Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Still I Rise

Still I Rise.

That is my new moto. My personal mantra. It is a poem by the wonderful Maya Angelou. This is a new poem for me. I'd never heard it until late one night I was Googling and came across it. 

This poem spoke to me in a way I didn't realize words could. This poem opened my eyes to the beauty and power that was inside me. The power to be me. The power to be strong. The power to begin again.

It made me realize that no matter what I had been through the last year I could Rise. I realized that no matter what I had felt, the pain, humiliation, anger, I could Rise.

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

It's ok to cry

It's ok to cry. I have to tell myself that a lot. Give myself permission to cry.

What I'm going through is grief. I am grieving the loss of my marriage. My partner. My life as I knew it. That has been really hard to accept.

What was harder for me to even try to think about was my children are grieving too.  They are suffering the same loss if not worse.  In reality they've lost both of their parents. For half of their lives. Instead of spending their entire lives with mom and dad they are now forced to split their time, their lives between mom and dad. Never the two shall meet.

I tried for a long time not to cry in front of my kids. I know I have to be strong for them. I have to be. And that's true. But I also have to be human. I have to be real. And that means I have to grieve for my loss. Because it is my loss. But it's not just my loss. It's theirs too and we share it.

One night, after mediation I was empty. I was completely drained and nothing I could do or say would stop the tears from flowing.  I went and picked up my kids from my parents and held them close. I thought I was good. I thought I was ok and wouldn't cry in front of them. But as I watched them take their shoes off and hang up their coats... I lost it. I could no longer keep up the front that I was OK.

The both ran to me and wrapped their arms around me. Asked me what was wrong. K even went and got me a Kleenex. How could I tell them I felt like a failure. I felt like I had let them down. These tiny humans that I gave birth too and love unconditionally... how could I tell them I was sorry I couldn't fix things.

But I didn't have to tell them anything other then "Mommy's having a really hard day. And that's ok. Sometimes, people just have bad days. Sometimes, people just need to cry so they can feel better." All they heard was "Mommy's having a hard day." And that's ok. They hugged me and told me they loved me. They kissed my entire face again and again. K even went up stairs and made my bed - just so I didn't have to.

These tiny humans are suffering too. And they see my suffering even if I try and hide it. By crying, by expressing my grief they know it's ok for them to do the same. I had heard that from several people but didn't believe them. Not until that night. Not until I held my babies close and cried openly for my loss. I hope that by being able to express my grief they can see it and understand it's ok for them to cry too.

It's not over. It's far from over. Grief comes in waves. Sometimes I'll be totally fine, and then suddenly I'm falling and the grief is so overwhelming I can hardly stand. But that's ok. That's normal.

It's ok to cry.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

New year

It seems as though 2015 is going to be a big year. A year of change. A year of hope. A year of learning to get over the pain of 2014.

It's been so long since I've written I almost forgot what it was like to sit down and do this. But... a new year means I will do this.  My goal is every day. I will use this blog as a way to get over the pain that is in my heart, in my life and in my every waking moment.

You see this is the year my life changes. My life is now just mine.  Mine and my kids.  My husband and I are getting a divorce.  There are a myriad of reasons... all of which I'm sure over time I'll disclose. But for now, for the sake of my kids, I will not air my dirty laundry.  Instead I plan on using this platform as a way to heal and to grow. A way to better my life and learn how to move on from this devastating loss.

This is going to be a daily log of things I go through during the year. Things I learn and hopefully things others can learn.

To be clear, I did not want this divorce.  I never stopped loving my husband. I fought to save my marriage for over a year. But time has beaten me down. The constant struggle to maintain my normal in the face of the abnormal.... has finally broken me.  Finally made me realize at least one thing. My marriage is over.

Marriage is about giving 100%.  Each person brings 100% into it, your percentage doesn't just drop to 50% when you get married. That way you go through life with this extra percentage, this ability to count on someone else when you need them. That is the beauty of marriage, you have a partner who has committed themselves to you; and on days when you cannot, CANNOT, give 100%.... they are there to pick up that slack.  They are there to add that extra percentage, give you what you cannot fathom possible. Together you are 200%.

