Monday, January 30, 2012

Pseudo Long-Distance


I’m a single parent. Mr. Handsome is a single parent.

We both work.

Saying our time together is “limited” would be a laughable understatement if I didn’t miss him so ridiculously most of the time. So, while I’m not exactly laughing, I am trying to make the best of it. Trying would be the operative word. Flailing is more what it feels like 99.9% of the time. At least on my end. I get the feeling from him that he’s managing the aspects of our relationship that make us feel like we live 300 miles apart, instead of just 30 or so, a lot better than I am. Maybe that’s an illusion, or maybe he’s just more mature, patient, and reasonable than I am.

Who knows?

All I really know is that I need to try and focus on the positives of our little predicament before I go stir crazy. I am an impatient woman. When it comes to my dating history, I’ve been accustomed to having what I want, when I want it. Never in my life have these flaws of mine (ADHD, anyone?) been more apparent than now. I’ve never been involved in a real long-distance relationship in all my life, and I’m certainly starting to think I avoided such predicaments in past relationships on purpose. In fact, I can’t think of one instance where I’ve dated someone that wasn’t as available as I wanted them to be (within reason, of course). So, needless to say, this pseudo long-distance thing is throwing me for a loop.

I’m antsy.

I’m impatient.

Sometimes, I think that it sucks.

If falling for someone with limited availability is supposed to be some sort of learning experience, I’m certainly paying attention.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

How did I get here?

Closure is essential to moving on. Whether you're trying to move on from a past failure, mistake, loss of a loved one through death or divorce ... it really doesn't matter what exactly it is that you're trying to move on from. You need closure to get to that place -- in both your mind and your heart -- where you can ultimately, just let go of the emotional pain and mental anguish that's got you firmly anchored in personal turmoil.

Without closure you're just hanging on. Immobilized.

J, my pooch, doesn't hang on to the ugly.
Neither should you.
You can't move on towards anything wonderful if the boat you're sailing in has its anchor thrown out into the sea of craziness around you. Either you'll just paddle furiously and spin around in circles because you're anchor has caught a rock and is firmly held in one spot, or you'll exhaust yourself trying to paddle forward against the tide as your anchor, the dead weight of nothing-but-baggage, drags along the the bottom surfaces of the murky waters you might happen to find yourself floating in.

So, how does one achieve closure?

I'll tell you how I did it, but first let me tell you this: how I move on, achieve closure and let go of past hurts and disappointments is unique to ME. How you might achieve the same in whatever moving on process you are trying to navigate would be the same for you: unique and as individual as you are.

That is the biggest lesson of all. If you walk away from this blog with nothing else but that one truth, my job here is done.

My timeline, rate of recovery, ability to forgive and let go -- essentially, my starting over wonderful, living life phenomenal journey -- is as unique to me as your own life's journey is to you. So, you could read what I have to say and take nothing from it, essentially, because everyone's emotional makeup is as different as their genetic one. When it comes to grieving a loss, or even falling in love, the how, why and when for one person will always be different than the next's. No two people are the same. Likewise, neither are their experiences or their emotional investments in the same. Too soon for one person might be just long enough for another; or even too long (Oh-MY-God-Is-It-Over-Yet!?!!!).

With that, here's what I've learned about achieving closure so that you can move on once you've gotten to that peaceful place.

Friday, January 27, 2012

When fate steps in ...

It is amazing, really.

You’re traveling along on your own little journey, lost in your own little world, and out of nowhere it seems, the right something (or dare I even say, someone?) crosses paths with yours. When I say right, I mean that certain something (and yes okay, possibly someone) who’s sudden, un-expected presence makes you stop dead-in-your-tracks so that you can catch your breath.

Because it’s just what you needed. The realization takes your breath away.  

And you can’t believe your luck that it just showed up one day, out of the blue, when you weren’t even looking for anything like it. When you didn’t even know that it was just the thing you’ve been missing in your travels all along.

So, you take it with you as you continue onward.

You embrace it.

You’re grateful for it.

You give it all you’ve got.  For what it’s worth, it changes you enough where you re-evaluate where you’re going and how you plan to get there.

