Friday, February 12, 2016

Rise Above


Image credit (here)

Yesterday, I finally heard back from the Exie (after three weeks) regarding my proposed mother’s day week end swap.  Nevermind the fact that if I took three weeks to respond to an email or note in the parenting notebook--the nitpicking comments, the arrows drawn in the notebook, the email reminders, would never stop.  But I digress.

Here’s the situation—mother’s day week end falls on dad’s week end this year.  Yes, by decree, we each get to spend some time together for mother’s day/father’s day, but if we do so, then we swap the time either the previous or subsequent week end.  It’s a lot of back and forth for the girls.  So…I am asking for a swap of the week end itself.  

I didn’t just come up with this idea and run with it—I consulted our coparenting mediator about it and she thought it sounded more than reasonable.  Just make it easier on the kids, a straight Friday pick up, Monday return to school, no one loses time.

So off I emailed, saying could you please swap the Mother’s day week end.  

And the response?  I’ll consider it, but it’s too far away to make any plans.

Right, because, it’s so much easier not knowing when the children are with our respective households for planning purposes.  Nevermind the fact that our week ends are locked in for the next 13 years—so essentially—there’s “plans” on the books for years to come…?

So of course I was upset and so angry and cursing (by myself, in the bathroom, the kids already asleep in bed).  Half of it was not just at his passive-aggressiveness, but because I let him get to me again.  That I was SO upset that I was crying.  

I forwarded the email to the coparenting mediator, with just one sentence, “do you have any advice”?  And then I took a soothing bath and went to bed.

Well…this morning, I see another email in my inbox, from the Ex, replying to my email to the coparenting mediator—in my fuss, I had sent it to him instead of her.  He said, “tell Dr. [  ] that I said hello.”  

Okay, so now I’m just laughing.  It’s quite absurd.  Everything.

The passive-aggressiveness isn’t a surprise, why should I be surprised?

That he must enforce his “control” by not getting back to me about MOTHER’s day—is more reinforcement as to why I got out of this relationship in the first place.

Yes, I admit it, the first thing out of my angry head was:  just wait until you ask me for a favor bub, forget you.  (or other harsher words).

But…I have to remember something.  I got out of this relationship for many, many reasons, this being one drop in a big pot.  While he is hanging onto his control and sending me nitpicking emails—I get to have a new life, with my hubby (we’re going on a sweet staycation this holiday week end), and the time with my girls is precious, whether I get to see them on Mother’s day week end or not.  

I feel sorry for him—that he is so insecure in his relationship with the girls that he grasps at straws, makes them feel like they can’t talk to me on the phone, that he leans on them to take care of him (not good for them but we’re still working on it).  

I feel sorry for my girls, that I chose this insecure and angry and power-needy person to be their father. 

But we will make it.  I can make it.  I will continue to be kind, loving, hopeful.  I’ll work on not being surprised when he acts like himself.  I’ll hold onto hope and faith and straight up commitment to help my girls make it out of childhood and do as much damage control and healthy boundary building that I can.

Here’s to hope  <3 p="">

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Trust is a hard thing to do


Image credit (here)

Is it wrong of me to wish the Ex would move to Siberia?  Sigh.  Yes.  I guess it is.  Dammit.

One of the things about this whole parallel-parenting situation that I’ve learned is—I just have to let go.  For the sake of the kids, let go.  Trust that they will be okay, that they will learn to stand up for themselves.  Trust that their love for their father is really going to be okay, and not turn them into care-taking worriers who will inherit concerning traits like getting into relationships with men who will take advantage of them, bully them, make them feel bad, along with making them feel good.  Trust they will learn to stand up on their own two feet and learn how to be a woman in this world, how not to undervalue themselves, how to expect respect as the norm (not the exception), how not to lose sense of their self-worth.

Good lord.  

That’s a lot of trust.  I don’t know if I can do that.

