Friday, February 14, 2020

A love letter : to the divorced mom who is separated from her kids on a special day

I’m so sorry that you’re in pain and hurting and missing your little ones.  I know you’re trying not to think about not seeing your baby girl who is turning ten right now, and that you feel left out and sad.  You know in your head that it’s a good and positive thing she gets to have a birthday party with her father and his new girlfriend, that it’s his new girlfriend’s positive influence that is allowing this nice event to happen. 

It’s okay that you’re upset about the “injustice”—that the man who caused you so much pain and fear and continues to sow hurt and pain to his family is the same man who gets to be the “good and fun” dad who brings cupcakes to school and throw parties.  Yes it hurts and yes it’s sad.

It’s okay that you were crying, missing your baby because ten years ago, you were in the hospital giving birth to her, after he had driven your mom who was suffering with parkinson’s crazy with his no patience and snappy outlook.  It’s unfair you don’t get to see her today. 

Your head knows that you are always their mother and in your heart you know it too, it just hurts to be away from her.  Please be gentle with you, be kind and compassionate.  Let me hug you because I know your pain and fears and sadness about being separated from your children.  That you’re worried they will somehow forget that you love them.

It may not feel like it right now, but you will be okay, and this situation will get better.  Your daughter and her big sister are growing up, and the most important thing is that they know they are loved.  They always feel your love and support, even when the cranky teenager is being cranky, and even when energetic little sister is being extra.  That at your house there are rules and there is also room for mistakes, and there is always room for love and for healing.  There’s room for forgiveness and trying new things and being lazy and being active.  For working hard at school or at girl scouts and for relaxing playing with slime (sigh) or ipads (double sigh), and there is always room for dreams.  And hugging and patting our dog.  There’s room for sharing complicated feelings, like when little one shared some feelings about how dad’s girlfriend takes care of dad, you responded with love—that the most important thing is that dad’s girlfriend is nice to you and that you like her.  At your house, there’s room for all the feelings, happy, cranky, surly, silly, loving, laughter, kindness.  They will grow up knowing this like the air in our lungs, it’s just there.  At least, that’s the hope, and it’s a pretty good hope.

So hugs for you for hanging in there, and doing what you can to fill up the time while they’re away…keep working on your house and working on healing and take time to exercise and get into the ocean and the sun and spend time with your friends and loved ones.  They will be home before you know it.  Little one asked if she could have a birthday party with you, because she couldn’t invite all of her friends at dad’s, and so you will.  And a new day will come and then the next one with it, and they will be sleeping in their beds.  They will be asking you to help with homework, and wondering what’s for dinner, and if they can have nori for a snack or if there’s anymore rice in the cooker or if they can have some bacon for breakfast.  They will come and go and come and go and you know in your heart, your job is to always be there for them, and that’s a job you know you can and always will do. 

My heart is full of love for you and for them.  You are not alone. 

p.s. happy valentine’s day, sharing a little bit of love from my heart to yours.   

Tuesday, February 11, 2020


Sometimes the heart hurts because of all the pain in life and it's okay to sit down and say owie, owie, owie. 

There's a voice outside of my head that says this too will pass.  It just can't be bypassed right now. 

We have to live in it.

And it hurts.

Owie owie owie. 

Jane Thrive

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

02022020: Superwomen win the superbowl

I spent palindrome day catching smooth fun ocean waves and then catching up with old girlfriends—one who’ve I known almost 23 years and another girlfriend whose birthday just passed last month.  This was my way of filling up my cup as I’ve been struggling with grief and the girls were with their dad for the week end.  I was determined to do beautiful things and surround myself with love on 02022020, because apparently a palindrome day won’t happen again for 101 years, and I won’t be around.  (Which, now that I think about, any day won’t happen again ever…so…okay…cue the music to make the most of your every day life.  Umm…is that inspiring or pressure-inducing, lol?)

