love me and called and begged their Dad to take them Mother's Day shopping for me (he wouldn't, but my brother saved the day ever so graciously). Mr. Wonderful surprised me with the greatest card and handwritten letter that made me cry about what a great mother I am, even detailing what he loved about each relationship with each of my kids. (how did I manage to find the seemingly only guy out there who just *gets it*???) My youngest woke me at 4 am, snuggling up into bed with me because she was scared of a thunderstorm. My middle woke me again at 6 because she couldn't wait one more minute to give me her homemade card and flowers. My oldest coordinated with his uncle all morning to make sure all the kids had signed my card and that there was something inside for me.

I came here initially to bitch about how my day was nuts and how I was reminded all day that I am a single mom who never gets a break, even on Mother's Day, and how Mother's Day is just a cruel reminder that I'm doing it all alone. But I'm trying to have a different outlook. Yes today was hard and messy and I'm exhausted, just like every Sunday that they are home (or even not). But that's single motherhood, and I'm surviving. Thriving even, most of the time. And my kids are all sweet and love me, and I must be doing something right. This is definitely not easy, not even close. But it's worth doing and in those amazing moments when my baby is holding onto me for comfort or my daughter is making me beautiful art or my son is worried about not having anything to give me, it makes it all worth it.

To all the single mommies out there who worked today from sun up to sundown, who didn't get cards or breakfast in bed or acknowledgment whatsoever, I hope you know how much you mean to your children even if they don't understand that yet, how they would not make it without you, that you are doing the hardest job there is and you're kicking ass at it. Pat yourself on the back for the tough decisions and choices you've made and will make in the best interest of those little faces, for the long hours you put in; and do something for yourself, even if it's just small.

I bought myself a little chocolate bar at the grocery store, sat in my car in silence, and enjoyed every second of it.

Happy Mother's Day Mommies!

Monday, May 3, 2010

My Feng Shui is stuck

As one single person running an entire household, especially one house with 4 people and a dog living in it, organization is not only important, it's vital.

Things run in a certain flow, all the time. Big things, little things.

For example, last Sunday I went to Six Flags with my kids instead of buying groceries. Sunday night I had Mr. Wonderful stay with them after they went to bed so I could get groceries. I got home late and without everything I needed, which sent me to the store extra times every day last week. Which meant I lost time doing things like laundry, cleaning, and work. (because with three kids, you cannot just run in and out of a store).

Right now, my laundry is piled to the ceiling. You cannot see the floor in my laundry room. I am down to my last set of clothes. I haven't done laundry because the laundry baskets are full of clothes needing to be put in the kids drawers. I haven't put the laundry in the drawers because their drawers are overfilled of clothes that don't fit them. Their drawers are overfilled of clothes that don't fit them because I haven't gone through and stored their winter clothes or boxed the clothes that don't fit because there is no room in my garage. There is no room in my garage because there is a crib in there waiting to be sold, along with boxes of trash that need to be cleaned out. I haven't sold the crib or cleaned out the boxes because there JUST ISN'T ENOUGH TIME IN. THE. DAY.

One of these days I will use my weekend without kids to get these things done. A weekend when I don't have to cram all the work I didn't get done during the week with them here into, or am not so exhausted from the week that all I want to do is sleep.

Sleep...omg that sounds so heavenly right now.

Thursday, April 29, 2010


Soooo the overwhelming mountain did indeed turn out to be just a molehill. At least for the time being.

So proud of my Mr. Wonderful. So, so very proud.

It's so nice to have one more obstacle out of our way. It really does feel like we've hit smooth sailing now.

We had our second counseling session yesterday. We talked a lot about how we handle arguments and disagreements. I realized when we were talking to her how much we have been able to change on our own. We both recalled the earliest stages of our relationship in which we'd have these long crazy disagreements that lasted overnight sometimes. So stubborn the two of us. But how over time we have listened to each other and changed what needed to be changed to the point that we can have a discussion and it not ever escalate. I love Mr. Wonderful so much for being mature enough to do that for me, and for us. We have evolved our relationship into what it is now and I am so proud of that.

