Tuesday, August 7, 2018

August Update

Dear World,

Just a quick update that I was hit by a car five weeks ago, while I was in the crosswalk.  I think the driver was rushing to get to work or something.  I can't believe it's only been five weeks!  I'm doing okay, but I have a fractured wrist and a messed up shoulder.  I'm very lucky considering the circumstances--I saw the car and tried to get out of the way, was clipped and the next thing I knew, I was on the ground, staring up at the firemen who were asking me what day it was (which I didn't know, had issues with a concussion but that's better!).  I'm on the healing path, and my daughters and hubby have been amazing supporters.   I'll get back to writing soon!

Love and hugs and keep carrying on!
Jane Thrive

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Extended Summer Break Coping—and an Epiphany




I’m more than halfway through the separation with my kids as they are on their extended summer visit with dad.  They come home in less than a week, so it’s the final stretch!  Here is what I’ve done so far:


  • Running on and off, but recently completed 9.3 miles in one go—training for a half marathon at the end of the summer, so that is the longest run that I’ve ever done.  This is from a person who never ran a foot unless it was to chase after a child or a dog or the ice cream truck, not necessarily in that order.  In total, I’ve run 159 miles since February—whattttt.  LOL.
  • Finished Keurium, which is a thoughtful and heartbreaking novel about discovery and healing.  While its narrative weaves the threads of transracial adoption and narcissistic abuse, it speaks to the human condition in a larger sense.  Of how we take the broken pieces of ourselves to emerge into a new understanding and transformation—a new version of ourselves. 
  • Several days of surfing the beautiful waves and I still smile at the wind rushing through my hair and the translucent blue/aqua ocean waters rising and breaking while I’m gliding along its face…I even took a girlfriend who wanted to learn and she had a fabulous time, too. 
  • Celebrated hubby’s birthday, dinner out with his BFFs and also saw Deadpool 2 recently.  I laughed at the irreverence, but I actually liked Solo better—another movie to fill the time, and I loved seeing Holo and Chewy meet for the first time, and in general I like ‘heist’ type of movies.  Q’ira’s character took an interesting turn that was much different than the usual, which made me happy.  I’m also looking forward to seeing Ocean’s 8 (the older I get, honestly, the less patience I have with Y chromosome focused narratives in film and in books).
  • As an addendum to the above comment re: film and books, read this food for thought article about the western literature canon feeding into male entitlement and socialization.
  • Preparing for the fiscal year end at my work, which required a lot of report writing, fund reconciliation, quote generating, also hiring new staff and supervising smaller projects.
  • Doing some mundane closet cleaning/purging of DD2’s clothes that don’t fit—packed up two giant bags of donation, and two giant bags of hand me downs to a little sister we know, who absolutely adores all of DD2’s dresses, skirts, etc.  Sadly, DD2 is moving on to leggings/t-shirts and no longer gravitates to ‘twirly’ dresses anymore, le sigh.  Growing up!
  • Brunch/Lunch with friends and catching up with people I can't see all the time. 
   
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This all sounds good and healthy, but I have also gotten in a gazillion small arguments with the hubs, worried that I’m failing at work somehow, falling behind or falling forward.  I’ve been able to talk to the girls pretty regularly, and sometimes they are enthused, much of the time they are not, and so I’m dealing with the role modeling that’s happening over there.

I had an epiphany with how the ex operates recently—and remembering the years that we were together: when someone wronged him, a coworker, a family member, a friend—then that person was excised out of his life.  Sometimes for a time (his mom), sometimes forever (his brother).

That person would go from “oh s/he is WONDERFUL” to “the worst in the whole world and cannot be trusted.”  When he would get in a row with his mom, we wouldn’t see her for a while.  His brother—as mentioned previously, isn’t acknowledged or spoken to, nor are the girls ‘allowed’ to talk to their uncle, so much so, that DD2 has very little memory of interacting with him, even though they lived in the same house for 7 years, having just moved out of grandma’s house a couple of months ago.  Anyway, I remember being there in that space of excising with him—i.e. oh yes, you’re right, they treated you horribly, yes let’s not talk to them…I would align myself with him to seek his approval.  (This also reflected back at me when reading Keurium)

