Finally Had An Oprah Ah Ha Moment

I don’t have cable, so I didn’t see the whole show, but I saw a clip online of Oprah’s Life Class. Iyanla Vanzant was on it, and they were discussing how to heal after being abandoned by your father. Just reading the title took the breath out of me.

There is part of my life that very much defines who I am that I don’t talk about very much. My real dad. I remember my real father. In fact, I just spoke to him for about 24 seconds the other day when I called my grandmother. He’s very much alive, but I have only seen him maybe a dozen times in my life. Is that truly being abandoned? Probably not. He was very absent, though, and it hurt me in ways I’m sure I haven’t even discovered yet. I’m not sure I even know the whole story. I’ve gotten pieces of it from my mom broken up over the years, but that’s only one side of the story. There are always two sides. I’m not going to go into detail about the…well, the details, because there are some things that really should remain family secrets, and they’re not relevant.

The thing is, what I remember is hearing from him from time to time. Maybe a phone call. Maybe a letter. Maybe he even came to visit if his girlfriend at the time had a car. I would hear from him, and it would make my heart leap for joy. My daddy was thinking about me. My daddy loved me. He wanted to be part of my life. He would always tell a funny story, or at least a funny excuse for why I hadn’t heard from him in a year or two, promise to call every week from now on, and then disappear for years. I remember that he was supposed to come to my sixth birthday party (or maybe it was just call, I don’t know). He didn’t. He didn’t call, show up, write, send a singing telegram. I just got nothing. For that birthday, being the typical girly girl, I had gotten a fluffy pink ballet tutu. I remember kicking it around the house with all of my might wishing it were him. There was rage seething under the surface of that six year old girl. That moment will always remain in my mind as a reminder of my childhood. Sure, everything was ok. I had a stepfather. I had a mother. I didn’t have any siblings yet, that came later, but really there was nothing “wrong” with my life. We weren’t starving or homeless, and nobody beat me, but I felt like I was worthless because this man didn’t have the balls to call his daughter on her birthday.

I wasn’t important to him. He was selfish.

As a parent now, and especially as a single parent, I can’t imagine not seeing my son every day. I find myself taking out the anger that has been building since the days I assaulted a tutu on his father, who is leaps and bounds better than my own, but still not as good as I had planned for my children. If anyone tried to take my son from me, I would kick, scream, and raise hell until I got him back. I cannot wrap my brain around people who are the way my father was.

Not only has my father influenced my parenting, but dating. I spend entire relationships waiting for the guy to just walk away. I push people away because I anticipate that they will just be gone one day and I’ll be on my own. Do I want to do this? No. I know I’m doing it, and I can’t stop. Incidentally, every one of my relationships has ended this way except the ones I ended because I thought I could see it coming.

I know that my father had his own issues and that chances are, it had little to do with me. All of the advice in the world from Oprah, Iyanla, or therapists can’t get this one single thought out of my head, though. If I were worth anything, wouldn’t my own father have wanted me?

So, I’m going to take what little advice I could gather from the 2 minute clip of the hour long show and see what I can do.

Do I Trust Me?

A friend of mine said a few weeks ago that sometimes you have to go with your gut and just say, “I trust me.” This is great advice, in theory. My instincts are good, but not perfect. I’ve never really trusted myself. When I first met my son’s dad every fiber of my being said, “this guy’s no good for your self esteem.” All of my friends thought he was great. I worked with his cousin, who also gave him a shining review. I trusted them. I should have trusted me.

On the other hand, things don’t always work out when I trust me, either. A few years ago my brother, my instincts and I went car shopping. He wasn’t old enough to really have a say, he just had to drive my car back home if need be. I trusted my instincts all the way. I could pick out a car! I had been driving for years, I would be able to tell if it was a good one or not. Well, here’s how it really went down…

I was like, “Ooooh, that black one is shiny. Can I test drive it?”

The sales guy was like, “OF COURSE, let’s go.”

So, we went. We drove. He showed me functions of the radio. He talked the whole time. Opened the windows. I asked if he heard a weird noise. He said it was just something rattling and it was no big deal.

***Small break for a public service announcement: If the car salesman keeps making noise, he’s trying to hide a noise that the car is making.***

We got back. It was snowing. I went to open the hood. He said it was frozen shut. Should have been another sign that I should not have gotten the car.

So I trusted my instincts and the sleazy car salesman and I bought the car. I’ll give any guys reading this a moment to talk about why girls shouldn’t shop for cars alone………………….Long enough? Got it out of your system? Good. 