This week we have "homework". It is a 7 page list of questions for us to fill out. Not easy ones either. "Describe several situations in which you, intentionally or unintentionally were hurtful to your future partner in the last month". And that's just on page one!!

It feels like it's going to be a tough thing to fill out but knowing that he and I are doing the work now makes it all worth it. We are growing into our relationship and it just feels so right, the way I always thought love was supposed to be.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Ignore this cryptic post.

I'm here tonight to write about something that I can't really write about.

This is my blog, not Mr. Wonderful's...and I choose to come here anonymously and write about my life, my feelings, to process what I'm trying to get through. The problem is that sometimes my thoughts and feeling are about things I can't really write about, because to do so would put Mr. Wonderful "out there", and he didn't make the choice to write a public blog.

So let's just say there is a situation in our relationship that came to a head about the same time that my fears took completely over, a situation in his life that affects me and my children, that he has to deal with, and played a part in our breakup. It is part of the reason we went to counseling, and our therapist helped us through it so far tremendously. It isn't causing friction really, just a big mountain he needs to climb and I need to support him through.

So here is where my feelings and anxieties come into play. He faces this giant mountain tomorrow. It could actually turn out to be just a molehill. But we don't know, and the anxiety and stress over this situation is eating away at both of us, but especially him. I feel like I'm watching him suffer and stress over this situation, and part of me feels responsible. I know it's a step in a positive direction for him, for us. I know the problem is not me. But I can't help but feel like if it weren't for me, he wouldn't be going through this. I feel awful.

I have an overwhelming anxiety to take care of him right now. I don't know if that stems from the guilt or what.

I have a fear that this is going to change us. I mean hopefully for the better. But I do fear the other as well.

I can't go to him with these fears and anxiety because to do so would make it more stressful on him, and this is his problem to face. But he is the one I turn to when I am anxious and worried, because he always calms me down. Having *him* be the one to stress and worry has me twice as freaked out...he is my rock...

Darn those fears sneaking in on me again.

I already know what I need to do. Time to gear up for independence mode for awhile and ride this out...use that trust that I've been working so hard on. Focus on other things for the time being.

SOOO out of my nature not to worry things to death. This is gonna be a tough one...

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


After I lost my first child at 6 months of pregnancy, I was totally and completely traumatized. Up until then, the worst thing that had happened to me was becoming pregnant before being married in the first place. There were days I literally would somehow end up on the floor and could not get up. I had never felt such a terrible feeling in all my life, and I didn't even *know* this child yet. But I am a very sensitive soul, and having someone I already loved so very much ripped from me was..just..unspeakable pain.

Three months later, I somehow managed to become pregnant again. The plan had been to wait a year and then try again. We were already so young, newlyweds, and yet here I was, again. My only experience with pregnancy was it ending in loss and heartache. Even though nothing had really been wrong with me or the baby, it had happened...and that was all I knew.

I spent the first six months in a total panic. I barely moved out of fear of doing something to harm my child. I showed up at the dr's office and emergency room several times because I just *knew* the baby had stopped moving. The 23rd week, the week I had lost my first baby, I sat in my doctor's office and cried to him. I've never made it this far, I don't know how I'm going to make it through this, I told him.

Had I not accidentally become pregnant, I may never have had another child again, out of fear of the tragic occurring once again. Yet I did. Not only did I deliver my son full term, healthy and happy and perfect, but in later years, both of my daughters as well. Each pregnancy became the new normal. Yes, if time went by without movement, my heart would beat a little faster...I was more cautious than most. But I started to trust that it would be ok. And that worrying about my baby and thinking of what could happen would not only not help, but actually cause me so much stress that it could hurt.

