Sunday, September 15, 2013

Good-bye For Now

As of tomorrow, our phone and Internet will be no more. We just don't have the money to keep this house up. The furnace is still broken from last year. We have barely been scraping by for some time.

I've got no fight left. Not here.

It's time to do something different.

I have applications out for Durango and Grand Junction areas, and I'm still looking for an RV to make this happen.

If it means living in my car, I will get myself and my family somewhere that we have a shot at survival.

Good-bye for now.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Starting Rumors About Myself...

A friend of mine was recently warned not to talk to us because we dress goth.

No. Really. That's it.

These rumors date back a few years now, but they have intensified recently. One woman has been very vocal about her disapproval of my appearance in the movie...  more specifically of the amount of eyeliner I wore while representing her town.

Eyeliner? Really? Ummmm... you're welcome?

These are the same people who shunned our shop. They have shunned my kids. They have shunned me. But they can't seem to stop taking about us either... in an area with 1200 people gossip is all some people have.

They've barely even spoken TO me.

I can't say that I didn't expect some gossip from my attempts to build a career oustside of the area but come on. Is that all?

Silly, silly people...

This does explain the other rumors that have been making their way to me lately. Apparently the meth rumor is circulating again too. Which I realize is the easiest way to explain my weight loss, inaccurate but easy.

As much time as they spend talking, they sure aren't very observant. I quit doing drugs before I became a mother. That's twenty years by my count. It was high school. Get over it.

Believe it or not meth isn't the only thing that causes illness. I have an adrenal malfunction. That's adreneline, not drugs you dopes. Do you have any idea what meth would do to already fried adrenals?

You spend a few years vomiting when you are stressed out, and you are always stressed out... you lose weight. It's pretty simple.

All of the fun side effects, no meth needed.

No, really, thanks for your concern. Next time, just send a get well card.

And the dressing goth thing?

I can only imagine them clutching their manuals on the satanic evils of goths. Watching my every move, just waiting for me to kidnap their infant children for secret midnight rituals and place curses upon their homes.

I never read that book though, I just like fun clothes. They are just clothes people... no satanic rituals included.

How seriously do these people take their clothes anyway?

Sighs. My life is always so much more exciting when I hear it filtered through the gossip chain. I'm almost jealous.

My real life is nothing so glamorous. I wake up. I work. I sleep. I wake up. Work some more. Sleep. Sometimes.. I actually leave the house. That's how exciting my life is.

For the next rumor, I'd like to be a bright, funny, and talented mother of four that has a brilliant writing career in front of her that involves lots of travel...

Can someone help me start that one?

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

An Apology For Being Me...

I want to give up. I really, really do. I've spent an entire life trying to earn everybodys approval. All it has really gotten me is exhausted.

I listen to the things people say about me and I wonder why. Why am I even trying at all? Give up. Admit defeat. Just find an easy way out and take it.

The thing is... I know why.

I have passion for life. I have a passion for love. When you know why you are doing something, you can't just do something else. Passion refuses to be denied.

When I left my ex, all I wanted was to be was the person that I was with my children. I've tried and tried to become that person. But it is always such a damn battle.

I want to believe that I don't have to become what people keep trying to make me into. I really have made a plan, and all that I need to do is keep believing just a little bit longer.

Sometimes I spend all day writing through tears, because I can't stop them, so I ignore them. I feel bad about being me. I am tired of being me. I don't know if I still believe in me.

So... I write.

I'm trying. I'm trying so damn hard. I keep trying to please everybody else. Trying to be strong. Trying to be brave. Trying to just keep thinking positive. I'm trying to do what everybody else thinks I should be doing but there is always one more person there to criticize or condemn me.

I can't win this you know.

I'm tired of apologizing for who and what I am.

The only time I am me is when I am alone. When I know there can't possibly be anything about me that is wrong, or broken, or needs work, or unacceptable, or stupid.

I'm just different. I'm just me.

I love being an idealist. I love being surrounded by love. That's all that I have ever wanted. To make the people that I care about happy. And I care about a whole lot of people.

There are so many reasons that I adore my family, and Ed most of all. When I get weird, he still loves me. When I get wild, he supports me. He doesn't understand me... but he loves me.

He makes me think it is worth it.

I have a lot of critics right now, and some of them are mighty vocal. I just have to block them out long enough to prove that I have known what I was doing all along.

I want to give up but I can't. My family is my passion.

I live for love.

If I haven't yet been able to earn your approval, I once again apologize. I apologize for being me.

But I don't know how to be anybody else.

I have to do what I believe is right.

If you don't see my vision, please just step out of my way and talk quietly behind my back.

I have a family to take care of.

That is my everything.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

I Don't Need My Fr#$%ing Hormones!

The consensus is, it's time for mom to get back on her hormones. I let them go last year because the estrogen alone is $80. The progesterone is like... 50? And testosterone is another 30 or so (I think). It's hard to recall now.

