Monthly Archives: October 2017

WHAT KIND OF MOM ARE YOU

I’ve been extremely lucky in the parent department. Two people who were 19 years old certainly didn’t face great odds in 1972 when they found out they were pregnant. And despite all the things that should’ve gone wrong….some things went right. And Gary & Karen made it. And they had me and married and 5 and 7 years later had a few other rugrats. I grew up in very close proximity to my two sets of grandparents. We all lived in C-Town. I cannot think of a better childhood than the one I had. I am so acutely aware of how lucky I am. My parents stayed married. My grandparents stayed married. I wanted for nothing. There was never abuse or addiction or neglect or anything bad. My parents were not perfect. None are. But they were darn close.
In the course of a divorce there are so many feelings I can’t even begin to explain. A LOT of you know. Some of you don’t. I wouldn’t wish divorce on ANYONE. EVER. It fucking sucks. Shame, guilt, fear, anxiety, sadness, worry, stress, disappointment….among a million other feelings have encompassed me in the past 2 years. And being such a public person and not sharing my journey was weird. But I chose to remain private about it. Out of respect for everyone involved. And I cannot say enough what a great person Patrick is. And a great Dad. I hit the lottery there too. And perhaps in the midst of all of the “falling apart” I felt so shameful I didn’t want to talk about it. Speaking about it made it real. Very few people knew what was actually happening. I shut out a lot of people. Including my Mom. I regret that.
My Mom is pretty amazing. The love of her life died at the age of 53. After 33 years together. And she held it together better than most would. I would be lying if I said I had the perfect relationship with my Mom. It was tense in High School. It was tense recently. I am horrible at calling people. I hate the phone. HATE. So I don’t return phone calls and I don’t stay in touch like I should and I am not the best daughter. My sister, Kelly, gets that award. Rightfully so.
Sometimes the people we are closest to are the ones we hurt the most. Because we feel comfortable being an asshole to them. We know they HAVE to love us and forgive us. I cannot say I would go back and do the divorce differently. As my second Mom, Lynda, often said “don’t be shoulda on yourself”. Meaning- don’t look back with regret. You did the very best you could at that moment with what you had. Maybe I wouldn’t have shut people out. But its the only way I knew to survive. Admitting you failed at a marriage is fucking horrible. Its shameful. It feels awful, And there’s nothing anyone could ever say to you to make you feel worse than you already do. And traveling alone was all I knew to do.
Becoming a Mom was the best thing that ever EVER happened to me. I had so very many miscarriages that I never thought Id be able to be a Mom. So Im grateful. Beyond words. And grateful I had children with the man I did. I, like most Moms probably, beat myself up daily for not being a better Mom. For making mistakes. Cussing too much. Laughing at dick jokes they make. Blaring mysoginistic rap music. Forgetting to pick them up. Not making cookies. Not “looking my age”. But more than any of that I regret that I took a family from them. My heart is broken for that. It will never mend. It will never be ok. I will always and forever feel like I failed a little as a Mom. The decisions I made to end a marriage (a long time ago) took YEARS to make and I hurt and struggled and ached over what to do. Nothing about it was easy.
I shut out my sister and my Mom and those closest to me during a very difficult time. And for that I apologize. I wish I could fix a lot of things. I wish I could take back some things I said. I wish I was a better human sometimes. I make mistakes. I am so unbelievably grateful for my grandmothers, my Mom and my sister. There have never been 4 better Moms. Never. I come from a strong line of women. Who feel deeply and think too much and come across as brick houses but have hearts of butter. I literally almost cry every time I look at my daughter. Every time. I know she makes fun of me for it. But there is no love like that for a child. It has taken me 45 years to realize its ok to be me. To be happy. To be the kind of Mom I am. Its ok. And I hope and pray and wish for my girl that she will be her own kind of woman someday. And her own kind of Mom if she chooses to be one.
I cant promise I wont feel guilt any longer or regret or shame. Im human. I can almost guarantee it. I can guarantee Ill fuck up on occasion. I can hope, though, with all Ive been through….that I can forgive myself. That I can apologize. That I can be ok with being me. Learning to forgive myself has proven to be one of the hardest things Ive had to do. Here’s to all the Moms. The ones who do it right. The ones who do it “wrong”. The ones who struggle. The ones who cuss. The ones who knew the moment that first child was born that their hearts no longer belonged to themselves. May you love and forgive yourself. And live. LIVE.
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A HOME FOR MY NEW STEPPING STONE. MY OWN DIRT.

