Mail Call

Confession Booth time: I have a crushing fear of mail.  Well, fear might not be the right word, maybe just laziness. It overwhelms me, all of it.  Even a few pieces.  Cue #firstworldproblems tag immediately. I let it pile up, I put it in bags to “open later”, I pay my bills online so I don’t have to deal with it and no cute organizing system from Target can probably make me change for any length of time.  Two things about me: I don’t like calling on the phone and I don’t like mail. I adore technology for these reasons.  The only exception is I adore writing thank you cards and invites.  I refuse to use eVite, I know, I don’t get it either.  Not sure if it’s the technology that made me this way or vice versa, but whatever, it is me.

I officially apologize to the Post Office.

What has this “fear/laziness” done to me?

  • I just paid $2,000 for dental procedures that weren’t covered by my insurance because the dentist I chose was out of network.  Had I opened my policy, I would have known my company switched providers & could have saved probably $1,000 or more.  I found this out midway through a root canal.
  • I was missing over $20k in my 401k due to a “administrative error” that I only found after I had to take out a small loan to cover my divorce.  I would have known about it a YEAR earlier.  I handled it and they paid me interest, but still.  I cringe to think the money I lost in investments.
  • I overpaid on a bill by a LOT and am now riding out a credit that I didn’t need to accumulate.  (i.e. I could have used that money elsewhere more effectively.)
  • I am probably not investing the way I should or could.  I let “someone handle it.”  This is the very opposite of me in every other aspect of my life.
  • When I need something like tax returns or information for banking purposes, it takes me ages to find it and track it down.  Often hunting through bags like a hoarder.

 God, just writing that makes me feel incredibly embarrassed.

Lately I have been very very overwhelmed with life in general and decided to start at the “external spots” to get myself back in step.  i.e. I’m kinda sick of my own internal voice trying to fix my thoughts, feelings and concerns, my relationships, etc. so I’m going for the exterior portion for awhile.  It’s like a vacation from analyzing everything and still making progress!

 

I’m working out, I’m eating better, I overcame my fear of the dentist, I made a very strict budget for 2012 to get me on track financially, including some big financial goals (buy a house, fix my teeth) and now it’s time to get the clutter in order.  I’ve been spending Wednesdays while my kid is away dwindling this down.  I’m throwing out bags of baby clothes, getting my closet down to the bare essentials, I’ve started doing the No-Pants Challenge (HIGHLY recommend signing up for this e-newsletter, btw).  It’s all working and I’m feeling lighter than ever.  Physically and emotionally.

 As for the mail…I’m tackling it too.

I’m currently going through bags of mail that I just never opened. I’d stash it in a plastic bag and hope for the best.  Now I’m going through it to get things in order like my 401k, shred unwanted papers (which most of it is thank Goddess).  I’ve been bringing in a bag every couple weeks and throwing it in the shredder at work after I leave.

 

However, a weird bonus feature is happening.  I’m walking down memory lane and sweeping up the last few bits of marriage crud on the drive.  I’m finding bank statements from when I first separated from my ex-husband, including tax returns, how we split the money, and his doctor bills that came through on my insurance. I just figured out I never took him off my car insurance so I’m going to call and see if it lowers my rate!  (Note: It doesn’t.  I lost the “marriage” discount.  Oh well, best $20 I ever spent.) This feels so incredibly freeing.  It’s like cleaning up scraps I didn’t know were there still.  I’m literally cleaning house.

 

I found an old “bill box” from when we were married and it was FULL of all of his work-outs, screen-printing documents and my old budgets where I tried to piece together a life from our salaries and from when he wasn’t working so he could just “work out.”  I can’t tell you how GOOD it felt to throw all of that out.  I saw how hard I was trying to make our lives work with those budgets, the re-working and number crunching, our life blood.  Me trying to keep us afloat while his concerns were himself.  It felt incredibly good to throw it all away.  I think I threw away the last bits of anger I had over it along with it.

 

I did give him his print-outs, but I kept the bill box and now it’s all labeled and organized with MY life.

 

 I also found all my little lists when I first moved out: i.e. “What I want in my own place” and “What I need for my place” And I compared it to what I actually have in my place.  It almost matches.  I really did take care of myself for the first time in my adult life and I still am.

