Category Archives: Memoirs
After you read the following excerpt from my life, you will realize that this happened quite some time ago. The first clue is that the weather was warm enough for me to be sweaty when out riding. I believe I drafted this post back in late September. He was the last of the very cool online dating site guys that I will be rejected by. I’ve given up online dating forever. (Okay, wait. I lied. One night about five weeks ago, I had too much to drink and I put up a profile at ChristianMingle.com. But I’ve never gone back and I delete all the notices about all the amazing people they haven’t matched me with.) Read the rest of this entry
Since the last Breaking Dawn movie, my daughters and I have anticipated this last installment of the Twilight movies. It’s the movie when Bella gets her super vampire powers. The final book was the best, and based on what we saw of the trailers, we were sure the movie would not disappoint.
I woke up that morning with a serious backache. This is nothing strange. I believe my mattress is the culprit. It might be time to replace the thing. I got ready and headed of to work, but instead of feeling better with motion and activity, I felt worse. Read the rest of this entry
Isn’t it funny how sometimes in life the biggest issues, problems, crises, or challenges seem to just silently occur? My day was filled with such things. In fact, the last month has been particularly filled with such events as has been the last 5 years since leaving my second husband. I think these quiet appearances of the most dramatic aspects of life may have always occurred, but I just didn’t pay attention to them…until I was truly on my own and found myself forced by circumstances to do so.
Today was a big day. It was one of those days that will not easily nor quickly be forgotten.
While most folks were winding down the year preparing for the annual celebrations and celebrating the usual annual celebrations, I was doing the same thing I always do about this time of the year: annual checkups. It seems crazy to add one more housekeeping item to an already full list of things to do at this time of year, but it somehow works for me. I have a two week break when the kid are out of school and during one of those weeks my kids are all away at their other home. It’s a great time for me to get caught up on all the medical check ups and doctor appointments that must occur, now that I am over a certain age. That certain age was, for me, thirty-five instead of forty like it is for most women. You see, my mother had a full masectomy in her late 50’s or early 60’s. She also had an uncle who died of breast cancer. For women in my family tree, breast cancer is not a matter of if, it is a matter of when. So, this year, when my annual mammogram indicated a need for a second look, which led to the need for a biopsy, I was not really willing to dilly dally around. The day I heard the news that they wanted a biopsy, I insisted my doctor write up the order, I walked it over to the radiology lab myself and scheduled an appointment. This is just one area I can’t afford to stick my head in the sand and pretend it will all go away. We all know better; it doesn’t go away.
So, biopsy scheduled and done. Here I sit awaiting the verdict.
I think I’m beginning to understand the most difficult aspect of any health-related, potentially life-threatening diagnosis is waiting on the test results.
I remember as I sat in the radiology center after my second mammogram in two weeks, thinking that I really didn’t know what to think. Should I be worried? Should I not be concerned? I didn’t know. I was finally released with the standard response informing me that my results would be sent to my doctor within a certain period of time and that my doctor would then contact me. I thought, “Okay, no news will be good news.” Ten days later I was in the doctor’s office going over the results which she had to request from the clinic and a week after that I had a biopsy.
Not exactly my idea of a fun way to spend a Friday afternoon.
I’m still thinking, “If it was really serious, I’d be in serious surgery right now.”
I’m also surprised at the exhaustion I’m feeling post biopsy. Thank God my children are all old enough that I can tell them what is going on. Thank God modern research and technological advances in the last 20 years helps us detect and deal with problems before they become diseases. And, once again, I’m incredibly grateful for my health which, this time, enabled me to bounce back with no pain except fatigue. It’s not just physically stressful, but psychologically demanding as well.
I’m not sure this is the best way to start a New Year, but it has made me even more aware that each day we have our health and life is a good day.
Today, I have my health. I am alive. I have children that I love and who love me.
It is a Happy New Year.