Of the Superbowl, I was able to catch the halftime show—a showstopper of a performance by Shakira and JLO and I was loving it!  Two ladies being awesome, singing, dancing and entertaining, including the kids and kicking ass, yes please.  I was actually perplexed by the backlash—my kids couldn’t watch it, there was a (gasp) stripper pole?  Really?  That’s what you took away from that amazing acrobatic performance?  Did you miss the beautiful kids breaking free from cages to sing born in the USA and a wink with the Puerto Rican Flag morphing into the US flag?  The kids were great—in appropriate attire, and if the hot mamas were dancing salsa in fringe and shaking it, isn’t that their right?  Isn’t it also JLo’s right to use all that athleticism that she’s been trained on to take on a movie role and morph that into one of her biggest performances of her career?  Let’s turn stereotypes on their heads.  Let’s have two Latina women killing it on stage to a hundred million people.  More please. 

By the end of the day, Hubby and I found ourselves outside walking our puppy (not a puppy anymore, she turned 5 last Friday) around our neighborhood, up against a backdrop of beautiful green, rainforest mountains, and I breathed in how lucky we are to be alive right now.  To have these momentary, little problems – hubby’s work stress, puppy taking a dump and having to clean it up, a sore back from exercising in the ocean, lol.  I felt the distant drama, but will give myself an A for making the most of my day off without the girls and all the usual emotions that come with being away from them.

I just want to close on this note—in my carpool on the way to school drop off this morning, I heard the young teenager girls in the back seat singing along to Taylor Swift’s _You Need to Calm Down_.  This made me smile.  I don’t remember growing up listening to songs leading with lyrics like:  and I see you over there on the internet, comparing all the girls who are killing it, but we figured you out, we all know now, we all got crowns…

I pray my girls will grow up strong.  If they want to dance, dance.  If they want to sing, sing.  If they want to be themselves, they can just be themselves.  Yes, please.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Happy Lunar New Year: The Year of the Metal Rat

The lunar new year of the metal rat 2020 is full of fortune and joy and rewards ahead, you can look up your lunar zodiac sign and read more on what’s in store for you here.

All of this lightheartedness at Survive, Live, Thrive so far this new year season aside—I’ve been coping with some complicated feelings.

Last week was the anniversary of my mother’s passing, which I think has brought up senses of grief, loss, depression.  Which despite all of my careful planning and caretaking of my daughters, may have something to do with why I feel like I fell short or have failed somehow. 

It’s odd, because I had such great set plans for this past week end—it just involved splitting my time between my two girls.  Little sis was off school on Friday, so I got to spend some quality time with her, we painted our toenails, had a ladies lunch, then I let her play on her ipod while I got my annual mammogram (ye old boob smash, lol), but this office gives out roses, so she got to pick one to take home.  We then went to pick up big sister after school and did a little shopping for replacement school clothes, and off to karate where lil sis had a great time.  But at dinner afterwards, she had the mother of all meltdowns so I grounded her from her electronic devices for three days (and felt like the worst parent ever for letting her play on it in the first place)—thankfully big sis was on point so didn’t have to worry about her, meaning at least I only had one meltdown to deal with rather than a double whammy...but off to bed to greet a new day, hopefully refreshed and rested.

Big sister had a super social overnight hotel event that we were invited to, which included an outdoor banquet underneath a 40K dinner tent (yes 40K!) full of amazing food, games and rides for the little kids, video game stations for the tweens and teens, and lots of live music and fun.  She and her BFF had a deluxe sleepover in my room (her parents were the ones who invited us, so let them have alone time while the girls stayed up), and the next morning, we went horseback riding along the ocean, which was pretty amazing, then lounged by the pool until it was time to check out and go home--to homework, a Star Wars movie binge, yummy dinner cooked by hubby, who had also done all the laundry and cleaned up the house (bonus!!). 

Meanwhile, I had sent little sister to her BFF’s for a sleepover, as she had girl scout activities early Sunday morning and in the afternoon, and I couldn’t be in two places at once, so I had to choose which girl to do what…and I knew little sister would have a blast being with her BFF for 24 hours!  Little sister reunited with us for the Star Wars movie binge and cuddled with me practically all afternoon.  I also had brought back slime from the party, which she loved.