I'm thinking just estrogen to start. It's the most important Without out I am way too male.

But the Commitee has decided that I am a raging bitch that isn't fit for public consumption without them.

Fair enough.

A look at the past year certainly confirms that Ayngel without hormones has absolutely zero patience. My bullshit tolerance has also dropped to historically low levels.

Okay. Point taken.

It's amazing how fast the money goes.

I did get in and get four teeth fixed today. Almost all of my top front have been capped, and there its only one really yucky one left when I smile.

It's really nice.

Brooke and I are working on manifesting awesome sales for the book. I know that I have worked very hard on this book. I'm not sure that I have ever accomplished anything this big in my life aside from growing three human lives.

That was pretty hard to top.

The book is vast near ready for print. I have a few finishing touches to add, doing some last minute tweaks, and otherwise fiddling like crazy, but there is a finished product there. I can almost touch out now...

I've been off of all of my meds, but it's time to find a way to get back on them so we can keep moving forward. I've got to be my best to get this done.

If mom ain't functioning, the house ain't functioning.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Summer Visit Cut Short

Mystery found out about freshman orientation at the last minute and her dad had to come get her early. *sighs*

I had a few hours notice to adjust.

Before I stepped outside to hand her over, my super intelligent husband reminded me to hold my tongue unless I could assure that my words were kind.

I chose to say nothing.

I spent the rest of the day wondering if it was possible that all of the words really have been said. He's not listening to any of us, and we're all exhausted trying to jump through the hoops only to get nowhere.

I have no choice but to let go. To accept that whatever will be will be. Either this course will be corrected or it won't.

Everyone has been hurt, and the wounds are still very fresh. It's too soon to know anything for certain... but I've always tried to teach them that right now is not the time to make all of the decisions for your future. You don't have all of the information that you need to move forward yet.

I am here with my kids every day. I see the pain they are going through and I want to help, but there isn't much that I can do but remind them how very loved they really are.

I have also taught them that a relationship without communication does not exist. That the communication sucks in this situation is obvious, what can be done about is unknown.

For now all that I can really tell them is to move forward. Someone who wants to be a part of your life will travel with you. Someone who doesn't will fall behind.

Sometimes all that we can do is let them.

I miss Miss Mystery, our family once again feels incomplete. Her freshman year is here and she now begins her trek to law school. She can do this...

Peace be with you baby girl.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Testing Their Wings: Letting Go Of Graduation, Its GED Time

I don't have time to get mired in regrets. There are so many things that I would go back and change now if I could. But I can't.

I raised them successfully for fourteen years, and thought I had everything all on track. It only took two years to see it all get lost. It sucks.

We all have dreams for our kids, and their current circumstances were not part of those dreams. It wasn't until this years graduation that I realized the ceremony isn't just for the graduate. Those mothers and fathers earned those caps and gowns too. They earned the right to see their children walk across that stage.

I earned that right.

In the end though, it was beyond my control.

I dropped out twice. Nobody could talk me out of it. I went back for my grandmother, because seeing my picture on that wall was important to her. She needed to see me get my diploma. So, I eventually finished the work at home (and got the best grades of my life oddly enough)

So non-traditional is sorta genetic.

I almost hate to see them go GED, but at this point we all just want it done. By the time we save the money for remedial credits the kids will be over 21.

I had a lot of plans, but the kids have their own. Justin already has a job in mind that will help him through college. He's done depending on others.

Brooke has a plan and refuses to consider anything else at this moment. She is ready to fly, and wants it done yesterday. She's done depending on others.

"Just trust me Mom." Brooke says. "I know what I am doing." After 19 years she still doesn't understand that my support and my agreement are two different things. I will always support her, though I might not necessarily agree with her.

I tried to explain that whole mom future vision thing to her. While I have been doing this long enough to know that adjustments must be made, it still isn't easy.

They are all smart kids. They'll figure it out if I give them room. As the ever wise Susan Graybeal always reminded me, our job is to give them roots and then give them wings.

Their grades were too good for this. Their CSAP scores were too. But it's time to let go of what could have been and face what is.

All I can do for Mystery is pray that her passion stays strong. That her focus remains on her future. That nobody steals her dreams...

And that she gets some amazing scholarships.

Jaid is no worry in school either. We are getting her there.
She is a tough one. They all are. They'll make it.

My mommy report card isn't looking so good at the moment.

I know, I know... it's time to let them fly.

I'm trying...

Friday, July 19, 2013

Divorce: Loving the Children More Than You Hate Each Other

I've seen a lot of divorces in my life. They can turn the most attractive people ugly at a moments notice. The most rational people into ravenous wolves after an injured rabbit.

And it's always the kids that pay.

Two people who obviously couldn't get along now have to figure out how to cooperate enough to raise reasonably healthy children. Yes, that's still our job.