Partners can give 200% if needed. They can pick up the entire weight of the marriage, the family, the relationship; but only for a short period of time.  They cannot carry it for any duration.  We weren't made that way. We were made so that over time that percentage will fluctuate.  The ebb and tide will come and go but will ultimately balance itself out at 100% again.

I gave 200% for as long as I could.  There were days immediately following our separation, when I could barely manage the 100% that I am required to give for my kids. I know now I can give 100%. Without question, without fail and without any reservations, for my children. Each day can be a struggle, but a struggle I have come realize I am strong enough to handle.

I'm it. I'm the one. The only one. I wasn't sure I could do it at first.  Facing raising children alone. But since our separation a year ago the daily grind has become easier and easier. Admitting to myself I'm human and it's ok if I'm upset, has eased the ache in my heart just a bit.  Realizing that I no longer need someone next to me... has made facing my new reality easier.

Don't get me wrong.  It sucks.  It's really hard.  I long for the husband I married to come back to me. To love me the way he did the day we got married. To have him look at me the way he did when I first walked down that aisle, or had our first baby, or when he first saw me naked. That is what I have wanted for so long. It's hard to let that go. Hard to realize I have to move on. But I do. I have no choice.

One day I hope to look back at my marriage and know we were happy. To know that things happened for a reason. But the fog of 2014 is still lingering over me and right now... I cannot see that. I just have to have faith that one day I will find happiness again. One Day.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Tadpole fishin' and a lesson for mom

Last night was an amazing night! Well it was pretty awesome anyway. I live in the country and I wouldn't have it any other way. When my husband and I were talking about having a family we talked about where we wanted to raise our kids. We were both raised in the country - me on the outskirts of Eugene and him in a little country town.

The beauty of our house is we bought property from my family and built our own house. Its exactly what we want.  On our property we have a pond. Not a spectacular pond and not a year round pond. More like a hole filled with water in our pasture... but we call it a pond so there ya go.

Well K's teacher sent a request to families to see if anyone could bring in some tadpoles for the class so they could watch them develop. Of course I immediately volunteered our pond and tadpoles for the adventure. K was very excited to go tromp down to the pond and look for the little suckers.

As a child, I fished for tadpoles from this very same pond. I was with my brother and best friend. We each got a bucket and tied a string to it. Then we got a rubber raft and floated out into the middle of the pond.  We tossed those buckets into the water and pulled them out for hours. We had a blast! We got soaked!  We got sunburns.  We did not, however, catch any tadpoles. It's a memory that is still strong in my mind today.

I wanted to create those memories for my son. But I wanted a more successful outing then the one I shared with my brother.  So we got our grubby clothes on. Put on our rubber boots. Grabbed our aquarium fish nets and trekked out into the pasture.

There is a creek that goes through the property leading to the pond... so since we were wearing our rubber boots... we walked right through the mud. And got stuck!  K got his boots stuck and so did I.  So I had to help him out  and then try and free myself.  We managed to get unstuck without loosing any boots or covering ourselves in mud.

When we got to the pond we started our fishing.  It started out rather uneventfully. We would see a tadpole swim and try and catch it.  That method sucked! We only caught one little tadpole. The water got muddy and then we couldn't see the tadpoles we were so studiously stalking. So we moved to another part of the pond... same results. Only this time, no tadpoles.

So I thought like a five year old. Who cares if we can see 'em. Who cares if we don't catch any. Let's have fun while we do it. Like throwing the bucket into the water from a raft. So we moved a little farther down the pond to a clear part of the water and just went to town. I told K to just scoop and see what he can get in his net.

And that's exactly what we did.  We got mud. We got twigs. We got bugs. We got plants. But most importantly we got Tadpoles. Lots and lots of tadpoles. Probably about twenty of the little buggers in all different sizes. We laughed and laughed and at one point K fell backwards into the water. His little rubber boots were full of water (he was thrilled as we walked back because he could hear his feet squishing in the boots!).