For some, that certain, perfect something could be just the right job opportunity where taking it opens the door of possibilities for the most fulfilling and rewarding career imagined.  For me, that certain, perfect something might actually be a someone.

So far, I feel as if I cannot get enough. Enough of his presence, his voice, his hands. His eyes locked with mine. I swear, every time he kisses me my heart breaks wide open wanting to give back to him every feeling he gives me.

Truthfully, I’ve had to stop and catch my breath quite a few times since we met. There was an immediate connection and the feelings were there fast, furious and without any sort of warning. I didn’t want to believe that any of it was real or even possible, so at one point early on, I tried to turn around and travel off in a different direction away from him.

But I didn’t. I couldn’t. I came right back to where he was standing; waiting patiently.

And I’m embracing it.

And not only am I grateful to have met him, but the significance of him waiting it out while I stumbled around in disbelief in the beginning does not go unnoticed.

I want to give it all I’ve got, as if I’ve got nothing to lose and like I’ve never been hurt before.  For what it's worth, he's wonderful and where this is going could change everything. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Single Mom Goes Stag


Me in the infamous dress
Every woman, whether single, married, separated, divorced -- or whatever -- should attend the 30th birthday party of a friend before they themselves turn the big 3-Ohh.  You know the classic bucket-list? Well, add this little adventure to your “things to do before I’m old” list. 

I’m sure my take on the whole experience is completely unique to me as an individual, and with respect to where I am in life right now, but there are lessons to be learned for any woman by attending any sort of party or event on her own.  If that party or event celebrates an unavoidable milestone that you yourself will face at some point, either willingly or begrudgingly, even better! More perspective, I say!

So, what did I learn by attending a birthday-bash all-by-my lonesome? First, I learned what was needed to actually get my ass to the party when my date had to cancel. Once there, I unexpectedly learned a few new things about myself and where I am at on this journey to start over.   

Single Mom Goes Stag = Total Eye Opener!! 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

What's been keeping me?


I really work here, but from home.
So I guess I "virtually" work here.
Photo Credit: patentdocs.org
I'm super swamped examining patent applications lately. In case you didn't know, that gig is the only paying gig I have at the moment. I'm a social-media, internet junkie, wannabe freelance writer and/or photographer, purely for free. What I want to do to put food on the table and what I actually do to put food on the table don't line up exactly, but that's a different post for a different day.

On top of my job, and being a single mom to a toddler and sometimes-pain-in-the-ass dog, I've been spending my barely existent free-time these past few days answering 15 pages of fuckery, a.k.a. the discovery request from "the opposing counsel". There's a hearing regarding visitation scheduled two weeks from tomorrow.  Visitation that we already drafted, hammered out and agreed to more than two weeks before Christmas. Visitation that only needed to be entered in as a court order along with a formal petition before the holidays, in order to be effective for the holidays.

Instead, the opposing counsel didn't file a visitation petition with the court until December 23rd. Much drama ensued and now we are going to court. It's complicated and ugly.

If I was a betting woman, I would put my money on the STBX not filing on time for the holiday visitation to take place so that his parents would get pissed off enough.  If the STBX doesn't have visitation on a holiday, his parents don't by default. That being said, given that the ex-laws have more money than they know what to do with, and that they fit the profile of classic enablers, yeah ... it's not surprising in the least that this was the move played by the STBX in order to con some money out of them for paying legal fees. I was with the guy for 6 years. I know him better than I care to admit. Can we say, manipulative douche canoe? Why yes, I think we can. I saw the tactic coming from a mile away ...

Where gambling belongs. Trust me, I've been twice!
If I was a betting woman, I would also put my money on the STBX not formally filing to see his own kid in a timely manner because he is selfish. Plain and simple.
My guess is that he wanted to have the sick, twisted and dishonorable pleasure of telling whomever ignorant enough to listen "My bitch of an ex won't let me see our kid at Christmas. Feel bad for me. I'm a victim".