Even if your ex is a -cheating, lying, chronically unemployed, alcoholic- that took you for all that you were worth and left you for a pig farmer ... they are still one half of that parenting team. (That's fictional BTW)

When I got divorced this weighed heavily on my mind. I didn't want my feelings about their father to get in the way of their relationship with him. His role in their lives was just as important as mine.

So I made him promise me that we would always love the children more than we hated each other.

Promise me.

We separated just after September 11, and were legally divorced that summer. For eleven years I have always tried to keep that promise in front of me. If I said that had always succeeded, I'd be lying, but I have always tried.

I promised.

It isn't easy to put your feelings aside, but the kids have feelings of their own to feel. I've tried to allow them their own feelings, and the were a lot of things I hid from them totally unless it needed to be brought up.

They thought that he was the one sending those presents just after the divorce. Brooke just caught on recently, and she's not very happy with me for lying about it.

She thought the other presents really were from Santa back then too... she got over it.

While many of the old hurts are healed, new ones still come up. You discover that your ex has been unkind, or done something that you expressly forbid, or..........

Disagreements are bound to arise over the true definition of "best interests of the children" from third to third - its going to be different. That's okay.

Abuse of course is an entirely different story. If the kids needs are actually being neglected - then the children must be the first priority.

Grown adults have no excuse for acting like children. When you have kids, you agree to place their needs above their own, that has always been the deal.

It was part of the job description all along.

The divorce wasn't.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Onward and Upward

Onward and upward, a day to grieve for what can't be done. Still feel like crap for letting  my kiddos down, but we'll manage. Point one, Brooke's GED. We have enough to get that done now.

Point two, Justin's education. I will get his computer ordered this week, and get him done with high school as well. Then... college.

Point something or other. My job is to get them through school. To get them to a point where they can take care of themselves.

Point three, I have to get them both out of here. I have to get my book out to do that. I figure they need $2500 to get their own place.

Have to, have to, have to get it out. (No pressure)

They can do it. They are extremely smart kids that will do will if we can just get their feet back on solid ground.

We talk about the future a lot, they may have had to take a different route than we'd planned at first but we are back on the right track I think.

I wanted to do so much better by them. I'm not licked yet though.

Divorce: The Sequel

What to say about court?

His attorney chewed me up and spit me out. I cried. It was grand.

I just wanted him to get therapy so we could just stop tiptoing around the elephants in the living room. Ten minutes in I realized there was no hope. I just gave up.

It's done.

He keeps his elephants, I keep the kids.

It isn't that I lost in court. It's that I know my kids just wanted their dad to get help so they could have a real relationship with them.

Justin got support. It will be enough to get him into the school that we found, and he earned the money for a computer to do his school work on working with Ed this summer. So we can begin that at least...

Brooke got nothing, she's still stuck.

She will lose the scholarship she wanted so badly. We can't get get her into a camper that doesn't leak. I can't pay for credits that she needs to get back into school. I can't help her get to the city so she can get a job.

If nothing else, I wanted to help Brooke get out of here. I failed at that miserably.

It was as cold as taking out the garbage.

He spoke to none of them. He said he wouldn't until they stopped ignoring him.

Mystery was so mad when she found out about Brooke that she yelled at the attorney.

She ran up to him and said thank you for ruining my family. I want to be an attorney so that I can help people, not ruin families like you.

A fourteen year old girl backed an attorney up.

It was kind of impressive.

And she lives with them.

She shouldn't have, but she just wanted to know that her siblings were taken care of. She knew this was it. We are all stuck right now, and she is here to see it. He isn't.

This was never about wrong or right, it was about admitting that there was a problem and taking steps to fix it.

But he doesn't have to get counseling.

So in short. Their father won.

I just feel like a failure.

Somehow that man always makes me this way.

But "The Divorce Sequel" is over.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Everything Else Can Suck It

Ed headed back over the mountain today, and I missed him immediately. One thing about being out of work for five years, we spent a lot of time together, now we are scrambling to find a few minutes alone.

We kept staying up all night while he was here just to get in what time we could. We talked. We planned. We dreamed. We came up with solutions, and the relief is immense. We need each other. We balance each other out.

I don't mean to get so grumpy, and I hate it when I take it out by him. He's a good man, and I try to remember to tell him how thankful I am to have him in our lives as often as possible. More than that, I try to remember to show him. He is a very easy man to love.

I dreamed of him for many years, all the while thinking that a man like him couldn't possibly exist and then there he was. I shudder to think I could have ended up with someone else. He is my perfect compliment. I tried to make it work with a lot of people, to hold on to what. I was supposed to be waiting for him.

We started with four kids from day one.

I still remember when Ed was making 60k a year. The bills were all paid. We could afford to get away. We didn't have to worry about money. It was nice.