And so I have taken this lesson again in my life. Two major, traumatic personal experiences, from the time I was 12, wired my brain to believe that relationships are unhappy and doomed. That the people in my life will live double lives. That there will be no good relationships for me.

Maybe I wasn't ready for Mr. Wonderful, just like I wasn't ready to become pregnant again. But if I hadn't jumped right in...maybe I would have been too scared...and would have missed out on this, on him....on what I believe now is going to be my own personal fairy tale.

And just like with my successful pregnancies, I am learning each day to trust that relationships CAN succeed, and that worrying about what can go wrong not only doesn't help the relationship, but it creates more harm and stress.

It gets a little easier everyday.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


3 posts in one week..unheard of...but it's been quite the week...

I cannot even begin to describe the relief I felt yesterday after leaving couples counseling with Mr. Wonderful.

We sat down and described to her our issues, both individually and the problems we are running into with our communication.

I described to her what has been happening with my fears. How I feel like someone who was in a plane crash and every now and then suddenly wakes up and realizes she's on an airplane again. How I lash out at Mr. W for what seems at the time like a HUGE deal, only to realize later that it was ridiculously tiny. That I take small things I see and make them enormous in my head and create things that aren't there. That I look around at the relationships around me, see everyone falling apart, and use that as an affirmation to myself that all relationships are doomed and this one is as well. That I have convinced myself that I am too damaged to ever be in a successful relationship. That I'm just waiting for the other shoe to drop constantly.

She smiled patiently at me as I described these things to her. She asked me what made me fall for Mr. Wonderful. I told her how up until I met him, I was convinced that I'd never get married again, at least not until the kids were grown. That I couldn't imagine meeting a man like him, someone who was willing to take my three children on as his own and forgo having blood children of his own. That I trust him completely. That I value his input and his intelligence greatly.

She then told me that my fears were normal, that it was common for people to feel this scarred after a traumatic divorce. But that people see what they want to see, like tunnel vision. If I believe relationships are doomed, I will only see the ones around me that are failing. That if I believe I am too damaged, I will only see myself when I am affected by the damage. The fact is that my own brother, who was raised in the same home and by the same parents and with the same events as I was, is in a very happy and healthy marriage. Both of my parents are in extremely happy marriages. I do have friends around who have happy marriages and relationships. My homework was to start focusing on these relationships and reminding myself that it IS possible.

She also said that my instincts were the feelings I had that let Mr. Wonderful in, past all the walls I had built up, in to meet my children and to consider letting him meet and bond with them. That the naggy, ridiculous defense mechanism feelings I had that lead me to lash out and push away from him are the fears talking. She told me to think of them as the little angel and the little devil sitting on my shoulder. It seems small, but it has already helped me tremendously. Just the identification of them.

She talked to us about communication, and we are both intent to learn since it seems to be the downfall of most relationships. Mr. Wonderful was adorable, bringing his notebook with him to the session to take notes. I looked at him sitting there, facing his own fears and flaws, taking it all in, and just felt an overwhelming sense of how lucky I am to have someone who loves me, loves us, and is this willing to make sure we don't lose each other when we don't have to. Someone who wants me to be happy and healthy, and who wants himself to be the same. I have the real deal, by my side both figuratively and physically. I left the session with a huge smile on my face. Yes, we have some work to do. Some big obstacles to overcome. This is not easy. But I left there knowing that we were going to make it.

No more doubts.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Here I Go Again.

Tomorrow morning...couples therapy with Mr. Wonderful.

I hadn't thought so much about it until tonight, when he came by and we talked about it a little bit. I was explaining to him what would happen at the first appointment and he was somewhat impressed with my knowledge on the subject.

Ya, I'm somewhat of an expert.

Individual grief counseling after the loss of my daughter. Marriage counseling on three separate occasions over 12 years. Individual therapy for stress and anxiety related to changing careers. Individual therapy after the divorce of my parents, and again during and after my own separation and divorce. Individual therapy for dealing with my Dad's botched surgery. Play therapy for my children post divorce.

