Pardon My Streaking

I have been inspired…

One of my friends who I follow on Instagram has been doing the Runner’s World Run Streak.  She has gone for a run every single day from Memorial Day until the Fourth of July.  Every day she posts an Instagram picture showing her accomplishment.

Her daily posts have inspired me...

Her daily posts have inspired me…

It has taken over thirty days of seeing these pictures for me to finally say, “I’M DOING IT!!!!”

Joe and I were sitting having our coffee this morning and this conversation took place:

Me: “Joe… I read on the internet that if you run a mile a day, then you will only lose like a pound a month.  But I figure that since I do NOTHING now, then running at least a mile a day HAS to do SOMETHING. I do NOTHING now.”

Joe: (looking at me over the newspaper from his recliner – just like an old married couple) “I don’t believe that.  You have to lose more than one pound in a month.”

Me: “I mean running a little is more than I do now.  I do NOTHING. I’m going to do the streak!  I am going to run at least one mile a day every day until the end of July. “

Joe: “Why?”

Me: “Because I want to look good for you.” (duh)

Joe: “If you are going to do it to live longer to be with me, then great.  If you are going to do it to look good, then you don’t need to do it because you already look great.  If, however, you are doing it to feel better about yourself, then great. “

See why I love this man???

So I am proclaiming it to all of the internet that starting today I am going streaking.  Accountability is a beautiful thing and I am proud to say that I hit the road yesterday morning and ran a measly 1.3 miles, but it was 1.3 miles more than I have run since April.  Today Joe bought me a new pair of running shoes and we ran a quick 1.35 miles before the sky opened up.

I have noticed how hard I can be on myself.  I looked at pictures from the beach last week and I actually had to think, “Ok, if I was looking at some random girl, would I think she was pretty or not?”  That realization really upset me.  I wonder what I am teaching my two girls when I am complaining about the me that God so beautifully created.  Am I teaching them to be hard on themselves?  Am I raising girls who will eventually become women who feel they need to get plastic surgery to get a man?

Last week at the beach I did something I have not done in a while – I wore a bikini on the beach.  I may not be completely satisfied with my size, but the girls were THRILLED that I was wearing a bikini.  Their love and praise (and that of my amazing husband who validates me with every breath he takes) made me proud of my body – even if I sometimes think my boobs are too small or the bags under my eyes are too pronounced or my muffin top is, well, there.  I am WONDERFULLY MADE.

Psalm 139:14 – “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

And that’s what I want our girls to know.  I want them to be proud of themselves just the way God made them.  And I want them to see that I am taking care of myself because it’s important to take care of our bodies and treat them like a temple.  If we don’t respect and value our bodies, then who will?

1 Cor. 6:19-20 – “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?  You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price.  Therefore honor God with your body.”

So I am going streaking… and when the girls comment on it, I won’t say that I want my waist to be thinner or that I want my arms to look sculpted.  I won’t tell them that I want to look pretty for Joe.  Or that I need to look prettier for myself.

I will tell them that I am taking care of ME.  So I can live a long and happy life with Joe and them and my future grandchildren…

… because I LOVE ME.  Just the way God created me.

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Blowing off some steam…

Well this should be interesting.  I am going out in the land of the singles tonight… without my husband.

I say “land of the singles” because although I have been with Joe for a year and a half, I am already shocked and amazed and how much I do NOT miss that “scene.”  We are merely going to get sushi, but it seems that no matter where we go the “scene” follows us.

But sweet Joe saw my obvious meltdown last night and realized that I needed a break from reality.  He has to work tonight, so he told me to have some fun.  So that’s all it takes?  I just have to have a complete anxiety attack/mental breakdown and Joe wants me to “go have some fun!”

I’m actually impressed that he is “allowing” this (yeah, my close friends are chuckling at THAT right about now).  The last night we did not have the kids, we went to Yard House together to meet some of my girlfriends.  It was a Thursday night and it seemed like everyone in there was part of a “hunt.”  Joe went to get us a beer and by the time he could get back there were three men who had essentially circled my friend and me like they were coming in for the kill.

