Lack of…

I feel like my life is stuck on this endless loop of eat, sleep, and work. And that’s when I don’t have the kids running around. Pig sits patiently waiting for the moment we can run around and find wonderful moments. I hate to break it to her, but she has to wait some more.

With the hustle and bustle of life, I just can’t find time or motivation to run around and capture moments with her. Luckily Pig is just a camera, but I still feel bad. On days off I’d rather lounge around the house in pajamas while eating unhealthy but delicious food while browsing Facebook, pretending like I give a damn about the on going of the people I follow. Oh, you’re working today, that sucks. Oh no, you’re not getting along with the on again off again boyfriend, shucks. Wow, little Timmy just took his first turn towards big boy-hood by going boom boom in the toilet; you must be so proud.

I know that makes me sound heartless, and some days I just really am. Other days it’s just too difficult to be a normal person in every day life, I’d rather be in my comfiest pair of pajamas with a good book, blog, or podcast. I don’t get how people can be go-go-go all the time. That shit is exhausting.

Which brings me back to Pig, sitting proudly in front of her journal, twiddling her imaginary thumbs. Pigs job is easy, capture the moment. She doesn’t have to change her dial, hunt for the shot, make sure we are close enough for the shot. No, she just captures the moment. Like I said before, shits exhausting.

One day my motivation will come back. Until then I’m going to kick my feet up, pop in my headphones and binge Cold Coffee, or Conversations With People Who Hate Me. Pig will understand.

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The Master Planner

With each and every day, the members of my home get a little more restless. The cats pace in front of the glass doors, impatient for their feathered friends arrival. My two children are filled to the brim with cabin fever, just itching for the sun to tickle the waters of their favorite swimming spot. My boyfriend and father express how they can’t wait to start their latest project. They plan on redoing our porch and opening up a wall in the living room, giving new life to the unloved side door. My sister, full of hopes and dreams, plans on moving this summer, down to the city where she can become whatever she wants. 

I find it a little odd that I’m not joining in on the celebration of the arrival of summer. The weather will be nice, perfect enough to walk around my small town. But I’m not one to be excited over things like birds or swimming, warm days, or even moving. No, I’m the mother, meaning I know my position. 

With every exciting feature there is hard work before hand. My boyfriend wants to take the kids to the zoo, meaning I have to find a couple days I can take off in a row, plan for us to sleep somewhere, plan the food and gas spendings, and of course whatever else is needed for the unpredictable mother nature. And of course for the car ride down I have to make sure the kids have tablets that are fully charged, their snacks are healthy and something they like, and let’s not forget the potty breaks. 

I’ve never been one to be excited over things, as I am the planner. I plan everything out, making sure that everything we need is something we have. By the time I’m done planning, it’s as if I’ve already been on this trip. Once you’ve gone once, it’s the same thing over and over. 

People often tell me to chill out, just take things as they come. I smile and tell them you’re right, then add it to my list of things to do. You see, I can’t just take things as they come. Perhaps that’s why I see the positive and the negative in every situation, I plan ahead. I’m often looked at as the “party pooper” since I second guess everything. 

I even second guess my drive to work. I know I have about 32 to maybe 35 minutes worth of driving, yet I still leave an hour before. I stop at gas stations to get a pack of smokes and a blueberry redbull – a combination that could easily stop my heart but never does – and the entire time I’m calculating. I’m spending about $10 and this stop has taken about 10 minutes off my driving time. The traffic is light for now, meaning if I maintain the speed limit of 55mph, I should be at work by…

“Ma’am? Was that credit or debit?” A voice snaps me away from my unnecessary internal debate. Shit. There goes another minute. I pay for my items and am right back to the debate. 

This is a never ending cycle. Plan, think, replan, rethink, plan again and again, undermine all planning by overthinking. It’s a wonder anything gets done with me. 

