Visions of my life

As a little girl and even as a teen, I somehow knew my future. I pictured myself as a single independent woman. Not with a husband who was my best friend or a husband I fought with. I pictured myself with 3 children, two girls and a boy and I even knew I would have my daughters first and my son would be my youngest. I pictured a big white house with a big yard and a couple dogs, small children running in the grass. Since I bought this house 5 years ago I’ve tried to figure out who those small children are. 
Along the way I tried to prove my vision wrong. Falling for a couple guys I told myself it was possible my vision was wrong. Each and every time I was left alone regretting ever thinking they could be the one to prove myself wrong. 

The first one blessed me with my twin girls and the realization that I could only count on myself. He taught me that I was much stronger than I ever could have imagined. I was quickly pushed into single motherhood at just 19 with two beautiful babies on welfare. I was sure I was doing everything wrong but devoted to doing my best. I think back and am amazed at myself. I honestly don’t think I would have fought so hard to become who I am if not for those little sets of eyes that melted my heart. I was sure I could never love anyone or anything as much as those girls. They stole everyone’s hearts and made every kid jealous wishing they could be them. I wanted to make those girls proud and give them a good life full of happiness and love. They gave me purpose.

The next guy took me from myself for a long time but in the end he taught me all about the strength of a mother’s love and forgiving myself. Along came my son, this amazing little boy who I was sure I couldn’t love, but he became the light of our world. Those girls were instantly in love with him and his little hands and tiny toes. He had this beautiful smile and he glowed when he saw me or his sisters. As much as he wanted to love his father, he knew he was not a good man. My son feared his father because of the abuse he witnessed. When that man was done with everything he put us through, it would have been easier for me to down a bottle of pills to escape the reality of what I allowed, and not one person would have blamed me. He put us through a living hell. But those beautiful kids that god blessed me with, I owed it to them to fight. To keep going even when I was sure I couldn’t do it. A mother’s love is the strongest thing in this world. And I had to try my best, even if it wasn’t good enough and even if I fucked up along the way, I could not leave them. And although I still struggle with forgiving myself, I do believe my children forgave me a long time ago.

After that I spent nearly 10 years focused on my kids and myself before dating and getting in another serious relationship. That one taught me how big my heart is and to accept my vision. As much hurt and disappointment I’ve lived through, I still have a great big heart ready to love. I still want to believe in the good in people, even when they don’t have good intentions and my instincts warn me. I want to believe my doubts are wrong. Stupid maybe, but maybe it’s also my big heart and that’s not a bad thing.

In my vision I wasn’t alone and miserable. In fact the sun was shining and I’m laughing. I’m filled with warmth from my life, I felt surrounded by peace and happiness. I knew I lived a comfortable life, not fancy but stable and strong. I knew that I had survived a storm, but I felt the calm of where my life was. I felt love, love for myself and for the journey to get me there. 

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12 things I learned from my mom

Today I woke up to the news of a friend’s mother passing. They were very close and I cannot even imagine the pain that she’s feeling. I can’t help but fear how will I handle that loss. This made me realize that I need to tell my mother how I feel about her.  Not how much she drives me nuts and annoys the hell out of me sometimes. I need to tell her the amazing things that I see in her, the amazing things that she taught me and how grateful I am to have her as my mother.

  1. You’re always there for family, no matter what. 

Growing up my family was very chaotic and dysfunctional but one thing was always for sure, no matter how angry you were at each other when trauma or hardship fell on a family member my mom threw it all aside and was there, even if it was her worst enemy. No matter how crazy my mom’s sisters are, that’s one amazing thing about them. 

  2. Her never-ending ability to be there for me and my kids.

I was 18 years old, alone and single, pregnant with twins. My mother was my Lamaze coach, bought me nearly everything I needed for my babies, and stood next to me during delivery. Five years later I was pregnant with my son, again alone from a failed marriage. My mom’s husband’s uncle had committed suicide, and he was like a father to her husband. The next day I went into labor, my mom came rushing and stayed with me, held my hand and fought the doctors to keep me safe. She helped raise my kids when they were young, giving me the needed breaks for my sanity. She was a cheer leader at their school and sports events. She is the best grammy, devoted and loving. 

  3. Strength.

My mom is the strongest woman I know, both physically and mentally. My mom has lost everything and stood strong and rose from the ashes, dusted herself off and was ready for more. She proved a woman can do anything a man can. She taught me to never depend on a man or anyone else. To be independent and strong. 