My last post found me just mere days away from moving into a place that I was very glad to be moving into and moving out of a place that I couldn’t wait to leave. I was full of angst about being able to move and be unpacked and settled (or mostly so) before the beginning of a new school year. The fact that move in costs were going to eat well over half my take home pay for the month of September only prevented the sleeping pills from having any effect. I was also stressing about recent flare-ups with my second ex, which looked like they were going to head us all back to the courtroom and more time and expense I wanted about as much as one wants a root canal. I had plenty things to keep me mentally wound up for hours each night.
Then September 1st happened. We got the keys at around noon, and, to our delight, we were given clearance to begin moving in. That meant an extra day of moving! Since I had everything except the last minute stuff packed, it was merely a matter of picking up the hand truck and the appliance dolly and getting things in the trailer. We were able to move enough of our stuff over that day to spend our first night in our new place that night. The next four days were spent completing the most organized move I’ve ever been part of, and I’ve seen a few, back in the day. I slept every night, though I was awake each morning at about 5:00, unpacking. We were pretty much moved and unpacked by Labor Day. Though we still had a few things ( camping gear, Christmas stuff, and my daughter’s college things) to get at the old place, we were essentially done and out of the boxes in four days.
The 6th was the first day of school, which meant a new school for my youngest (more potential angst) and back to work for me.
The following weekend we moved my daughter in to her apartment a few blocks from campus of her university.
This is my first weekend home. Well, my first half-weekend home, since tomorrow I’ll be making trip number #2 up to the daughter to bring her the rest of her things.
I’ve slept fairly soundly most nights since moving and I LOVE the new place. I was worried the kids wouldn’t like the new place…they all love it.
I was worried the ex would serve me papers. So far, nothing. I pray he doesn’t ever for any reason.
I was worried about the finances and, as I expected, it’s been an incredibly tight month. I knew it would be a stretch for us. I also banked on it being worth the stretch and the sacrifice. So far it has been a smart decision. Tight times are not fun, but in this case, I’m glad I took the risk.
In all, it has been an incredibly good move.
My daughter is enjoying school for the first time in her life. It is a joy to see her hop happily on the bus each morning and watch her complete her homework and do her reading each evening without strife. I love being able to see her off on the bus, walk back to my vehicle half a block away, and drive to work and still arrive early. There are other reasons it was a good move for all of us. I think sometimes a place can harbor energy. If this is the case, then our old place definitely held some negativity and pain for us that we needed to leave behind. Our new place is light, bright, clean and convenient. We are all happier and more cheerful here. The bickering among siblings has almost completely disappeared and it is peaceful.
For the most part.
I mean, nothing’s perfect, right?
The neighbors across our driveway are in the habit of leaving a night light on for their dogs. This is not really a night light but a regular ceiling light which illuminates the very large window they have at the top of their place and which shines all night long, right into my bedroom window. Also, when these neighbors are out back in their yard (I should just say dirt, because there is no yard just a patch of dirt), they can see right up into my bedroom. First thing I’m doing after payday? Purchasing some plants that can act as a screen. I’ll place them in containers on my upper deck and I won’t see them at all.
Someone in the neighborhood has a dog that enjoys singing to the moon most of the night. I spent one entire night up listening to this. I cannot believe they didn’t hear this. I also cannot believe no one has reported it. I made the best of it. I unpacked about four or five boxes.
The commute between our new place and my kids’ high school is eating up my gas budget and is exhausting me. Teenagers keep late hours, and I just sold my economical Toyota Corolla Wagon. Had to. The thing was beginning to cost me more and more to maintain and repair. It was good to sell it, but I’m going to need to get a more economical vehicle than my ’98 Dodge Durango 4×4. So now there is that to budget for, after I get caught up financially from this whole entire move episode.
So, tonight, I’m up, losing sleep, not from worry or angst, but because I have a teenager I have to pick up from a school event which is ending quite late. My life has improved dramatically in the last three weeks.
I’m moving forward and, for the first time in many years, I’m enjoying it. The future looks very hopeful from here.