And yet…I couldn’t shake this nagging feeling like I’d done something wrong.  Perhaps I should have stayed with little sister instead of taking big sister to her activities.  Yes, I wanted to see the big fancy event, but I also think teens need their moms too, even if they are being crotchety, they just need reminders of our presence and that we love them, too, despite the crotchety.  At the same time, I wondered if I missed out on little sister’s sports fair, where she got to play all different kinds of sports with her pals and then go do crafts with her girl scout sisters.  Granted, had I been with little sister, she likely would have been so busy with her pals, would she have even noticed that I was there?  When I tucked her in last night, I gave her tons of smooshy hugs.  I asked her if she was okay at the sports event without me, and she said yeah, but I missed you mom.  Awwww…heart strings tugged.

I want to be a good mommy to them.  I hope it’s enough.  I just feel so teary eyed about it.  I was so tired from driving home with big sister yesterday afternoon, I greeted the hubby, then took a shower and had to lie down for twenty minutes.  I didn’t want to wake up.  I was suddenly so tired of all the responsibilities, of thinking through what I did, of making it through to another day.  I literally wondered if I could just stay in a black hole of sleep for a while, I could barely wake up to do the mundane mom things I needed to do—unpack, get some laundry going, check on our to-do list for the week.

I was just so tired of wondering if I was enough for the girls—and also, I had just filled in my friend about the ex’s shenanigans being banned from his mom’s house and his interfering with her time with the girls.  How I was focusing on 2020 being distant from the drama, even though I know it’s happening, but still, with it all wrapped up in my life, it’s hard to disentangle and be at peace.  She said she had updates for me too, about his new girlfriend, but she didn’t go into it too much, and I weirdly thought maybe she was holding back, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter.  Like I told her, I like the Ex’s new girlfriend, she seems nice and bubbly and also clearly has her professional life organized (i.e. first class tickets anyone?).  The sisterhood in me is like:  Run!!!!   But then the other part of me who is so tired of his complaining is like:  Can you please take him with you to where you live thousands of miles away?  LOL.

There was another round of nitpicking emails that I dealt with, this time by getting some attorney advice.  I sent a “I will no longer respond anymore to this particular issue” email (a very dumb, tiny issue, but one that when I look back over time must have received 20+ emails about, good grief).  And while I do have some distance like I’ve committed to from last month, the energy to deal with him takes a toll, and perhaps that’s rolled up in the depressive episode that I found myself in.

Self care:  instead of running before dawn, I did some yoga.  It didn’t shake my doldrums and I felt like I was going to fall asleep at the wheel on the way into work.  But a kind gesture from a friend re: my mom’s passing (see flowers above), and getting back into the ‘routine’ at work, helped me normalize, and so I’m hoping to go for a run tomorrow before dawn will help shake out some of these nerves.  The friend who gave me the flowers said to me—Jane, you’re so hard on yourself, can you listen to how you’re talking?  About how you’re so worried you’re a good mother and yet here you are doing everything for them.  And being a parent and a spouse and working at this job, and wanting to excel at everything you do…you’re so hard on yourself.  I teared up.  It helped to be seen and to be recognized.  I may not be the best, and it’s okay to struggle, and it helps to be seen and thought of in the struggle.

So carrying on…thinking of my mom and all that she went through, and thinking of my daughters as they grow up and can only imagine what they may go through.  And just wanting to be here for them and trying to figure out how to be kind to myself in the process.

Maybe writing this all down is another way to be seen.  I see you, too.  We are in this together.  

Okay year of the metal rat, I guess we can do this.

Love and hugs,
Jane Thrive

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Adulting break

Adulting is the theme of 2020 so far—adulting with relationships, work, parenting, and co-parenting.

I can do this adulting thing, although some recreational breaks definitely help.