I never knew going through mail could be this scary and yet, comforting.  This bagged way, once-a-month thing is better than any cute organizer from Target, for sure.  Suddenly I’m only embarrassed about not doing this sooner.

 -LuLu

The Shit Whisperer

We’ve been busy at Bebe’s for a while now. The current issue at home is poop. I once thought poop was hilarious, because deep down I am a 12-year-old boy when it comes to stinky humor. However I have currently become overrun by it at home and it’s causing me to really lose my mind when all I would really like to lose is my sense of smell.

The boy has been inflicted with chronic constipation since birth. We have tried everything to help him with it, and some days are good. Some are bad. This has developed into Encopresis, which is a behavioral disorder. He holds in his bowel movements as a matter of control, and to avoid pain while going. And this causes more pain when his body eventually makes himself go. And go he does. He might only go every few weeks but when he does, he breaks my toilet. I am not even kidding. We have done diet changes, bribery, rewards, kisses, seriousness, jokes, yelling, and against my better judgement I looked up the patron saint of constipation. He exists. The Catholics think of everything! In between shitting out meteoric sized balls into my now delicate and frightened toilet, his body compensates for waste removal by expelling brown liquid, day in, and day out.

It’s messy. It’s stinky. We have underwear drying out on every railing in our house. I smell like shit every night. I wipe it from remote controls, bath tubs, toys, walls, floors, socks, pants, carpets, beds and shirts. On some days, I get beaten up and scratched trying to get him for a sit on the toilet. I try to calm him down and let him know that I know he is angry and scared, and that’s okay. But hitting your mom or anyone out of anger and fear is never okay. Honestly though, if I didn’t have a fear of raising an abusive man, I would let him hit me all he wanted if it made him feel better. I will just lie and say I am in a roller derby league to explain the scratches. For a family experiencing constipation, we are in the throes of shit.

All of the time.

We do attend psychiatric counseling with the boy, to learn new parenting techniques. To try to understand where his mind is when this happens. To be less frustrated, angry and confused. It’s helped us as a family a great deal. I wish it could cure him but it hasn’t. My husband has learned a bit more about himself and his role as a parent, and even though our Saturday is really busy and sometimes sad, we are chipping away at years worth of issues that needed to be tackled. So hey, that’s good, right? All it took was my kid being in pain, afraid of what should be a hilarious rite of passage for any 4-year-old, and my sudden need to gag whenever I see anything brown, up to and including chocolate. Is nothing sacred, man?

I have questioned why I have been going through this and felt great sympathy for myself. Aggravation, frustration, disgust, and pure anger are also feelings that pop up now and then. It stays with me quite a lot, until I remember a couple of things. My kid is really fucking cool. No, I don’t really need to add the curse word to accentuate how much I love him and how cool he is. But some people deserve the added color. And he does. Aside from his issues, like his possible Aspergers, his SPD, his delays, and his iron strong will, he is healthy to the core. He eats, plays, grows, smiles, laughs, and has no other problems in life, other than future embarrassment of his parents, and with good reason. He is profoundly lucky and in turn, I am profoundly lucky. So many parents with so many more issues, their babies being very sick their whole lives. Or worse, dying. Those parents, they just do what they do. It’s not easy for them. I know that. I really do.

More importantly though, when my son is in pain, or has neurological issues, I just try really hard to know that this is HIS reality more so than mine. I am his mother and it’s MY job to help him through this and be strong, be patient, and be his biggest advocate when doctors blow you off and your best laid plans don’t seem to work. I cannot imagine what it’s like to BE HIM. I would love to learn what makes him tick, and I hope to really tap into that. So I keep working for it. If I have to be knee-deep in shit to learn to stay the course and keep fighting for my kid, then so be it. Jesus H, if you read my posts regularly you will know I just shit my own pants not too long ago. It’s my destiny, people! 

The Shit Whisperer. That’s my roller derby name.

Bebe

 

A Joyful Firehose

I told a man that I loved him recently and I meant it.  I blurted it out while we were laying in bed laughing and talking, after a night of listening to albums curled up on the couch with some wine and a dinner we made together, and a year of growing closer and closer.  After hours of talking about our life, it just felt right.  We were rolling around naked, being silly and I stopped him and said “I have to tell you something.”