I’m exhausted these days. I shouldn’t complain. Who isn’t exhausted in our American overworked, stressed out society? I should clarify, I’m more exhausted than I usually am these days, and yet, I cannot sleep. I find this both strange and completely understandable. It is strange because I’m not given to being so totally wiped out and still unable to sleep at night. I find it understandable, because for the first time in my adult life since my mid to late 20’s, I am actually looking forward to my future. That last statement is a testament of just how pathetic my life has been over the last 25 years. Or, maybe, it is proof that I’ve been depressed and simply trying to survive. There really is nothing more life-draining, dehumanizing, energy-sucking, and damaging than a miserable relationship. I’ve experienced not one, but two of these in the last 25 years. One of the earliest signals to my younger self that something was indeed terribly wrong in my life was that I realized I had stopped looking forward to things in life. I stopped anticipating. My life had become something to be endured. Something to survive. I anticipated no joys, no excitement, no future. All I could do was survive…and I wasn’t even doing that for myself…I was doing that for my children.
I used to be the person who looked forward to moving. New locations, new digs, new people. I relished all the aspects of moving. For as much chaos as I’ve experienced in my life and for as much as people view me as being a free-wheeling, laid back, fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants type person, when it comes to moving, I am anything but laid back. This move has been no exception. I have systems in place that make moving as stress free as possible (as long as everyone around me does it my way). I also have methods that make the moving day incredibly quick and painless. Even though I’m a bit of a tyrant during a move, all who’ve moved with me, recognize that what I do works. I don’t end up with stuff scattered all over the old place or the new place for weeks. And I’m moved in and unpacked in a matter of a few hours an no one has to be inconvenienced or work overly hard. Smooth moves. That’s what I do well.
So, tonight, exhausted as I am, I cannot sleep because the minute I rest my weary head on the pillow, my mind begins scrolling through all that I have yet to do to get my family of six out of our house and into our new digs in the next 7 days. It’s pretty exhilarating, considering that just over a week ago, I had no idea I was going to be moving over Labor Day Weekend. Sure, I knew a move was in my future, like maybe six months down the road. I had no idea that within 24 hours I would find, tour, meet the landlords and put move-in fees down on what will be the largest and newest home I’ve lived in my entire adult life. Furthermore, I’m saving money in doing it. Even further, it is super-conveniently located and has all the modern amenities; something I’ve lived without for nearly a decade now. I’m excited. I’m anticipating this adventure. I’m looking forward to life in this new place. Above all, this symbolizes a casting off of all that was painful, ugly, broken and beyond repair in my life. As I toss or recycle each unnecessary or broken item, I’m taking another step closer to that clutter-free, minimalist lifestyle I seek. Stuff clutters. Clutter stresses. I’m done with both. The physical stuff and clutter are going, as is the emotional stuff and clutter.
It is much easier to do away with the physical trash in my life than it is to get rid of the emotional garbage. Of late, I am realizing the power of “letting go.” I know it sounds cliche, but I’m learning there are things I just don’t have any power over. As one who has been far too concerned with what others thought of me over the years (especially the ex’s), I’m learning that the very thing I wish I could control, but which I can’t, is others’ opinions and perceptions of me. Sure, I can do my best to put my best foot forward, but when I tell my ex that what he proposes won’t work for his daughter and I, I cannot control that he thinks I am a control freak or that he believes I’m intentionally sabotaging his relationship with his child. Where he’s concerned, I am a control freak about our daughter, but this is more due to his extreme negligence and abusive behavior than it is my desire to control in this area. In spite of that, I have no desire to sabotage any relationship he has with his daughter. He will never believe this. He will especially not believe this when he learns about our move. His reaction worries me. I then kick into feeling badly and somehow that I am again at fault for the conflict. I am learning to stop my mind from running down that well-worn path and, instead, to take a different route this time. This new route is one that affirms my ability to make good decisions and validates my intentions to move my family to a better situation in life. A situation where I can be present for my children instead of stressing out about all the things I will never have the money to repair or maintain or do for my children. I cannot be worried that this ex, who never cared about me or what was important to me, doesn’t understand my motives or intent. No matter how I present this, he will view it negatively and I will likely end up in court anyway (a needless waste of time and expense). I have to let that go. I can’t waste energy on that. With each item I throw out, I am banishing the memories of dysfunction and moving toward a healthier manner of living and relating.