Some days I wonder how my boyfriend stands it, or how he has dealt with it for two years. The constant thinking, the constant replanning because the original plan is just not right. However he deals with it, I wish he would tell me. Instead, he just watched as I slowly descend into the pit of despair that only I have dug. He is a free thinker with an ability to start and finish something “when the time is right”. For him, the time is always right. I stare at my laptop on the floor, filled with half-assed poems and would-never-be-finished stories that played out like beautiful scenes in my head, but lost its glamour once it hit the keyboard. For me, the time was never right. 

My family tells me that my writing used to be so good, and I’d write all the time. It kills me to tell them that my inspiration and my motivation packed up and moved out when I became the boring planner and mother that I am today.

For some reason, I’m just afraid that writing will take away time from my growing family. The family of cats that eagerly await birds, or the two children that can’t wait to dance and splash in the warm water, or the men in my life that can’t wait to transform our home, filling it with all the potential they see in it. 

Meanwhile I will continue planning, I’ll continue being proud of every single one of them. After all, that’s what I do. Plan, worry, and be proud. 

The New Sofa

It isn’t often that my boyfriend gets things for himself. In all honesty, He’s too busy getting the kids and I things we desire, such as Legos or video games. I never noticed the pattern until recently, when he came home with a furniture catalog in hand and the biggest smile I’ve ever seen. He flipped to the page that seemed to hold a reclining love-seat with charging station built in. I now realize that my humor is a bit dry at best, and often times the signals are lost from what I meant to say to how it’s actually received.

“Look babe, we can sit together!” he said, the sheer excitement dancing in his eyes. “And, if your phone is dying, you can plug it in! How cool is that!?”
I chuckled a little, “Or I could just take it downstairs and plug it in, pretending it doesn’t exist!” – I was meaning this to be humerus, but I noticed the excitement dull a little. Great…there I go again. “Go ahead and get it,” I said a little too harshly, almost sounding like I wasn’t happy about it.

To be honest, I was excited to get a new couch, since ours was the exact opposite of comfortable. He thumbed through the catalog, explaining all the ideas that danced through his mind. “We could get the kids bunk beds, and I could set up a little desk underneath the top bunk -” I love when these ideas hit him, because he gets so excited.

When bedtime came that night, I almost forgot about the furniture purchase. He turned and looked at me, asking “so it’s okay that I get the couch?” Confusion crossed my face – we had discussed at length that I was fine with the couch, why was it still an issue?
“Yes babe, I already told you.” I said as I watched him look down almost like a wounded dog.
“I wasn’t sure.” I couldn’t believe this man, I have no problem with the new purchase, not only was it needed, but it was something that made him happy. He doesn’t do that too often, as a matter of fact, hardly at all.

I sat back and looked at everything had gotten over the last two years. I had a fitbit on my wrist, a tablet on the charging station, an xbox one and games connected to his t.v. that was in dire need of replacing, a car that was in far better condition than his, new clothes that were hardly ever worn, all while he had just the bare minimum. Our children had all new clothes, toys that they rarely played with, whatever their little hearts desired they got. How could we be so spoiled while this man worked to get us whatever we wanted?

He sent me a message today, excited that he made the purchase. Sadly he seemed to think that I was upset, given the fact that I just woke up and was barely able to text what I did. He apologized for making the purchase, and my heart broke. I told him that he had no reason to be sorry, he is always giving us what we want, even if we don’t need it. He never complains, he only gives. I told him that he needs to start getting for himself, even if it means that we don’t get things that we really don’t need.
Lesson ten: Put others before yourself. 

It’s OUR son

When I first met my son’s stepmother, I believed that she rose from hell. Just one look at this woman made every ounce of my blood boil. I know what you’re thinking, “you thought that because you still loved your son’s dad,” and to that I have to say you’re wrong. My son’s dad and I fell apart in a peaceful way, so the fact that I thought he was dating the devil’s reincarnate had nothing to do with a possibility of “still loving him”. No, there was something about that woman that I just couldn’t stand. Maybe it was because she seemed so put together, or maybe it was because she was trying to make an impression on my son, whatever it was, this woman was doomed to be my enemy.

