Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Farewell to the Obamas

With all certainty, there are others out there who can write about Obama’s farewell address much better than I can. They capture the feeling of what it means to say good-bye and what his presidency meant with intelligence (New York times editorial), thoughtfulness/diverse reflection (a muslim-american PhD candidate), and grace (a former republican’s first daughter’s final takes).  I salute them, as there are so many to link to; I share in the collective farewell and aloha to our amazing first family. 

I loved that at the end of the speech, President Obama showed love and grace for all the people closest to him, especially to Michelle Obama and his daughters.  That he said for all the world to hear, what makes him the proudest of all that he’s done in his life is being Sasha’s and Malia’s dad, made my heart swell into the size of a submarine.  Just pure love, grace, joy.  That’s what I strive for in taking care of my own two daughters.

I had a conversation with DD1 about what it meant when Hillary Clinton didn’t win the election.  In simple terms, she couldn’t understand how someone so mean-spirited and who is a bully could be elected to the highest nation of the office, and I agreed with her.  I told her it was our right as citizens in this country to disagree with the President, and that no matter what, it’s okay to stand up for what we believe in and for the people we love.

I may have said that to her over and over again.  I may have said it so much, that the last time I said it, she rolled her eyes, and said “I KNOW, mom.”  LOL. 

We are lucky to live in our blue bubble floating in a red sea, where hate crimes and harassment that increased since the election have happened outside of our borders.  She rolls her eyes, because here, in her eyes, she doesn’t have to “stand up” in the way others have had to, are mobilizing to do so now.

But that doesn’t mean I won’t continue to do my best to teach her.  To help her listen to people’s words, give them a chance, and then judge that person’s character by their actions.  Do their words match their actions?  Do they stand up for fairness?  Do they stand up for equality?  And maybe it’s difficult to leap from our blue bubble to a wider understanding of how the world works, something that I don’t want to rush her into, it does mean we’ll be participating in the Women’s March on Washington this Saturday.  When DD1 learned about it, she told me she wanted to go.  And I’m bringing along DD2, who may be too young to understand, but one day, hopefully, this memory will be one that lasts. 

I’ve heard a rumor there will be 8,000 marchers in our blue bubble—crossing fingers for more!  I’m contemplating our protest sign, and I think it’s one that’s in line with my prayer for 2017 that I post last month.  Choose Love.  (May my anxiety and worries about life, coparenting, the world be at least channeled into something useful--that won't be on my sign, however, lol).

Choose Love.

May love win.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

New Year: 2017

As I move into the new year with plenty of excitement planned, I think it is helpful to do the “recap” of what happened in the past year.  Shout out to Lisa Thomson for the idea!

January 2016: Began with musings on how to be a better person when embarking on this co-parenting roller-coaster ride, owning my shortcomings, and venting about frustrations.  Unfortunately, a year later, the frustrations are still present.  I hope my attitude is getting better at handling them, at least, today it is!

February 2016:  In February, I was still dealing with the passive-aggressiveness of his non-replies to scheduling swaps etc, but by the end of the month, I was embracing a stronger stance, not against my ex, but a stronger stance within myself in dealing with it all.

March 2016:  Shrimp.  And more Shrimp.  Cooked by none other than DD1 and the hubs.  Yummy!

April 2016:   I was still musing and worrying for my girls’ well-being, but a momentous occasion—stepdad and dad finally met, shook hands, and were pleasant at DD2’s end of the school year performance.

May 2016: Unfortunately, by the end of May, all pleasantries had been forgotten and I was dealing with more passive-aggressive nastiness. 

June 2016:  June brought about summer vacation, and I posted a how-to guide to dealing with when your kids are on an extended vacation with the ex.  I wasn’t as brave later in that month, but at least I was able to piece some useful information together to cope.

July/August 2016:  An awesome family vacation!  Which I didn’t get around to posting until August, lol, but it was so much fun.  I also coined the phrase “Anti-Exiety  medication, which I was desperately in need of by the end of August, ha!