I'm sure his complaints about me at various holiday gatherings were just dripping with "boo-hoo"'s and "poor-me" whines, as if he marinaded in them since we separated. And he probably did. The classic manipulative narcissist is usually well-prepared for their theatrics. Honestly, I really don't care what he might have told members of "the other side" about me, but I do feel sorry for anyone that wasted their time having sympathy for him. The only sympathies I have surrounding this whole situation are for my poor little C-man who didn't get to spend time with his dad and grandparents at Christmas.

For what it's worth, I've been telling the STBX to file a visitation petition since before I even moved out of our house. I've told him in writing through multiple e-mails. I've screamed it to him when he's called me up to badger and harass me. I've told his parents.

I sincerely want our son to have time with his dad. I know how important it is. I just want the time and stipulations surrounding that time to be court-ordered due to the issues involved.

Since we separated, I've said, "I will not set up visitation informally due to the contingencies I am requesting, so please file a petition for visitation with the court as soon as possible so that you can have time with our son over the holidays". I've said this about ten different ways, at least fifty different times.

My repeated requests fell on deaf ears.

Infuriating doesn't even cover it.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Chin up, chest out

Lesson in dating a single dad when you're a single mom ... dates will be cancelled when kids are sick. And it will suck. And the "absence makes the heart grow fonder" concept will apply.

I was supposed to go to a party tonight with Mr. Handsome, but his little girl has the puking plague that C had last week, along with the rest of New England, so instead I'm going at it alone. I can't just say that I'm strong with a big (metaphorical) set of balls. I must prove it. At least to myself at a bare minimum.  Besides, I owe it to the sexy dress I bought for the party to rock it like I just lost 25 lbs on the divorce diet (cuz I did). And I owe it to my friends from college who will be there and who I haven't seen in almost 7 years. Chin up, chest out. I'm doing this. I can do this.  Walking into a party solo might just actually be a giant testament to how far I have come so far on my journey towards being wonderful. Strength is wonderful, along with just the right amount of self-confidence without bordering on over confident or cocky. No one likes a cocky bitch. I'll tell you one thing though, feeling confident enough to walk into a party post marriage-fail, without the date that I wanted oh so badly, is just about one of the biggest moves I've ever made for my self-esteem.

P.S. Oh and C was returned from visitation on time without too much conflict. Hope the next two visits go just as smoothly for everyone's sake. And I also hope he isn't too much of a cranky pants for my Mom tonight when she comes over to babysit.

Need a bit to process

... this has to be the hardest day yet as a single (almost divorced) mom.

I dropped C off for his first visit with his dad this morning and then I cried like a baby most of the way home. [The visits for this weekend were informally set up and agreed upon, by the way, and doing it this way totally against my wishes from day one  ... but, I'm just following advice for my legal representation.]

It didn't help that C threw a fit when I left and I could hear him screaming as I shut the door behind me and walked to my car. My heart cracked as I was leaving him and then it shattered into a million tiny jagged-edge pieces as I drove away. He's not like that when he is dropped off at daycare anymore, so I knew that the tears and fierce leg gripping (I had to peal him off me) was a sign that he was distressed about being left there.

Hold on while I stop for a moment and try to breath more slowly. Hyperventilating right now won't help matters.

....

Done. Where was I?

Oh yeah. We have a court hearing to battle out the stipulations and contingencies for visitation next month. I'm supposed to be using the time this weekend that C is with his father to catch up on some work and to try to put more of the evidence together for the 15-page discovery request, a.k.a. fuckery and total BS, received from "the opposing counsel" last week. You know you have some serious shit going in in your life when you get formal documents sent to you with those words in the "From" field of the cover letter.

Instead, I can't concentrate. On.Anything. I put a cup of tea on, forgot about it, and then once it was nice and cold remembered it sitting there waiting for me.

That's when I decided to come here and vent. This post is not thought out, it's just me rambling and trying to process my feelings. I don't think I'm getting very far.

I miss my baby. After him being at daycare all week long, Saturdays are suppossed to be OUR time together. Mommy and C-Man time. We snuggle under the blankets in my bed and play peak-a-boo. We have breakfast together. We play.

I miss my baby.