I guess I can teach them to use their words—to talk (or write, or express) how they feel.  When they’re hurting from what their father said or did, hug them and allow them to cry, soothe them, confirm that what happened is not okay, to recognize the difference in how things can be done.  And when they’re feeling defensive about their father, allow them room to care about their dad so much, because as any child does, they love their parent with all their heart.

Recently, I did have to pick up the phone (see why I haven’t, here), to remind DD1 about her music class--the previous week she'd forgotten.  DD1 was talking and telling me about her day, and then she said, "Oh, and then DD2 got BUS-TED," and then she said "Ow!" and was quiet a second, then she totally changed the subject.  I asked her, "what were you saying about DD2 honey?" and she just ignored me and kept going with the other subject and acting weird on the phone, so I dropped it.

I asked the play therapist about it, who responded, well, it’s what happens at dad’s house stays at dad’s house, and I’m sure what happens at mom’s house, stays at mom’s house.  Just keep the communication channel open.  They’ll tell you if it’s really concerning.

(I asked my therapist about it—her opinion is that the girls don’t feel safe talking to me at their dad’s house—they sense it’s a sore spot with him.  They know they can’t show their affection to you when he’s watching, so that’s why they do sound stressed when they do.)

So…I broached the subject with DD1 when they came home, and DD1 (always defending her dad) didn't want to talk about it, but DD2 did, and then DD1 chimed in a little bit.

Apparently the girls were at the Ex’s friend’s house last week end (they have two girls, and before divorce, I spent time with them, very sweet girls), and DD2 didn't want to leave when it was time to go.  So DD2 and DD1 said their dad left DD2 there, and DD2 said she spent the night all alone and she was scared of monsters, and then DD1 said well, we came back for her, mom.  Then DD2 said that she wasn't allowed to sleep in daddy's room, and that she was all by herself and scared of monsters all alone all night, and DD1 got to sleep in daddy's room. (DD2 was crying big alligator tears at this point and clinging to me for big hugs).  DD2 also said that when they went to get ice cream, DD1 got a big huge scoop, but I only got a little scoop.

So all I did was just hug DD2 a lot and tell her that I loved her, and I was sorry she was scared, and that it's not okay for anyone to make her feel scared.  And she just kind of cried it out and then we read a story.

So...the way the story came out, it was kind of jumbled up, in a 5 year old way, so at first it sounded like DD2 was left at their friend's house all night.  Then that DD1 slept in dad's room all night, then it sounded like DD1 just watched t.v. in dad's room until late, according to DD1--and again DD1 was very defensive about not wanting to talk about it too much, so I didn't ask anything more.

At any rate, life seems to be okay now.  Later, I did ask DD1 if she had her own bed at dad's house, and she said yeah, and that she was watching t.v. in dad's room.  She said she and DD2 share a room at dad's house, with their own beds, and if one day Uncle moves out, then she'd have her own room, or if Grandma dies, she'd have her own room.  (That's my macabre, concrete 4th grader).

It’s hard to tell what really happened, all I know is that I have to be there for my girls, to tell them it’s okay to have their feelings, help them untangle the complications.  I worry about DD1’s protectiveness with her dad, and that DD2 will learn to protect him, too.  But what else can I do?

I wish I could do more than trust they’ll get it, one day.  Trust that they’ll learn to be strong, one day.  Trust that they’ll trust their voices, one day.

On a more positive note—we’re celebrating our doggie’s first birthday this week end.  I borrowed a pan shaped in a bone and we’re going to bake her a cake.  Plus, I’m going to make their favorite—my special grilled beef rib recipe.  So hopefully…the next few days will be filled with happiness.  At least I can trust in the week end.

Friday, January 29, 2016

January Wind

January 29, 2016

The end of January and I’m dealing with stuff.  Last year it was more of a red alert situation, with DD2’s schooling on the horizon and past payments that were due.  

