Blinkers, Blinders and Blindfolds

I was prompted by a comment made by a friend of mine on one of my blog posts yesterday.

Dragonfae said: “What is it with mothers in denial of all the nasty crap and the need to deal with it?”

I’ve given it a lot of thought.

Growing up, my own mother had a tendency to hide from things that she didn’t want to acknowledge.  I used to tell my best friend that if there was something outside herself that she didn’t want to see – she’d “slam the window shut on it”.  Actually, it was more like a steel wall coming down, blocking all visual, sound, every sense, really.  As though, if she could just block out all of the sensory information about it – it wouldn’t exist.

My mom had a really strong “Blindfold”.

The problem with that is that when you wear the blindfold too long – you end up squinting when it’s finally removed, shocked and disoriented by the light of the truth.  It makes it all that much more difficult to face the things in life that are right in front of you, and you are usually in it up to your elbows by then, because you decided you didn’t want to see it coming.

Then, there are the times when we all – me included – wear the “Blinders”. 

There are times when we’re so focused on what’sright in front of us,that we don’t see the mess coming from the side, or from behind.  Focusing on the task at hand is good, and gets the job done, but you don’t want to be so blind to what’s going on in the worldaround you that you get mowed over by something you didn’t use your peripheral vision for.

I’m guilty of that to a certain extent.  There have been things in the past that I got side-swiped by, simply because I was too focused, hyper-focused, on something else. 

But you can still end up “ass-deep in alligators” before you actually see the trouble surrounding you.

So, I think I’m going to practice being the last sort of person I pondered on today.

A “Blinker”.

Because maybe I close my eyes for a second, to re-orient my vision and perspective…

But at least I’m looking.  I’m seeing.  And I will know what’s going on around me.

I won’t hide behind a more convenient “Blindfold” or even the hyper-focus of the “Blinder”.

No more side-swiping, no more refusing to look at the hard truths…

Even if I don’t like them.

Thirty

Thoughtful Moment:  Having someone trust you with something that’s precious to them, is humbling.  They trust you not to break it, not to hurt it, and to treat it with the respect that they hold for it.  The same goes for that person introducing you to the important people in their life. 

This weekend, I was invited to meet A’s 2 children.  “A” is the man I’ve been seeing for about the last 6 months.  He’s met my kids, almost right from the start, but then my kids are older, teenagers and young adults, and it’s a little different then.  A’s kids are younger than OnlySon, and so I understood the wait. 

Not only that, but A’s kids live with their mom, almost 2 hours away, so he doesn’t get to see them as often as he’d like.  I know how badly I miss my own when they’re gone, even though they live with me, primarily, so I don’t want to intrude on time that should be special for him and them.

This weekend, however, he called and asked if I wanted to come over and meet them.  And yes, I was nervous.

(And yes, A, I know you’re reading this and laughing!)

I was nervous that they wouldn’t like me, I know it’s hard for kids to accept someone else in their parent’s life, sharing time and affection.  YoungerDaughter and OnlySon had their individual issues when I started dating again after the divorce, and, for the most part, we’ve worked through them.  I know there will probably be more in the future, it’s the nature of dating when you have kids.  Jealousies pop up in the strangest ways, sometimes, but as long as the kids know that I’m still there for them, and love them (well, DUH), then any little issues can be resolved with minor fuss.

So, when I went over to A’s house, I was nervous.  I felt a little like I’d been handed a Faberge’ egg, and asked not to drop it, while walking on marbles…

Well, of course, once I got there, I relaxed.  A’s kids are a lot like him, and that’s just fine with me.  I laughed quite a lot with his daughter, and his son was a quieter, peeking presence, keeping just enough distance to maintain his shyness. 

We watched Bee Movie. 

His daughter, “E”, and I bonded over fart jokes and talking about some of the weird things boys do.  I told her that her brother wasn’t so different from OnlySon, even though there’s 6 years’ difference between the 2 of them.  (OnlySon is 13, and A’s son is 7). 

And later, E told me she liked me… mainly because she thought I was funny and had soft hair… but hey!  It’s a start! 

It means a lot to me that I was trusted with the two people he holds most precious.  I’ll do my best not to break it.

 

Nineteen

Yeah, I know there was no post for “Eighteen”.  I’m skipping that because of the blackout for opposition to SOPA/PIPA.

Straight to today.