I am not the girl I used to be. I am older. I am wiser. I am calmer. I am peaceful. I am more. I need and want less. And am happy with little. Never was it ever about THINGS.
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I wrote a blog last week about my Dad’s 65th Birthday. I didn’t post it. It was too difficult to. It was about how he’d finally be retiring and getting to do the things he always wanted to do. How he’d ride his Harley more, FEDEX his UPS uniforms back to the company (LOL) and visit Colorado more. He was a good saver. He and my Mom planned for 33 years before he died. They had a savings account and he contributed a lot to retirement so he could LIVE someday. The way he wanted to. And the fact that at 53 he left the Earth and never got to retire, never got to ride more, travel more, LIVE more, kinda crushes me.
For many MANY years I’ve had a dream to have a little home in the mountains. Further into the mountains I mean. No cement. The dream has evolved and changed over the years. I truly thought I’d go with a husband. I thought there’d be 25th and 50th Wedding Anniversaries. I thought a lot of things. Letting go of what you thought would be is very difficult. Very. Life has certainly NOT turned out the way I expected it would. Many MANY things are vastly different than I anticipated. So for about a second and a half I was resolved to the fact that I’d rent a little place for the rest of my life. I moved into this rent house with the help of only 3 girlfriends. The 4 of us managed to move all of my furniture and things. Just us. My friends ROCK. And I love this house. Its fun and old and quirky. But its not mine. I don’t own it.
And sometimes when my kids are gone. At school. Or with their Dad. I just sit in the big kitchen and cry. Sometimes the tears are happy. There are moments Im proud of myself for being brave enough to leave a situation I needed to leave. For showing my daughter what happy means. For installing curtains alone and finding a $25 garage sale table and carrying it into this house with my own arms. There’s times the tears are sad. And I mourn a lost life. I mourn where I THOUGHT I’d be. Im sad for things that ended and things I couldn’t fix and for my kids. And I mourn that I own nothing but my Jeep. I felt homeless while sitting in a home. I felt after 20 years of home ownership that Id LOST all Id worked for. And then I realized something. I don’t have to give up my dream. It just might look a little different.
So in sitting with my finances and current situation and analyzing (to death) how I can afford to live on my own I found a solution. I can buy some mountain land and build a tiny home. And be debt free. No mortgage, no rent, very VERY low utilities. And what that means is FREEDOM. I can still travel, hike, backpack across America, whatever the hell I want. So its not a 3 bedroom mountain home with a large family room and huge fireplace anymore. Its not expensive flooring and fixtures and mudrooms and TONS of land. Not anymore. Its small. Very small. Its not super fancy. But its MINE. And its all I can think about. Ive always been the “spouse who signs on the line next to the buyer” when we’ve bought homes before. Ive never even bought a car alone. The thought of a home. Some land. Some space. Some mountain views and a porch to drink my coffee on while I watch deer and wildlife walk by…..it takes my breath away. It makes me cry. Because all the THINGS in the world cannot make me feel as peaceful and full as the security of a little tiny house and a majestic view that is all mine.
Its the beginning of this journey for me….trying to find land, getting a tiny home built that I can pay for out right. Just the beginning. And Id be lying if I said Im not scared shitless. But I spent 2 hours yesterday researching septic tank installation on a mountain. And how you can own llamas on private property. And how much a snow plow cover for the front of my Jeep would cost. And it made me more happy than any visit to any spa, any pedicure, any stay in a fancy hotel has ever made me feel. We all dream differently. And that’s ok. Dreams can change, evolve, grow, be put off, or in my case……be put on fast forward.
My Dad fully expected to see 65 years old. He fully expected to retire and have money and live out the dream he wanted to. He made it to 53. Im 45 now. Im not promised 65. Im not promised TOMORROW. So Im not going to wait. And its going to be frustrating and time consuming and I know Ill run into obstacles. But the new stepping stone my friend, Christine, made for me, is going to have a home. It’s going to go in dirt that is mine. I just cannot put it in someone else’s dirt. There’s dreams to make come true. And I’ll crawl, walk, run to make them happen. I can’t leave my stepping stone with no place to call home.
“And the Colorado rocky mountain high
I’ve seen it rainin’ fire in the sky
I know he’d be a poorer man if he never saw an eagle fly
Rocky mountain high”
         John Denver
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ROADS

I’d had this image of what Robert Frost meant when he wrote the poem. What I WANTED it to mean. He was a rebel. The one who went against the grain. Did his own thing. Fought the man. The establishment. Kicked convention to the curb. Parted ways with social norms and flipped them off on his way out. I wanted it to be this. And then I read the poem. I mean Id read it before many times. But yesterday I REALLY read it. Not from an angst teenager’s view or that of a young adult wanting to change the world. This time I read it from a 45 year old’s point of view. And its funny what you hear, what you see, what you learn……when you REALLY listen.