It seems that sometimes when we plan things too studiously we forget why we're there.  And although our main goal last night was to catch the tadpoles, it was also to have fun. It was also so my son and I could bond. It was so I could teach him how to be a child and have fun in the country. It was so when he grows up he'll remember this and want to raise his own kids in the country.  It's moments like this that reminds me why I wanted to be a mother.  So that I could learn how to be a kid again!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Grow the F*@& up? Would ya?

Yeah that's right... I just swore! Now don't get me wrong, I don't swear a lot. OK, so I swear a modicum amount; but that's not the point. I try not to drop the F-Bomb unless I'm truly, TRULY, ticked off. Now this little item I'm about to rant on just frosts my nuts, on a pretty regular basis.

Where I work, I deal with teens trying to become adults. Now, as they try and become adults, there are certain things they have to accomplish to gain that maturity. Enter high school, get their permits, get their license, start dating, have their hearts broken, rebel against their parents... you know, typical teenage achievements.

However, it seems that parents don't want them to gain some of these milestones. I do understand that one! My kids are only 5 and 2 and their achievements scare the crap out of me! For example, my oldest is starting kindergarten in September. How the hell did that happen? My two year old is potty trained and now wants to go to the bathroom by himself! I say again... WTF?!?

So I do understand wanting to keep children being just that, children. But there comes a time when as the parent you have to let go. Like letting C go off to the bathroom by himself. Like letting K ride the school bus to kindergarten.

So here's the thing that pushes my buttons... When parents refuse to let that happen. When they are helping their kids try to become adults, but doing all the work for them. How does that work? How does that teach the child to become an adult? To do things for themselves?

As the child grows there are things you have to teach them. Going poop in the potty, how to speak, how to feed themselves, and these are things you cannot do for them. So why is it that as the child gets older and there are things you teach them you can do for them, some parents just do it! They stop teaching!

If you want your child to be driving a vehicle because they are 15, doesn't that mean they should be filling out their paperwork? Talking to the employee of DMV? They are becoming an adult and will be driving a 4000 pound hunk of metal down the road. They should be able to speak for themselves.

If you want your kids to start dating, doesn't that mean they need to have the ability to speak to the opposite sex? To treat the girls or boys with respect? Parents aren't going to be with their kids 24/7 so if you don't teach them to have a voice, how are they going to communicate with out you?

When they were little you helped your child learn how to speak. You taught them language now give them the skills to use that language. By doing everything for them, you are crippling the man or woman they will become. Stop speaking for them... let them find their voice!

Let them grow up and in the process, you will do the same. It'll make you a better teacher and a better parent.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Work out, schmerk out!

The gym. Working out. Running. I hate it all.

My brother once said that going to the gym, running, lifting weights or just working out needs to be a priority. A priority for single people or people without little kids... that's what I say. Maybe that's harsh, but I have other priorities.

I like going to the gym and running. It actually makes me feel better when I'm done. I get why it should be important for people to take care of themselves. People should make it a priority. Get healthy, take care of themselves and work out. Frankly if I had more time in the day to actually go to the gym and work out I would. But I don't have that kind of time!

My brother seems to think it's just about "making it a priority" and doing it. OK, I say, sure... but what in my life should take a back seat? My husband? My kids? My house? My job? Let me tell you a typical day for me.

I get up in the morning and take K to school. By the time C and I get home it's 9 o'clock in the morning. I then have to make breakfast and get C to eat it. By the time he's done it's now 10. Depending on who's watching the boys that day I have about an hour to play with C.

Around 11 I take them over to my parents house (or leave for the great-grandparents house). I then leave around 11:20 and get K from school. It's only a short drive (about 15 minutes) to his school. I get him from class - and because of the Aurora shooting in December security is tightened (Thank God!) - and take him back to my parents. I drop him off there around noon. I then have to be to work at 12:30.