Let me be clear – my ring is not small and it is very sparkly and cannot be mistaken for something other than a wedding ring.  Plus my disinterest in talking to them was abundantly clear, but the sad thing is that a couple of the men who were trying to talk to us were also wearing wedding bands!  One of them even had the audacity to ask for my friend’s number.  What is this world coming to???

I looked my husband in the eyes and said what most of the people in there were sadly hoping to hear from any warm body, “Take me home.”  And we got out of there quickly.

My amazingly fantabulous husband has nothing to worry about tonight though and he knows that.  I am so appreciative that he recognizes that I need to blow off a little steam after this week and the sadness that followed it.  He has a softball game, but I have to admit that I would be happy if it rains so that he can join us tonight.  He’s my best friend and I enjoy him being with us… even when it’s just the girls.  My friends adore him too and always comment on how they enjoy being our third wheel.

I would also like for him to join us tonight because his kids went back to their mother today too and he may need me tonight just like I needed him last night.  It’s quite an adjustment to go from having your kids 24/7 to not knowing where they are or when you will get to talk to them.

The absolute best part of the night is that I don’t have to go home alone… and I will not be going home with promises from a stranger.  I will be going home with the most amazing man that God has gifted me.  A man who I look at and can still clearly see the senior who I had a crush on in 9th grade.

Last night I wrote that I wasn’t feeling very lucky…

Best day ever.

Best day ever.

… but right now I know I am the luckiest woman I know.

I Sure Don’t Feel Very “Lucky”

I am not an overly irrational person (most of the time), but tonight I had one of those moments.

We had the best week ever.  It was our first “family adventure” in our new normal.  All six of us spent the week together without interruption.  Every second of every day was spent together… and we all survived and we all had a BLAST!

They are my EVERYTHING...

They are my EVERYTHING…

Admittedly, I was prepared for the worst.  I just assumed since it was the first time we would all be together for that length of time that for sure someone would get on someone’s nerves, someone would offend someone else or there would just be some sort of falling out just from being together too long.  Thankfully that was not the case.

When we got home today – after spending the last six and a half days together around the clock – the girls ran up to their room and started playing UNO.  Seriously?  They still wanted to be together and playing!  My heart was so incredibly happy.

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I love that they are sisters… and friends….

We dropped my son off with his dad as we were driving in to town earlier today since he had basketball practice.  Then after my daughter’s basketball practice tonight, we all said our goodbyes and I took my daughter out to her dad.  As we were riding out there, we had “The Cup Song” from Pitch Perfect blasting loudly and we were both singing at the top of our lungs.

“When I’m gone… when I’m GOOOONNNNEEEE… you’re gonna miss me when I’m gone…”

I kept looking at her and smiling and my heart felt like it would burst.  I kept thinking, “I want to remember this moment for the rest of my life.”  It was a Taylor Swift “I had the best day with you today” moment (which is another song that I cannot make it through without falling to pieces).

Then the irrational thinking kicked in… I thought, “This is exactly how they show it in the movies right before something terrible happens.”  It was that moment of perfection – after a perfect week together – that made me think about loss.  It was the “City of Angels” moment right before Nicholas Cage gets killed or the “Bust a Move” moment in Blindside right before the car crash.

If you are a parent in a divorced family, then you know that these feelings can sometimes creep in.  Maybe your ex allows your kids to swim alone or maybe your ex leaves the kids with people you don’t know.  There are many scenarios that make you fear for the safety of your children.  Even if your ex is Mr./Ms. Perfect, you still are not able to be there all of the time to ensure the safety of your children.

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What if he wants to dive and it’s too shallow and I’m not there to stop him???

And that’s where I am right now… fear mode.  I’m the Mama Bear who is out of reach of my babies and if something happens, then I am not there to protect them.  I’m not there to tell my son that he can’t shoot bottle rockets out of his hand or to stop my daughter from driving the golf cart out on the street.