When we first met, I noticed she was the opposite of me in every way imaginable. I was a ticking time bomb of emotions, and she was calm and well minded. I was tired, having just stayed up all night with a child who was very sick, and the bags under my eyes told the story of how I struggled to maintain sanity. She had no bags under her eyes, and her hair wasn’t sported in the messiest ponytail known to man-kind. I was wearing my favorite outfit, well slept in pajamas, and I’m certain now I hadn’t showered in about three days. She looked clean and crisp, almost as if she had been preparing for this day.

Looking back now, I’m sure she had her moments of not wanting to meet me that day, after all, she almost didn’t leave the vehicle. Whether that was my ex’s decision or not, I will never know, but she sat quietly in the seat waiting. Being quiet wasn’t and still isn’t my strong suit, so I asked my ex who she was. When He told me they were dating I laughed it off as if I were saying “Yeah, if y’all are dating, why is she in the car,” and with that little snarky chuckle, he waved her to come up to him. Oh fuck. It’s over now. She walked up to him, taking her place by his side, and it wasn’t until my son reached for her that my hatred began.

My son, the same boy that laid in my bed, body hot from a mixture of the fever and his screaming until the baby Motrin kicked in, reached for this unknown woman. He didn’t reach for me, the woman who was so exhausted that she could barely stand up straight, who gave birth to him, who made sure he was fed and bathed. No, he reached for the unknown, the new face that would probably be gone in a month. A switch flipped in my mind, and it took everything in my power to not scream in her face and take my son from her greedy clutch. I watched as she held him the wrong way and smiled that toothy grin. Jesus, even her teeth were better than mine. I slammed the diaper bag into my ex’s hands and blew my son a kiss. He was to infatuated with the new face, this new person that could be his new mommy that he ignored his real mommy.Once they were gone, I lost my nerve. I cried the ugliest cry, honestly after all these years I can’t top it. That woman took FIVE minutes to steal the heart of my son, while I had taken the last year and few months raising him, fetching his bottles, changing his diapers, bathing him. FIVE MINUTES and she was already more important than I was.

My hatred for her grew, especially when a health issue of mine presented its ugly head. I didn’t want to admit to his father on the phone that I was sick to the point that my mother needed to take my son, and I certainly didn’t want to tell her, because who knows what she may have done. So I bent the truth and told them that I would be cutting his time back with them. I felt like a piece of crap the day I met her at the gas station to pick up an old laptop of mine I let them borrow. The fear and anger flashed in her fiery gaze, and it wasn’t just her pain. My ex was distraught, and deep down I knew it was my fault. All I had to tell them was that this illness was going to prevent me from driving, it would prevent me from being a good mother. It didn’t help that I was dating a real piece of work either. But I opted to keep that a secret, and instead, I made them feel like I didn’t want them around my son.

I’ll have you know the medical issue cleared itself up, and I left the worthless person I was dating. I got my son back and called his father, all but sobbing while I apologized. I was the worst mother in the world, keeping my son from him. His dad seemed ecstatic to have him back in his life, and he said that she would be happy too. I choked back the reply of “I’m not doing this to make her happy” and I’m glad I did. We worked out an agreement on when he would get my son, and he was upfront about the fact that she couldn’t stop thinking about my son. Anger boiled in me to the point I couldn’t hold it back. I remember shouting “she is NOT his mother, I am. She is NOT to try to be his mother, she is a step mother. I AM THE REASON THIS BOY BREATHES, NOT HER.” There is was, out on the table for everyone within earshot to hear. I hated this woman because she was a better mother. This woman wasn’t the reincarnate of Satan, I was. That weekend I locked myself in my room, hating her for being so perfect, hating myself for not being a better person.

It wasn’t until my son was half-way through first grade that I called her and said the one thing we were both hoping for: “Let’s put everything out there, why I don’t like you and you don’t like me. We have to for him.” It felt like forever that we were talking, apologies being thrown back and forth to each other. She apologized for hurting my wrist that day at the gas station, I apologized for provoking her. I apologized for taking him away, and she apologized for overstepping boundary lines. We went silent for a moment, and I knew then I’d have a life long friend, bound by the hands of time. We were all in this together, and our son needed us to get along.