The car broke down 3 days later. It was the first time I had driven it, because the snow when I was shopping turned blizzard-like and we were snowed in. So, I called. He said they’d fix it and he would call me back and let me know when someone was coming to tow it in. Three weeks later that finally happened because I called back and mentioned the word lawyer. I actually don’t know why that scared him, because technically he didn’t have to fix it, and I only had his word that he would. Whatever. It worked.

So, as you can see, my instincts can be spot on or completely and totally wrong. My instincts assured me that my ex was wrong for me, but they also assured me that the car was right for me.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten much more stressed out about decisions. Big ones, like should we move to a new house….they’re impossible to make without someone else’s input. The thing is, when you’re a single parent nobody can make the decision for you. You have to do it on your own. You have to trust you…

…I just don’t know if I trust me.

 

 

I Moved.

Not my house. I moved where I blog. To another blog. I think I’ve really reached the end of the road here with this one (pun partially intended). The things on my mind aren’t so much related to staying single and being a single mother anymore. It’s time to put this one to bed and start over…so here’s my new address, for those of you who haven’t been to visit yet. http://simplystartingover.blogspot.com

Hope you’ll join me there!

Any movement is better than standing still

This is my mantra for 2012. Seriously, come to my house. It’s on a note on the bathroom mirror, it’s on the fridge, it’s on a cute little electronic post it note on my laptop. It’s in my head. It applies to every aspect of my life. It applies to getting back in shape, getting a better job, making new friends, reorganizing my house, and just in general getting things done.

In 2009 I was so shocked by what had happened to my life I stood completely still and let it sink in. In 2010 I wallowed in self pity and self loathing. Last year was up and down. I started making changes, but they were often lateral. When I failed I often struggled to stay out of the self pity trap I had been in. By the end of the year, though, I got my motivation back. I felt my old self coming back. She was ready to rip me apart for what I had done to her life. The one that I, at one point, worked very hard for. This year I am fighting to just keep moving. To move forward, sideways, up, down, just not back where I have spent the pay few years. Not the place I clawed my way out of last year. I will not go back there.

It’s ok for me to be sad. It’s ok to be lonely. It’s ok to want things…for my son, for myself, for the world. It’s all ok, as long as I keep moving through it. It’s ok to admit that sometimes I want someone to just be here. That sometimes I am hurt. I don’t need to try to pretend that single parenthood has made me numb. It is better for me, and it’s better for my son to see someone have emotions and move on with their life. I never saw that. My mom was always either laughing or yelling. There was not an option to be just sad but still be ok. I’m an emotional person. I feel things. I feel pain. I feel joy. I feel anger. None of these makes me a bad person. None of them make me a bad mother. This is HARD. Parenting is HARD. It’s ok to be sad that I don’t have anyone to share the experience with. It’s even ok that I am a little jealous if those that do (but I still love you guys). It’s ok to want more than this for us.

On a sort of different note, the other day I told two people that I wanted to save up money and try to take my son to Disney World for his 5th birthday and my 30th. I have never been on vacation. Ever. Both of those people just smirked at me like I should feel bad for hoping I could save enough to go. I know it’s expensive. I priced it… I still want to try-and if I end up short, well there’s a Sesame Street place in Pennsylvania…or beaches all along the east coast. I shouldn’t have to feel guilty for wanting, just once in my life, to go somewhere and have fun with my kid. Those are milestone birthdays for both of us, and we deserve it. So, when one if them followed the smirk with, “how the hell are you going to do that?” I allowed myself to feel angry…but I kept on moving, and I didn’t change my mind.

The End of the Cuddle Era

My son is 3 1/2. He is growing up SO fast. I have always said I was glad to be working from home right now because I get to spend time with him. I’ve also expressed my fears about preschool. Today, though, it really hit home that by the end of this summer he will be going to school. We will get up in the morning, get ready, and leave like we did when I worked outside of the house. We will rush around, hurry out the door, and barely make it places in time for a goodbye kiss (yes we will for sure be almost late all the time, you don’t know my child..lol).

The era of lazy pajama mornings, cuddles on the couch with our blankies while we watch a cartoon until my coffee kicks in, and little kisses waking me up every morning is almost over. My baby is growing up, and it’s not fair. The first year I spent fighting with his dad. The second year I spent freaking out because I didn’t know how to be a single mom. I should get a do over. I should get to enjoy those little moments that you have the first two years when your baby is a baby.