As I drove back from dropping my daughter off tonight I cried.  I haven’t done that after dropping them off in years.  When we were first divorced I cried a lot after dropping them off, but you get used to the transitions and you learn to cope.  Tonight, however, I cried hot tears and a whole lot of them.  And when I got home I had to withdraw to my room to write this.  I didn’t want my bonus babies to witness my heartache.

Joe’s kids go with their mom tomorrow for the week also, so we are child-less until next Saturday.  Some people think that we are “lucky” because we have this free time, but I feel anything but lucky right now.  I feel heartbroken.  I feel sad.  But I most certainly do NOT feel lucky.

We will make the best of our time.   We will try to speak to our kids daily (that’s a blog topic for another day).  We will have many date nights and we will watch what we want to watch on television and we will eat what we want to eat.  We will stay out for one more drink because we don’t have a sitter at home waiting for us.  We may even wear less clothes around the house (it’s not all negative I guess).

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My amazingly handsome husband – my heart & soul… we will get through this week together.

But there will be something missing and that hole in our hearts won’t be filled until we have all four babies back in our nest next weekend.  I’m already counting down the days…

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I love how they love each other….

Los Pantalones Del Fuego

I am definitely not perfect… of this I am acutely aware. But if there is one thing I am NOT, it is a liar. I am absolutely honest to a fault. I learned a long time ago that as someone with expressive brown eyes, there really is no point in trying to lie. I had to accept the truth that a poker player I will never be. I know I will never be perfect, but no matter how imperfect I may be, I know I should always strive to be a good person. And good people should not lie.

I have a hard time understanding how some people can lie as easily as breathe. And how confusing to have to keep track of your lies and who you told what so that they don’t catch you. I would have an absolute panic attack trying to keep up with my lies. I would have to create some sort of app for my iphone that kept track and cross-referenced my lies so that I wouldn’t worry about it nonstop.

I have dated people throughout my life who have lied to me continuously and I was too naïve to even think that they were not being honest. Over the past few years I have become much better at figuring out who to trust and who not to trust. As a general rule I chose to just not trust anyone. Admittedly that is not the best attitude to have, but now that we have two teenage boys in our home it is probably a pretty good policy to have.

As a friend of ours who has three teenage daughters told us one night, “They are all liars. Just know if anything comes out of their mouths, it is lies.” And we are learning this is true… in small but upsetting ways.

So why DO they lie? And where in the world do they learn such behavior? Joe and I strive to live honest, open lives that are full of trust and love and communication. So why do we find the kids lying to us about small and insignificant things? And if they lie about something as small as, “I didn’t text you back because I didn’t see your text” (when you saw the read receipt and can see on the phone bill that he was texting friends at the very same time), then what else are they lying about?

I think a lot of this culture of lying is learned behavior. So many parents are unaware of just how much their kids hear – driving in the car talking on the phone or talking in another room while the kids are home. The kids hear one thing being said and then another being said and they process it all… They hear their mom telling a story about their dad that they know isn’t true or they hear their dad lie to a customer about why they can’t meet that afternoon. How can we expect our children to tell the truth if they see us being less than truthful?

The worst is when I hear about parents who encourage lies to the other parents – seemingly as an “I’m on your side” thing, but it is teaching the child that lying is okay. What may seem like an innocent little white lie, “You can call your dad back in the morning… I will tell him you were asleep,” essentially says to your child, “It’s okay to lie to dad if it’s convenient for you to do so.” As a parent, you need to model the behavior that you want to see in your child. They are like puppets and they learn from what they see in you.

One of my friends going through a divorce told me about a talk she had with her four year old that I thought was good. She said that she told her daughter, “If either your father or I ever say to you, ‘Don’t tell your mom’ or ‘Don’t tell your dad,’ then we have done something we know is wrong and the first thing you need to do is tell the other parent.” I think that’s a good rule of thumb for a divorced family. If one parent doesn’t want the other parent to know – where the kids spent the night, who spent the night, how late the kids stay up, what someone said – then it’s probably something the other parent needs to know.

