Dear Summer, BRING IT.

I’ve always heard that things have to get worse before they can get better.   If that’s the case, then I have never been more ready for the “BETTER” to arrive.  As you most likely read in my post, I’m Wearing Mascara Again, I have been dealing with some life changing situations that have been very difficult for me emotionally.  Add to that sick kids who brought home some sort of plague-like respiratory virus that has put me to bed since last Monday and you can understand why I have been a little MIA as of late.

I’m beginning to think that winter is just not my best time of the year.  It seems that every winter something has happened that has caused me to wish and crave for the spring/summer.  Two years ago I fainted in my driveway in January and felt like I had hit rock bottom, then Joe and I reconnected in March and, well, here we are.

As I said in the Divorce Care Package feature on The Huffington Post Divorce site, the beach is my “happy place” that helped me for years as I was struggling with my divorce.  Since then it has become the place where Joe and I were able to build our relationship.  Every weekend we didn’t have kids, we headed to the beach.  Since I feel the most peace and happiness at the beach, it only makes sense that I relate those same happy feelings with summertime.

This winter has had its share of troubling issues.  Things have come to light in different aspects of my life that have been difficult for me to process and understand.  We have also just changed up our custody schedule so that my kids are now spending 50/50 with both their dad and me.  While I think this change will be positive for them (or I would have never agreed to it), they have been primarily with me for almost ten years now.  Change can be a good thing, but it’s not always easy to swallow when it means less time with your kids.  Thankfully I will still see them every day since they will come home from school to my house like normal and we stay in close contact even when they are with their dad.

That change affects us all because now my schedule is all crazy mixed up… and you guys KNOW how I feel about the importance of an organized schedule!!!!!  Now all of a sudden we have Monday nights with no kids, Tuesday nights with my kids, Wednesday night with my step-kids, and Thursday night with all four kids together.  This makes dinner planning a little different, but it’s nothing I can’t handle once I get used to the new way.

Emotionally I have been okay with this, although I have been struggling a little with the fact that my son and my step-son will be finished with middle school and will be going to high school in a few short months.  I may or may not have cried the entire way home from high school orientation (and proceeded to sign the boys up to attend a study skills boot camp one Saturday because I was scared straight about how intense high school can be).  And before I could even wrap my brain around the fact that they will both be in driver’s ed before I can possibly accept it, my son blindsided me.

My son has decided that he wants to go to high school out where his dad lives.  That may not seem like a big change, but I live in the heart of the city and their dad lives on a farm 25 minutes out in the country.  It has been a great experience for the kids to have the best of both worlds, but it blew me away that he wants to leave his friends to go out to school where he knows no one.  While my first instinct was to put my foot down and disallow it, I immediately felt a tremendous amount of pride at the job that his father and I have done.

How impressive that my 14 year old was brave enough to talk to me about something that you know could not have been easy for him.  He was very non-emotional and just discussed it with me.  While I admittedly didn’t handle it with as much grace as he, I was impressed with his candor and his strength in sharing his desires.  I may not agree with him, but I am going to stand behind him.  I would much rather he try it out and see how he does, then prohibit it and leave him resentful that I wouldn’t allow it.

Maybe it was my weakened immune system due to the stress of visiting schools and making major decisions, but last week I was hit by a truck.  At least it felt like a truck, but it was a potent kid virus.  I have literally been in bed since last Monday.  Needless to say, being sick makes me emotional and since I was ALREADY emotional, the past week has been a beast.

The one redeeming factor of the week was dragging myself out of bed on Saturday night to take the kids and grandmothers to our favorite Japanese restaurant to celebrate birthdays.  Although I couldn’t eat much since the smells were so potent, it was wonderful to be in the land of the living again… and even more wonderful to surprise all four kids with our planned trip to Disneyworld in June!  Seeing their excitement and knowing that summer will be here before we know it has lifted me out of the emotional fog I have been in.

Now I can go back to focusing on the important things in life.  No, NOT FACEBOOK (I gave up FB for Lent).

