Now is Good.

Just because life hands you lemons doesn't mean you have to suck.

“God is a Good Friend.” July 29, 2010

Filed under: 3 kids,Childhood,divorce,Motherhood,Realizations — nowisgoodblog @ 6:39 am
Tags: ,

Those who know me know I’m not overly religious at present.  I’ve been there and there’s a part of me that hopes I will be there again one day, but right now?  Not so much.

And no, I don’t want to discuss it with you.

But the title of this post?  This is what Owen said to me as I was cooking dinner last night.  Avery was in a twist at me (could the preteen drama REALLY be starting already?) and Amelia was consoling her with voluntary hugs and kisses and back-pats.

I asked Avery how she could possibly be upset about anything in the world with special love like that being bestowed so freely.  I joked, “That baby girl got me through my divorce.  Her hugs and kisses made every one of of my saddest days happy—surely she can get you through being mad at your mama.”  I said it lightly, but I meant it.  And Avery knew it and smiled.  Just like that, drama done.

Owen was feeding the dogs, but unbeknownst to me had overheard everything.

Out of the blue, he said: “Mama, God is a good friend.”

“Why’s that, buddy?”

“Because he gave us a gift like Amelia….One time she even hit me over the head with a sword and it really hurt but then she gave me a big hug and a kiss and it was all better.  She’s really (reawy) perfect and God really (reawy) knew what he was doing when he gave her to us.”

Well, damn skippy.

Out of the mouths of babes.

 

Mmmmmm … Bacon. July 28, 2010

Filed under: Realizations,Uncategorized,vacation — nowisgoodblog @ 10:04 am
Tags: ,

Pretty sure this photo needs no explanation.  Or at least, doesn’t really benefit from one.  Perhaps my favorite pic from the Dude Ranch vacation:

I’ve decided it will serve as a funny reminder for me: No matter what happens, I’d rather be kissing this pig than The Ex.

 

Single. July 27, 2010

Awhile back, my friend Clare wrote this: “I’m lovin’ life too much on my own to f*ck it up by having a significant other in it. I’m too busy, too content, too full to split what I have with someone else. I am open to the idea, at least in theory, of sharing it with someone, but it would take an incredibly special someone … like the kind of someone I don’t believe exists, to make me really want to do that. But in theory it sounds okay I guess.”  I laughed when I read this, because it suited me so perfectly (as Clare’s writing and observations at Life on the C Train so often do).

This is me. In some ways and on some days I’m still in the painful, sad part of post-divorce (and in other ways on other days, not so much at all), but this is still and already me.  The idea of a 24/7 relationship with someone again is ok in theory, or ok for other people, but when it involves me, I can’t really get an actual picture of it in my mind.   Which makes me think that as much as I miss parts of that type of partnership, I really, really don’t want it or have the capacity for it in my life right now.

Partially, this reflects the inherent difficulty in maintaining a relationship with someone who is not the father of your children.  Step-parents, step-siblings, differences in parenting and discipline styles, peoples’ toes getting stepped on by the co-parent’s significant other, the “You’re not my parent and you can’t tell me what to do!” issue, etc.  I’d really just rather avoid all of that.  Relationships are hard (obviously, given my divorced status and the divorce statistics in general)—plenty tough enough with the person you created the children with in the first place, much less with someone who has no historical or biological connection with these little ones whose needs absolutely must be placed first.  Right now, I can’t see the pay-off there.

Partially, this reflects the fact that I’m just not sure I buy the whole forever commitment relationship paradigm anymore anyway.  Success seems like way too much of a crap shoot to actually invest any time or resources into maintaining something that is so fragile and so dependent upon a person’s change of emotion … when that emotion, when what we want or who we love, isn’t really in our control anyway.  The heart wants what the heart wants, and if it doesn’t … well, then.

I’m starting to wonder if I am meant to be single.  If so, I think that’s ok.  As it turns out, I like being single.  I don’t mean single in the sense that I don’t want companionship—that I don’t need to feel a connection with someone—that I don’t enjoy sharing time and space with the right person at the right time.  I do.  I really, really do.  But I mean single in the sense that nobody gets to decide where I go or what I do or how I do it except for me.  Single in the sense that I am in control of my life and my children.  Single in the sense that I stand alone.  Single in the sense that I remain distinctly separate and apart from whomever I choose to spend time with.  Single in the sense that I am and will remain me … just me, with no need to apologize or compromise.