Life has changed so much in the past year, it’s barely comprehensible to me that I could have had so much occur in so short a period of time.

I mean – really.

The beginning of the year of 2011 saw me in a failing marriage, struggling to figure out where I was going, if it was going to be salvageable.  With 2 kids still at home, and 1 semi-grown up, having issues and troubles of her own, it was a festival of drama, trauma, stress and pain.

A couple of months later, saw me divorced, living as a single mom again, and dealing with my EldestDaughter telling me she was pregnant at 20…. just like I had gotten pregnant for the first time at 20…. just like my mother had gotten pregnant for the first time – at 20.  History really does repeat itself, hunh?

The summer saw a multitude of things happen, as my city flooded for months on end, many lives were irrevocably changed forever.  My own life was changed already by the divorce, but I also started dating again.  Friends, family, co-workers, all have at some point come up to me and told me that I’ve changed immensely.  I’ve lost weight, starting to feel healthier again; I smile much more often, and I generally just seem “lighter” emotionally, physically, all around, really.

And the end of the year saw changes as well, as I started getting some of my own independence back.  Regaining a portion of who I was “before” I let myself get swept away by my ex’s overwhelming attitudes and personality.

And the beginning of 2012 has seen a continuance of that.  Little by little, I’m feeling stronger, more sure of myself and the solidity of the footing underneath me.  I have started putting my foot down more and more in my own, and my family’s, defense.  I’m figuring out more of What I want, Where I want to go with my life, and Who I choose to have surrounding me as I travel this path.

My children are, right now, all back in the roost.  And while it’s nice having them all close, I know too, that I’m going to have to schedule times where I get to be alone.  I still need that “me time” that so many people talk about.  Time to decompress and recharge my emotional batteries.  It may be that I actually go off somewhere, by myself, or I may choose to spend it with someone special.  Me time doesn’t always have to be “Me Have To Be All Alone” time.  It’s just a chosen escape from the constant flow of emotional demands…

My thoughtful moment of the day:  You can cram a lot of life into 12 short months.  After all, it only takes 9 months to make a new one.

Storm on the Horizon ~ Or ~ Apocalypse Soon

There’s a storm a’brewin’ on the horizon.

And I’ve been watching it for the last 5 months.

As it grows, gains strength, and swells, I can imagine the impact of this upcoming storm… the damage that could be left behind, and the estimated length of time and power needed to clean up afterwards.

I’m not sure is there’s a way to get around the storm.

I know I can’t fly under it… I’ve been through too many storms similar, and ended up drenched, scorched, and generally miserable… to do that again.

I can’t fly over it, pretending it’s not there.  It’s too large for that.

The only solution that I can see, is to prepare in advance, get plenty of water-proof coverings to keep down the waterworks, and just go through it.

Let me get to  heart of the matter, so you can understand where I’m coming from, and where this is all headed.

When EldestDaughter found out she was pregnant, her boyfriend and she decided that they were going to have the baby, and get married next summer.

ED’s Boyfriend’s mother thought differently. 

She wanted ED to have an abortion. 

She hounded, threatened, and cajoled, until I came unglued, and threatened to report her to her place of work (she’s a nurse) for harassment of my daughter. 

She also tried to get ED to take anti-depressants, citing the fact that since her child was bi-polar, that obviously she knew the symptoms, and she was positive that ED was also either bi-polar or chronically depressed.

Neither of which is true.

This woman has repeatedly threatened my child, albeit, my grown child, with vicious words and seriously disparaging remarks.

At Thanksgiving dinner, (which my mother invited the woman to) she made a comment about being “So thankful for the new baby that’s on the way”…. made me want to simultaneously slap her in the head and throw up at the hypocrisy.

Neither of which I did.  I kept my mouth shut.  (I know, I know, freaking miracle, right??)

Now, I’m planning a baby shower for ED.

And this woman has been going insane, wanting to “help” plan the thing, trying to force me to “hurry up and get it set up already!”

I’m having a really rough time simply reconciling the fact that this woman thinks that she’s automatically invited into my home for my daughter’s baby shower.

I’m not sure how I’m going to handle this.

If I’m simply going to :

A)  Tell her off now, and end up having issues with not just her, but with the Future Son-in-Law for a Loooooong time…

B) Wait until the baby shower, and at the first sign of her opening her mouth – put her in a choke-hold and haul her ashes to the curb….

or C)  Just lie back and let everyone do whatever the hell they want??