But... our relationship sucked.

I clearly did not love him for his monies:

We were both disabled, had no money, few distractions, and we had each other. It was kinda awesome sometimes.

It's easy to say we are working for our families, but right now I wonder how people can put each other first while both working full time outside of the home. How do they find time for their kids and keep them fed?

Money or time? Money or time?

We are still responsible for four lives, for people who can't yet take care of themselves. Our number one job right now is getting them there. We always wanted to find a way to make both possible. Writing? Tattoos? Video games?

We had a plan there... but we's still got babies.

Yes Mom, we know we gotta do what we gotta do. That still doesn't mean that we have to like it. We have some idea of where we are going, and it's gonna take a lot of blood sweat and tears from all six of is to get there.

Economy don't fail us now. Mystery wants to go to Harvard Law at 80k or so per year.

And we have four years left. We didn't just commit to each other, we committed to a whole family. We will find a way.

We aren't in this alone, we have each other. Yeah... we can do this.

My family is the most important thing on the world to me. Everything else can suck it.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Kids and Jobs: Body Versus Brains

Things have been insane here for the last couple of weeks, go-go-go.

We need the money, so all warm bodies belong to Ed right now. The kids have all been going to work with Ed as laborers, and he even brought me in to help with insulation. Honestly, we are doing anything just to spend time together.

Tomorrow is the last day of this job, so he's dragging me in for the final cleanup. After this he has to go back to the out of town one again. (pouts)

Just when we get used to things being one way, they completely change again.

I think they call that life...

Mystery (my youngest daughter, 14) only made it two days working for Ed before she got fired. He was so frustrated, and he just couldn't understand why she resisted physical labor so much more than the rest of us did.

She always does. She wants to be an attorney so she doesn't have to do drywall and insulation. She works so hard in school so she doesn't have to do manual labor later .

She's just Mystery.

My kids all have things they are good at and things they aren't. Forcing Mystery to do construction was a strange way to motivate her, but Ed and I had different goals in this experiment. He needed laborers, I wanted them to see how hard Ed has to work so that they can make smarter decisions for themselves.

Jaid likes it, Justin tolerated it, but Mystery hated it. She got fired after two days but...

She had a babysitting gig within a week. She started the new job today. It's a huge responsibility, and I'm really proud of her. Full care of three little ones including overnights. Wow!

We are all nearby if she needs us, (and yes I checked backgrounds first.) She has been anxious to help out financially, and 50 a day isn't bad. Brooke and I checked on her a few times today, and she's doing great. Even when the power went out, she was fine when I got there.

She believes in herself because I believe in her.

I take some strange paths to educating my kids but sometimes it works.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Most Awesome Hubby and a Lovely 10th

In the end we just kicked the kids out for the night (they camped at Sugar's house) and had a night in.

So, yeah, we stole a night alone.

For our special day, my Darth Edsilius made an awesome steak dinner complete with red velvet cake and cocktails. (Noms!)

We didn't exactly renew our vows, but Chelle and Sabra stopped by to get some pictures for us. (She had me climbing trees, and little Sabra insisted I hold her new fan.)

And he rented two very funny movies (seriously Identity Thief was a riot.)

Nothing too spectacular, but still awesomeness!

Ed says maybe we will renew our vows for our eleventh.

Forget about it.

Next time we are eloping.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Celebrating Ten Years As A Family

-"Before God, our friends and our family,
by the life that courses within my blood
and the love that resides within my heart,
take thee to my hand,
my heart,
and my spirit,
to be my chosen one.
To desire thee
and be desired by thee,
to possess thee
and be possessed by thee.
I promise to love thee wholly
and completely
without restraint,
in sickness and in health,
in plenty and in poverty,
in life and beyond.
I shall not seek to change thee.
I shall respect thee, and thy ways
as I respect myself."

Ten years ago today we became a family. I stood before Ed and took him as my husband. My children vowed to accept him as their father. I promised to love his daughter as my own.
We've been a family officially for ten years now. His, mine, and now ours.
We added two dogs, a cat, and a whole lot of baggage a long the way but neither has had to bear the weight alone. 
Today's celebration isn't just about two people joining together, but a family being born.
Please join us in remembering our special day...

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Celebrate the 4th! Freedom, Liberty, and Justice For ALL...

It Was Just Kind Of Important To Me...

Yesterday was a tough one. We took the remotes away until chores were done. It didn't go over well...

The kids have slowly been slacking on their chores and have refused to do the yard work. My youngest, Mystery, every bit the future attorney raised an argument. She said they couldn't do the yard because they didn't have help.

They stormed off to their sisters house. 

She should know better than to challenge me.

I spent about four hours total on the yard, and by the time they returned home it was raked, all of the trash picked up, all of the tools put in their proper places, and the miscellaneous junk was moved to the back. By myself. In four hours.