Maybe I am just better that way. Single.  For now, staying single seems worth the price of admission. It’s an odd thing to admit and to sit with, but there it is.  Like my new pair of cowboy boots or my very favorite pair of jeans, being single feels like a perfect fit.

 

Another Weekend Wrap-Up. July 26, 2010

Filed under: Free time,Recharging batteries,Running — nowisgoodblog @ 7:29 am
Tags: ,

Or maybe, Weekend Round-Up since I’m still not fully emerged from my Dude Ranch experience.  I don’t have anything particularly thought-provoking or purging to write today, but wanted to catch cyberspace up on the events of the past few days….

Thursday night I went to the Lady Gaga concert.  (Add another show to my #18 perk.)  I was in one of the suites, which meant I was able to view the freak show from the perfect vantage point without having to actually participate in it.  I’m not a particularly big Gaga fan (in fact, I find her fairly annoying, truth be told), but the show was pretty impressive.  She has talent and is an absolute master of image and persona, selling out an enormous venue two nights in a row during a summer where very few concert tours are making any money.  And she’s only 24 years old.  Go, her.

Friday night I went to another concert—country this time, seeing Charlie Robison at a fun outdoor venue near my house.  I went with several girlfriends and I had a blast dancing with strangers and shamelessly (and harmlessly) flirting with wanna-be cowboys.  It was fun, and I felt 23 instead of 38.  Being that young isn’t a place I want to live again, but it’s sure nice to visit there every once in awhile.

I spent Saturday at a pool party with my high school girlfriends, getting sun and laughing and refilling that place inside of me that only the company of good girlfriends can provide these days.  I love these women—they are kind and supportive, they worry about and are proud of me, and they make me laugh.

After a quick shower, a fancy dinner date Saturday night at Dean Fearing’s at the Ritz.  The occasion?  Just because … which is my very favorite reason to celebrate anything.

Sunday was a movie date to see “Inception” … I’m still processing that one.

This morning I ran.  I haven’t run in a couple of months because of the incessant heat, and due to vacations and a messed up ankle I haven’t done any exercising at all for a couple of weeks.  All of which means I’m back to square 1 (or maybe square 2) with my running.  I only ran 3.5 miles, and that was plenty tough enough.  Still, I’m trying to focus on and praise myself for the effort rather than the end result.  They tell us to do that with our kids these days, and I think it makes good sense.  If I worry about how I ran many many miles less than I was running this winter and spring, I’ll get discouraged and be unlikely to try it again.  If instead, I focus on my success of making the effort after a lull, of just pushing myself to do the best I could do today, of being glad I ran 3.5 miles instead of none at all, then I’m teed up to try again next time.

All in all, a good few days and I feel prepped and ready to take on the week.  Plus, my kids will be home in a few minutes, which is a good way to begin anything.

 

Another Look At A Year Later. July 22, 2010

I’m sure I’ve overdone the “one year later” thing, but since I’ve never been one to get while the gettin’s good, here’s yet another of my navel gazes at my divorce, one year later.

My wonderful nanny, Morgan, (Aside: I am not a fan of the word “nanny.”  It sounds … entitled, or spoiled, or something, although I think she prefers it.  And I get why—she is so much more than a “babysitter.”  She keeps my children while I work, but she also teaches them and guides them and challenges them and mothers them when I cannot.  I need to coin an appropriate term.) is on vacation this week.  Casie has filled in, and it’s been enlightening.  I do love those eye-opening moments.

Casie was our sitter last summer.  She was the first regular-schedule part-time nanny/sitter I ever had.  I hired her when The Ex filed for divorce.  I knew there were going to be meetings with attorneys and court dates.  I knew I’d have to go back to work.  I knew there was a truckload of emotional stumbling blocks coming that would require more of my time and focus and energy than I had to give.  Casie came in a few days a week and provided me with the assistance I needed to deal with the anvil dropping on my head.