This is the future I see.
This is the life I look forward to living.
It’s August. The still midnight air hangs heavy like a thick comforter that won’t move, suffocating in its stillness. The air conditioner is ineffective in my badly-in-need-of-updating 1970’s-style ranch home. You could say it’s a fixer-upper. The windows, the single-pane aluminum type, gather condensation on the inside during the winter and do nothing to keep in the cool air during these sweltering hot nights. Back in the days of the last marriage, a second-mortgage was taken out, the amount of which was originally intended to finance the much needed home improvements, however, the ex’s coercive tendencies along with my fear and intimidation of him, combined with my desire for a great deal less chaos than we had at the time, resulted in all that money going toward his custody battle. It was a losing battle on all fronts. Custody was not awarded, the resulting parenting plan divisive and chaos-inducing, and it ate up all the second-mortgage money; a total of nearly $30K. The house remains a fixer upper, just like my life.
I’m awake tonight, thinking of the summer nights four years ago, when I was homeless, having left my house and my ex under a civil protect police escort because the tension between the ex and I was at an all time high. I’d been advised by the officers to get out, since he wasn’t leaving (and he was much bigger than I). One officer said, “I’m concerned that if you don’t leave, this has all the makings of something tragic we will read about in tomorrow’s paper.” In the 30 minutes I was allowed to gather the most important essentials, I cut cable wires, grabbed technology, clothing and only the essential toiletries. Not one of my more glorious memories. In fact, when I have to define the word shame, that episode is one of the top five in my life that come to mind. In times like that, you quickly learn how little stuff you really need in this life.
I ended up living in a small travel trailer in a trailer park borrowed from friends while I waited for the court hearing to see which of the two of us would end up with the house that I had purchased on my own, without him. Tonight, I remember those nights. In the trailer, with my daughter, then six, hardly a lock of any protective value on our flimsy trailer door, a hundred yards from the interstate with the incessant rumbling noise of semi’s barreling by. There was little sleep to be had during those nights either.
I’m back in my own home now, but on the verge of leaving it again, this time, for good and by choice. When and how, and where my final destination is, I don’t yet know. These uncertainties occasionally keep me up at night. When they don’t, they certainly gnaw at me all day long and re-surface in my dreams. When I was younger, I only had myself to worry about taking care of, and though I wasn’t always certain of the destination or the outcomes of my choices I didn’t have the ever-present concern for another human being’s physical survival and emotional well-being. These things, these parental worries, nag at me all.the.time. The worries always end with the final, culminating question: Will the children be all right?
So much has happened in the last four years. On the surface I’ve gone from sleepless nights frightened behind flimsy travel trailer walls to sleepless nights behind sturdier, but deteriorating, stick-built walls. I’ve rebuilt a life after a very traumatic second marriage and subsequent divorce. My children and I are working on healing, a process which I will forever regret that they have to endure and for which we will all likely be healing from for the rest of our lives. We’ve established routines and created a new way of being together. It is a way that emphasizes honesty, respect and consistency. This doesn’t mean things are always calm and quiet, but they are stable and they are much safer for us all. I have to say, “No, I can’t afford that,” much more often than I used to, but after four years, things are getting better…or they were until the latest recent developments on the job front and with the second ex transpired. The thoughts traveling through my consciousness vary greatly from details of how I will make ends meet with these new colossal expenses looming on the horizon, to knowing deep down, that somehow we will survive because we always have.
Among the thoughts of financial worries, dealing with the fallout of divorces, job stresses and the well-being of all my children swirls the heat, the deep silence of the heavy night punctuated by the yowling of neighborhood tomcats, there is the knowledge that the bad times don’t last forever, the good times will return though they won’t last either. This set of challenges must be faced and endure,and though it won’t be easy or fun, at some point in the future, I will be able to look back on these nights, the way I do on those trailer park nights and realize, “I made it through that. It’s going to be okay.”