Monday, September 29, 2014

Missing my two hearts

I miss my kids.  I can’t wait to pick them up today and see their silly smiles and hear about their day.  Yes there is the rambunctious roller coaster of homework, cooking, eating, clean up, phone call with their dad that sometimes causes stress, bath time, story time—it’s an explosion of activity.  But I can’t wait to have them home.  I can’t wait to check in on them later tonight, snug in their bunk beds, sleeping peacefully—DD2 on the top bunk, smooshed up in between her pillows and her giant hello kitty that she got for her birthday.  Oh wait, DD1 got it for HER birthday, but has let DD2 keep it.  DD1, snuggled in on the bottom bunk, lately she’s been making a tent (but with a space so she can stick her head out) with a blanket tucked into the rungs of the top bunk and dangling down to cover the rest of the space between her head and the ladder at the foot of her bed.

I thought that the routine would get easier with time.  I thought I would embrace the no-kids time and I do, I fill it up with soul replenishing activities like paddling out into the ocean and catching waves, forcing myself to stop on the way back in and lay back on my board and meditate in the moment—feel the motion of the water, listen to the breaking of the waves, inhaling the fresh salt air, filling my heart with peace.  It helps.  Or spending time with the hubby watching movies and relaxing, or spending time with a girlfriend, too.  I also take advantage of the no-kids time to go about my adult family errands that are much easier without children, the grocery shopping, the laundry, the cleaning, the everything that is kind of simpler without chasing a giggling pre-schooler around or arguing points with a precocious elementary student.

But, I miss them.  I woke up last Friday, heart full of sadness that they would be apart from me, my two hearts.  Over the week end, I found some drawings of DD2—one including three “girls,” purple hair waving in the wind, a big one--mommy, a medium one—big sister, and a baby one—DD2 (as she described it), standing under a rainbow.  I folded their laundry and neatly put them away, knowing that tonight and tomorrow morning, they will likely tear through their drawers in search of what are we going to wear to school today.  I picked up random toys sprinkled around the couch, remnants of the last dash out of the house to school/work last Friday morning.

I look ahead at the increasing time sharing in a few years and wonder--does it get easier?  Will it ever?  I hope so.  Today, I feel both melancholy and peaceful.  Melancholy from missing them, but peaceful that in a few hours I get to pick them up and bring them home.

Friday, September 26, 2014

The Pro(s) and one Con about Blogging your divorce, take two.

I thought i'd re-link my post over at divorcedmoms here.  :-)

Also, they polished it to fit with their editorial style and content, which I can understand and support!

Here is my original version, in case you're interested--it reads more like a journal entry.  :)

The Pros and one Con about Blogging your Divorce, take two:

I’ll start off with the one big Con I can think of:
1)     Your ex may discover your writing and attempt to enter it into evidence in hopes of discrediting you, or showing that you are a dishonest, [fill-in-the-blank-with-something-negative] person.  Example—I was blogging about family life to share with friends near and far, having started once DD1 was born.  Towards the end of our marriage, I would only hint at things through general statements, i.e. “It’s been hard at ‘chez jane thrive’ lately, but I’m hoping and praying we will be okay.”  At the time, I was absolutely hesitant to share our “dirty laundry” to the world, I could barely admit what was happening to to myself or my close friends, let alone the internet-sphere.

His attorney attempted (but was denied) to enter into evidence my blog entries—i.e., things were “not that bad,” and I was making up all the incidents about the abuse.  Right.  Like I’d make up that he dangled DD1 by the ankles as an infant and screamed in her face, handled the babies roughly out of anger, or pushed, shoved, kicked my children.  Choked the family dog and threw him across the room.  Broke the children’s toys in anger, just because they happened to be sitting on the kitchen floor.  Slammed cabinet doors shut in the middle of the night—over and over again, so loud that he’d wake up baby DD2 and I, all because he was angry there was no cold soymilk in the fridge.  That he screamed and swore at DD1 because she dropped a grain of rice on the floor and she cried so hard she threw up.  Or that he threatened to put a bullet through my head and murder DD1 in her sleep. 