Sometimes, I think people are put in the middle of your path for a reason.  Sometimes, there’s just a congruity of purpose and a fit that fills exactly the need you have at exactly the moment you need it filled.  Casie was that fit last summer.  Her parents had divorced when she was younger, under circumstances remarkably similar to mine.  Casie knew what I was going through because she had watched her mom go through it before.  She knew what my children were going through because she herself had experienced it.  She was there the day I went to court and got divorced.  She knew how hard that day was.  She was there when my kids needed to tell someone, ask someone, relate to someone.  She knew how it felt when your parents divorced (I didn’t, and still don’t) and she was the listening ear and voice of understanding for my babies during a very confusing and tumultuous time.  I was grateful … still am grateful … that she came into our lives at that much-needed moment.

We haven’t seen Casie since last summer.  She was away at school and she’s back for a few weeks and filling in while Morgan’s away.  And it’s been such a nice bookend.  She was there while it was crumbling, while I was crumbling.  She saw it razed.  She was witness to my slate being wiped clean.  And to see her and talk to her this week, to hear her say the things I think myself (the things I want to believe), to have someone who was there then flashforward to here now and express amazement that I am fine, that the kids are fine, that The Ex and I are civil, that I am happy, that the dust has (mostly) settled, that I have taken bad and made it good, that I am doing my best to make the best of things … well, that’s felt pretty damn great.

In a way, it makes me wish that I could’ve seen that flashforward a year ago, that I could’ve been shown it was going to be ok.  Of course, seeing it then probably would have made it feel much less valuable to me now.  And I wouldn’t have wanted that, because it is so valuable to me now.  Being ok feels rich.  Feels lush.  Feels proud.  There is satisfaction and contentment at having tried (and succeeded more often than I’ve failed, which may be the best I can hope for) to do the “right” thing.  To be mature.  To be a good mother.  To be the better version of me.  To embrace my life.  To grow.

I wonder what Casie will see if she comes back a year from now, how things will have progressed. I wonder what will be, where we’ll be … because I’m definitely not done yet.

 

Recharged, Reinvigorated, Revived, Refocused, Rewarded. July 20, 2010

We’re back from the Dude Ranch and I don’t even know where to start.

We had a wonderful week—a very different kind of vacation from our usual.  There is so much I want to say but my writing feels awkward and rusty after a 10-day absence here.  I feel certain I can’t properly do justice explaining all the good and all the odd and all the … depth of where I’ve been since my last post.  Because I’m not sure how to bring cohesion to it all and because the massive volume of the task threatens to prevent me from attempting to share it, I’m just going to dive right in.  I’ll scattershoot, and hope this collection of snapshot moments provides a somewhat accurate sense of why this might have been our best vacation ever.

I want to convey the sheer beauty of where we were.  High north in Colorado, close to the Wyoming border. 8,000 feet above sea level, where desert cliffs meet lush green wildflower meadows.  It was QUIET.  So quiet at night that I literally couldn’t hear a single sound, no matter how hard I strained my ears.  Very strange and very isolating and yet very comforting.  And oh my gosh, the stars.

I want to talk about how I was completely unplugged for a solid week.  There was very little cell or internet service.  I managed to check email and texts once a day and let the kids call The Ex—but then only if we climbed a hill and scaled a big rock and held my iPhone up to the heavens in order to physically pull the signal down. For 7 days, I didn’t see a tv, hear a radio, read a paper, get online, or watch a movie … and neither did my kids.  And never, not once, did I ever hear a single “I’m bored.”  In and of itself, a miracle.

I want to tell you about the horses and how amazing they were.  My preteen girl fascination (like all of my gender) was finally fulfilled, some 25-odd years later.  I had never really ridden a horse before.  Last week we rode every day.  Foxy was mine, Avery rode Red, Owen rode Dusty (a shockingly spry 37-year-old, no lie).  For hours each day we walked trails and trotted and loped.  I rode down (and back up) Suicide Slide.  I trusted my horse, and trust felt good.

I want to laugh about how and why, after 20 years of living in Texas, I might finally have become a cowboy boot and hat kind of girl.

I want to rave about how on Saturday, I rode Foxy bareback and swam with her—a truly unbelievable once-in a-lifetime experience.