September 2016:  September marked another momentous occasion where our blended family sat together and moved from place to place together at DD2’s Back to School night.  I was humbled by the non-drama of it all, and loved that the girls could see every parent in their lives behaving with civility.

October/November 2016:  Unfortunately, the peaceful blended family front disintegrated as talks of Winter break time-sharing began at the end of October and were not finalized until December.  My DD1 was heartbroken about the election, but we’re going to participate in the Women’s March on Washington to show our solidarity (she asked me if we could do it when she learned about it) with the rest of the women in this country who are taking part all over the United States on 1/21.

December 2016:  The drama with the ex did not hamper an amazing time that we had baking cookies for Santa, and we also spent time with our Nana (hubby’s mom) over new year’s, who flew in unexpectedly (more on that soon)!

I guess one lesson I can take with me from last year is that while the co-parenting struggle is real, I can make it through in one piece. I can still show love for my daughters.  And our little blended family has taken many impressive leaps forward together.  Onward into 2017!  Let it be filled with love, joy, laughter, and blessings for all.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Aloha 2016, and a prayer for 2017

Wishing you all a happy new year.  Please let 2017 be filled with peace, love, and blessings for all. Pretty please. 

I'd like to say a prayer that's been helping me get through my anxiety of late:

Dear God, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.

Dear God, please grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.

--St. Francis of Assisi.

p.s. our cookies for santa were a hit!  it was sprinkle-mania.  So much sprinkles that when i was cleaning up, it was like i was building sand castles, lol! 

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Cookie time!!

Image credit here 

So after the Much Ado About Winter Break Time-Sharing, we’re back on track. 

Quick note:  I did get a lovely email from Exie a week after the debacle I summarized in my last post, where he said he’d be sure to “remember this for next time” because apparently I was so unable to compromise dates with him.  Wait, I’m confused, who gave up Christmas Eve because he had a hissy fit?  Hashtag: headbutting the wall.  Hashtag:  le sigh.  Hashtag:  oh well why bother responding, doesn’t matter what I say.

At any rate!  Both girls had their school Christmas programs to date, where they sang their little hearts out.  We even fit in a visit to Santa (DD2 asked for: a Moana doll!  And DD1 asked to “see him in the act” LOL, nothing gets past DD1!) before they went to their dads for the first part of DD2’s break, and now they come home for a couple of days, primarily so we could get our annual cookie-baking for Santa in.

Every year, we make sugar cookies and oatmeal/nutty margarites (they’re like mini cupcake cookies, but chewier than cupcakes), with home-made frosting, courtesy of my grandmother’s recipes—it makes me so happy to do this, because then I feel like she and my mom are close to us (grandma is in heaven, and my mom lives 5,000 miles away).  Over the years, DD1 has invited her besties to come over and help—and over the years they do more and more—last year there was some friendly arguing over who was going to roll the dough, lol!  It’s gotten to the point where this year, the besties kept coming up to check in with me--at tennis practice or girl scout meetings, etc, and asking, “aunty, when are we doing cookies?”  (and because of the winter time-sharing debacle, I kept having to say, “it’s happening!  I promise!  Just working on exactly when, and I’ll let your moms know ASAP”!)  LOL

DD2 has patiently followed DD1 all these years, but this is the FIRST year where she gets to have HER bestie come over too.  Just sitting here typing this out is making my heart swell five sizes too big like when the Grinch suddenly learned the magic of Christmas.

It really is about love and kindness and laughter and believing in something bigger than ourselves.  That’s what I like to think when I see them rolling out the dough, cutting out the cookies, icing and sprinkling to make cookies for santa and the reindeer.

It really is about doing something special together, something simple, sharing time with friends, being at ease with ourselves and having fun.

It really is about knowing our hearts are big enough for all the love we are lucky to have—with our friends, with our family, no matter what.