And that is the role modeling my girls also have with him.  In public, he won’t speak to me, even though I always make an effort to say hello, or nice to see you, especially because the girls are present.  He will honestly look the other way.  It’s not downright nasty (people are watching, after all), it’s just a refusal to acknowledge the one who wronged him.  This is what we experienced at DD1’s promotion ceremony; however, I refused to let it stop me from being civil to him, to offer to take a picture of him with DD1, since I know she would want that, to at least model that it’s okay for me to talk to dad, even if he refused to acknowledge that I’m there.  The girls have, over the years, come home with comments about “poor daddy” and “why does daddy give you all his money” and “daddy says he’s poor” things like that—I’m the root of the difficulties in his life.  I respond by talking about the things that daddy has, i.e. does dad live in a nice house?  Is dad’s house bigger than ours?  Does he have a nice car to drive?  Does he have a fancy phone? (what we call smart phones, lol).  The answer to all these questions is yes…and then they can make their conclusion themselves about the financial state of dad.  (Which—why are little kids worried about this?)

And so I have to figure out how to deal with that influence on my daughters and hope that by focusing on behaving positively and with love and kindness, it will be enough to counteract.  On positive days, I think that it will be.  On days when she’s a feisty tween, and especially when she’s been with him a long time, I’m not so sure, and the undercurrent of anxiety raises its feisty head.

So in the space before they come home and we resume our ‘normal’ schedule, I’m back to coping with the above bulleted list.  It’s a good thing I went running this morning, it definitely helps.  Maybe I’ll make myself an adult bevarage, later, too....hmmm....

Friday, June 1, 2018

An Ending and A Beginning and Coping Along the way




I’m so proud of DD1 and DD2—another year of school is over.  DD1 was surprised at her promotion ceremony by earning her school’s Scholastic Achievement Award—in fact we all were!  As her teacher slowly listed the activities and roles that DD1 and many of her classmates have participated in/taken on, the possibility of who the actual awardee could be began to narrow down to—DD1!  Aww, sweet DD1, I thought my heart was going to burst with pride and love.  And while DD2 was home sick with a fever, she was better by the next day, so was able to watch her sister get recognized at the school-wide student assembly.  I can’t believe I now have an official middle schooler on my hands, lord help me!

The girls are now with their dad for the next two weeks for his summer vacation time.  DD2’s brand new school has summer school starting in a couple of weeks, and so he is getting to be folded into the school in that way.  This is the school that he is not paying a single penny of tuition according to our stupid court finagling years ago when it came to the education of our girls.  The irony is that he is a private school grad himself, insisted the girls HAD to go to private school—until he actually had to pay the piper when we divorced.  So then he drew out a six month long legal battle about it—when all along I said I would pay for everything, and he would never, ever be charged.  His objection?  He was okay if I applied the girls, if I paid for everything, however he demanded to have the final selection choice.  Um…no.

Anyway, that conflict down, cut to three years later, and DD1 was accepted to a really great school that she can’t wait to attend, so I’m putting away my twinges of worry that he is going to walk into said school and charm the world about how he is such a wonderful father, barf.  It doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things, because DD1 is so excited and happy and can’t wait to start!   And I’m so excited for her too, yippee!!!

As for DD2, she is a jumping bean and excited about going to summer school with her bestie.  She is such a character, always making faces, trying to make people laugh, the energy of an energizer bunny that never stops.  I’m excited for her to continue her hip hop dance and tennis this summer and really hope that now that her sister is moving on to middle school, DD2 can maybe come out from under her sister’s shadow and find herself a little bit more.   ?  Who knows?

A couple of years ago, I wrote a post about “coping skills” when your kids are on extended break with your co-parent.  I’m trying to lean into those coping skills now, and I’d like to say it gets easier with time.  It’s both easier and more difficult—easier because it’s not something new, harder, because they are older, or maybe it’s just harder for me, because of the abuse PTSD that I still feel acutely on some days, yet on others, feel like I’ve finally made huge strides in healing.

Are we ever truly healed?  Or is the pain and injury like the tide—sometimes the pull is so strong, you feel like you’re submerged underwater, other days, light as feather, you’re floating above the water, along the clouds, and all is in balance and right with the world.

Or is that just crazy me?

I guess the best advice I have right now is from waaaaay back, from when I was first learning to deal with this whole divorce world odyssey:  be gentle with you.  Life is hard enough without you coming down harder on yourself.  I’ll go with that and hope it can sustain my coping needs for a while.  And sending love and hugs to the world, too.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Royal Wedding - Yippee!



It may be “cooler” to act like I didn’t pay attention to the #RoyalWedding that happened over the week end, but I embrace being one of the uncool kids!  I wasn’t able to watch it, but I did do a whole lot of DVR-ing which I will get to review shortly and have been surfing the web, purposely looking for joyous faces and silly memes and stories of adorableness.  It’s nice to have a bubble of love and light lift up the world a little bit, and while by no means a royal expert am I, I loved that the wedding shook up some traditions by the inclusion of MLK, Jr, the gospel choir, Stand by Me, the loveliness and smooshiness of the bride and groom. 