This Con can get remedied—I think probably in other ways than what I have done, but I chose to return to public blogging with a moniker.

The rest are Pros for me:
1)     First, I closed my blog and posted details of the contested divorce process to only subscribers (my closest support network—friends who I’ve known for years and years and years).  It was so very helpful to write it all out—an escape valve from my very pressured heart and head space, and to receive support and comments from my closest people.  It helped me work through my fears and anxiety that many know a contested divorce where custody is in dispute can bring.  Some days, when I think about how he moved out in 2011 and the TRO and the nasty court battle that followed, I scratch my head and wonder how the hell I got through all of that.  I can’t believe it.  But I did, and one of the reasons I did was that I was able to write therapeutically about the process and garner support from the people who matter most.
2)     Later, after the divorce was over and as I was embarking on a new life, I realized that maybe it was time to start blogging publically (but with a moniker, see above).  That maybe, through all the different craziness that I experienced, and the new crazy that I’m dealing with in the post-divorce world, I might be able to help someone else out there.  Surely, I couldn’t be the only one who faced what happened to me, or maybe there are others who are in the same place that I was three years ago, contemplating how to protect herself and her children.  Maybe those people might be looking for support and advice.  Maybe I could connect and offer similar support that my friends had so kindly and generously shared with me.  In fact, my very first blog entry when it was a “closed” blog--I reposted on my new “public” blog here. I had made some guidelines on how to parent and how to deal with an awful, contested, nasty divorce, and when I re-read it years later, I thought it sounded relevant, at least I hoped so.  And I was so honored to have it displayed at BlogHer, and saw that 1,000s had read it, and my heart warmed that I reached to the world and maybe helped someone.
3)     Blogging about life post-divorce as a blended family has also been therapeutic and helpful.  So many issues have come up—the abusive ex manipulating my children, my new husband who loves us all so much that he hates seeing us getting hurt and wants to rush in an “fix” things (but, he can’t…see here and here), my kids loving the ‘fairy tale’ wedding, but also wondering how they all fit in now (they fit in perfectly, but they are still figuring this out).  I’ve made some connections with people in similar situations, and I’m thankful for that.  One of the things about divorce and post-divorce is that I think it’s very easy to think that we are all alone in the struggle, overwhelmed with anxiety that is clearly appropriate for the situation and while it might seem that we are isolated, and while I would absolutely never wish this kind of scenario onto anyone—at the same time it’s so very comforting to know we are NOT alone, and that there are people out there who can support and empathize with the situation.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Pros (mostly) and one Con about divorce blogging

Please see what I wrote about regarding the pros and cons of Divorce Blogging--I joined will be published there tomorow (hurray!)  I will link in the morning. :-)

While it's very helpful and therapeutic to write about the divorce, there is one pitfall that was a blow to the heart a few years ago.  I've since gotten over it, but just something to keep in mind.

Hope you find it helpful!

Update:  it's been posted at divorcedmoms here!

Monday, September 22, 2014

At peace

For once, I feel at peace.  Maybe it’s because of our happy and silly week end with the children, rushing from one event to another, eating snacks along the way, bantering, singing along to songs playing in the car, and making penny wishes into the fountain outside of our mommy and girls’ lunch date.  Maybe it’s because the children’s play therapist was saying that DD1 is showing some resilience and that maybe her conflict isn’t as much attributed to her dad as it is just the normal “how do I fit in now that the fairy tale wedding is over?”  (Although, this is not to lessen the information that DD1 and DD2 share with me from what comes to their dad’s house.  Yes, a factor, but maybe not as big a factor as we first thought?  Maybe?)

Maybe it’s because I am sensing more strength in DD1—some days she is super engaged in how dad is ‘feeling,’ but other days she’s simply, ‘uh huh. Yep. No. nope. Yep” when talking on the phone with him, so maybe she is learning how to hold her own, how to place her boundaries, how to separate herself from him.