I work from 12:30 to 4:30. More often then not I have to work after that and don't leave until 5. Here is the prime opportunity to go to the gym. If I go to the gym I leave there around 5:30 - 6 (depending on when I get off work that is). Here however is what really happens...

I get off work and have to go to the grocery store to get food (usually only one night a week but sometimes two). Then two nights a week I have to take K to his swim class, which means if I get off work on time I have maybe an hour to myself or to hit the gym. However, we have to leave the house by 5:45 to get K to the pool before 6:20. Class gets done at 6:50 and by the time we change and get home it's 7:30. Then we eat dinner and get the kids in bed by 9.

So I basically have from 9 until when I go to bed... around midnight, to spend some grown up time with my husband. So that's my day... where do I have time to go to the gym? For a while it was right after work but my parents, in-laws and babysitter really want to be done and free of the kids after watching them for 6 hours or so. And frankly I want to be home with them and spend time with them!

I love my kids. I love my husband. I love my house. I love my dog. I like my job. So which of these things gets sacrificed so I can make working out a priority? Well I can tell you what thing gets sacrificed. The gym. I would rather be home with my family living our very hectic lives then running on a treadmill for an hour. I may not be the fittest or skinniest mom around... but I am around to spend time with my kids!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

History Colliding

Tomorrow, January 21st 2013, is a very important and memorable day.

Tomorrow we celebrate the life and times of Martin Luther King Jr. We celebrate his life and what he helped this country to become. Some will argue that civil rights haven't come very far. But I disagree. Of course those that disagree might say I'm a privileged white woman, but hey... opinions are like assholes... every one's got one.

MLK Jr was a courageous man in a time of struggle. He was a baptist minister who fought for civil rights with out weapons. He used demonstrations, sit ins, speeches and marches to demonstrate his point. He was one of many leaders of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. This boycott ended racial segregation on buses in Montgomery and Alabama by a Supreme Court Ruling. Until the ruling black men and women were required to give their seats up to white people when they got on the bus. Rosa Parks sparked the boycott by refusing to relinquish her seat when a white person got on the bus. Martin Luther King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to end racial inequality with nonviolent means.

Dr. King was a great man. His life was cut short when he was assassinated on April 4th, 1968. He was killed because of his efforts in the civil rights movement. He was shot by a high power rifle. This event prompted riots and calls for peace for days.

Tomorrow we will also celebrate the inauguration of the President of the United States. President Barrack Obama is about to begin his second term as President. He won the election last November against Governor Mitt Romney.

President Obama is a black man. The first black President. Is that important information? To an extent; he's the first but other then that, no. The color of his skin should be irrelevant. But it is because of the work the Dr. King did in the 60's that our President is a black man. And he is also the reason it should be irrelevant. With out the efforts and contributions of Martin Luther King who is to say where our civil liberties would be... for man, woman or child?

Now it seems that President Obama wants to pass legislation regulating gun ownership in our country. Some people feel this is a huge violation of our civil liberties. Some people think this is important to safe guard our families and prevent automatic weapons, high powered rifles and extended magazines being sold to criminals.

What the plan is, is to keep these weapons out of the hands of criminals. To prevent killings in our schools or movie theaters or other public places. It's also to prevent shootings in private I'd guess. My question is how does making those things illegal stop criminals from using them? I mean after all... criminals by definition don't follow the law. So does that mean that the law abiding citizens are the ones that are going to suffer from this law? Is it a violation for our second amendment rights to bear arms? Should the government have the right to tell citizens what kind of guns they can or can't own to protect themselves and their loved ones? Only history can tell us how it'll turn out.

It seems ironic to me that tomorrow we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King who's life was spent trying to up hold civil liberties for all and who's life was taken by a high powered rifle. And we celebrate a Presidents new term in office when he wants to cut civil liberties by taking away high powered rifles.  It's something to think about how the histories we celebrate tomorrow are colliding. How one man has come to such great heights because of another mans efforts and death. And how that mans efforts at maintaining civil liberties seems to be being cut short by a man who owes his rise in power to that effort.