Here’s some Level 5 crap happening this week—I took the girls to DD2’s gymnastics (she attends with her BFF), and some parents and I were talking about how our girls tell us they don’t want to go to gymnastics in the morning, but when they get here, they have a blast.  DD1 who was “reading” her book but clearly listening, piped up, saying, “I know why DD2 says that mom.”  And I said “why?” And she said, “Because daddy tells her if she doesn’t like gymnastics, she doesn’t have to go.”  Me:  …

Luckily, my friend (DD2’s BFF’s mom) piped up and said, “Oh honey, DD2 LOVES gymnastics, see?” pointing at all the giggling girls bouncing on a trampoline.  DD1 answered, uh huh, and resumed reading her book.

Le sigh.  I know this type of thinking is what caused DD1 to quit dance last November.  After her dance exams (which she sailed through), DD1’s dance class schedule changed, meaning that her dad would have to take her every other Saturday.  Immediately, DD1 said, “I don’t want dad to have to take me to dance.” And that was that.  Having already worked around their dad’s resistance over a year before that, I decided to let DD1 take a break, pursue her interest in tennis, and leave it alone.  Having a big fight about dance with the Ex would only make DD1 feel more torn apart and guilty about “dad’s time” being spent on a “mom activity” (to which I responded, darling these are YOUR activities, not mom’s or dad’s…etc.etc.).

So after a month went by, DD1’s dance instructor contacted me, saying that DD1 is a lovely dancer, would she be interested in coming back?  To which I passed along to DD1 over the holidays and she said she’d think about it.  Then just this week, when I asked DD1 how she’d like me to respond to her dance instructor, DD1 said she’d like to try it—to see if she liked it again.  As long as it was on a Mom saturday.  So…back to dance class we go, as long as it’s only on a MOM day.  I decided I won’t push it, just take her, if she likes it great, if not, fine.

The thing is—if DD1 had two left feet, no problem, let’s leave dance behind.  But her teachers have consistently responded that DD1 is lovely, has talent, she has a great time in class with her peers, etc etc, so if there is something there…I’d like to support her in it.  We shall see.  It’s sweet of the dance studio to accommodate our schedule like this.  

It’s crappy that he makes the girls feel bad about doing activities on the week end, because it takes away from his time.

At any rate—over my lunch break from work, I met up with a good friend whose parents divorced when she was little…she always asks me how my girls are doing.  And after hearing about this latest, she asked me, when was this divorce again?  Well, he moved out in 2011.  
She said, oh my goodness, you’d think this all went down 6 months ago, and he’s still behaving like this?  Goodness it’s been over four years!? 

Me:  Yep.

It’s a marathon, not a race.  (p.s. I hate running—hats off to all those runners out there, to which I have the utmost respect, but running is not for me.)  

I checked in with the play therapist about the gymnastics baloney—she said all little kids say stuff like that, it’s about the transition from doing what they’re doing to another place altogether, not about the activity itself.  She said at some point DD1 especially will get fed up with dad’s expectations, and in the meantime, keep the communication channels open and help them cope and figure out how to stand up for themselves.  

Ok.  Will do.  Keep hoping, trying, and doing the best we can.    

Friday, January 22, 2016

Level 5


Image credit: <here>

So lately, I’ve been cruising on level 5 with coparenting issues with the ex, and I’ll take it.  (On a scale from 1 to 10).

So what is it a five, asked the co-parenting counselor.  A five is not a ten—but here’s the five-level things that I’ve been contending with of late (besides annoying phone call crap).

Prior to the holidays, DD1’s school sent home announcements to all parents that on a dad Friday, school was closing early, 11:00am, and absolutely no late pick-ups were allowed.  The week before, as a courtesy, I forwarded one of the newsletters to dad as an FYI, pick up 11:00am.  To which I received a blustery email—of COURSE he knew and he had made arrangements, la la la.

That said Friday, guess who is calling me at 11:15am, because DD2 is the last one there, and dad isn’t picking up his phone?  Yep.  It’s funny now, but at the time, I scrambled to call grandma, no answer.  I called dad, who picked up the phone, then hung it up without speaking.  I call grandma again, no answer.  I call the school, DD2 is still there—to which I apologize profusely, say I’ll keep trying, and if I can’t find someone, I’ll come and get DD2.  So, I call dad back and he answers…hello?  And I say, I’m so sorry to bother you, but the school is calling, DD2 hasn’t been picked up, did you make arrangements?  Of course I made special arrangements.  Well…is it grandma?  Yes, it’s grandma, she should be there already.  Well…do you want to call the school?  Of course I’ll call the school.  Right.  So…12:15pm, the school calls me and finally, DD2 is picked up.  Great.