This has been on my mind lately because the other night, my sweet bonus daughter said, “Valerie, you lied to me.” I looked at her baffled because I know that I never lie and asked her what she was talking about. She said, “The other night I asked you if we had any ice cream and you said no.” I made a quick inventory in my brain of everything we have in the freezer and I said with confidence, “We DON’T have any ice cream.” And she said, “Yes we do. Come here.” She led me into the pantry and showed me some peppermint ice cream in the deep freezer that may have been there since the 1900’s (not really, but that’s fun to say).

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We would have to use an ice pick to chop that ice cream out of the deep freeze!!

Joe and I both had a talk with her about how we will not lie. I explained that the ice cream she was talking about was so old it was stuck in the freezer and that if we HAD ice cream I would tell her, “Yes, we have ice cream, but you can’t have any right now,” before I lied and said, “Sorry, we don’t have any.” That is just not how I roll. There are some parents who don’t like to be the “bad guy,” so they would rather lie than just tell their kids “no.”

I think the kids all know that Joe and I are true to our word. As you have heard me say before, our home is a home of open communication and no fear. We want to teach our children that words may lie, but actions will always tell the truth. They will grow up and know whose word to believe based on how they see us live.

 

Vacation… All I Ever Wanted

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It’s a cool, breezy morning at the beach. I am sitting on the front porch of the cottage drinking my coffee and listening to the sweet sound of wind chimes, the ocean waves, and Applewood smoked bacon sizzling on the skillet. Normally on the weekend my schedule does not allow me to hear the bacon cooking (by schedule I mean I’m usually still knee deep in the sheets while Joe is cooking breakfast). I usually wake up to the end result resting on paper towels in the kitchen.

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But today is different. Today is day one of our first true family vacation.

My heart is so full of love and thankfulness today. So much so that I woke up bright and early and had a little talk with God. It’s days like today when you realize just how much you have to thank the big guy for…

As I remind my kids all the time, there are many people who do not have the luxury to go to the beach at all. It’s hard for them to imagine – considering where we live and the friends they have. As far as they can tell, everyone is a member of “the club” (except us) and everyone spends most of the summer traveling abroad or living at the beach. It’s important to me to instill in my kids an understanding of just how blessed they are.

I think God is agreeing with me right this second because I feel it heavy on my heart that once we return home I need to get my kids involved in some sort of charity to teach them to help others. As the speaker said at my graduation from boarding school, “To whom much is given, much is expected” and there are plenty of opportunities to help others in Raleigh.

My kids are in Myrtle Beach with their dad because their aunt is getting married today so we are meeting their dad to pick them up tonight. It has been nice to get to spend a little one on one time with my bonus kids. Because my kids are with us most of the time and Joe’s kids are with us 50% of the time, it is rare that we get alone time with his kids… and it is obvious that they enjoy it!

Sweet girl loves to just sit down and talk. I put down everything I’m doing to just look her in the eyes and listen. It warms my heart abundantly to see the look in her eyes as she tells me story after story. It’s like she wants to fill me in on everything that has happened since we last talked. She likes the attention being on her too… as we were walking to the beach last night I reached my hand out to Joe and she slid quickly between us to hold both of our hands. Like my daughter, they like to get in the middle of us whenever they can. In our house, a hug between Joe and me quickly becomes a “group hug.”

So right now I am sitting here on the porch with sweet girl next to me and she is writing on her laptop too. We are listening to music and it’s raining… and there is nowhere I would rather be. As I’ve said before, when I was little and dreamed of my fairy tale ending, I had no idea it would be with two bonus kids who I love like my own.

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BLESSINGS ABOUND.

 

Doesn’t everyone drink red wine from the bottle on the beach?

Last week, I took my two kids on a little vacation to stay in a camper on the beach.  Joe had to work and his kids were with their mom, so my kids and I went solo.  We have always taken vacations with just the three of us – the beach, the river, Disneyworld, Washington, DC – but this was the first one since Joe and I have been married.  So this was a special little bonding experience for us…

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On a bike ride with my babies.

I can’t wait until next week when we all six will hit the beach for a week as a family on our first true family adventure.  This was our “pre-vacation.”  It was like ordering the sampler appetizer platter at Applebee’s – you get just enough to taste it, but it only leaves you craving more.  And right now, I AM CRAVING MORE BEACH.