Yeah…. it’s not going to be option C…..

My mom told me the other night just to “let it be, there’s nothing you can do, anyway.”

Bullshit.

This is going to be in my home.  I am not just going to let this woman continue to steam-roller over everyone, myself, my daughter, or anyone else who comes to my home, just because she can’t control herself and get along.

I’m still conflicted on exactly how I’m going to handle this…. but I know one thing…

I can handle the storm when it hits.

Can she?

 

Diary of a Divorce – Part 1

My divorce was final on the 25th.  Yesterday.

I am, once again, a single parent.

And I’m not sure quite how I feel right now.

I took a break from blogging.  Mainly, because I was feeling a little “burnt”, between the frustrations of work being hectic, school ending for the kids, graduation for a friend’s child coming up, trying to finish writing my book before my birthday-deadline, and the whole “divorce in limbo” thing, I’d had it up to my eyeballs, and couldn’t think of anything interesting, entertaining, or even semi-coherent, to say.

I’m still not completely back, but I wanted to let my friends out here in Blogsville know, that I’m breathing, I’m upright, and I’m still here.  I will be back, full-time, soon.  Just not right now.  I still have a few things I need to deal with, before I can really get back into the swing of 5-days-a-week-blogging.

And this has all happened so fast, that I’m just now starting to get a handle on how to process the things that have happened, just in the last 2 months. 

When I started realizing that I needed to be single again, to not be married, I was terrified of what was going to happen.  It was so overwhelming, and I kind of fell off the deep end, emotionally.  What that meant for my friends and family, was that they were dealing with an extraordinary amount of radical moodswings from me.  I would be manic-hyper-happy one moment, and super-depressive-moody the next.  There was also a lot of repressed, snarky anger and guilt thrown in the mix.  I never really knew, myself, when the mood-swings would strike.

I cried.  A Lot.

I vented.  A Lot.

I fell into moody depressions where all I wanted to do was curl up in a corner, somewhere, and turn my face to the wall.

There are still times, like just in the last couple of days, where I contemplated simply packing my bags, and checking out.  Running.

I question people’s motives, their actions, and their words.  I may not say it out loud, and I know, somewhere inside my head and heart, that I’m reading too much into everything, overanalyzing – but I still wonder… if maybe I’d be better off simply starting over somewhere that no one knows me.  No past.  No judgments.  No preconceived ideas about how things should be, or how I should be acting, Only future.  I’ve had people tell me that for as much as I’ve changed over the last few years, they wish I was how I used to be.  Happy, outgoing, carefree. 

I wish I could be that person.  But I’m not her. 

That person was happy, yes.  Mostly because she was so focused on the present moment, and the fun to be had, that she didn’t stop and take a look around at the consequences of her actions, most of the time.  A great deal of the time, the only person that ended up getting hurt, was her.  And she dealt, and moved on.  But, sometimes, the fallout of her “present-mindedness” hurt others.  She didn’t see it, blew right past it, on to the next thing.  She was young.  It’s over, and I don’t have many regrets from that time.  But there are a couple that linger.

That person was outgoing, definitely.  She could talk to just about anyone and didn’t worry about social class boundaries, or age boundaries.  She could talk to adults, teens, and children, all with the same candor, humor, and respect for whatever group she was in.  She was a chameleon and a social butterfly, flitting from one group to another, able to talk, at least a little, about almost any subject.  She still lives within me, and I treasure her ability to help me blend in and get along.  Her skills have been invaluable to me in my line of work, making me able to talk to lenders, realtors, and customers alike, and do so in a professional and honest manner, while still being friendly, helpful and pleasant.  Sometimes, even funny.

That person was carefree.  Well… I don’t know about that moniker, so much.  If by “Care- Free” you mean having no cares, no worries?  Well, yeah, I suppose.  Mostly, because she simply didn’t face the problems.  She ran from them.  So, yeah, she was care-free.  But not “Problem-Free”.  Those came back like a boomerang.

And even after I got married, I was pretty happy.  I can admit that.  There were a lot of good years, happy, content years.  I had a good job, a nice house, 3 wonderful children, and a man that supported me, accepted me, and was affectionate with me. 