The co-parenting counselor chastised me and let me know 1) I do not offer to pick up DD2, that’s dad’s day, and he screwed up, he needs to fix it.  2) I do not say I’m sorry,and 3) be sure the school calls dad, not me (to which I explained they did call him, but he hadn’t piced up).
Next, DD2 had a little meltdown on a dad week end at gymnastics—she refused to participate that day.  To which I got an email questioning DD2’s continued participation in gymnastics.  He said that DD2 didn’t participate, and that he talked to the coaches and said that was par for the course, and he wanted to double check.  Okay, so…dad has been taking DD2 to gymnastics every other week since last fall.  Fortunately, DD2’s BFF also attends gymnastics, and her mom and I are BFFs, so she sends me pictures of the girls in gymnastics.  Therefore, dad has been there many Saturdays to see all the times that DD2 does participate.  Granted, DD2’s participation is greatly energized when her BFF is there.  

So…I responded with pictures of the next gymnastics class with DD2 bouncing along a trampoline and somersaulting over horizontal bars and responded that DD2 is more enthusiastic about participating when her BFF is there.  To which I received a response that he had not requested “evidence” of participation.  Whatever.

Lastly, on the phone call last night to their dad, DD1 was getting visibly upset, so much so that at dinner she vented, “I’m annoyed with everything right now!” (granted, DD2 was annoying her, and DD1 is definitely in pre-adolescence, so the whole world annoys her).  When I asked her what was bothering her, she said that during her phone call with dad, he kept questioning her because she was annoyed, and didn’t believe her when she said she was annoyed at her little sister.  She started to cry.  I think part of it was being tired (we get up at the crack of dawn), being hungry (we had just sat down to dinner), pre-adolescence (everything under the sun is annoying), and also, to be honest, my Ex is a pain in the a$$.  

So we had a nice talk about how it’s okay to have our feelings, and it’s hard, and annoying when dad assumes things that aren’t true.  And that dad has his limits with understanding things sometimes—that doesn’t mean he’s a bad person (to which she seemed relieved)—but that she’s not responsible for making him understand, if she’s already explained how she feels.  At least, that was the gist of the conversation.  I think she got it…she cheered up immensely and started talking about rice krispie treats.

So…yes, we’re cruising at a five.  Wish it was at 1, thankful it’s not 10.  I’m thankful also that DD1 still talks to me even when she’s annoyed, and I pray that I can always be there for her as the non-judgmental one where she can vent and be supported.  

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Dinner time


Image credit <here>

At our last play therapy visit, in the midst of playing dress up and cashier and musical instruments, I brought up our new plan on how to handle the phone calls—with the girls getting text messages back from me instead of talking.  DD1 expressed that she liked the system, and when the therapist asked her if she thought it could work with their dad, she immediately said, “no!”  As to why? “Because daddy doesn’t like to do what mommy does.”   

(I suppose that could be a post all in it of itself!) 

So then the therapist asked DD1 about how DD1 handles phone calls with her dad, and DD1 said that she likes talking to him, most of the time, but sometimes, he talks too long.  So then DD1 said she asks for it to be a “short call.” And when the play therapist wondered how that went, DD1 said he keeps talking, and when the play therapist asked her how does that make DD1 feel, she said, “it’s annoying!” Then DD1 said she wasn’t comfortable talking about it—I got the sense that she thought she was saying something bad or wrong about her dad. 

And the play therapist smoothly said, well, you know, I know sometimes we don’t feel comfortable talking about things, and it’s good to know that talking is a way to solve a problem.…and then the girls resumed playing in their play therapy (this time “cooking” for us and serving us appetizers, lunch, and dessert).  I ended up having plastic lettuce and shrimp salad, and it was most delicious. 