   4. No matter how hard it gets, you are mom.

I’m sure my mom had many days she wanted to run away, abandon all the responsibilities of raising kids and live a different stress free life. It’s hard work and too many times you feel unappreciated. You’re always on duty and your life revolves around what the kids need. You want new shoes? Too bad, kids need them first. My mom taught me to sacrafice my wants for my children, that they come first. And you work as hard as you can to give them a safe and good life.

 

 5. Even moms get weak and that is okay.

All the stressors of life gets heavy, even for a super-mom’s shoulders. The load sometimes becomes too much to bare and you fall. You get off track, you get a little selfish and want to put yourself first for a change. This is normal. It’s okay to fall. It’s even okay if you need a little pill every day from your doctor to help deal with the stress, as long as you get back up. You cannot stay down. You must regroup and get back to doing what needs to be done. No if, ands, or butts.

   6. Home-cooked meals are the best.

There is absolutely nothing like a home cooked meal made by my mom. Even as an adult I think my mom’s food is better than mine. It’s the love and memories from all the years she created full course delicious meals on a very limited budget while running on fumes. Everyone sat down to eat and chatted about their day, together. It kept us close.

   7. Have respect for what you have.

My mom came from a poor family. Her father’s parents came to the United States as immigrants from Croatia. Her mother grew up right here in South Omaha on 13th Street. They had 7 daughters in a very small home and it was normal for my grandmother to take in neighbor kids or relatives who were in need. While they didn’t have much money, they appreciated what they had. The small home was well kept and always clean. Growing up my mom was this way as well. We didn’t have much money but anyone on the outside was always impressed with our immaculate yard and home. Laundry & dishes done daily, vacumming and sweeping. No one came to our house messy, ever. 

Once my sister spilled red kool-aid on our new cream colored carpet in the living room. Quickly she tried to clean with bleach to remove the stain before our mom had a chance to see it. Long story short we all had to spend a whole weekend bleaching that carpet to match that stain, with windows open and gasping for air. My mom was raised to respect and take care of what she had, to take pride in yourself, your home and your family.
 

 
   8. The kids are a reflection of the parents. 

As kids, we were always clean and had nice clothes. Me and my sister’s hair was always braided or in pig-tails. We were taught respect and manners. It was obvious my mom worked hard at being a mom like she had with the many stories she shared about her childhood. She took pride in that and made sure to carry on those values with her children.

  

   9. Work hard.

My mom always worked too much. Probably 60 hours a week or more, whether it was with one job or spread out with two or three. She strived to have nice things but knew the value of hard work. My mom was never afraid to get her hands dirty. Whether she cleaned apartments for side money, or took on projects like a rental house deal, she never cut corners and always cleaned everything so it was fit for a king. And she never let the long hours at work affect her home. That woman would run on just a few hours of sleep. She never slept through the night, she would get up to switch the laundry over and fold the finished load through the night.  I’m sure it would have been easier to cut herself some slack, but she never did.

   10. Most importantly she taught me the importance of tradition. 

The Easter Bunny and Easter egg hunts

Santa Claus 

The tooth fairy

Holiday dinners with close family and friends

Family vacations

It was not uncommon for a last minute invite from my mom to one of our holiday dinners. If she found out that someone she knew had no plans for the holiday my mom instantly opened our home so that person would not be alone. My mom would stay up all night baking pies, up at the crack of dawn to start the turkey, everything from scratch, everything amazing. When I hear of other families memories, I think yours could not compare to my mine. When I come across somebody whose family does not celebrate; on one hand (now that I’m the parent hosting these dinners) there’s a bit of me that feels jealous. Like that would be so nice to just sit home and relax on that day off. But if they have small kids, if they have little children, my heart breaks. The loss of those memories those kids are missing out on makes me sad. 

    11. Be silly, be you and laugh

I love my mother’s laugh. It’s contagious. She’s comfortable with who she is and doesn’t worry about what others think. She is who she is and I love that. She taught me to love myself and not give a shit what other people think. 

   12. Sometimes be impulsive

When you have the weight of the world on your shoulders, it’s easy to forget how to have fun. You get stuck focusing on all the responsibilities you have, bills that are due, groceries to buy, appointments to make. You forget to live life. Sometimes you need to buy yourself those shoes, or do something crazy like get a tattoo. Sometimes be spur of the moment. 

   I’m so very grateful for my mother. She taught me so many wonderful things about being a strong person and a wonderful mother. Because of her I have raised great kids who are thoughtful, loving and kind. She taught me to believe in myself, to value who I am and to be proud of what I’ve accomplished. On a rough day at work I can hear her telling me how smart I am and how impressed she is with me. That helps me regroup and get back to being my fierce self. She reminds me to know my worth and never settle. She has become my voice of reason when my frustrations cloud my emotions. I could not be who I am without her.