I want to talk about how it was a week chock full of “firsts.”  How in addition to first-time horseback riding, there was first-time rock climbing and first-time whitewater rafting and first-time serious-ass hiking.

& And I want to tell you how my hands were shaking when I finished that first climb, and how the adrenaline rush felt good, like a drug, like something that changed me and altered my reality a little bit.

I want to explain how funny it was that Amelia refused to take off her pink cowgirl boots all week.  How she charmed the pants off of everyone she met (as usual) and how proud I was when people commented, at least 100 times, about how well she talked and how big her vocabulary was.

I want to write about that “summer camp” experience I remember from childhood, and that I watched my kids experience for the first time (another “first”)—when you spend a week with new people and you’re sad when you leave and you hug and you cry and you know, just know for absolute certain, that you’ll keep in touch with them and see them again … but then you never really do.

I want to tell you how filthy dirty and caked in grime my kids were for 7 days, no matter how many baths I gave them.  Smudgy faces and a line of dirt so thick under their fingernails that it took days to get it out after we came home.  The kind of dirty that only comes from hard outdoor all-day play, and I want to tell you how I kinda stopped worrying about it mid-week and just let ‘em be grubby.

I want to write about how Owen got tossed from Dusty one day, and about how proud I was to hear all of the male wranglers discussing how impressed they were when Owen immediately tried to climb right back up on that horse, and how one of the wranglers (James, below) even wrote a poem about it and read it by the campfire one night.

I want to tell you how good it felt to hear other moms praise the way I handled Owen when he wasn’t quite as brave … when he got a black eye 20 seconds after we started our whitewater trip (my son, the disaster magnet), and when I didn’t let him quit, and when he ended up LOVING the rafting because of it.

I want to write about how we celebrated Avery’s 8th birthday while we were there, and about how the staff baked her a birthday cake and sang her Happy Birthday.  And about how after sundown, she and the other kids played an impromptu soccer game in the horse arena with a Frenchman, a Croatian, and an Australian.  Is that a birthday memory or what?

I want to write about the many bottles of wine and the adults’ laughter at night on the front porch while the kids ran free and roamed safe.

I want to talk about how odd it felt to sit around that first night or two and realize I was the only single in a group full of doubles.  And, odder still, how it felt to realize that I actually wasn’t the only divorced person there … that in my discomfort I’d made incorrect assumptions and suffered blind spots and been so keenly aware of my own awkward feelings that I simply hadn’t noticed there was another single mom there with her kid.  And then the discovery of how offensively similar my divorce story was to hers.  And how I was, as always, sort of stunned by what a cliche’ The Ex became.  And how, by necessity, what a cliche’ he also made me.

I wish I could write about how tremendously lightened I felt when I realized that I was having a much better time without The Ex being there than I ever would have had if we’d been there together, married.  About how I met new people and truly enjoyed them—their conversation and their children and their stories and their company.  About how glad I was to interact with them and about how I never would have done that if The Ex had been present, because his sense of superiority made him feel that interaction with others was an annoyance and a waste of time.  I wish I could explain how, among so many other discoveries this past year, I’ve realized that I am not nearly the misanthrope I believed myself to be while we were married.

I want, I want, I want, I want.  I want to tell about all of these things, completely, because I gained so much from this vacation.  I need to write them and write them well, so that I won’t forget.  But I can’t … there’s just too much.  It will have to be good enough to say, “It was a truly amazing week and a wonderful vacation.”

 

Dude Ranch, Beware. July 10, 2010

Filed under: 3 kids,vacation — nowisgoodblog @ 9:37 pm

We’re heading your way.

We’re off on vacation again tomorrow.  Heading to Colorado for a week to stay at a dude ranch with the kids and my parents.  Horseback riding, lots of animals to play with and care for, hiking, campfires, etc.  I’m hoping the kids will plug into nature and not get frantic by the absence of electronics.

I am desperately looking forward to the quiet of it all.  I adore the mountains … I never feel quite as alive and simultaneously at peace as I do when I’m in them.  They recharge my batteries and still my soul, and I’m in need of a little serenity right now.

I’m hoping I’ll have very little cell phone or internet service, because I really want to disappear for a few days and do some heavy focusing on my kids.  I’ll be back in a week.

Until then, Yee-Hah!

 

 
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