With chronic pain and fatigue and plenty of resting in between. Can barely walk... but I did it.

When they got home I reminded them that perhaps in the future they will remember who their mother is. 

Ed disagrees with my method, he says by me doing the work they got out of it. I say, I still have a whole backyard that needs to be done and have now proven that one person could do it in a day. My kids know that I would never ask them to do anything I am not willing to do myself.

They say we should lead by example, and I do try. My priorities may be a little different than most. I'm not after a yard of the month award, I just want it to NOT look abandoned. I'm also not looking for a perfectly clean house where everybody is angry at one another. I just want them to pull their weight.

8 hours a day of anime on Netflix is NOT pulling their weight and they know this.

I have been asking them to help me get the yard cleaned up all summer so that Ed and I could renew our vows for our tenth anniversary. They kept putting it off and trying to get out of it and now here we are a day away and they haven't figured out why I am so upset.

They think I'm just being moody. REALLY?

Yeah, because a tenth anniversary happens every day. I can just try again next time...

I just wanted to stand in our yard and recommit to one another as a family like we did ten years ago. That was all... and they put me off until it is not going to happen. I just wanted closest family and a few friends. They kept getting lost in dresses and cakes and decorations and moving it somewhere else.

They wanted to plan the fun stuff and avoid the work. So I had to give up something I had been dreaming of for two years...

This was really important to me. I really, really wanted this. I told them that I wanted it in every way possible. But they just kept blowing me off for anime. They wanted to plan the dress and the cake and the decorations, but they didn't want to get the work done first.

I'm trying not to be sad about it because that's what teenagers do but I'm still pretty disappointed. They are lucky all of that hurt and frustration went into the yard. We talked about it last night, but they still think it is about the chores.


Ed says we can't afford to do anything special either. Not even a night away.

I know, I know it's just another day. No big deal. I'll survive.

It was just kind of important to me. 

Monday, July 1, 2013

Maybe We'll Get a Honeymoon Next Time?

Next week is our tenth anniversary.

I wanted to renew out vows, but that isn't going to work out for a multitude of reasons. So we though we might try to get away on a budget...

A second honeymoon would be nice. 

We never even got a first honeymoon, between exes showing up at our wedding drunk and trying to drive with kids, leaving us babysitting so they could go party some more, but not before making sure that the child was a screaming mess of abandonment issues after the good-bye. The little one screamed for several hours while the entire family tried to calm her down. We finally dropped her off at midnight and went to our lovely room that smelled of cat piss and mold and slept.

We promised we would make it up to one another some day.

It looks like we are going to have to put it off again. I've spent much of the day looking for some sort of affordable alternative but camping with fire restrictions and no camper isn't that appealing. I wouldn't mind camping but hard to do with no fire or stove. With the fire bans it has been a few years since we've been able to get up on the mountain.

We really, really, really need to get away. Somewhere, anywhere. Just not here. We are always here. We should have gone camping for Mother's Day like we had planned, but we put it off because we were too busy.

We've been too busy for ten years.

Even thinking about planning something now is just frustrating me. Even the cheapest vacations mean taking something away from the kids. The kids have all worked hard to earn tickets to Rock Jam and it is important to me too. It was the most fun we'd had together in years. The closest thing we had ever had to a vacation.

Oh well, maybe next year?

In the meantime I have to plan something... hmmm....

Sunday, June 30, 2013

After the Divorce: Why Doesn't My Daddy Love Me Anymore?

It's one of the most heartbreaking questions a child can ask. I've heard it from so many different children. I've heard it from kids who don't see their mothers anymore either. Their situations may have varied but the hurt was always the same.

Kids tend to process rejection of any kind as a sign that they are unloved and unwanted even when that rejection has nothing whatsoever to do with them.

I remember a time after my divorce when my ex husband disappeared from the kids lives for about two years. He had essentially been married with kids since he was sixteen years old and had traded us in for a military career and a young new girlfriend, (no kids, no responsibilities, no stretchmarks.)

Yeah, I totally got it.

On one level I understood what was going on, I would have done the same thing if I didn't have kids. There were a lot of experiences that we missed having  family as young as we did and it was only natural to enjoy our new found freedoms.

But the kids didn't understand any of that.

They only understood that Daddy wasn't around.

My mom was divorced three times in my childhood, and I knew exactly what the kids were feeling. I knew it well.

When kids ask why Daddy doesn't love them anymore, there are a lot of things you can say.

You can tell them that their dad is a selfish jerk who doesn't care about anybody but himself, and many mothers do but I didn't. When looking at my long term goals for my kids, making them hate their father wasn't one of them.

You can tell them that mommy loves them more and daddy is a jerk but what does that accomplish besides proving that you are too insecure to share your childs love.