….and I’m probably not having any more kids. I mean let’s face it. I’m 28, I’m completely single, and I refuse to end up a single mom of two kids, so by the time I find someone, get to know them, and get married and/or into enough of a committed relationship that I know they aren’t going anywhere I will be 58 at least. I can’t fathom doing this all over at almost 60! Haha. I think that is what’s bothering me so much. I don’t get to do it again. Everyone I know that has kids around Spencer’s age? They are having their second or third kids now. They get to hear someone else call them mama for the first time. They get more babies to hold and love. More tiny foreheads to kiss at 2 am. More people to puke on them. More people to be proud of for learning how to walk, talk, dance, sing, learn the alphabet, count to ten….and I’m done. I only got the one chance, and I blew it.

So, this is the end of the cuddle era. I may have a few years left of Friday night pizza and popcorn parties, but I have no delusions that he will want to stay home with me to watch Toy Story when he is 14. All I can do is hope he remembers. Hope that it meant something to him. Hope that he will still sometimes want to hang out with me.

..and get a cat.

 

Finally Exhaling

I’m not sure if any of you know this, because it’s just not something that comes up in conversation very often, but my cousin Missy has Cystic Fibrosis. She has a rare strain of it, and luckily she has been healthier than most people with the disease. She has been lucky…So lucky, in fact, that today the FDA approved a drug that basically cures the strain of CF that she has. Cures. As in, this life threatening, always fatal disease that she has had for her ENTIRE life…is going to be managed with two pills a day. She can get a cold without going to the hospital. She can breathe nearly normally. When I read about this today, I felt like I finally let out a breath that I’ve been holding. One that I wasn’t aware of. Missy has always been so strong. She is 5 years younger than I am, but she is the one that taught me to swallow pills. I remember, when she was maybe 5 or 6, she said, “No, they’re going to cure it. I am going to live a long time.” At the time I thought she didn’t understand fully the disease that she had. Little did I know she just had faith. Little did I know, she was right.

While this is only the solution for this one strain, and only about 1200 people in the US have this strain, it still provides hope for the rest of the people. If you or someone that you love has CF, hang in there. Don’t give up hope. There IS hope. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, and they are working tirelessly to reach it for you, too.

If you don’t know what CF is or just want more info, you can visit cff.org. While you’re there, if you have a few dollars to spare, there’s a link for donations. That’s totally up to you, though. If you want to learn more about this drug, you can read about it here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/31/kalydeco-cystic-fibrosis-cause-drug_n_1244218.html

So today my family is finally exhaling, and it feels amazing.

Stormy

The anger washes over my body
I feel the rage fill my chest
Like the air pressure rising,
Energizing the whole world before the storm
Rising enough to blind me
Stinging my eyes

I feel the hot, salty tear hit my cheek
Like rain pouring down my face
Slow at first, speeding with each drop
More angry that now you think I am upset
Don’t be fooled by my body,
I am crying out of frustration and rage

The words begin to flow out of my mouth
Like a dam bursting
Unable to handle the few raindrops that have been added
Drowning the soil, making it hard to walk
Washing away all of the progress that has been made since the last storm
All hell breaks loose

Accusations flow like wind
Whipping around us both,
Breaking more branches off the already battered trees
Wreaking havoc on the structures,
The foundation of our relationship
So often tested by this wind in previous storms
Boards creak, threatening to break

The pressure continues to rise
The rain continues to fall
The flood flows, covering more land
The wind lashes around us
Here in the eye of the storm

Even after the storm calms and fades away
After the rain stops pouring
After the flooding and the wind
There is still the fear of what will happen during the next
Inevitable storm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I don’t usually do poems. I don’t like the way that I write poems. However, when I saw the prompt to write about a storm on Mama Kat’s list, I immediately thought of this. It never occurred to me to write about an actual storm. So I thought I may as well give it a shot. Don’t criticize me too much…like I said, I don’t like it either.

Questions I Have Been Asked Today

My kid is on a weird question roll lately! Here are some examples just from this morning…

*Can I hold the fishy?

*Why are you working? I not need money, mommy.

*Is my butt stinky? (In response to me saying hey you need a bath)

*Can Simba come play with us? (No, there will be no lions in the house…)

*Can you drive daddy’s car to go to the store to get a toy?   This one requires some explanation. He was standing INSIDE his toy box at the time, and his dad doesn’t live here….and is at work. And even when we were together, I was only allowed to drive the precious Camaro like three times. While the Camaro is gone now, I’m assuming I’m still not allowed to drive his car to the store to get things we certainly don’t need.

*Can I have Cheez its? (we don’t have any) Oh, can you make some?

*Can you turn on the sunshine mommy? (Oh how I wish I could..)