As I think about this week at the beach I have come to realize some truths that I learned on our little pre-vacation.

1) I may be spoiled, but I am capable.

When we first got to the beach, I pretty much had to single-handedly bring every ounce of everything that was in the car in on my own. I mean, EVERYTHING.  The kids were excited to be there, so they wanted to run around and check everything out.  Ok, so maybe my son had his X-box hooked up to one of the televisions before I even finished unloading the car, but he sure didn’t help with anything else.

I turned on the AC and then I turned on the water pump.  When I turned on the water, it spit at me.  Not just a little drip, but a full fledged splash in my face.  Apparently it doesn’t help to have the water pump on if the water leading to the camper is shut off.  As I was trying to figure this out, I apparently thought out loud and said, “I need Joe here. I can’t do this by myself.”

My sweet 13 year old son responded quickly… he said, “No offense mom, but you were a single mom for HOW many years? I think you can handle it.”

(insert my beaming pride here)

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Shocker, this was while we were eating out one night.

I am so proud that my teenage son looks at me and sees a strong woman who is capable of taking care of her kids with no assistance.  He knows that I am with Joe because I WANT to be with Joe and not because I NEED Joe.  What a blessing that he has learned that on his own!

Too many women jump right into a new marriage after divorce because they see an “eligible” man who can take care of them.  They quickly jump into their new “family” and all the kids see is that they need a man to take care of them.  I definitely don’t want my daughter to believe that.  My children know I have dated throughout the years, but they also recognize that I didn’t get married when I probably could have.  I waited for the right man for all three of us… and thank God for him.

2)   My kids can play well together when forced.

We live in a 5,000 square foot house and my kids still somehow find a way to get on each other’s nerves, but this week I threw them into a small camper for three nights and they got along like best buddies.  HUH???  Seriously, the camper was smaller than my bedroom, but the kids had fun and laughed and played with minimal to no fighting.

ImageThey spent all of their time on the beach playing together and I think that my daughter only ran up to me crying once (this is a major accomplishment).  Of course we had not been home from vacation for more than a couple of hours when I found this printed out next to the labelmaker on the coffee table:

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Nice.

So I am thinking that the next time my kids start to battle it out I should just lock them in the basement together.  Maybe confinement is what they need to get along.

3)   Eating & drinking the entire time on vacation makes you reevaluate.

I have eaten well.  And a lot.  I mean, A LOT.  Not to mention the amount of beers I drank on the beach.  The thing about summertime is that the hot weather makes me feel like I need to have drinks on the beach (or while unpacking boxes in my bedroom this afternoon or while typing a blog at noon, but whatever).  Plus the kids and I love going out to eat at the beach.  We have our few favorite places that we have to go every time we are there.

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One of our favorite restaurants at the beach…

A big (no pun intended) problem with being at the beach is that I tend to compare myself to others.  I am not skinny.  I think I am pretty average, but I am definitely not skinny.  So when I wear a bikini on the beach, I am very self-conscious and find myself comparing myself to others.  I will see a bigger woman and think, “I don’t look like that? DO I????” And then sit and stew about how chubby I feel for the next hour.  All the while I am taking a swig of my third beer and eating an entire jar of honey roasted peanuts and a can of Pringles.

I always leave the beach with grandiose plans of a much improved life – a life where I exercise daily and only eat healthy foods.  Of course those well made plans also include eating everything I can while there because “I might as well go out with a bang.”

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Yeah, this happened at the beach. More than once…

4) God has a sense of humor…

You think that when you go on vacation you can escape reality.  I mean, no one ever goes on vacation to get in the middle of drama.  They go to ESCAPE.  That is not always how it goes down.

It just so happens that my step-kids and their mom were also at the beach last week.  I assumed with them staying in a condo 12 miles down the beach, we would probably not have any run-ins.  I was mistaken… doubly mistaken.