How to cope with a load of adulting:

1.  Take some laugh breaks with your favorite someone.  This could be spouse, sister, bff, coworker.  A good cackle or belly laugh can do wonders! <3 o:p="">
2.  Take a nap.
3.  Read up on baby yoda memes.
4.  Go for a run. (If you don’t run, fill that blank with something physical…to get the blood going).
5.  Take 10 deep breaths.
6.  Reminisce about a favorite memory—someone, or something, or somewhere…it’s like taking a mini vacation with your mind.
7.  And if funds are available, make a new memory, go for a mini break!
8.  Or cuddle up with a book. (Another vacation for the mind).
9.  Take a bath.
10.  Eat your favorite snack.
11.  Drink an unexpected glass of wine with a friend.  Or maybe four.  (Like I did last night, tee hee!)

Love and hugs!  Would love to hear your adulting break ideas if you'd like to share! <3 font="">

Thursday, January 2, 2020

New Routes in the New Year

Let’s do this 2020! 

Looking back at the last few weeks of 2019, it’s been a pretty awesome transition to the new year so far.  My house filled up with love of family and friends via various visits and sleepovers and holiday fun, cookies galore, bonus fireworks ringing in the new year.

My surly tween spending sweet time with her nana (hubby’s mom) who was visiting, and little sister enjoying giggles and laughter with nana, too.  Lots of sleeping in and napping and trips to the beach and watching movies and playing games and eating all the holiday food.

More news has come out from the ex’s brother about the ex’s shenanigans—which feels strangely validating—but I’m doing my best to distance from the drama and just enjoy my time on this earth, with my rapidly growing girls.

Emotional habits are hard to break, but I’ve noticed the last couple of times that the girls have gone to their dad’s house, I haven’t curled up into a little ball of worry. 

So maybe that’s my resolution this year—whether you make them or not—and someone recently asked me if I do the resolution thing and my answer was:  if I have, I can’t remember? (Is this a side effect of aging? LOL!!!!)

But I do have a conscious thought and wish for this year:  to let go of negative thought patterns.  To let go of negative emotional reactive patterns.

To disrupt.

I want to disrupt the fear and anxiety that I’ve felt when it comes to the ex.  So I’m going to hold onto this peaceful distance that I’ve managed when it comes to him lately, and when I feel my head going to the dark space of worry and fear re: how he treats me and the girls, I’m going to disrupt that thought flow. 

And rise.

Above it all.

With everything I’ve got.

I’m not perfect at it, but I’ve done it a couple of times—it’s like I’m at the top of a slide and instead of going down the usual familiar path of worry and depressed thinking, I consciously choose to take the stairs, taking deep breaths and remembering that I can straighten my crown and put my best foot forward.

I’m seeing about applying this also to work, how to rise above the pressures of being the perfect boss, colleague and coworker.  The perfect wife, mother, sister, daughter, woman in this world.

I’m looking at how to disrupt these familiar chains of thinking that have bogged me down for so long.  I’m tired of the weight, the tunnel vision, the familiar drag, like I’m swimming across a clear blue sea with a school of nets tied to my ankles.

What is that saying, for people who’ve lived through trauma and abusive relationships?  We accept the love we think we deserve--because the pain and the sadness and the anxiety and the fear have become familiar.  It’s what we’re accustomed to, so anything that’s not fear or worry is unfamiliar and downright scary.  Healthy love and healthy thinking, when it appears before us, is like putting a left handed glove on a right hand.  It doesn’t quite feel right.

I want it to feel right. 

I’m done with these old train tracks running over my heart and mind and soul.  It’s time.  2020 is about making room for changes, making room for different tracks.  I’m going to give everything I have to disrupt these old routes and try something new.  Hopefully, I’ll get to lay down new tracks, I can feel the winds of change behind me, as I’ve worked to rise above the drama for the last couple of weeks. 

Here we go, 2020!  Can’t wait to see what happens next.

Love and hugs,
Jane Thrive

Thursday, December 19, 2019

What a Bright Time, It's the Right Time

All is quiet on the co-parenting front, dare I say, all is calm, and all is bright?*  Yes, with an asterisk. LOL.

Tomorrow, DD2 will be performing in her school winter songfest, and in the spirit of the holiday season, I invited her only living grandmother who is estranged from the girls' dad.  I also printed out and enlarged a picture I took of her and the girls, bought a frame, and along with the Christmas goodies we are going to bake next week, am planning to drop off to her with the girls on Christmas Eve. 