So ya. It's kind of no wonder that I was actually denied for health insurance, reason given being "history of therapy".

But maybe I view therapy differently than most people. And Mr. Wonderful has this same perspective. It's not designed to be a fix-it. You don't go in, hand someone your problems and they tell you what to do. There is no "right" or "wrong". It is a teaching tool, a chance to learn, and when put into the right hands or situation, can be a huge catalyst for growth.

When I first went to marriage counseling with my husband, the therapist told us that most couples only come to counseling when the marriage is on the rocks. Usually one person has given an ultimatum, the other has one foot out the door and is basically there as a show of effort. She gave us, that day, an astounding declaration that because of this, marriage counseling does not usually work. And she was right in our case. (He was putting on a show, and continuing his deceitful life behind mine and our therapist's backs).

But this time is different. Mr. Wonderful, who calls himself a "student of life", is truly excited to learn how to be an effective communicator with me, the one he loves and will do anything to not lose. I am looking forward to learning how to merge my independence into a relationship and to eliminate my fears (although coincidentally, the sheer fact that Mr. W has gone to such lengths to keep us together has done wonders for those pesky fears).

At a divorce support group I attended, the leader threw an alarming statistic our way...second marriage divorce rates are staggeringly higher than first-67%. But he also said that if a couple is willing to take pre-marital counseling or 6-8 communication workshops, that statistic decreases to less than 20%. It really is that simple. Learn what did not work the first time, and use there is nothing holding you back, no years of anger or betrayal or resentment. Imagine the difference therapy will make, having two people with no baggage or resentment or anger built up between them yet...learning how to never let that happen...I have true, real hope for us, and believe that this is the answer we needed to channel our passion and live happily ever after.

I hope to continue the learning and self-analyzation that therapy has provided for me up until this point in my life, because it has brought me to an amazing place. I truly appreciate the challenge of being honest with myself and looking hurdles head on. This is another step in my life journey. I may actually get to have it all....motherhood, independence and self-worth, a career I love, AND a healthy, happy relationship with the man I love.

It truly blows my mind.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Week 2: The Tune Up

To say that this time of reflection has been helpful would be a great understatement.

It's truly amazing what just a short time of introspection can do for a person.

Last week, I spent the entire weekend with my girlfriends and myself. I read books, I partied, I laughed, I came home at 5am, I ate, I worked out, I sat my butt on my couch and watched a movie. I remembered what it felt like to be alone...not lonely, just alone... and got back in touch with that kick-ass independent 30 something woman, locked her up so she couldn't go anywhere again. And I was able to re-connect with that feeling all week, with or without kids or Mr. Wonderful or friends around. Anytime the "neediness" feeling arose, I remembered that feeling...I conjured it up...and the neediness dissipated like that. I can do anything by myself...and's preferable.

This weekend was my weekend with the kids. Lately I have been hearing so much about Daddy this and Daddy that and they miss Daddy, and while I am seriously so glad they are close with him, I would be lying if I said it didn't scare me that lately, they seem to prefer him. This weekend was all about focusing all my energy on connecting with my three babies. We had the greatest weekend full of laughing and chasing and telling jokes and friends over and movies (my oldest let me sit with him and his friend at the movie!!! That has not happened in like, FOREVER), we told secrets, we played outdoors. I did not sit on the sidelines this weekend and observe my children while distracted with work or friends or boyfriend or anything else. I participated. I swang on the swing. I left my phone off. I raced them to the tree. I kicked the ball. I held them when they asked, hugged them when they let me, told them I loved them at every opportunity. They responded and we all felt like our little team again, me and the kids. I love our little team so much. And we needed this connection desperately.

And so tonight while I make the seemingly endless lunches and do the seemingly endless dishes and do the seemingly endless laundry, I'm smiling endlessly as well. I'm going to get this, I just know it.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Breakup: Week 1

What I have learned so far:

-I know exactly who I am, what I love, who I love, and how to find happiness on my own. My happiness resides in my friends, in laughter, in music, in exercise, in my precious children.