Despite the fact that we hated each other with every fiber of our being, we are getting along well now. There are times I’ll call her when I’m on my way to work, and she will call me to talk about things other than our son. And who knows where we will be when our son is old enough to leave the nests, but I’m sure it won’t be where we were before. She doesn’t know it yet, but if my son ever starts calling her mom too, it will be alright by me. After all she had to deal with when it came to me, she has earned that title.
Lesson eight: Sometimes it’s best to set aside your differences with someone.  You never know the good that can come from it.

Lend me an ear

Christmas has come and past, bringing with it new toys and new responsibilities. My boyfriend and I decided that with the wave of interest in Pokemon, it’d be a great idea to get the kids Pokemon inspired piggy banks to hold their hard earned allowance. The kids were to put the banks in a safe place, where their fragile ceramic bodies could stand with pride.

After almost a month, I came home from work and noticed the left ear on my stepdaughter’s bank was broken off. Living in a home of bleeding hearts when it comes to our five feline friends, I knew this was bound to happen. I decided that the next time I was at Walmart, I’d just pick up another one, since everything that is made anymore almost seems to be made to throw away.

It wasn’t until the weekend after the initial break took place that my own son, being only seven, taught me a lesson. But first, let me rewind to the trade-off. I was at work, and can only imagine that my son used the broken ear as leverage when he asked my stepdaughter to trade. When I left home that evening, Eevee was still on her dresser, broken ear and wounded glory. When I returned, a fat yellow Pikachu stood proud. I shrugged it off, thinking that Eevee no longer held my stepdaughter’s allowance and was now resting in the garbage can. I tiptoed into my son’s room to pull the blankets over him, and when I turned to leave, I caught the glassy gaze of the Eevee in question. She sat in pride on my son’s dresser, waiting for her ear to be carefully glued back on.

When I woke up the next day, my son beamed with excitement. “Mommy! Sissy let me have her Eevee bank, now all we have to do is fix her ear!” I stared at him, almost dumbfounded. He willingly took a broken piggy bank, despite it’s previous owner disregarding it like yesterday’s newspaper, and loved it even though it was flawed.

The Eevee is now fixed, both ears standing proudly on her head, patiently awaiting her eager owner’s response.
Lesson seven: Just because something or someone is flawed doesn’t mean they are less desirable. 

 

The holes in our laundry

It’s funny to me that a simple family chore could teach me to love and appreciate my boyfriend far more than I previously did. Let’s set the record straight for a moment; I despise laundry. I read an article on Facebook about six months ago, talking about a machine that would fold your laundry for you. Sadly, I’ll never be able to afford such a luxury, so of course I’m still folding the clothes of a small army by hand.

My boyfriend and I pick Sunday to do laundry. On good days, the laundry is wash, dried, folded, and put away by their owners. However, about a month ago, there was one Sunday that the laundry was just washed and dried, stuffed into baskets, and placed at the foot of our bed. My boyfriend threw himself into bed that night and asked me that one question no mother/girlfriend ever wants to hear: “Can you fold those tomorrow?” I nodded, though I knew full well I’d have to study all night to learn to force to make those clothes fold themselves.

Boy was I devastated when I woke up the next morning and the clothes were still in their baskets. Damn you, George Lucas, you made me believe the force was real. I dashed upstairs and made myself some coffee, trying to find anything and everything to occupy my time so I could say that I was too busy to fold clothes. Sadly that opportunity never came and I departed to the basement. I knew I’d need all the help I could get, so I turned on some music and started to sort the clothes by owner. Once one person’s clothes were folded, I delivered them to their room so they could do the deed of putting them away. After about an hour and a half, all that was left was my boyfriend’s.

Now out of our two children and ourselves, my boyfriend has the least amount of clothes, yet he has just enough for the week. Some of his jeans are worn, with holes either by design or by the wear and tear of his job. I giggled to myself as I held up his most recent pair of jeans, the ones he bought from Walmart after telling me “these will be just fine”. Being the snarky female that I am, I thought to myself “once again, I was right about the quality of the jeans,” as I tossed them onto the folded pile. His shirts were folded quickly and all that was left were his socks. That’s when I noticed them.