Of course he is a jerk in your book, that is why you divorced him. A man can be a lousy husband and a wonderful father. He can treat us like crap and still love his kids. We are perfectly capable of the same. Maybe we couldn't make it work together, but if we really stayed married for the kids then why can't we divorce for the kids as well.

I grew up without my daddy, and forcing them to grow up without theirs just because he and I couldn't live together was one of the most self-centered things I felt I could do to them.

This wasn't about me.

So, when they were little and he was gone, they sometimes asked me why their daddy didn't love them anymore. And I responded "Your Daddy loves you very much. Your daddy is a good person, your mommy is a good person, they just weren't good people together. We both love you very much and that will never change."

They didn't always understand why he couldn't be with them so I tried to explain it to them the best that I could. That he had a job to do. That he wanted to be with them, but the military needed him. That he would see them every chance he got.

I felt I owed them that much at least.

In my life Daddies came and daddies went, but they just didn't stick around.

My mom didn't trash him, she told me stories about their time together but they were never judgmental or critical. She said he was a nice man. He loved me. Their lives had just taken different paths.

I remember growing up wondering where my dad was and asking myself why he didn't want me.  I was sixteen before I found out that he really did.

When he told me his story for the first time I found out that he had tried to contact me once and found out that my mother had remarried and I had been adopted. He stepped out to let my new father raising having no idea that my stepfather would be out of the picture completely by first grade.The next step-father was around for six years, and then he too was gone.

I still didn't fully understand it then. I think I had to go through my own divorce to really see his point of view from the proper perspective.  He was trying to do what was best for me, so was my mother. He loved me all along. He wanted me all along. Life just gets in the way sometimes...

People always saw they stay together for the kids, but once the divorce begins nobody says they are divorcing for the kids. We should.

There is usually a lot of hurt between the two adults involved and that transfers through and to the kids. It doesn't have to. If only we could love our kids more than we hate each other.

Divorce is tough...

But it is always toughest on the kids. There is no reason to make it even more difficult by saying anything other than. "This has nothing to do with you. We both love you and that will never change."

Monday, June 24, 2013

Little Girls Need Their Daddies

I never knew my father as a child. I was two when my parents divorced and sixteen when I located him again. By then, we had led very different lives.

I am grateful for the times I did have with him before he passed away, but there were not many of them to hold on to. He went far too young.

He was a good father, he gave me four awesome brothers, two lovely and talented sisters, and the best step-mom in the world.

I miss him and wish things had been different but they weren't.

It was with that in mind that I stayed in my first marriage long after it stopped being functional. That was also the reason that I made my ex promise that we would always put the children before ourselves. That we would always love the children more than we hated each other.

I wanted more than anything for my children to have a stable father in their lives. I wanted better for my children.
There are too many kids out there growing up without fathers. Too many fathers who fail to realize how important they really are in their children's lives. Too many kids who don't know how blessed they were to have what time they did with their dads, they were too busy asking what their dad could do for them to enjoy it.

I miss my dad. I've missed him my whole life.

Dads, call your kids. Kids, call your dads.

Time is shorter than you know.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Fathers Day

I'd like to take a moment to thank all of you dads out there.

You are one of the most important people in your child's life and always will be.

They may not always appreciate what you do for them now, but they will. The sacrifices that you make will not not be forgotten.

You are teaching your sons how to treat their future spouses. You are teaching your daughters how to be treated by future lovers. You are teaching them how to love, how to live, how to work, and how to play.

You are teaching them how to have relationships, how to handle stress, how to face problems head on, and when to cut your losses .

You are teaching them all of these things just by being there.

Yer Awesome!

I love you daddy.

Used Gifts Are Kinda Awesome

We gave hubby his Fathers Day present early so he could enjoy it. I know we are a few years behind, but he finally got his PSIII.

The grin on his face was priceless.

He's a good man, and he has been working non-stop for all of us so the kids and I agreed that sacrifices must be made. We still had to go used, but it was a limited edition so it is white, sleek, and has 500 gigs of memory.

So it's kinda awesome.

The kid who bought it didn't like it because it was too round, so he traded it in after a few weeks. We'll get by.

We've been broke for a long time. You learn to get by without a lot of things.

My kids still played with an original NES system for years. The only reason we have a Wii is because it was a gift. We have a few PS2s that have been given to us as family and friends upgraded to newer systems.

We dig hand me downs.

And I just realized that both of our TVs were donated as well.

My kids have been telling me lately that they didn't know that they were poor until someone else told them. More importantly, they didn't care.

We live in a community of people who are struggling. We have friends who have far greater struggles than we do. My kids have friends who have never even had a new outfit.

They thought that we were middle class.


I know some who would be screaming foul at a used gift, but he never has. Neither have I.

There are many holidays on the past few years where we have had nothing for each other but love. We always focus on the kids and try to give them a good Holiday.

Our kids didn't even know that we were poor until the last few years because when they needed something they got it. When they really really wanted something, we tried our best to make it happen. We had friends and family to help. We bought used.