-I need to be spending more time alone, just me and no one else. On my couch watching a movie, in a theater, in my bed reading.

-I don't need a man or a relationship. But I WANT him and I want our relationship. I want Mr. Wonderful around because he is a source of joy for me. I miss his laugh, his humor, his caring ways, his daily rundown of his life, his complete inability to make decisions, his opinions, his touch, the way he cares for me, his love of life.

-I have learned that my love language is physical touch. I could never survive in a relationship without it. I need a lot of it. I've learned that his is my time and my listening ear.

-I've learned that everyone's idea of a fulfilling relationship is different. My idea of one is a passionate, loving partnership where no issue goes swept under any rugs, even if that means the boat rocks more often than others. I need to not compare what I have to what anyone else in my life has because of that.

-I have discovered that living in fear will sometimes make your fears reality. I can see over the course of this relationship that my fear has held me back and fostered negativity. I'm so focused on what can go wrong. I assume the worst, so the worst happens because there is power in my thoughts in this situation.

This has been an interesting one to explore. Over the past year with my father, the only coping mechanism that worked for me was after months and months of devastating events was to assume the worst would happen, then nothing could shock me. It worked for that situation because I had no power, it was all out of my control. However in my relationship, it is detrimental, and I see that now. Everytime something goes wrong, I assume the worst...which sets off a chain reaction that has led us to where we are now (partly). I need to believe that this will work. I need to focus on only the positive. I need to let all those negative thoughts that try to enter my head and paralyze me with fear just go and replace them with these:

He does love me.
He doesn't want to leave me.
He is not my ex husband.
He respects me and respects us.
He will be faithful.
No matter what happens, I will be fine, and my children will be fine.

It's so hard for me to trust. But I know how. And I need to just do it. No "protecting" myself. I am either in or out.

And I am so in.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010


I've been coasting along, sidestepping my fears, pretending they don't exist, living in denial. Acknowledging them with eyes squinting, sort of seeing but then pretending not to.

And then we broke up.

No details to share, except that we both have our own separate issues that are great enough to cause us to not be able to work right now. Which is so INCREDIBLY frustrating. Because I'm not sure two people have ever loved each other as much as Mr. Wonderful and I do. We have something amazing. But our separate issues cause our relationship to spin out of control on a regular basis.

This breakup may be just as devastating to me as my divorce. Because here I was, so close to perfection, to my dreams coming true FINALLY. Redemption after so many years of heartache.

And the biggest question in my head right now is Why on earth can't two people who love each other as much as we do just make it work?? Why can't I love you and you love me just be enough?? Why does it all have to be so complicated??

But it is. The realization on my end is that I do not know how to be Miss Independent in a relationship. On my own? No problem. Being single I have down. I don't know how to not slip into co-dependency when I have someone. I'm doing all the things that make me happy. But I'm not depending on them for my happiness. I'm depending on him. On his touch, on his time, on his words. If you had any idea how hard it was for me to just type that. It makes me sick to admit it. I know better. I could write a book on fucking co-dependency, with all the therapy I've done and the books I've read. How did I end up here...AGAIN.

So for now, my job is to figure that out. I honestly don't know if I know how to do it. I wonder if I was born this way. If my own addiction is to being in love. Do I have to be alone forever to be "sober"?

We've decided for now that no contact is best while we each work on ourselves. And because we do love each other and neither of us want anyone else, we are going to try couples therapy and see what happens.

This is so hard, because I don't have an emotion to replace the love like I did with my ex husband. I turned my love to hate, because he wronged me, and wronged my family. Mr. Wonderful has been nothing but more wonderful. He loves me, and I know it.

I have to believe in us. That someday this will all just be a piece of the big picture, the one that made me stronger, that made us stronger.

Until then I'll be here, sorting through it all over again. Ain't life funny (or not).