Then it all came running out of my face-hole in a blur.

I have loved this man for months, maybe since day one.  He is one of the most kind, thoughtful, sweet and loving men I have ever met.  He makes me feel calm inside, happy, light and always taken care of.  I trust him more than anyone else I know with my heart.  I feel love towards him stronger than I think I ever did for my ex-husband or any man before.  It’s a quiet, mature, peaceful, trusting love with no drama or hard to resolve misunderstandings or conflict.  It’s completely new to me, it’s full of hard work and it’s fantastic.

So why do I feel like telling him I loved him wasn’t big enough?  Like I didn’t say it right?  Like there is still some guarded piece of me that refuses to give up the armor?

I broke another rule of mine, I wouldn’t say those 3 words first again.  A man can say it to me first.  With some of these rules though?  A huge part of me thinks my brain needs to shut the fuck up occasionally.  I overthink everything to make sure I’m “doing it right.”  It is the most frustrating thing about myself, other than how easy the hail damage shows on my thighs.  I told him I loved him because I love him.  Why is that so weird, self?

Sure I could write it off as the bullshit anxiety which stems from a very long childhood of absent biological fathers and shitty step-fathers, not feeling whole, always waiting for the shoe to drop, etc. but I’m not going there now.  We ALL know what that does to people, there are songs written about it by John Mayer for Christ sake.  It’s real and it’s long lasting and it sucks.  While I’m sympathetic to people not being provided with the right skills, I also want to say a loud: FUCK YOU shitty parents for the trauma you cause with your selfishness and this goes to the parents before you too that caused you to be that way.

Another part of me thinks I’m guarded because I do not deserve to find this kind of love because of things I’ve done in my past.  I cheated on my ex-husband and I cheated on boyfriends before that.  I callously and coldly did what I did because I couldn’t bring myself to have the balls to deal with the current situation, so I went the lazy way.  I got what I needed from someone else.  I hurt a lot of people, including my self esteem.  And I know that no matter what they were doing to me, even cruelly, I should have never taken the lower road.  Ever.

I am a person who cheats or I should say I was a person who cheated.  I have not totally accepted this yet.  I mean, I accept the responsibility for what I did and put in place things in my life that make sure it does not happen again.  But some part of me feels like I’m just keeping that inevitable monster at bay for now.  That I’ll find myself swept up again in that drama completely out of my control. 

Like my body is going to get up in the middle of the night and sleep walk into an adulterous affair without my soul’s consent.  Yes, I’m probably nuts.  Another way of looking at it?  Perhaps the armor I feel is what is holding this monster in the dungeon.

I know I wear that scarlet A to this day.  But as Bebe says, experiences like that leave a psychic scar but it’s a consequence, not a punishment.  I should cross-stitch this on a pillow.

So what do we do with all of these experiences?  These scars in the shape of: divorce, affairs, bad relationships, bad choices?  Take inventory of what we know?

What I know is I am now a much stronger person than I was.  I did a shit load of introspection and work over the past 2 years that I am proud of and I know what needs to be done to be happy. I choose not to be a cheater again, to others or myself.  I don’t only choose, I refuse.  My self worth and self esteem have climbed more than I can properly describe.  Self worth makes it impossible to cheat, I should rest on these laurels.  I’m a way more open communicator in my present relationships.

I also know there are still some areas I can improve and that might be part of this too.  For instance, there are a few major issues I need to talk with this man I love about that I haven’t found the balls yet.  Maybe it’s time to remedy that to drop a few plates of this armor because it’s bringing back a ton of unresolved fears of that monster from the deep.  If I have these conversations that monster can go find a new home.

A very smart co-editor of this blog told me once: “Never regret sharing joy, no matter the outcome or people’s reaction to it.  We need joy in our lives.”  She may have also added in an “asshole” at the end, but hey, the gist of the message is clear.

I have no idea where I’m going and what I’m doing ultimately but I’m going to try to stop worrying about it being perfect. I’m going to start spreading joy and this includes to myself.  I will be joyful if I am honest with everyone, including me.

And honestly, I love this man.