And, to make matters worse, I'm constantly having to remind the STBX that our son is just a baby. You would think you wouldn't have to remind a child's father of such obvious truth, but in my case I do.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Why I got hitched when I should've ditched

Tina, of One Mom's Battle, recently wrote a post answering some tough questions posed by a reader and I was so inspired, I just had to follow suit and tackle the same self-reflective challenge.  It was asked (and I'm paraphrasing here just a tad):  Why did you marry the STBX in the first place? What was the issue with your self esteem, your sense of right or wrong and your boundaries that led you to marry someone like him?

Common sense says that if I haven't figured this much out by now, I'm likely to make the same sort of mistakes all over again, subsequently derailing this journey of mine.  In order to get to where I'm going, I have to know where I've been, right?  Thankfully, the mental clarity that comes with letting go and moving on has allowed me to easily pinpoint a majority of the specifics as to why I got married in the first place.

Here's how I see it looking back. I've been told a few times recently that hindsight is 20-20. Ain't that the truth?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Learning My Truths, Episode 1

Learned truth: when it comes to dating, multitasking is not for me.  

By the way, it should be baseball season already.
Photo credit: Werner Kunz
You may have noticed from my previous post, I'm sort of into someone (affectionately dubbed, "Mr. Handsome"), as hard as I may have tried to pretend otherwise since we first met over two months ago. Instead, I tentatively entertained that whole idea of "playing-the-field".

As I ventured out into the game, I noticed that I was hesitant and that I kept Mr. Handsome on my team as not only a player, but to me he was the MVP. Needless to say, it took me a few weeks to figure out what the hell game I was even playing and why. Oh, and how badly I sucked at it.

It took time and circumstance ... a couple of dates with other players, getting through the holidays with C, managing a few co-parenting ring-dingers with the STBX. Then, all of a sudden, New Years came around and I found myself overwhelmed, exhausted and only really wanting my self-proclaimed MVP to be the one that I lay down and take a time out with.  It was as if I became momentarily delirious from sleep-deprivation causing my sub-conscious to find a voice loud enough for me to hear. I heard:  Newsflash! This just in from the farthest depths of your brain: you are horrible with multitasking most of the time, so what on earth would make you think you could successfully apply that concept to dating as a single working Mother with a very busy life? Are you stupid? Haven't you learned anything in your almost 30 years? Jeez Louise! 

Upon realizing these truths, thanks to that voice in my head, I immediately accepted them. I didn't fight them or stuff them back down where they had been hiding since puberty. That's what growth is all about, isn't it?

Photo Credit: Jonnie Write, theunsecretshopper.com

Where's my reality TV camera crew?

I seriously think that the actual day-to-day crazy of my life would be excellent TV fodder for trashy and shallow Americans who like to peep in on the chaos of other people's lives. You know that turkey-neck syndrome we all get when we drive by a fender bender on the highway?  Don't even try to lie, you know you do it. We all do. I hereby admit outright that I can be slightly trashy and shallow too from time to time, so don't feel bad.

Want proof?

My future BFF!
Photo Credit: kategosselinhaircut.com
I cried when "Jon & Kate Plus 8" ended, cheered Kate on when "Kate Plus 8" aired and then cried again when the spin-off cancelled (even if it was mediocre compared to its predecessor). I shit you not, but real tears fell from my eyes many times throughout my love affair with the Gosselins. I relished every minute spent watching that train wreck all the way back to their first specials broadcast on the Discovery Channel. I even own a copy of "Multiple Blessings". How lame, right?

If I am going to be totally honest here, I think Kate Gosselin and I might get along really well if we were to meet one day. We are both extroverts and we both married douche canoes whom we ended up divorcing. We could be like instant BFFs. I could teach her how to get a real job and she could teach me how to organize my oppressive ADHD-induced piles of stuff that might take over my house some day if I am not careful. (Kate, if you read this ... I truly support you, despite the train wreck aired on national television, and I do think you rocked your divorce with the utmost of dignity. I only hope that I can do the same through mine. Cheers!)