 

Its no secret Ive chosen to live my life a little unconventionally. I’ve been all about being different and unique and original and not following the crowd. Ive made a point to point out Im not conservative or religious in anyway because that is exactly what people expect when they see a blonde woman from Dallas. I’ve raised my kids to NEVER accept what is told to them as fact. To research and learn for themselves. To never follow a crowd. To blaze your own path and never stop fighting for what you believe in. And in my head Robert Frost’s poem embodied all of that. All of the bravery it takes to go down an unfamiliar path and buck the system. Until I REALLY read it again.

 

Saturday I went rock climbing with Dude and a few people I’d never met before. As usual I jumped in the car and said “lets go” with absolutely no clue where we were going. I rarely know where Im going anymore. I just go. It was a beautiful, familiar drive. The Aspen trees are stunning. The oranges and yellows and lime greens just pepper the mountain side and it looks like a painting. I love mountain driving in the Fall. Sometimes when we rock climb the walk from where we park the car to where we actually climb rocks is very short. Sometimes its far. And carrying a backpack full of supplies, water, ropes, etc….its not super easy climbing uphill with all that weight on your back at high altitudes. This was a trek. We had to walk pretty damn far from the car to the rock face. And it was all uphill. And rocky. And at places a little scary. But the hike started on a road before it ventured off into barely worn woods.

 

Climbing has become something very emotional for me. I don’t quite yet know why. But I cry every single time I do it. Maybe because its scary as shit. Maybe because its frustrating. Maybe because Im an old dog trying to learn new tricks. Maybe just because it symbolizes moving on. And it helps me purge. I don’t know. But I had a rough go of it the weekend before. And so these 2 climbs I did Saturday were awesome. Successful. I actually topped a 5.9. For those with no clue what that means….doesn’t matter…I climbed a step higher in difficulty than I ever had before. Pretty cool. The views were probably the best views Ive seen on any of the climbs Ive been on. Crazy amazing beautiful. Id make the hike in JUST for the views. Truly. The climbing is just icing.

 

So the walk out was better than the walk in. I felt accomplished. I felt proud. I felt happy. I don’t know if most 45 year old Moms are scaling the sides of mountains but they should be. And we navigated the brush and unmarked path down until we hit the main road. And one of the girls walking with us mentioned taking the road less traveled as we pushed through. I smiled and thought of that poem I love so much. It was an incredibly good drive home. I wont forget that drive. Ever. 😉

 

When I got home I pulled the poem up online to read. And something caught my attention. The title. My entire fucking life Id thought the title was “The Road Less Traveled”. Perhaps because thats what I wanted it to be. Its not, you know. Frost titled it “The Road Not Taken”. Its peppered with regret. Its peppered with the angst that he had to make a decision. That it wasn’t so easy to take the path he chose. He struggled with it. He even says in line 2 “And sorry I could not travel both”. He was sorry he had to choose. He was sorry he couldn’t have both lives, travel both paths. At the end of the poem he talks about leaving that other path for another day but knowing in his head that day would probably never come and he doubted he’d ever come back to travel the other path. I cried. Surprise. The poem was about the road he DIDN”T take.

 

I think when you make difficult choices in life people don’t see the pain that goes behind those decisions. When you live a big, bold, crazy, adventurous life out loud. When you’re happy. When you find the path you wanted and you get to be yourself finally. The world sees the happy. The world sees it and thinks how easy it must’ve been to choose the life you have. They don’t know you lamented for years. They don’t know you prayed and cried and didn’t sleep for months. They don’t know you made huge mistakes and have regrets and begged life to let you take both paths. You desperately tried to find a way to live both lives. To make everyone happy. To make it all ok. You fought to NOT be you so you wouldn’t ruffle feathers. You tried and struggled and hurt and decisions were never made lightly.

 

That road I chose. This road I chose. I walk it big and slowly and stop and smell every rose. Because there was another road. I could’ve chosen. It wasn’t a bad road. It wasn’t any LESS than the path I did choose. It just wasn’t MY road. It doesn’t mean I don’t wonder. I don’t feel sad. I don’t contemplate what might’ve been. Sometimes choices are simple. Sometimes hard. Sometimes painful. That Road Not Taken will always be there. It just wasn’t  MY road. But it deserves the title. Because. Because it will always ALWAYS make me appreciate even more, the road I DID choose.

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