The girls step-nana is also in town for the holiday season, so there’s lot of love in our house this week!  I’m working one more day and then taking next week off from work and can’t wait to hang out with the fam and just do all my favorite holiday things:  baking, gift wrapping, hosting the girls great-cookie-baking-for-santa sleepover—three friends for DD1 have come over for the past seven years and at least one for DD2 for the last few, watching how the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966 cartoon version, please) and Mickey’s Christmas Carol.  Then we pick a Christmas feature movie to watch and then the girls settle into a long winter’s nap (likely full of giggling and ipad/iphone games, lol, oh well).  I’ll be sure to post pics of our baking creations!

I also convinced DD1 to speak at the Christmas Eve service—she’ll be narrating some of the verses related to the birth of Baby Jesus, so adorable and cute, while the little ones act out in the pageant!  And I’m hoping that will be incentive for DD2 to dress up as an angel with the other kids her age.  They grow up so fast—DD1 would just roll her eyes if I asked her if she was going dress up as an angel.  Let’s hope DD2 can carry it on for a while longer.

Last minute Christmas shopping/food list:
Confectioner’s sugar (icing)
Food coloring (icing)
Rolled oats
Brown sugar
Mini pretzels
That white bark that melts (from Walmart) to dip pretzels
Wax paper
More sprinkles

Call the butcher for rib roast cut, rib roasts go on sale on Sunday, yippee!
Frozen green beans
French’s onions
Cream of mushroom soup
Stuffing supplies: onion, bread cubes, butter
(because who doesn’t need eggs and bacon on a Christmas morning while opening presents)?
And don’t forget the sprinkles!

Just tucking in for the last stretch of holiday activity.  I honestly love this time of year and all the lights and the music and the songs.  Last year I really struggled, likely because the Christmas week the girls were with their dad, and also because the loss of my mom in early 2018 still hit so hard.  I still feel that grief but it’s not paralyzing like it was before.  And it’s fun to have family in the house all together.

My Christmas wish is for peace and tranquility—amongst all the chaos going on in the world, being still and letting the love shine through.  Sometimes I feel like we are so tiny, our problems so small in this big giant world, that it’s good to take a deep breath and remember that in the grand scheme of the universe, our troubles can and will pass.  Be like water and let ourselves flow on our path to healing.

*p.s. after much back and forth with all the parties involved with our case—attorneys, former attorneys, therapists, my trusted family and friends, I decided the best course of action was to let the ex know that in the spirit of the holiday season I had invited his mom to DD2’s school winter performance. I mentioned that he may have heard that his mom came to a tennis match last month and the girls enjoyed their afternoon with her and that I’m hoping to include her in the future when it’s convenient for her.  I figure this is worded in a simple and kind way—and out of caution that he can’t claim he didn’t know about it.  Now I hold my breath and hope he doesn’t rage and take it out on DD2 or DD1 when they are with him this week end.  Here’s to a Christmas wish that they are protected from his negativity.

p.p.s. Despite all of this struggle and psychological ‘warfare’ for lack of a better word that I live with, I came to an epiphany the other day—that while the divorce outcome didn’t result in harsher measures to keep the girls “safer,” I realized that in the end, it did ensure their safety in ways that I couldn’t have imagined earlier. 

Because he treasures his ‘face’ more than anything, he cannot physically hurt the children (or me) anymore, because he would look bad.  The world is watching, and even if he’s faking his father of the year face, at the very least, being forced to behave well is what’s the most important, way more important, than ‘winning’ a case.  He dare not lay a finger on them, as he knows the world is watching.

I just wish there was a way to help him regulate his emotions and psychological manipulations, whether purposeful or a side effect of his own traumas and injuries, they impact the girls (and me) in ways I wish they wouldn’t.

This is why I had that * at the beginning of the post.

Okay, back to the drawing board. 

As the folks in Who-Ville say, welcome Christmas, come this way!  Christmas Day is in our grasp, so long as we have hands to clasp.