Anyway, the quirky, eyebrow raising, unexpected "interesting" of my life that seems to pop up whenever I seem to think things like "I've soooo got this" will never cease to amaze me. For an outsider looking in, its probably laugh-out-loud hilarious. For me, sometimes it is and sometimes it isn't.  Learning how to laugh at myself and not take things so seriously is one of my goals on this journey of starting over wonderful. I get better at it every day.

Evidence that I'm making progress on learning how to laugh at my own ridiculousness came up one evening last week. The whole experience and sequence of events that night would have been perfect for the pilot episode of my reality show, too!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Thank you, DivorcedBefore30.com

Please head over and check out my guest post, "The Day I Knew" over on the awesome Divorced Before 30 blog. I admittedly stalked divorce support blogs and the like when I was contemplating leaving my marriage and DivorcedBefore30.com was one of the ones out there that I frequented during the decision phase of leaving, so I am truly honored to be featured.  And to be the first parent to guest post ... my head is already swelling!! I'm going to have big hair and a big head if I don't come down to earth soon. I should go down and spend an hour or so in my trashed laundry room for some self-imposed deflation of my ego.

Anyway, a few weeks after that day, the day I knew, I went back and looked over the photographs I had taken. This one of C just says it all for me. Even though he had fun at the farm just being a kid and even though he seemed oblivious to the war going on between his parents, the truth is right there in his eyes. When I look at this picture, I know for sure -- beyond any doubt that ever was -- that leaving my very bad marriage was the absolute very best thing I could do for my child. I am grateful that I had the strength and support to get out while he is too young to remember all of the fighting, all of the dysfunction and all of the tears. I am thankful to courageous, strong and beautifully talented women out there like those found at DivorcedBefore30.com for sharing their stories, their kindness, their heartache and, ultimately, their love and support on the web.

Without them, I might still be married and miserable. I might still be dying a slow death. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The concept of sharing

C's ability to share thus far, at the precious age of almost 16 months, is to outstretch his hand, item firmly grasped, offering for you touch the prized possession in a way that would make you think that he's going to actually hand it over. As soon as you are effectively fooled by his offering, he'll swiftly withdraw the item back towards his body in a protective clutch with facial expressions and a twinkle in his eye that clearly convey thoughts of "Gotchya!" on his end.  He recognizes the phrase "Can you share?" and this is his attempt at doing so when prompted. He obviously still needs more practice.

He isn't the only one.

Most children need to practice sharing things because it is natural and instinctive to want to keep things for yourself.  Most schools teach turn taking and teamwork to enforce the concept and instill the value of sharing. The institution of sharing is usually high on the list of priorities of most parents when it comes to teaching good principals to their kids.  Yadda, yadda, yadda ... when we share we all get a chance at something and our lives are more pleasant and productive ... yadda, yadda, yadda ... it is better to be giving and sharing with others makes us happy. Yadda. Yadda. Yadda.

I do not want to share my child.

I do not want to have to divide holidays and birthdays and soon, every third weekend.  Sure, it will be nice to have a free babysitter now and again, but I don't want to have to share C with anyone if I don't really want to on any one particular day. Not even his own family. And I am ashamed to say, not even with his own father.

But that is the honest truth.

Some child psychology experts speculate that toddlers like C have such difficulty understanding the concept of sharing because they can't see things from another person's perspective. Their brain development isn't advanced enough that early on in the game to really grasp the concept of empathy, so naturally the concept of sharing befuddles them too.  As they grow, if parents and other like-minded adults challenge toddlers to flex their little empathy muscles through development of awareness of their own feelings and how they impact the feelings of others, the concept of sharing becomes natural and desirable by preschool age, instead of forced and done only when they're being told to do so.

If I take that knowledge and apply it to my own adult resistance with sharing and how it applies to co-parenting and separation/divorce, I guess I need to learn how to have some empathy for the STBX and the ex-laws. It seems impossible right now. I'm having a very hard time seeing things from their point of view. I do not understand where they are coming from.

Love Birds

Did you know that swans generally mate for life? I did not until just a few moments ago (thanks Wikipedia!) and now I am trying to figure out if the two love bird's in my backyard pond at my rental house are mocking me or if they are there as some sore of divine inspiration?


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