And honestly?  I couldn’t tell you when it started to fail.  It was a slow descent, an erosion of what brought us together in the first place.  And I know that it was not all his fault.  I was in the relationship too.

But it wasn’t all my fault, either.

And when I realized that the wine was turning to vinegar, I tried to reverse the process.  But, hints weren’t enough.  Stronger measures, coming right out and bluntly telling him that I needed more, wasn’t enough. 

I’ve never thought of myself as a “high-maintenance” kind of person.  I’m pretty low-key most of the time.  But… if you don’t ever work on keeping a relationship going, much less strong, it will fail.  Every time.

And he was content to sit (literally) and watch me do all the work.

That didn’t work for me.

 (To Be Continued)

Betty Crocker I Ain’t

I must be stopped.

I don’t know what’s going on inside my head… if it’s all the rain making me want to stay indoors – or if it’s some kind of virus – or maybe I’ve been possessed by the spirit of Donna Reed, I’m not sure… but I’ve been in the mood to not only clean house, but to bake.

I repeat, I must be stopped!

Sure, for a good cause, like the upcoming bake sale our office is holding for an ALS fundraiser, I’m willing to do some baking, but… I am having all these “domestic goddess” ideas floating around in my head, and I’m starting to wonder if someone slipped me something in my morning Diet Coke while I wasn’t looking?

Maybe it’s the fact that I watched an episode of the Gilmore Girls where they were watching and mocking The Donna Reed show, and then Rory later dressed up like her, complete with bouffant hairdo and pearls.  It seeped into my brain and infected my thought processes with a 50’s mentality. 

Maybe it’s the fact that it’s finally spring, and I can finally do all the things to my house that I have wanted to for YEARS, but couldn’t actually do, because the other adult that lived here, couldn’t stand all the noise the cleaning process engendered. 

I’m in a complete snit.

And I want to get a box of BIG BLACK GARBAGE BAGS, and clean out my basement. 

I have some big dreams of an immaculate house, with everything in its place, clean, shiny and sparkling.

I’m sick.

I think since the day I was born, I was the bane of my mother’s existence.  I was that child that could never keep her room clean.  I had to make a weekend of it at least once a month, to completely scrub my room from top to bottom, tearing everything out of my closet, and finding various “science projects” at the bottom of the space.

I was the child that she had to dress 2 minutes before we left for church, because any sooner, and I would find some way to stain my fancy frock, thus disgracing her in front of the whole congregation.

I was a total tomboy, making mudpies and throwing rocks – climbing trees and skidding down cliffs.  And I didn’t care much what I was wearing while I did it.

And now?  I’m having ideas of being some kind of SUPERmom. 

There has to be an pill, or  vitamin supplement, or maybe a SHOCK TREATMENT for this affliction.

Please?  I think I need help??

Betty Crocker, I ain’t, folks. 

More like Betty Cracked.

The Secret Life of Mom

YoungerDaughter has a dilemma.

She recently found out that I have a secret life.

Actually… she recently discovered that I have a life, outside of our home and family.

The day of our big storm here in town, I had to take her to work with me after picking her up from school when it let out early.  It gave her a chance to really see me at work.  And she was highly perturbed and disturbed to listen to me talking at work about people and things and happenings that she had no idea about!

“What?  What is this?  Who is that?  Why are you talking about that?  What is going on?????”

This child of mine is insatiably curious, needing to know everything that’s happening, at all times, whether it affects her at all or not.  And so, it drove her mad when I would say “Oh, it’s nothing to do with you, and you wouldn’t get it.”

The same thing happens when we go to the store, and I happen to see someone I know through my office, realtors, loan officers, etc., and strike up a conversation with them… all the while she’s standing there, befuddled and bewildered, and crazed at the notion that I know people she doesn’t.

And just the other day, she discovered that I have a new friend.  Norman.

Norman Betta, to be exact.  Because he’s just a little “psycho”.  He sits on my desk at work, but doesn’t do much other than freak out every time I stand up, move in my chair, or accidentally bump my desk at the office. 

Oh, and I’m lovin’ the “Freddie Krueger” fins… just sayin’…

I posted this picture on my facebook wall the other day, shortly after I got him set up at my desk, and that night, she freaked – wondering how I could have a fish and her not know it??? 

Well, honey, it’s because I’m not just a mom.  I also have a secret life… as a real person.

Staggering, the things you learn, ain’t it?