-Lulu

Rules are like A-holes, everyone has them

After almost 2 years of dating in my adult life, my past and present includes: an ex-husband, several really toxic men, a fuck buddy, lots of good dates and good conversation with decent men, and now one absolute love of my life. I feel like I should sum up a few things about the new self I’ve become.  Some things I put actively into place and some that naturally came about to make me a billion times more comfortable in my skin in this whole love thing and has ultimately made the relationship I’m in now, a lot stronger.  

EDITOR’S NOTE: I’m no expert and I’m certainly not in the position to think just because I have a lovely man that I need to tell you how to live YOUR LIFE.  I ain’t that smug.  I am a work in progress, as we all are.  If you see my rules below, you’ll know this is about me.  I just like to share in case you think any of this could be helpful to you.

I will never beg someone to like/love/want/need/stay with me if they explicitly say they do not want to.  If you want to go, then go.  Just like those meth ads: not even once.

I am not and will never be in the business of competing for men with other women, men, or their own personal baggage.  I won’t.  I am worth not doing that more than any one person is worth trying.  If you want me and I want you, let’s do this.  End of story.  Which leads me to my next point…

I will not expend energy getting someone to agree with me/prove I’m right.  I won’t be mute, but it’s become less important to me as I get older to spend any time trying to convince someone with opposing positions otherwise.  This includes friendship, love, business, etc.  It’s pointless to me.  You can only control yourself and how you let people make you feel.

If someone I love has some baggage, I will support THEM working through it, but I will no longer try to fix it for them.  I cannot do anything more powerful than listen, isn’t that what we all really want?  Why do we waste time doing more when that is always enough?

Weirdly, all of those rules make it so I can love completely and without my guard up, no matter that I can’t see the future.  It has made all of this less scary. 

 

If I lose someone I adore, it will not lessen the hurt for me to not beg them to stay, especially if they are important to me. It’s always going to hurt like hell.  But I now know the hurt would show me I tried and I did love them completely.  If I didn’t feel a thing, then I never really cared either.  I don’t want to live like a zombie and I don’t want to live without someone’s full heart either.  Both rules take care of each other, in a sense.

 

Recently on Suburban Bliss, the lovely Melissa said the following about her new adventures in dating/divorce:

“People can be assholes and it doesn’t matter if you’re an asshole, or nice, or stupid, or smart, or kind, or hateful.  You can’t convince them to not be assholes. You can’t make them understand the pain they’ve caused you. You have to accept it and move on. You’ll be hurt whether you deserve it or not.”

I agree with this completely in a sense.  You cannot make someone love you the way you need it and there will always always always be assholes.  In any situation: families, work, relationships, the line at the grocery store.  All you can control is yourself.  Sometimes you can be an asshole too.

This made me wonder how we survive with that universal truth.  Best I can figure, the only way for ME to keep going is to know I do what I can do, I loved, I cared, I adored and I stayed true and loyal.  To me first and then it will naturally go outward to people in my life.  I’ll hurt sometimes, but I’ll always be comforted knowing I stuck to my “rules” because they make it so I can keep loving, adoring, fully caring going forward.

Because rules, just like hearts, are easily broken, it’s best to hold both in your arms as tenderly as you can in order to keep them intact.

 

-Lulu

Thanks Staind.…

Thanks Staind.  Now I can’t say “It’s been awhile…” without thinking of that early 00’s song of same name.  But yea, it’s been awhile.  It’s been amazing and eye opening too.  I got through my second holiday season as a single mom with visitation schedules and boyfriends/girlfriends and drop-offs and pick-ups and discussion on gifts and keeping her sleep schedule, etc.  We got through! 

Though, there were some bumps.  This wasn’t “my year” to have her on Xmas eve and Xmas morning.  I suddenly found myself sobbing on Xmas eve as I sat by my tree wrapping a few remaining gifts.  I teared up when I sat at my boyfriend’s house watching his nieces and nephews open gifts while my little girl was at her dad’s. 

Honestly, I was glad to know I still feel something because I admit, 2 ½ has been kicking my ass.  She’s beautiful, hilarious and wicked smart and also firey, strong-willed and argumentative just like I was.  My grandmother said I should be a lawyer because I argued about EVERYTHING.  Now I get it.  SORRY GRAMS!!!