Yeah, sometimes being poor sucks.

But it's usually not so bad.

The kids wanted to reward their dad for all that he does for all of us. My hubby and kids played video games together all day. They are an awesome team and work together on missons well. It's fun to watch.

Would it have been any better if it was new?

More family time.

Goal accomplished.

Ed, if I could give you the world I would. We all would.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Most Embarassing Parenting Moment

So, yesterday I laid a bet that my Edsilius would fire my son because it my hubby is a damn tough boss, and my son has very little construction experience. All family connections cease to exist once you are on the job site. He really did fire me multiple times, and I see just spots to be there because he broke his wrist. He want paying me, but he worked me like the rest of the crew.

He's tough, but Justin is hacking it...

To honor this bet I promised to share my most embarrassing parenting story... so I owe him a really embarassing story.

I'm going to go with how I handled it rather than the actual story because its one of those Afternoon Delight kinda things.

(Stop now if you would like to avoid the imagary)

The short version: a perfect record of nineteen years shattered by my husbands recent habit of knocking on the wall when he's in bed and wants to talk to one of the kids.

So, bad idea.

Forgetting to lock the door. Even worse.

So. After the initial reaction of what the hells and other not so pleasant moments, there was a quick exit and stunned silence then we couldn't stop laughing. I laugh a lot when I'm embarrassed, and by the time I got control of myself my jaw hurt.

I realized I had to say or do something. This was one of those time to act like a parent moments. So I got myself together, and called the kid in... "I'm so, so, so, so, sorry that happened. I apologize, but... this is also why we knock."

We looked at each other for the most akward of moments before agreeing to never speak of it again.

Another quick exit. Now Ed can't stop laughing at me.

We were supposed to be taking a quick nap before dinner. Which meant, I had to go make dinner.

There's only one problem. I laugh uncontrollably when I'm embarrassed and we still had to look each other in the eye while making dinner. It didn't take long for everyone to catch on.

I'll pay for their counseling if needed and I still have the urge to apologize every time I see them but something kind of unexpected happened.

There has been a lot of tension lately between myself and this particular child but the laughter was contagious. Not to mention the fact that I blushed for an entire evening. When you have both been caught in such a vulnerable position, it's hard to go on like nothing happened.

It isn't like we talk about it, but when you can't look at each other without giggling and blushing it's hard to hold on to bitterness.

Even now things are somehow... better.

Most embarrassing, certainly... but we used it to better the relationship.

Lessons learned the hard way, but still learned. Don't send signals that can be confused. Always, always knock and wait to be invited, and get a strong lock.

Check, check and check.

Let's not have to repeat this lesson, ever.

I apologize for any trauma that might have caused you as well. I would be glad to refer you to a mental health hotline if the image persists.

But, it was my most embarrassing moment in nineteen years by far.


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Turning A Boy Into A Man

Tonight my son walked in looking like a man. He was covered in dirt from head to foot. He didn't walk in so much as shuffle.

The walk of the weary...

His first full day of hard labor. Man's work.

He has a goal. His sights are set.

They used to tell me to lighten up on him. That I needed to let him go and be a man. They saw the way I handled things in the moment but I don't just parent in public.

Most of what I do is done one on one, and in this case my son did object to working with my husband but privately I told him... if you want to work for yourself someday then use this. Remember how hard construction is on your body, remember how exhausting it is, remember every minute of it and use it to push yourself to the next goal.

He fell asleep at the dinner table, but he was smiling.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Population Update

All four kids are home and it is going remarkably well...

It's kind of weird.

The step sibling problems are still there of course, we are still very careful to keep everybody attended at all times and have to make some pretty creative arrangements. Thankfully we have a Sugar to provide a second home and third and fourth adult to keep them all straight.

They have all been assigned an area of responsibility in the house, and it's actually staying clean-ish. Mystery is in charge of the kitchen and it looks amazing. Justin and Jaid switch out laundry room and cat box depending on who worked that day. They are all responsible for the bathroom. I am trying to move this experiment to the outside of the house now, but all in good time...

Ed has been taking Jaid to work with him. It's giving him a chance to work with her on some things one on one, and really bond with her. I am already noticing a huge difference in her personality. I think it is partly just the having a job and being a responsible almost adult that is making her stand taller but whatever it is... it is noticible.

 Brooke is over almost every day visiting her bus Ghost. They are all spending a lot of time out there trying to learn the in's and out's of Volkswagens. It's a learning experience for everybody. Ed and Brooke are busy making plans, and she is loving it.

I think she bought a project car intentionally, just so they could sneak some bonding time in.

Brooke is still living in that safety hazard of a camper and I hate it... but she loves it. So she is a part time resident here and part time with Sugar. We still see each other almost every day...