FAMILY.

I want to spend every second I can breathing in every moment of my kids.  It makes my heart ache to think about only having four more years with our boys under our protective wings, so instead I am going to focus every ounce of my energy on enjoying every second with them until then.   I want to stop worrying about the small stuff.  I want to laugh at their silly jokes and enjoy them harassing each other in the car.  I want to try to remember every second, because I have learned to accept that there aren’t that many before they are out of our nest.

 

 

 

 

Divorce Care Package – Huffington Post Divorce

Posted today on Huffington Post Divorce.

If there’s ever a time you need a little distraction in your life, it’s during the divorce process. That’s why we launched our Divorce Care Package series. With each post, we’ll show you what things — books, movies, recipes — helped others relieve stress in the midst of divorce, in the hopes that a few of their picks will serve you well, too. Want to share what got you through your divorce? Email us at divorce@huffingtonpost.com or tweet @HuffPost Divorce

These days, writer Valerie DeLoach is happily remarried and busy blogging about blended family on her site, Life In A Blender. But for a long time before that, she was a divorced mom of two figuring out how to get her bearings after years of being married.

“What really got me through my divorce is hope,” she told us. “Not necessarily hope to find a man, but hope that the everything is going to be okay. Although I stayed a single mom for almost nine years, I knew that God had a plan for me that would be extraordinary. I was right!”

Below, DeLoach shares a few things that inspired her to move forward after her divorce, from a much-needed trip to New Orleans, to a sticky note that told her everything she needed to know about co-parenting with her ex.

Why ‘Choose Your Battles’ Became My Rallying Cry After Divorce

I’m Wearing Mascara Again

I’m sorry I haven’t posted a blog since February 28th.  Although everyone who knows me knows that I am annoyingly optimistic and cheerful, I have been struggling over the past couple of weeks with self doubt, a touch of heartache and a boatload of fear.  I’m not ready to share the details, but would appreciate whatever prayers and good vibes and happy thoughts that you can throw my way.

So many people keep telling me, “You need to give it over to God and let Him handle it.”  I don’t know about you, but that certainly sounds like the best way to handle any problem… but the true issue is HOW to give it over to Him.  How do I just say, “Here God… I’m not thinking about this anymore”?

Granted, throughout my life it seems that good things always come from the doors that have closed in my life.  After my divorce, I moved to Greenville where I quickly got a good job with Bank of America Mortgage (just by starting a conversation with a random stranger at the cell phone store).  That led me to a transition job with SunTrust Mortgage that bought me time while I applied to law schools.  Once I got into law school, the kids and I were able to move back to Raleigh where they could be closer to their dad.  Since law school tried to kill me, I left after three semesters and had a new job working with a political consultant less than a week later.  After a year, I was offered a position where I work now (which is where I briefly interned while in law school).   All of this brought me back to Raleigh and kept me here long enough to reconnect with Joe (who dated one of my friends in high school)… and now we have been blissfully married for ten months today.  As I have blogged about before, HAPPY BEGETS HAPPY BEGETS HAPPY.

Sure we have had our share of insignificant struggles, but none of those compare to the darkness I feel as though I am facing now.  Decisions must be made that affect much more than me and they have far-reaching consequences for which I don’t want to be responsible.  I have been praying incessantly and I have cried more than I would care to admit, but the fact of the matter is every single day I feel more at peace in my heart.  Every day I feel like things are going to be just fine.  Every day I feel more and more comfort in knowing that whichever way this goes, we are all going to be fine.

I guess that is God at work in me – giving me peace when I have none and giving me comfort when I doubt.  I am so thankful for all of my many blessings and I need to focus on that.  I have transcended before and can do it again.

On Saturday, I wore mascara for the first time in two weeks.  I explained that significance to a friend of mine by saying, “Wearing mascara proves that I have not cried today and, more importantly, it proves I started the day with no INTENT of crying.”

Baby steps.