It’s not her fault it’s kicking my ass, by any means.  But I find myself having to daily remind myself there is a balance I need to find.

It’s amazing how your life can give you that balance if you sit up in bed at 2:00 a.m. and yell out “I GIVE UP!” as you are sobbing while your kid is flipping out next to you.

We recently spent about 3 weeks solid of her having night terrors at only my house, 5 nights a week like clockwork.  It was maddening that at her dad’s she was fine but at my house she’d wake up between 10:00 p.m. and 2:00 a.m.-ish screaming, kicking me, hitting me and yet when I’d try to comfort her she’d flip out.  If I left the room she clawed at me in a panic.  It took anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours every night to calm her down.  I never knew when it would happen so I’d stay on pins and needles every night, barely sleeping.  It reminded me of when she was a newborn.  That newborn mother sleep that wakes you at the slightest little sneeze or purr.

Let’s just say I wasn’t at my best.  At one point I was ready to call either a priest or a psychiatrist.  I finally consulted Google and mothers on Facebook.  Who knew.

What I found out?  My kid needs structure along with her freedom.  It’s my responsibility to provide both.  Thank you night terrors for teaching me that.  Apparently night terrors can be triggered by sleep deprivation.  A quick rally conversation and plan between her dad, babysitter and myself and after 1 day, she’s sleeping in her own bed all night, no problems for the past 8 days. 
Let’s just go ahead and see that in all caps again: ALL I NEEDED TO DO WAS PUT HER TO BED AT A REASONABLE HOUR AND MAKE SURE SHE WELL RESTED DAILY.

Why is she sleep deprived?  Because I let her lead too much of her own life.  My loosey-goosey mothering might not be the best idea for this particular child.  Some of it is still my guilt over breaking up her family and having her go between 2 houses, etc. Now I know it physically isn’t helping her by letting her get away with going to bed when she wants, eating whatever and not instituting some sort of time-out for punishments.  She needs structure and she needs me to be the rule-maker. 

I hate making rules for her because I feel like in the 2 hours I see her a day now that she goes to bed early, I spend it just disciplining her.  I want her to paint her entire body and run around naked dancing to “princess music” if she feels like it.  I want her to mess up her room and just create chaos for an afternoon.  I mostly want her to tell me what to do because most days I don’t have a fucking clue.

So now, in order to not sob at 2:00 a.m. (me AND her) she can still paint naked and make a mess and call me a “meatball sandwich” because it makes us both laugh.  But she can also go to bed at 8:00 p.m. on the dot in her bed, she can sit in her “time-out” spot when she hits, she can also have healthy food and less snacks in between meals and eat at the table every single day.  Now I see they go together, not either/or.

I also learned it’s really difficult to not feel guilty about dating and being a mother.  I’d feel it when I would count the days until my Friday off because I can’t wait to wake up naked with my boyfriend, a little before sunrise the next morning.  We lay in his comfortable, warm bed and be lazy while the sun comes through his blinds on a Saturday morning and I pretend as hard as I can I have nowhere I have to be.  I push that experience up through breakfast until the last possible minute before I have to run into town and pick her up.  I usually then have a great day with her where she’s just hilarious and I think I should just STFU.  However by about Tuesday, the countdown starts again to my Saturday morning in bed.

After a particularly long day, I’ll put her to bed but she still stirs for about an hour.  As I’m back at her bedside rocking her for the third time, I see him sitting peacefully on the couch watching our shows and I just want her to go to sleep, please.  PLEASE.  So momma can sit down for the first time today and lower my IQ with TV.  Then she puts her little hand on my cheek and says “Just hold my hand, mama.”

I know, I know.  These times are short, but the days are endless.

My boyfriend is absolutely wonderful, thank god.  He sat up with me during a night terror and helped calm us both down.  He’s an active part in giving me ideas on how to be a stronger rule maker.  He also tells me he’s constantly amazed by how much I tell her I love her and let her be her.  He’s like the inner voice I need to tell myself!  He takes us on hikes, doesn’t lose his temper and now shows up by 7:30 so he doesn’t miss storytime with her almost every night.
I’m eternally blessed and I deserve it.