The first night out we went to one of our favorite restaurants forgetting they were closed on Mondays.  Since they were closed, we went to our other favorite.  My son had been texting with his step-brother, so we knew they were there.  I told him to make sure they knew that we were going too so there would be no surprises.

It all went very well and we were excited to get to hug my step-kids and speak to their family, but then we slipped off alone and put some space between us so everyone could enjoy their own dinner.  I felt very good about it because it showed that we can co-exist and be around each other without incident and that evidently makes the kids very happy.  The kids are very vocal about their desire for us all to be on friendly terms, so it makes me so happy when we can show them that we are capable of it.

Ironically enough, as if God wasn’t having enough fun already, my ex-boyfriend that I dated off and on for about two years right before I started dating Joe also walked into the same restaurant.  Of course my kids ran to him to hug him and speak.  I waved from the table and thought, “Where is my ex-husband and his wife?  This whole comedy is not complete yet.”

So we may go on vacation to escape reality, but sometimes life just follows us.  All you can do is laugh at God’s sense of humor.

5) Nobody judges anybody at the beach.

I ate two Oreo Klondike bars in one night while watching Dodgeball.  Yep and no one said a word.

We spread Nutella on just about everything we had in the camper.  Because, seriously, Nutella tastes good on ANYTHING.  I think we pretty much finished the entire container that I bought for the trip.  That healthy fruit salad I made to bring on the trip??? Yeah, it tastes heavenly with Nutella.  But, again, NO ONE JUDGED US.

People walk around on the beach in bathing suits that they should NOT be wearing… but hey, at least they have the confidence to do it and at least they are walking, right??  We show solidarity in understanding that they too were probably eating Nutella with marshmallow creme with a beer at 11pm the night before.  We give each other a knowing smile as they walk past.

And finally, no one judges anyone for drinking on the beach.  And that is FACT.  All you have to do is walk down near the fishing pier and see all of the college kids and marines stumbling around and you know that I am speaking the truth.  Or, you can look around you and see that even the older folks are having drinks on the beach.  I spotted this old lady next to me one day:

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Cheers to you, old red wine drinking on the beach lady…

Yes, that is a small bottle of red wine.  And she is drinking it straight from the bottle.  I think the best part is the way she is sitting there holding it.  Again, I didn’t judge.  I opened my Summer Shandy and imagined giving her a “cheers.”

Overall our vacation was a tremendous success, but I am excited for our real vacation to start on Friday.  It’s going to be a LONG week.  Joe and I are child-less all week and are looking forward to going to see Dave Chappelle (tickets that his amazing wife bought him for Father’s Day), but other than that we will be working our way to the weekend.

I’m a little scared though because the house we are staying in is bigger than the camper on our “pre-vacation,” so I’m not sure if my kids will be able to get along.  Maybe I can force them to sleep in a closet in the garage while we are there.

I’m kidding… kind of.

Happy Father’s Day!!!

When I was away at college, my dad always used my bathroom to get ready in the morning.  I remember being home one weekend and while I was drying my hair I noticed The Cure CD case laying on the bathroom counter.  I remember putting the case in the bathroom drawer.  Oddly enough, every visit back home I would see that The Cure CD case sitting on the bathroom counter.

I remember thinking, “Does my dad like The Cure? What in the world do my parents do while I am away at school??”

Finally one day I asked my dad why the CD was always on the bathroom counter and he showed me.  He pulled the CD out and put the case on top of his coffee mug.  He said it kept his coffee hot while he was in the shower. 

I remember laughing at him… a lot.

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Yeah, I looked down this morning and realized that I use that eye shadow to keep my coffee warm every morning… Like father, like daughter.

I have the most wonderful memories of my dad throughout my life and I am so thankful that he is still around to make new memories with both me and my children.   The funny thing to me is that most of my memories are about things that I have laughed at him about… and like covering my coffee mug in the bathroom, they are things that I now find myself doing on a constant basis.

I remember my father was the king of sneaking popcorn into movie theaters.  Mom would fill newspaper bags with popcorn and dad would wear his big army jacket and we would go to the movies – Star Wars movies, Indiana Jones, etc.  Now, as a mother I find myself buying $1 candy at the drugstore to carry in my purse to go to the movie.