So…when the girls came home yesterday, they said that dad didn't show them my text message after they had called me on Tuesday.   DD1 immediately jumped in to defend dad, saying they were too busy, and i told her, well it's not her job to worry about it, and i just showed her the timing that's on my phone, that they called and left a message, and minutes later, i had sent the text with the hearts and stuff.  and she said "it's not dad's fault!" and was really upset, and gave me her DD1 evil glare (so not looking forward to the teenage years,lol).   ugh, i wish i could think of a better way to talk about it.  I did wonder aloud why she was mad at me, but i didn't pursue it.  I figure she feels like she can get mad at me more than she can get mad at him?

We ended up having a nice dinner, DD1 decided she wanted to sing the unicorn song (she's reading shel silverstein's where the sidewalk ends and working with her friends in a speech contest) and the girls were in good spirits all night.  Hardly arguing!  ha ha ha.  I even made hot chocolate for dessert and we cuddled with our dog and watched some American Idol auditions.   All in all, very sweet.

But!  wonders will never cease, so before dinner, the girls called their dad yesterday, left a voicemail (and by the way, i heard DD1 repeating, 'please be voicemail, please be voicemail'--honestly i think she and DD2 just want to get on with their evening and not be bothered with making phone calls to either of us!) and we didn't hear back until after they went to bed--and guess what, he left a text message!   wow!  so i showed it to them this morning before school and they didn’t bat an eye.  Maybe progress with him?  We shall see! 

As for why this post is called dinnertime—after singing along to the Unicorn song that I found on youtube, with DD1 following the lyrics  from her book, and DD2 giggling while finishing her broccoli, then DD1 asked me to find some of her Christmas songfest songs that she’s sung in the past—Frosty Hand  Jive, and I want a Hippopotamus for Christmas.  She then proceeded to stand by the table, and do all of the hand and body motions that she did when she performed these songs at school, singing loudly and proudly.

Seriously?  My heart about swooned out of my chest.  

Then, we heard the door opening (hubby had to work late yesterday), and the girls went running to greet him with hugs and hellos, and DD1 happily proclaimed that she helped fold all the laundry, including mine and his (which was true—and a nice benefit to having a fourth grader in the house).  

So…I’m taking a moment to treasure, embrace, meditate on these sweet moments.  Small gestures, yes, but worth so much to my heart and mind.  Just another nice dinner and I don’t take it for granted.  Hugs. 

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Happy new year--my humble beginning

The girls are home after their winter break visitation with dad.  I’m humbled by some things and if I’m going to strive to “be better” in 2016, I need to own up to my human weaknesses, a.k.a. parts of me that suck.

1)     I know I’ve espoused that I have to take the high road for my girls, but sometimes I’m really pissed off about that. 
2)     It sucks to “lose” a battle in an effort to win the war, when I don’t want to be fighting in the first f@!#$ing place. (The “war” being actually the goal of helping the girls grow up with minimal damage from parental conflict; to feeling loved without guilt, to being able to express their feelings without being burdened by bull!@$#)
3)     Some days, I’m so very good at not letting my ex’s manipulation and shittiness get to me, but other days, I’m so very crappy at it, and that pisses me off too.
4)     I feel guilty that I can’t be there all the time for my kids—and being there, meaning that I can’t be “present” in my mind as mentioned in number 1.  I get it together in “actions” for the girls sake (never saying shitty things about their dad) but in my heart and spirit and mind, I struggle with this !@#$.  Sometimes I’m so worried about what he will say or do in response to something, if he’ll take it out on the girls, and I just need to STOP letting it take up so much space in my head.  Grr.

I hate that with the stupid phone call bull!@#$, I’ve acquiesced to just letting their calls go to my voicemail when they’re visiting with dad.  Because it breaks my heart to hear them ask, ‘can this be a short call?’ because the t.v.’s blaring or I can hear him in the background, and even if he’s not overtly telling them to get off the phone, I know they can feel that they should.  Hence asking to cut our conversations short.