Looking back at 2011, there really seems to be a theme in my life.  I moan and bitch about wishing someone would just write a handbook on a normal life so I could follow it like Ikea instructions.  Then I go about writing my own without really trying.

My theme for 2012: Gratefulness.

Aside

You Spin Me Round Round Baby Round Round

There is a lot going on in Bebe’s World, everyone. A lot. So much so that you are going to be subjected to about 3 events worth of babble in one post because it’s my blog and I’ll do what I want. I’ve been struggling with this bizarre feeling that I hadn’t really been able to explain before but I finally managed to come up with an apt description. I have fallen off of my axis. I’m not quite spinning out of control across the ether or anything, but I just kind of feel like my gravitational sanity axis is amiss. I know why and how this happened. I am just now trying to figure out how to get it back so I can go on about my crazy ass life. You know I should state that I don’t like country music all that much yet somehow, someway, my life could be turned into a weird country song. I would title it “My Trash is Pearly White”.

So let’s start off with Theo McCancerPants. If you have been following along with my stories you will know that my mentally ill drug addicted brother is suffering from cancer. I went to see him a few weeks ago. We were supposed to attend a family session through his rehab joint to discuss how his decisions have affected our lives. We made it as far as the parking lot of the church it was being held. I knew he would back out at the last-minute and not go in. When we were kids he would mysteriously vanish right before family portraits. Security guards would have to chase him down in hospitals when he was sick with his stomach problems and he would try to escape. I knew when I pulled up and saw him sitting there that we wouldn’t go in. I explained that perhaps this flight philosophy he believes in so much isn’t working for him. It didn’t work though. We sat in the car for a while, and then went for coffee. It was the first time in about 5 years or so and we didn’t miss a beat when we saw each other. Still felt the deep sibling love, and the total inescapable feeling that I am sitting with an alien in my car.

By the way, in case you ever wondered what he looks like, I will go ahead and put it out there that he is from the stereotypical crazy addict school of design. I know that mental illness doesn’t always have the same face, body or spirit. Some look sharp and relatively normal, ala Patrick Bates. Others, like my brother, go the long scruffy beard and layers route. His vague notes of stale smoke and his grandmother’s polish cooking kind of permeate around him as well. I’m kind of shocked he is wearing shoes, as I remember a few years ago he vetoed them full-time, along with car insurance which he didn’t believe was necessary.

Aside from his physical appearance, health wise he looked ok. He tried to tell me his cancer came because of the nuclear disaster in Japan and called it The Simpson’s Theory. I can’t tell if he is serious or joking, so I just look at him sideways and he awkwardly laughed. Historically speaking this means he isn’t sure if he is joking or not either. We drink some coffee, we take a picture together, we hug, and I drop him off around the corner of his house and he walks through the neighbor’s yard. I wouldn’t be surprised if he crawled through the basement window to get in.

I talk to him briefly a few weeks later, and the following day I find out he arrived at court for a date with a judge regarding a prior incident he was involved in. He was supposed to have reported to a rehab facility a while back and didn’t. He is now in jail with a very high bond. I am not surprised or even disappointed. He is, relatively speaking, safe. He is warm. His medical needs are being taken care of. Perhaps he will be there long enough to become lucid enough to try and get it together just a little bit. The saga of Theo McCancerPants is not over though. Stay tuned.

The reason I only talked to Theo ever so briefly was because I was dealing with issues with my mother in law. Some of you may remember her as the culprit who has a brief shout out in Inflatable Metaphors for Life for bringing a Little Caesars Pizza to Thanksgiving dinner one year. She said she needed something to eat with her pills. So she brought an extra-large shitty ass pizza. Makes sense right? Yeah well, the issue with her was that she died. She hurt her back somehow, got stuck in her lazy boy, went to the hospital for 11 days and died. My husband traveled halfway across the country to be with her in the hospital because he just knew she was going to either leave the hospital and go to a nursing home, or leave there dead. This is all sad because it wasn’t necessary for her to die. Also, she was young. Really too young to be so old. I feel badly for my husband and his sister. They are good people, and their relationship with their mother was complicated at best. My relationship with her was almost non-existent. She was a hard woman to respect. I pitied her in many ways. But all I ever saw in her was the negative effect she had on her kids, who are mostly my responsibility. It’s like having 2 teenagers to take care of because their most basic emotional needs weren’t really always met. I have to give it to her though. I have never truly believed one could will themself to die. And she did.