We learned early on how to keep daddy happy.  And one of the most important things to him was respect.  If he called our names, we could not answer with, “Yeah,” or “Huh,” or “What.”  The only acceptable answer was “Yes sir.”  I mastered the art of saying, “Yeah…sir.”  And I could slur it just right so that it sounds like I had not misspoken.  Now I find myself saying to my children on a regular basis, “You just say yes ma’am and be quiet.”  Wow…. act like dad much????

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                      My handsome daddy

And one thing I have always known with absolute certainty is that my dad has always had my back.  He has always supported me and validated me – some may even say to a fault because he taught me to have so much confidence.   He was the person I called when I knew I needed to get out of my marriage.  He said, “Be here tomorrow” and I knew everything was going to be okay.

And it HAS been okay.  And every day has gotten better since.

I joke about how I find myself being more like my dad every day, but the truth of the matter is that if I can turn out to be half the person that my dad is then I will have lived a successful life.  I pray that I have many more years of love and laughter with that amazing man.

Of course, I may have to practice my golf game so I can spend a little more time with him…

Vacation!!!

This conversation just took place:

My sweet girl: “Are you going swimming?”

Me: “Oh no honey…. I’m not.”

My sweet girl: “Why are you wearing a bikini then?”

Me: “Because I want to get sun.”

My sweet girl: “Do you wear shirts that show your stomach?”

Me: {incredulous look}

My sweet girl: “See? You don’t even need to wear a bathing suit then.” And she ran back out to the water.

10 year old wisdom… 🙂 

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We are on vacation at the beach this week, so my posting will pick back up next week.  Hope everyone is kicking off their summer fabulously!!!!!

 

Selfishness in Divorce…

On Monday I noticed the attorney in the office across the hall was making a lot of questionable noises in her throat – hacking sounds to be exact.  On Tuesday I asked her if she was feeling better and she said, “I went to a concert this weekend and I think my throat is just messed up from it.” (uh huh…)

Also on Tuesday I noticed my sweet husband Joe was making the same noises.  He started blowing his nose a lot that night and when I asked him about it he said, “My allergies are flaring up.”  His son came home on Wednesday and was also coughing – “Allergies.” (uh huh…)

All week I have been surrounded by hacking and sniffing and coughing and snoring… by people who claim to not be sick.

I convinced myself yesterday that I was beginning to feel a little iffy, so I made a trip to the CVS next door to my office.  For the record, I should not be allowed to go to the drug store when I am feeling a little under the weather.  Apparently my mind convinces me that my body will feel better if I consume every bit of junk food possible.

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I am hoping that the Emergen-C will do its magic and I won’t end up like this:

ImageWhy is it that people have such a hard time admitting that they are sick?  We work so hard to convince ourselves that what we want to believe is true that we fail to actually see the truth.  This is not just related to sickness.  We do this is multiple areas of our lives.

Parents going through divorce are exceptionally bad at admitting the truth.  So many parents claim to know what is best for their children, but they are merely reflecting what is best for themselves.  Divorce is capable of producing such a detrimental selfishness.  Otherwise normal parents can behave in such an alarming way – allowing their children to get away with murder because they don’t want to ever be the bad guy, talking bad about the other parent but convincing themselves it’s not harmful “because it’s the truth,” saying no to activities that the children want to participate in because it takes away from their time, not letting the kids talk to the other parent.

My personal favorite (and I have heard this one A LOT) is keeping the kids away from the other parent because “things are so contentious between us that it would be harmful for them to be around us together.”  Because it’s impossible for an adult to act like an adult at a birthday party for the children?!?!?! GROW UP!! How hard is it to fake a smile for an hour to show solidarity in support of your children?  It’s about THEM, not YOU.