I hate that he’s there listening and it swells his heart to see the girls “don’t want to talk” to mom—in the sense that he created this situation, and now he’s reaping the reward, because I can’t stand hearing them stress out.  So with the help of the play therapist, I’m making a change.  The girls and I talked about letting the phone go to voicemail, then I text a response.  That way they can still hear from me, but they both said it’s easier for them.  We now have a special word the girls can use on their voicemail if they feel they really need to talk to me.  (But honestly, the time is short, why would they need to talk to me?  It’s not like I disappear because they don’t see me…and maybe I should be happy that they get that).

The phone calls are for the girls, not for ME, not for HIM.  We’ve talked about that, too.  I even say, “who are the phone calls for?”  And they holler “us!” and that makes me giggle.  

And because of number f@#!-ing 1, I always carve out time for the girls to talk to their dad.  Every damn night.  And he’s programmed them to ask him, “how was YOUR day?”  And every now and again, they’ll call and get voicemail, and they’ll say “Yes!” because they’re relieved (happy?) they don’t have to talk to him for a bit, because they’re busy doing their thing, being a kid, not feeling guilty about not being with him.  And they know, at the end of the day, that it doesn’t matter, a five minute phone call doesn’t mean they love their dad more or less.

Over the break, DD1 was on the phone with her dad, and a neighbor stopped by to drop off some holiday goodies, fresh baked, straight out of her oven, delicious!  The dog was barking, DD2 was giving our neighbor a hug, I hollered into the house for DD1 to come to the door, just say hi and thank you, and she could go back to her call.  

Do you think he let her do that?  Nope, DD1 was upset, angry, came to the door and shrugged and said hi in a frustrated tone, and returned back to the couch to finish her call.  Do you think he gave her the benefit of the doubt?  No, he peppered her with questions, so many questions, that when she was off the phone, DD1 told me, “I’m sorry, mom” still in her frustrated voice.  “But it’s so stressful, G is barking, you’re telling me to come to the door, dad’s asking me a million questions.”

I responded that I was sorry—that it’s okay to say “can you hang on for a second? I just want to say hi,” and then go back to the phone.

DD1 repeated that dad is always asking her a million questions and it’s just stressful.  I responded that I was sorry that dad made it stressful for her, and it’s okay to have her feelings, and I wished I could change that situation for her.  UGH.  Damn being neutral all the !@#$ time.

I guess I’m just sick and tired of his NEED for the girls to PROVE they love him all the damn time.  When the girls ask if they can get off the phone or can it be a short call with him, he dawdles and strings them along for a few more minutes, because it’s another way for him to fill his need to be loved by them.  I’m so sick of this shit.  Rawr.

And yes, I agree with all the tenets about coparenting, that the kids deserve to have a relationship with and love both parents.  I’m just sick and tired of the CRAP that comes with it.  Rawr.  

The children’s play therapist once told me that this is the price I pay, so to speak, because of my full physical custody situation.  So, I guess I keep paying it.  Some days I’m really good at seeing the big picture, and other days, so not.  

I keep telling myself it will get easier when the girls are older, less vulnerable, more able to speak their minds.  I hope so.  I hope I can raise them to see that they can express themselves and are not responsible for taking care of their dad (or men in general).

And...I hope I can be better at being more patient and forgiving of the Ex...and myself. 

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

To Be Better



 
Image Credit <here>

I want so hard to be better.  A better mom, a better spouse, a better boss, a better employee, a better…the list could go on.  Actually, if you write the word “better” enough, it starts to sound a little crazy, like not a real word at all, like when you KNOW you’ve spelled a word correctly, but it just looks incorrect on the page, no matter how many times you spellcheck.

Try saying better five times.  Did you giggle?  I did.  (Hmm…this does not bode well!)

I was thinking about a fellow blogger Liv’s post about the “2015 in review”—which notes her commitment to not letting the Goblin King draw her into his drama, and often getting drawn in, only to try, try again.  How I know this struggle well!