I’m completely afraid of her haunting me. So much so that at the wake, I apologized to her for making so much fun of her to my friends. They all played Mother In Law Bingo at my baby shower. They should be sorry too. In case you were wondering, I created a list of things I knew she would do at my shower, and made a game out of it. In a completely coincidental event, I created a party game based on my life long friend’s equally as annoying mother in law who had her foot amputated. Needless to say, Pin the Foot on Peggy was a secret hit in our minds. We didn’t have the heart to actually play it live for real. Jesus, I’m as asshole. I am prepared for the karma I will receive when the boy marries one day. Fully.

I guess what I am trying to say is, I am certainly sad that she died so young. I am deeply saddened for my husband who is left with a vague memory of good moments with his mom. She is now in whatever better place she imagined herself to be  when her time came. I still can’t look at a Little Caesars without wanting to scream. But somehow the anger seems wasteful and sad now. So I will work on making peace with her, and with crappy pizza.

Last but not least, no post of mine would be complete without the mention of poop. The boy has encopresis, which is a behavioral issue that means he withholds his poops for fear of painful movements, which in turn, cause awful horrible painfully enormous movements. Humans are so silly with their survival instincts. It’s not at all uncommon among kids like him, and it hinders potty training like nothing else. He is on a special diet, stool softeners, extra fiber, the sticker on the potty chart plan, and “let’s kick mom in the face as many times as possible” self-defense plan.

Every night I come home after 12 hours of working to the boy and the dad. The dad tries his absolute hardest to understand that much of the boys poop problems are not within his control right this second, but honestly, dad’s best isn’t good enough. He is a nervous wreck that the constant pants pooping is going to destroy the boys chances of being President, or at the very least, an Elks Club Member. So I have to work on calming them both down. The boy poops a ton now, but the consistency is never typical, and mostly, it’s a mess. He tries to clean it up, but mostly, it gets everywhere. I mean it. Everywhere. Floors, walls, blankets, towels, me, him, pajamas, probably even the ceilings. I am covered in poop every night. Until I figured out that wipes of all kinds burn the living shit out of my son’s ass, literally, I would get kicked in the face. Every night. He wasn’t aiming at me, he just flails around in pain, and I’m just the right height. It’s awful to see my guy go through this. I know it will come together eventually. I know that we have made a lot of improvements. I know that a large part of being a mom is to be prepared for shit your whole life, one way or another. But honestly, it makes getting off the train, getting into my shit free zone car, and pulling into my garage nightly really hard.

Last night, a few hours after I had my axis epiphany and right after a shitty emergency bath, I am reading books with the boy in bed. He is reading his numbers, telling me the story, and gets pissed when I ask him to read the numbers in Spanish. It doesn’t matter to me really, I just like to outwardly acknowledge my kid is bilingual and confident enough to be all “screw you, only one language tonight!” I am not bilingual by the way. He just goes to a really fantastic preschool. I turn off the lights and lay (lie?) down with him for a while. This is a new thing. He usually tells me to leave so he can go to sleep. He has a spot in the bed, we aren’t to fuck with it. But lately, he has been kind of dependent on me and I like it. So help me, I like it. Just please goddess don’t let it get really bad. I’ve been slightly spoiled by a kid who loves to sleep. He whispers to himself that he is going to sleep by mama. He crawls up by me, and spoons with me. He holds my hand and buries his hair into my nose. He is perfectly still. I smell his hair. I pick up subtle scent of menthol from his Johnsons & Johnsons snot clearing bath wash. A slight sprinkling of fabric softener coming off his pajamas. A deep earthy whiff of shit, possibly vintage 2 weeks ago?  A dash of jerk here, a sprinkle of pure angel heaven there. When all of these scents combine I determine that this is what my axis must smell like. It’s within my grasp. Close by. I know it.

Bebe

Pleasantly Surprised

There have been many surprises in the last 2 years.  I didn’t expect, on top of everything else going on, that one area of my life I’d need to deal with was the magnifying glass that was put on my relationships with family, friends and even my job.  A year later I’m incredibly grateful that this magnifying glass exists.