Holes. He had just bought a new pack of socks, and the new ones had holes in them. I shook my head in disbelief, and glanced at his briefs. Those had holes too! His undershirts, flannels, new jeans, socks, briefs. Everything had at least one hole. I shook my head and thought back to the last time he bought himself clothes, good quality clothes like the ones we try to find our children. My heart began racing because in the two years we have been together, he only bought cheap clothes to get him by. But it didn’t stop at the clothes, his shoes were often cheap Walmart specials that wore out after three months use. His work boots were full of holes as well! I couldn’t understand how I didn’t notice.

How could I not notice that his clothes were slowly falling apart, and he was more concerned about the children, about me. How could I not notice that he knew I cared about how I looked, and sacrificed a new wardrobe for articles to add to mine that I’d probably never wear more than once.

My heart dropped to my stomach. This man wakes up every day, goes to work where he has to lift heavy furniture, and come home to help take care of the kids. On the weekends instead of relaxing, he is cleaning around the house, doing laundry on Sunday afternoons. I choke back tears, knowing the last year I have been hoping and pleading that people will see that he and I are the same in terms of working. That just because I’m not as physical at work as he is, doesn’t mean that what I do doesn’t help the family. I was ashamed that the first thought I had when I saw his jeans with holes starting to show their presence was a chance for me to be right.

That night, when he came home and tried to fight off sleep in the recliner, I looked at him with new light. He works every single day to always give our family what we need, and often what we desire. He does this without a single complaint. Meanwhile, I am sitting back arguing with people, saying that my job is just as demanding as his. I walk over to him and kiss his forehead, being cautious not to wake him. I see him with new found love, and the love I feel for him has come full circle.
Lesson six: Love is not about one person, love is two people becoming one. 

Learning the lessons

I quit school when I was 17 and spent two years trying to get the GED. I failed the math and writing multiple times, and after a while I quit again. I went back to try a final time, at which point my teacher told me I could do a high school completion course. After a year and a half, I graduated as a member of the Nation Adult Education Honor Society.
Lesson one: Believe in yourself.

My son attends a magnificent school with wonderful teachers. I just found out today that he is being bullied, and he is afraid to tell the bus driver. The boys who are picking on him used to be his friends, and now that my son turned over a new leaf, they don’t like him. I asked him what he plans to do, almost afraid that he would say that he would go back to his less than desirable ways. He told me that if they can’t accept that he wants to be good, then they don’t need to be his friends.
Lesson two: Be true to yourself.

I had a rough relationship, the guy got into my head and made me think things about myself that I didn’t like. He made me feel crazy, used, and that nobody would love me but him. I didn’t want to wake up in the morning, I didn’t want to eat. I went from looking healthy to being harped on by doctors because I looked anorexic. I still struggle with the thoughts of being fat. There were times he made me feel that the people in my life would be better off without me. He paid me for sex, telling me that this is what people do when they are in love. He lied.
Lesson three: If someone truly loves you, they will not hurt you on a daily basis. 

I separated myself from dating and sex and spent time getting to know myself. I now know that I like my coffee with a lot of creamer, I look best with nude color eye shadows, I like hearing people talk (even if I don’t catch what they said), I can be a good friend to someone, I can make my son smile with just one hug or high five, and that it really feels good to laugh.
Lesson four: It’s okay to be alone.

A man came into my life when I was 19. I was fresh out of a relationship, but not ready for the emotions he made me feel. After a few months of trying to be normal with him, I walked away. I couldn’t settle down. I was in and out of relationships more than I’d like to admit. Each and every time, my mind went back to him. When things got rough, I’d leave. I knew deep down the others weren’t who I was meant for, but I could never admit that he was what I longed for. It took me four years, a few unpleasant conversations, and one apology before we finally got it right. If I would have listened to myself the first time, I could have avoided a lot of unnecessary heartache on both parts.
Lesson five: You deserve forgiveness, and you deserve to forgive. 

Life is full of lessons, and I’m ready to learn them all.