Mom, thank you for being you. 

Aha moment

It’s been a very long time since I snapped. I understand hot tempers because honestly mine has been one of the worst. That’s why I completely avoid conflict and drama. They trigger this beast in me, and it’s a mighty beast that takes over and I’m watching from a distance, excluding the black-outs. These are not alcohol induced black-outs. It’s pure rage. I lose control. I lose minutes literally in the blink of an eye. When I come to, it’s after I get body slammed by some dude to control the crazy bitch that was unleashed and I realize I physically attacked someone. I don’t know if people see me as this anymore but I know it’s always there, and I fear that part of me. In truth there were many times I could have been arrested, especially during my marriage. He protected me a few times from that. Probably guilt because he knew he caused it, I think he enjoyed bringing that out of me. Jealousy is an evil darkness for me. Fuck seeing red, my rage is the blackest black.

I think the fear of releasing that monster is why I step away from situations and people completely. I’m terrified of losing control. I take pride in my calm reaction to things now. I know once I lose that I go to another place entirely and it’s full of pain and chaos. I get drunk off the emotions like an alcoholic. Instead I choose peace now.

 

I’m an open, honest and blunt person to a fault. When I allow someone in my tight circle, I will share my world with you. There are no boundaries for our conversations. I will tell you all the details of my soul and I want to know yours. This is how I connect. Not knowing where the line is has caused a lot of people to step away. And I honestly don’t do it intentionally, it’s not meant to hurt anyone. I just crave deep conversations, with raw emotions that make you look hard at things..to grow. 

A few days ago, sitting with my son at his therapy session we were brainstorming to prepare for his IEP meeting at school. The therapist was discussing his communication disorder and what things will help him. We discussed note taking and different ways to use these to be successful throughout your life. I explained what I do and how I use my notes. That I prefer using my hand written notes vs the typed organized version because when I see my hand written notes I’m able to replay the moment in my head, helping me remember the information. The therapist had a “aha” moment and her mouth dropped, she sat closer literally on the edge of her seat and said “do you know you probably also have a communication disorder?”. Mind you, this isn’t just my son’s therapist. After my divorce I saw her myself for over 3 years. She knows me better than anyone. I sat there speachless and frozen and honestly a little embarrassed and finally said “I think I’ve learned a lot about myself by learning about Ryan. We are alike in many ways.” 

Tonight this became even more apparent. Asking my now ex-boyfriend a question, which offended him. Maybe because it’s through text he thought I was starting a fight but I wasn’t. I was asking because I needed deep raw conversation and he is my best friend and I seem to be a retard when ending a relationship. I mean, I’m a very strong independent woman and he’s more the needy, romantic, insecure type and he moved on very fast from our breakup after spending a year and a half beating me with how he wouldn’t be able to move on right away..numerous times implied a year or longer if at all because of his love for me.. it took him at most a month after moving out. I wanted to know what helped him. How do you start over so soon. Not in the “how could you asshole” way, in the “teach me how to be normal” way. And he’s the one whom I tell everything to and have the most raw discussions with. Mind you I was drinking and explained to my 20 year old daughter who said “oh no, you can’t ask him that”. I didn’t understand and asked her to explain. I began crying because I honestly didn’t and still don’t understand. At that moment I thought of my son, and all the conversations he needs explaining appropriate or common sense things. I thought how he gets frustrated and wants it explained more and hears “you should know this, it’s common sense” all day at school. How embarrassed he feels when he doesn’t understand. This was my “aha” moment. 

Feeling blessed

Today was a typical Sunday. I did laundry, we took a mid-day nap, we made dinner together, we ate together and teased each other, I did the dishes while my daughter ran to get us ice cream. I finished up some chores and we ate ice cream then my daughter shaved our family cat. Towards the end she needed help holding him. She hated to ask me, you see I’m allergic of cats. Quickly she finished then told me to go shower while she cleaned the mess. Once I finished, concerned she asked if I was okay. Normally I am sneezing, eyes burning, crying for benedryl. I don’t know why but that meant so much to me, her concerned if I was okay.

I adore my kids.They remind me all the time how much I’ve taught them, how much respect they have for me. They make me proud of my life.

Frustrations of being human

 

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My son, I love him dearly, but oh.my.god…can that kid drive me to my limits. My day consisted with kind of a crummy work day, then going to Walmart to pick up groceries for our Thanksgiving dinner. While shopping my son’s teacher called, a 20 minute conversation was had standing by the frozen turkeys. My son just decided he didn’t want to participate today, no work was completed for 6 periods. He wasn’t combative which sadly is good news. I spend my $150 in the self check-out. Come home to him in his “mood”.