I don’t know that any one relationship completely changed with my divorce, etc. but more like I was put in a place to really see how those relationships were all along.  How they affected me when I was my most raw.  When you get to the bottom of the “crab bucket” ahem, you are smacked in the face with every single little issue if you open yourself up to that level of sensitivity.  I admit, it’s painful as hell but I highly recommend it.  Like labor & childbirth, it fucking hurts but the result is life-changing.  No one ever says “Yea, fuck that.  I started to go through labor and just said it isn’t worth it so I stopped pushing.  My kid is still in there, but who cares.”

I eventually welcomed that rawness because on some level I was tired.  Tired of being half of me.  Once I let go, I saw this great opportunity to just get it worked out.  Have my best life.  When you get to the bottom you’re only destination is up if you choose.  Starting over was my theme and still is.  I think this is what ultimately saved me.  This choice of directions and the way I decided to go.

Being raw certainly isn’t easy and I did my part at times to put back on that thick coat to survive the hurt.  I’m not proud of putting on that coat, I admit.  I know now that rawness is a healing pain.   It’s almost as if your skin is peeled off and all you have are your nerves, bare and feeling every single emotion: hurt, joy, even a gust of wind, a kiss, a hug feels intense on a level not previously known.  As you grow back your new skin, your new life, it dulls but I believe, and I’m GRATEFUL, I was changed by that time of rawness.

It’s Halloween, indulge me in some disgusting visuals. 

Those I thought would support me didn’t always.  Those that I didn’t know were able to came to my aid in ways that still ripple though my daily life.  I formed close relationships with people that are healthy and I am thankful every single day.  Other relationships I thought were originally close are now set with healthy boundaries around the areas I need.  The biggest piece to all of this that I learned, and even about myself, people give to you what they can through their own filter.  No one I’ve met can give you everything of what you need.  Not a spouse, friend, child, etc. nor should they be expected to.  You cannot and will never be able to offer the same to them.  I think I’m slowly learning that you have to give it to yourself first.

 You can only control yourself and you can only provide everything you need to yourself.  I’m starting to believe that if you care about yourself first, you end up surrounded by people that fill in the spaces in a very good way.

 The harshest reality that brought me to this ultimately positive conclusion was that my family wasn’t my rock.  My family and the way we act, including my ex-husband, was not helpful or loving or supportive.  That vicious “I’m just joking” follow-up after biting responses to one up each other constantly, the resentment disguised as sarcasm would just build and build all in the guise of jealousy and hurt we each were feeling personally.  Maybe not even hurt towards the person we were “kidding” with, but it was put on each other in handfuls.

 I know now it’s disgusting and I don’t want to do it any longer.  It masks resentment and it’s hurtful.  I can’t stop those I love from doing this, however, all I can control is me.  I’m hopeful if I ask for an apology for every single bit of unhelpful “joking” someone will get the hint eventually and direct it elsewhere.  Regardless if they say a real “I’m sorry” or not.  I will still ask.  I hope my daughter will see this and never have to reach 33 years of age before she stands up for herself.  The important change in me is I will do my god-damndest not to have to ever apologize for being this hurtful to someone else again either.

 As my very wise friend L says: “You get back what you put out there.”  Surprise, surprise.

 I’ve tried to be in the habit lately of being thankful whenever possible.  Even if I am unsure of the reaction, I’m trying to put it out there that I am so grateful for my life, even the bad bits.  So I recently started a love letter to give to my boyfriend one day, possibly Christmas.  I got 2 sentences in and realized I should be writing this to myself first.  It applies to him, it applies to some of my friends, including BeBe, but ultimately it needs to be said to me first.  Afterwards I’ll start a new letter to him, to all of them.

 “ You get back what you put out there.  You get back what you put out there.”  I hear you loud and clear, L.  For the first time, the surprise now is this letter is very easy to write to myself and actually believe.   

 We’re all going to be okay, folks.  We really are.  Just choose to be.

Dear Self,

You are important to me.  You make me feel at peace even when everything around me is in turmoil.  You center me and keep me grounded and focused.  You make me feel loved and known.   I am thankful for you in ways I will never be able to fully articulate, but I will spend my our time together trying.

Xoxo,

-LuLu

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