I’ll also admit that I loved this meme a whole lot : I wish I could just add the pic, but please click here.

And in other news, I was actually celebrating my wedding anniversary this past week end—the hubby surprised me with a week end getaway at a posh resort, awwwwww.  As much as there is anxiety in raising a tween and dealing with a coparent who is not the most cooperative, there was a lot to celebrate.  The world may be looking at the newest princess and prince; I guess I can safely say that I have my own!  Hee hee yay! :)

Love and hugs to the world! 

Friday, May 4, 2018

Kindness--May the Fourth Be With you!



Happy May to all!

Things are trucking along at Chez Survive, Love, Thrive.  The girls are finishing up their school year (AWKKKKK) and I’m soon to have a middle schooler on my hands.  She has the maturity and sensibility of an old soul, a laugh like a little kid, as well an ATTITUDE of a tween going onto majorly teen.  Lord help us all!  At least little sister still likes to hold my hand and sit on my lap, le sigh!

Work is going great, budget reports done, pending acquisitions approved, staffing issues settled, and I’m about to hire a part time employee as well.  I’m traveling to a conference and have also been elected to a Board position that was a bit unexpected.  To be truthful, I’m an introvert who masquerades as an extrovert, so the next week will be exhausting rubbing elbows with the world.  And the Board position is a three year odyssey into the unknown, but I do have great mentorship in place, so I’m thinking about it with half trepidation and half eagerness to learn something new.

My running is getting out of control, lol.  My old lady ankles are yelling—WTF are you doing to us????  I’m figuring out how to scale back a bit over the next month, so as not to have any injuries, because the biggest news about the running thing is that I’ve signed up for a half marathon over labor day week end. !!! HA HA HA!!!   This both terrifies and makes me laugh hysterically.  Hubby wants to do it with me, and some of my good friends who are runners are going to do it too!  So this will be a fun adventure to look forward to in the fall.

The running relates to my anxiety and grieving.  I really do think I’m somehow running through my grief.  Running is helping me cope with my anxiety, too.  I still wake up in the middle of the night with anxiety, but lately it seems that I’m able to take it with a grain of salt, go back to sleep, and then awaken for the day with less trepidation. 

As for co-parenting, DD1 won an award where she and her BFF will be honored on Sunday.  Guess who hasn’t RVSPed to the event organizers and who hasn’t confirmed with me that she’ll be there, after I’ve politely inquired several times  (lol and he didn’t know about it until I had emailed it to him weeks ago)?  But yet I’ve heard from DD1 and her BFF’s family that she’ll be there?  Le sigh.  I’m going to be brave and go.  Life will be okay.  I’m bringing someone who is like my little sister as my plus 1, since hubby has to work.  No matter the weirdness, it will just be what it will be.  This co-parenting stress doesn’t take away the fact at how very proud I am of DD1’s accomplishment, and even more touched that she’s being honored with her BFF in this last year they will be together (they are going to different middle schools)…

At any rate, as I keep on moving through this thing called life, I’m meditating on something that I shared when asked to write a personal statement for that recent election:

“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." --Maya Angelou

I told the readers that this quote resonated with me because even as I run around checking boxes off the to-do list, that I must always remember to act with kindness—and that in the profession that I work in, a little bit of kindness can go a long way in fostering positive relationships with people. <3 o:p="">

So my p.s. is that I may not be the smartest, best person in the room, but I do know what it means to be kind, and my aim in life is to keep sending love and kindness into the world.  If I can do that, then that’s a whole lot.  At least, that’s my hope!

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Treading Water



Dear Jane,

Today you're treading water.  You're not feeling especially happy or especially sad, although you are feeling a bit anxious.  The running has helped, but you had to take a week off because you started this whole running odyssey when you're over 40 (and apparently they call you a 'master' runner which you think translates to old lady runner, lol, but you’re cool with it), and so going five miles 3-4 times a week made your ankle really hurt.  Anyway!  You got back on the running wagon yesterday, which felt pretty good.

You’ve been getting up every day and logging in the parenting hours, the work hours, the wife hours, the managing everyone and the household hours and so it feels like you’re treading water.