Merry, merry Christmas, everyone!

p.s. disclaimer, our cookies do NOT come out looking all professional like the pic above, lol.  They are much more home-style and organically frosted, ha ha ha! :D

Monday, December 5, 2016

The Rather Anticlimactic Solution to Winter

Image credit here

Quick re-cap:  The girls winter break schedules are slightly different this year, complicating the interpretation of the decree of sharing the time by halves.  Further complicating matters is that Christmas falls on a mom week end, which the Ex vehemently objected to. 

Summary of compromise:  With the help of our coparenting counselor (and not my first wish) I offered to switch the week end so he could have Christmas Eve day and Christmas day (each parent has time on Christmas day) and girls would be with me for New Year’s week end.  I did ask for a couple days before Christmas, because the week end preceding Christmas is a dad week end, DD2’s break starts that Monday, and I knew the girls wanted to get some Santa cookie-baking with their BFFs plus holiday sleepover in.  I offered this at the end of October, and the Ex managed to drag it out through last week.  (Original conversation of winter break started end of September/beginning of October).

The Process:  The Tuesday before Thanksgiving, he sent one last email—that while he had “a problem” the dates because it “gives” me “days leading up to Christmas,” he “didn’t want to drag it out,” but also “wanted to confirm the dates before agreeing.”  I sent a positive, thanks for considering this response, yes these are the dates, I understand the difficulty as this wasn’t my first choice either.  And then I never heard from him—actually, technically still haven’t heard from him.

Le sigh.

I called the coparenting counselor, but couldn’t get a hold of her, because as it turns out she was traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday.  So, I sent one more check-in email over the Thanksgiving week end.  Tuesday after Thanksgiving, I still haven’t heard, so I do the, “if you have no further objections, I’ll proceed with the plan as guided by coparenting counselor” email.  I hear nothing back, no objection mentioned.

So…then, I’m stuck, do I go ahead and schedule work vacation/staff vacations?  Do I invite the girls’ BFFs over, do I really have the days?  Or is he planning something (which isn’t far from reality considering our lives past.)

(This is where I’d really like some antiEXiety medication. !!!)

I put in another call to the coparenting counselor and finally forward the email conversation/compromise to my attorney.  The next morning (this is now last Thursday), I finally hear back from the coparenting counselor, who tells me to send one more email, ie If I don’t hear back from you by 5pm, I’ll understand you’re okay with it.  So I do that.  Then, I hear back from the attorney who says, go ahead and plan, you gave him ample notice, it’s fine, it’s done, just confirm with him later.  (and I think, poop! I already sent the 5pm email and didn’t have to!).  However, I still don’t hear back from him by 5pm, so I figure now that I’ve got confirmation from the attorney and went with the coparenting counselor’s guidance, I’m good to go.  So at 6pm on Thursday, a good three months since we first started talking about Winter timesharing, it was finally done.

Good grief!  I’m semi-laughing at the absurdity of this!  Mostly just tired.  And in the words of my friend who has an ex with challenges similar to this—he’s just being a big ole obstructive poophead jerk.

However on the brighter side of life—I really am grateful that our house is decorated with Christmas –the girls helped me decorate the tree, the lights are up in the carport.  And bonus, DD1’s girl scout troop submitted their holiday wreath to the County Christmas contest, and they won the Judge’s Award, yippee!!  We’re taking the girls down to see it on Saturday.  Both girls marched in our little town’s Christmas parade, and they already wrote their letters to santa, swoon.  I’m hoping to squeeze in a Santa visit at some point, lol. 

I absolutely do love this time of year!  And while I’m sad the girls won’t be waking up in our house on Christmas morning to check their stockings, they will be spending time with us, and now that we have extended time over New Year’s, their step-grandma is coming to visit and stay with us.  So fun times!!

So there’s love and goodness in the world that I can be thankful for.