Long story short, my son was upset his teacher embarrassed him in front of the whole class. He’s yelling and let me tell you, this kid has some lungs, and it pushes my limits. My daughter decides this is the time to inform him he was being selfish two days ago when he ate the last package of cinnamon rolls. So here I am, trying to discuss school and listening to them argue over fucking cinnamon rolls, both yelling over the other.

Finally my son and I get to discuss his day, his version. Sounds to me his lack of attention and honestly, I feel, his lack of respect has pushed his second period teacher to her limits. I listen respectfully and calmly explain “hey bud, do you think it’s possible when you have to be constantly redirected because of your lack of focus, do you think it’s possible that in a class of twenty something kids and the teacher who has a plan set by the school district how much work she is “REQUIRED” to teach all these kids for 9 periods a day, and that doesn’t allot her extra time to constantly redirect you or pull you aside for a lengthy explanation of how your actions appear disrespectful to her and the whole class…do you think it’s possible in her day she can, I don’t know, become human and get frustrated with you? Lose her patience?” Mind you while I said this, I had to snap my fingers a minimum of three times, and tell him no I will not let you speak yet at least two times. Sigh.. he is exhausting.

The night moved forward. Then Ryan begins to tell me how he was then yelled at after school because he was startled and did his extremely high pitched scream in someones face who then yelled at him to “knock of that god damn girly shit”. Sigh… big sigh… I’m expected to address each and every person who doesn’t have the ability to calmly explain in detail with compassion and honestly, I’m exhausted. Did I do this? Did I cause his thinking the world has to tip toe around his feelings?

Then I’m cleaning my house preparing for a big Thanksgiving feast and my mom visiting, that’s stressful, my mom! I always want things perfect for her, even though I can’t compare to hers, I want her to know I try, that she taught me what’s important. I must have told my son a minimum of twelve times tonight to lower his voice, stop yelling. I use hand gestures to remind him, I give him the look that says “Dude! Enough!”. I am calm and patient at 5 pm… even 6 pm.. but by 7:30 when I’ve had him purposely scream like a girl terrified on a roller coaster in my face, I’ve had enough. I’m now yelling at him, firmly. Even popping him in the mouth with the reminder “I’ve asked you how many times to stop yelling!?”. In the end, I kick him out of the living room which took at least twenty minutes to make him go, and he’s in tears might I add. And I’m sitting here pissed and feeling guilty.

In 3 hours I managed to turn his shitty “I don’t want anyone here for thanksgiving! I hate school and I hate my life and I don’t want to see anyone!” to cheering up and being back to his goofy self and laughing…. to sending him to his room in tears. And I’m sitting here blogging my frustrations to avoid going in my room and popping a xanax. I am afterall, human. Extremely amazing and strong, but still human.

Protected in pillows

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I’m very familiar with this life lesson. Yes it’s a painful lesson, and usually affects more than just myself.

The other day while driving home, I had a conversation with my daughter about people’s behavior and how best to interact. Attempting to educate her with some lessons I’ve learned along the way, I realized I couldn’t think of having this conversation with my mom at that age. How I wish my mom had been able to share guidance for me along my journey, save me some pain and time. I’m not sure that she has much awareness on lessons, she’s stubborn like a bull and rarely admits when she’s wrong. But seeing her ways has taught me to open myself to the need to internally grow. Luckily, I’ve met some amazing people that have been able to verbalize some great experiences to help me.

I’ve recently really put myself out there. Dating isn’t something I enjoy. Yes, the newness is fun in the beginning, but I just want to relax and be myself. I yearn being in sync with someone, having a person who just gets me, thinks of my response before I even say it. I can say this fella, he gives me a reminder that maybe it’s possible to find that. And he genuinely seems to be in awe of my awesomeness. But I’m still scared. Scared of losing myself. Scared of realizing too late that with him came baby mama drama, not being fully available, another person who made me laugh and smile but ended up hiding a darkness that I should have seen.

I don’t trust myself. I don’t trust my judgment. I don’t ever want to be the person I used to be. The fear of that alone is enough to make me run. To make me curl into a ball, buried in pillows and blankets, and wonder “what if” from a safe distance. Because at least in that, my heart is safe. Lonely and empty, a little bit dark, but protected.

One decision

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One decision..
One choice..

To take you to a completely different direction, open a whole new journey. Like a fork in the road, but there’s no guarantee which one is better for you. So fear is shouting “what if it’s worse than where I’ve been or where I’m at?”, then hope whispers softly “but what if it’s not?”.

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