You may have spent some time surfing the internet reading tons of articles about running, about depression, about entertainment news, because honestly, faking it right now is about the best that you have.  Oh, and yes, you did return some phone calls and attend some meetings.  You did attend to some pending work matters and you did take care of certain staff that needed attention.

Gold star for being present over the week end and being there for your kids and cuddles and love.  Your tween daughter actually laughed, LAUGHED with you about a book she read that was funny.  Your younger one thought you said ‘feed the fish tank sushi’ when you said you were going to wash the fish tank this sunday, and at first was salty at you because you didn’t respond (because distracted by grief/depression that sinks in like a fog sometimes), but when you snapped to it, was cuddly and loving and laughing at her cleverness.  At dinner the other night, your daughters demonstrated their karate moves that you didn’t even know they had.  They’ve been filling the house with laughter and annoying arguments and hugs and moments of tenderness and you are grateful for that.  DD1 asked you one night what exactly was the day that grandma passed and you had to pause, you knew it was a Wednesday, but you had to look up the date.  And she asked if one year from the date, if everyone could take the day off, no school, no work, and we could all be together and your heart filled up to the brim and you said of course.

Your hubby has been kind and supportive and also stressed in his own way about work, health, life, but for the most part, all is well on all fronts.  He just sent you some beautiful flowers at work though (which you asked him to do, lol, but hey nothing like being upfront and you know your mom loved flowers so much and you miss her) and you are thankful for that.

There’s a part of you that is snappy and growly and so you’re working on that.  Example—you tell hubby you’re sad about your mom, and he holds your hand, then reaches for his facebook.  You are snappy and grumpy because he is constantly ON YOU for being on your phone when you’re together, so this kind of stuff drives you bananas.  Plus, you know he lovingly cares for you, you’re just tired of the little hypocrisies here and there and actually, you know hubby gets it and understands (after he fights with you about it for a little while), it’s just exhausting to have to explain and go through this process. 

You realize this is not the end of the world.  And in the grand scheme of things, life is going as it should be, and is pretty decent.  Maybe you’re in this mood, because your brother has been in touch with you this week and is sending your portion of the remains of your mom—her wish to be cremated—finally, so you can take the moments with your family to take your mom to all the places she loved when she visited you all those years, until she had to stop traveling due to her condition.  Yes, maybe that’s what’s unnerved you and put you off kilter.  And not getting sleep.

I love you, Jane.  I’m sorry you are hurting and I love and accept you.  It’s okay to have anxiety and fear and worry.  It’s okay to have all those feelings.  One day it will get better.  Right now, it’s okay to tread water.  If you have read the internet some more for some distraction, go ahead.  I know you are capable and responsible and you are smart and loving.  I’ll be here.

Love,
Me



Monday, April 2, 2018

Running



Happy Happy Easter to all!  It was a whirlwind week end of fun in the sun with my hubby and his mom who is visiting, a dance recital for DD2, an easter egg hunt and lunch with the girls, followed by a swim in the ocean.  Life is really great in that regard!

On the flip side, I woke up in the pre-dawn hours of Easter, consumed with anxiety (once again).  So I put on my runners, tiptoed outside before anyone could wake up, and took off running.  I ran past buildings, and foul smells and someone who was muttering to himself at the bus stop.  I ran by a lady walking her two dogs in the pre-dawn darkness.  I ran by quiet trees and I ran into a neighborhood where the dark ocean peeked in between houses, and I ran down a giant hill only to run up the other side and thought I’d pass out from the effort.

I ran back into an ancient, sacred valley, where the stream gurgled from the heavy rain the night before.  I ran past a green and verdant mountain, coming awake as the sun arose.  At this point, I stopped running and had a good cry.

Easter was my mom’s favorite holiday, more than any other.  She was very religious in her faith, although she was never obnoxious or hit-you-over-the-head-with-it.  She just loved Easter and all that it represented for her.  She called it her new year.

So this Easter, I ran a 6K and cried myself a river because I missed her.  Then I pulled my act together, took a shower, and got ready for the day.  And enjoyed the five hours that I had with my daughters at church and with my mom-in-law, then after dropping the girls back off to their dad, spent time with the hub and his mom and some friends down by the sea, where I went for a half mile swim and caught baby waves with one of our friend’s boogie boards.  And helped myself to two glasses of sparkling wine at the end of the day, because it was Easter after all.

I’m already plotting out my next run.  Me, the person who never liked running and thought it was for the birds.  Just recently, I’ve run an 8K on Good Friday, 5K the Tuesday before that, and a 6K last Sunday.  I think I’m running through my grief.  I think that’s okay.