When you fail to admit that you are indeed sick, then you risk putting everyone around you in danger of getting sick.  And if we fail to recognize the truth in the situation as parents in a divorce, then we are putting our children in danger.  They need both parents.  And they need both parents to be mentally capable of putting their best interests in the forefront.  We need to try to make our children the priority – not our own comfort, not our own ego.  This is a harsh statement, but I firmly believe it is abusive to your children if you fail to put them first.  Sadly, some people are just not capable of that and only see the divorce as a competition between parents.  The children will see right through it and it will backfire.  As they grow up, they will love, respect and admire the parent who puts them first.

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That’s one of the many things about their childhood that our children will never forget.

Match.com on crack…

My relationship with Joe has revolved a great deal around music.  We both love to always have music playing and we have always sent each other songs and playlists throughout our time together.  It would only make sense that we would take the kids to see live music since it means so much to us.

Every Thursday night throughout the summer there is a concert up at North Hills mall, which is exactly a mile from our house.  We love to take the kids up there to dance and have dinner. It is a great event with people of all ages from all over NC and it is a fun family event.  If you live nearby and have not been, you need to check out the band schedule because it’s worth the time to try to find a parking spot!  Bring chairs…

ImageIt’s tough for us to make it each week because both of my kids have basketball on Thursday nights (the insane schedule of AAU basketball is another blog topic entirely), so our time is usually cut short and my daughter has even been seen on stage with her basketball jersey still on.

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The girls having a big time dancing with Ken Knox… this was right before they got on stage!

Last night we decided to try a different concert series that is also close to our home – the Music in the Valley.  It is a Wednesday night concert series outside at Crabtree Valley Mall.  A friend of ours is in the band that was playing, so we loaded the kids up (plus an extra 13 year old boy) and headed to the mall to meet some of our friends and their kids.

Immediately upon going up the escalator to where the band was set up, there was a totally different vibe than at North Hills.  A heavy mix of smoke and perfume was lingering in the air and there were a lot of women who were dressed in dresses that would have been best served left on the hanger or maybe worn 10 years earlier.  As we were walking through the crowd I heard a man talking to his friends yelling, “That’s bullshit” loudly.  Everyone around us seemed like they had been drinking for a while.

It was only 7pm.

I had a flashback to my single days and it was not a pretty memory.  The days when I proclaimed my independence and told anyone who would listen that “I don’t need a man.”  When I went to places like that and talked to people that I didn’t want to talk to, but I was just lonely enough that their interest in me made me feel a little better about myself.  And it was better than sitting at home alone with my cat.

And the single scene has DEFINITELY changed since I entered it back in 2004.  At that time, I had just turned 30 and was living in Greenville.  There were NO eligible single men.  All of the men were much younger than I and living like college kids or they were married.  I always felt like the oldest person anywhere I went. 

The scene last night proved that the divorce numbers have increased exponentially in the 40’s and 50’s age group.  And from what I could surmise, the increase in numbers of single folks certainly did not increase the quality.  It made me sad because I know how it felt to be single in my 30’s, but I cannot imagine the feeling of being single in my 50’s (and yes, I have reminded Joe quite a few times that he better not mess things up since I don’t want to know how it feels!!!!).

My friend Leslie and I said, “I feel like I’ve walked into the internet.  This is like Match.com on crack.”   And now I understand WHY it felt that way… I googled it today and found this advertisement on the internet:

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Soooooooooooo, technically we took our kids to a single’s party…. nice.

It was worth a try, but we decided that we will not be going back to the Music in the Valley – with or without kids.  Apparently having a ring on your finger doesn’t keep men from violating you with their eyes. Plus, I definitely don’t want our daughters to think that women in their late 40’s dancing with an imaginary stripper pole on the dance floor is ladylike.

As we walked to the car, I slipped my hand into Joe’s.  I am so thankful for him. 

ImageI had to go through many years of the misery of that scene, but now I can go home with my handsome husband and snuggle up for the night.  He is proof that good things DO come to those who wait.  I think God knew what he was doing all those years… all that unhappiness makes me appreciate Joe even more.  Maybe we’ll even turn the music up and dance at home tonight… because we can. 

And I am sure when we are old and rocking in our rockers looking out over the water we will say, “Remember that time when we were first married that we took our kids to that singles party?”  Yeah, that happened.