I was thinking about Lisa Thomson’s 2015 coming to a close post, about what we’d like to change about ourselves as we head into the new year, or if there’s really nothing to change at the moment.  That sometimes it’s good to not have a plan.

So what is it that I want to change about myself in 2016?  Like Liv, I want to not be drawn into my Ex’s drama.  I’d like more than anything to not get into knee-jerk reaction mode when I get something nasty via email or text from the Ex.  To remain calm.  Haven’t I learned after all these years?  I need to take 24-48 hours before I can formulate a response.  I have to stop worrying about the things that I can’t control.  Remember to only give energy to the things I can affect.

I need to loosen up a bit—I’ve been such a “planner” in all aspects of life lately.  Before the divorce, I was planning on how to get out of an abusive relationship.  During the divorce, I was planning every step of the way on how to legally protect myself and my children (while being confused and terrified I’d make mistakes all along the way!).  Being a single parent, I had to plan every step of the morning routine to get the kids off to school and me off to work, only to come home and have an afternoon and evening plan to get homework done, dinner cooked, clean up, bed time.  And start all over again the next day.  I have to plan every response, every request to my ex who is like a clone of Liv’s Goblin King.  I have to plan each pick up and drop off with my ex when they don’t happen at school.  I fret and worry about school vacations and time sharing and scheduling extracurricular activities for the girls that must not interfere with his time or the girls get confused and he emotionally blackmails them about not seeing him enough, arggh.  Whew, I’m exhausted from all this planning!

I think this ‘over-planning’ thing I’ve got going on is a function of trying to assert control over my life, a reaction to my former life that blew up any old time my ex would have a temper tantrum.  Things were so out of control then.

And now that it’s been years after he left—I need to loosen up.  A day may not go as planned and that’s okay.  That’s life.  I don’t need to exhaust myself by planning, sometimes it’s good to have a day where you fly by the seat of your pants and keep your eyes and ears open.

To stop and be thankful, for the moments that you have on this earth.  Last week, I was shuttling the girls around from Christmas activity to christmas activity—church, then ice skating with a pal, then back to that pals’ house for movie time, home again so we could relax, and I had an almost out-of-body moment.  I was watching myself put the girls in the car, and they were happy to do it.  They went along with mom because they knew they were safe, off to somewhere fun, or off home where we could be lazy.  And I remember telling myself, gosh, I’m such a lucky mom right now.  Sure the girls can be pains about whose side of the car the notebook is on, don’t look on MY side, don’t look out MY window, etc. etc., but the overall picture?  They’re just getting into the car, happy and content about where ever we’re going.  Listening to Christmas carols, singing along when their favorites came on.  Listening to them alternatively argue with each other or giggle along the way.

In 2016, I want to be better about enjoying these moments, even in the times of busy-ness, the acts of doing, the acts of not doing.  Let me be grateful and thankful for all that’s good.  Embrace peacefulness.

In 2016, I want to share my gratitude and thankfulness with my loved ones, near and far, by spending time with them (I can be a bit of a recluse sometimes), by talking more, by reaching out more.

In 2016, I want to be more patient with my daughters when they argue with each other or with me or when they don’t snap jump when I tell them to get ready.

In 2016, I want to be more forgiving of myself and others, including the Ex (this one will be the hardest one, I think).  When the Ex does something or the girls tell me something troubling, I want to lean more on forgiveness for his actions, and concentrate on how to help my girls cope with their dad.

In 2016, I want to be healthier and happier, on the inside and out.  (note: I’ve started this 30 day plank challenge, which is doing 10 minutes of core exercises; currently on day 12!).

Gosh, this is a tall order.  I better get cracking.  Where to start?  Ironically, among this list the easiest task is the darn exercising!  I’ve already done my work out today, ha!

In 2016, my mantra will be:  peaceful, thankful, sharing, forgiving, healthier, happier, loving (towards my kids and hubby and family and friends). 

Will this be enough for me to “be better”?  Or maybe it’s the act of trying to do these things, the journey, that will one day make me a “better” version of who I am.  I hope so.