Maybe it’s because I sense a softening on A’s part—that he is genuinely making an effort to ‘let go’ what we can’t control and focus on making a positive life for the kids and our family.  Maybe it’s because I’m seeing DD1 slowly come back to her former, pre-wedding, bonding self with A.  Maybe it’s because of relaxing all together this week end, catching up on a favorite movie, or reading books together every night, and the giggling ensuing when A helps me get the girls into bed.  Maybe it’s because we planned a social event around DD2, who is always waiting for and following DD1 around, and she had a blast with her bestie, hanging out and having a grand old time.  Maybe it’s because we skyped with A’s dad—the children’s only known ‘grandpa’—as both mine and my ex’s are deceased, and the girls asked grandpa when he would come and visit.

Maybe it’s because my job is going very well, despite certain challenges, I feel like I’m “making a difference” in the people we serve and maybe even for my staff.  Maybe I feel proud that the “higher” I’ve grown in my career, the more humble I feel about what I do, because the main reason I’m successful is because of the people who work with me.

Maybe it’s because over the week end there was a conversation in the car that went like this:

DD1:  Is Barack Obama alive?
Me:  Yes, he’s our president.
DD1:  Well who’s going to be our next president?
Me:  I don’t know, it depends on who we vote for.
DD1:  I want to vote for a girl!
Me: Me, too!
DD2:  Me, three!

I love that they just assume they can vote for a woman, it never crosses their mind that they can’t!  This was further underscored by this speech given at the UN, by an amazing young woman who can be a role model for my daughters, Emma Watson.

Maybe it’s because despite the vitriol I’ve lived through and continue to field (i.e. nit-picky email about haircuts and messages of forgetting to turn in DD1’s school fundraiser form), the bigger picture lately has been one full of happiness and love and growth.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Thank you letter

Dear God,

I am really sorry that I’ve been complaining a lot lately.  I feel like I’ve been all wrapped up in the negativity and stress, and today I woke up very thankful (and a little guilty for being all wrapped up in the stress).

I’m thankful because:  my two daughters are healthy and are growing and thriving.  They love their respective teachers and love learning about the world all around them.  DD1 has a big presentation today, and she practiced it so enthusiastically the other night, peppering her speech with “motions” and “gestures,” like horseback riding with her cousins, fishing with daddy, swimming and boogie boarding in the Atlantic ocean with her step-family.  DD2 loves her preschool pals and teacher, and she’s started gymnastics—and despite the speed bump this past week end, she is enthusiastic and loves it and bounds around excitedly, it’s all very sweet.

I’m thankful for my home, that we have a place to call home, when so many do not.

I’m thankful that we live in a country where girls can actually go to school and not be kidnapped or harassed or shot for doing so.

I’m thankful for my husband, who has, during the latest drama vitriol email exchanges from the ex, demonstrated calm support and encouragement, rather than getting frustrating and then wading into the thick of things to ‘fix’ it.  This latest go around was night and day compared to previous ones.  Apparently he is keeping his word about letting go of these things and doing his best not to overreact, and while I am still watchful, I recognize how hard it is for him to transition into “instant-family” and appreciate his efforts to support me in the hardest times.

I’m thankful for my support network, friends who are therapists and attorneys and friends who have just been there for me, throughout the pre divorce, and contested divorce, and now post divorce.  These people are my chosen family and I couldn’t have made it through without them.

I’m thankful for the myriad of support for the girls, especially for my DD1, who is lucky enough to be involved with lots of activities outside of school so she can build relationships and learn about things (dance, art, music, social responsibility and confidence in brownies), in addition to the elementary school rubrics.

I’m thankful that I have a fridge full of food and a closet full of snacks, so that we never have to worry about going hungry.

I’m thankful for my job, which makes me grow and learn something new every day.  I love that my work helps people in ways that I didn’t understand before coming here.

I’m thankful that I found a safe place to write about all of these things and have made connections with people who are going through similar experiences. 

Actually, now that I think about it, this list could go on and on.  And I’m really thankful about that, too.

Jane Thrive