So current population count: 3 full time teenagers, 1 adult here most of the time. Plus Ed and I, whatever we are. Two dogs, one cat, and I think that's all for now.

Blessings from chaos central.

Gluten Free Adventures in Housesitting - Justin Rocks It!

My 16 year old son just got done house sitting for my mother for a full week. When we met to do the exchange my mom and I laughed, neither of us were worried about him getting into too much mischief we didn't feel the need to check up on him constantly. He's just that kind of kid.

We knew he wouldn't party. 

Everyone agreed that the worst problems he would have is eating healthy and remembering to take a shower every day. We were right. He took good care of the house, good care of the dogs, and pretty good care of himself. He went into a TV coma and caught up on all of the shows he misses here because I refuse to get satellite.

He even remembered to eat mostly gluten free this week.

It only took a few weeks of a gluten free diet to convince him that it really was an allergy for people in our family. Many of the ongoing symptoms he had complained of are easing up. The body pain, the nausea, vomiting, and other fun digestive issues are getting better. He knows if he gets some now because his reaction is violent.

Oh, and the farting is 100% better. That kid used to be able to clear a room, and still can if he gets gluten or pork. Last night he gluten binged and his sisters kicked him out of the sleepover, but he's learning fast.

He spent a lot of that time making plans for his future and came back to me with a lot of new ideas.

Still trying to get him a computer to get started on these grand schemes, but we will get there.

Tomorrow he goes to work with my husband. I'm scared. Ed fired me three times the last time I went to work with him. Family gets even fewer breaks than the help. But I know Justin needs it. He needs to experience the life of a manual laborer for awhile so he can truly appreciate a career in technology.It's one of those man up moments where mom has to get out of the way and let dad lead.

Justin is determined to get this growing up stuff over with and a fine job it is!

(P.S. Sorry about the flatulence conversation, but I'm not going to edit it. All of these years nobody could figure out what caused his horrible gas, and all along it was gluten. Other moms must know this, perhaps their family road trips will be less odoriferous as well. HINT: Fast Food is 90% gluten)

(P.S.S. If Ed doesn't fire him at least once tomorrow I will write a blog entry about my most embarrassing mommy moments. My hubby is a hardass. Adore him, but he is a meaaaan boss and Justin, well... he's Justin.)

Brookie Has Bus!

Brooke has always wanted a Volkswagen bus, and now there in our drive-way is her very first dream car. She did this the same way that she does anything else. She set her mind to it, she researched the hell out of it, made a plan and refused to take no for an answer from anybody.

She still doesn't have a drivers license yet, but she is working on that as well. We didn't have a running vehicle for her to use, so she had to get there on her own... and she found a way to do it. She has scraped and saved every dime that she could to make this happen, and tomorrow we go to town to get her some parts.

She is adamant that she is going to learn how to fix it herself. It came with the book How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive: A Manual of Step-by-Step Procedures for the Compleat Idiot (

Justin and Mystery have both pitched in to help her. They are out there diagramming engines, making parts lists, and sanding out rough spots. That damn bus has become a full family project.

Awesome kids. Seriously... awesome kids.

Accepting the Things We Cannot Change

It's hard to watch your children hurt and be able to do absolutely nothing about it. It always has been.

When they were very small it was a different kind of agony. Those times when they were too young to understand what was going on, and there was no way to explain it to them. Brooke's asthma attacks back then were terrifying, she couldn't breathe so she would panic and that would make her breathing even worse. That's how I learned to talk people through panic attacks.

I thought this would get easier as they got older, but now they deal with different types of hurt. They understand the things they didn't back then, but sometimes with knowledge comes the sadness that there is nothing that you can do about it. 

We all struggle with it I suppose, but the amount of pain that I could save them in their lives if I could just get this through to them.

Some things you cannot change...

Monday, June 3, 2013

Are We Adults or Children?

It was just one of those bizarre conversations that we have with the drama crew, they have the oddest forms of communication. Instead of just saying something outright its always these snarky under the breath comments. 

Today, they asked if "the bad kid" was with me, meaning the one who is grounded of course...


God forbid we just say what is on our minds directly. Sometimes I have a really hard time telling who are the adults and who are the children here ...

They have no idea the toll this had taken on my family, what it has done to my children, my marriage, my life... nor do they care. The ball is in their court, it has been all along and they keep choosing to do nothing. 

Except make passive aggressive comments.

I never asked for all of the responsibility they have given me but I don't have much of a choice. Kids need to be kids, and they didn't ask for any of this either. 

I want this to end as much as they do. But I'm not the one refusing to do anything to fix it.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Brooke Can Drive!

Brooke has always been extremely mature for her age. She saw things in the world that other children never even noticed.

She questioned me constantly and I let her. I would tell her that she was too young to ask those questions, but she never let up until she was satisfied.

She has always been a stubborn one.

Her plan for life is not conventional, but she knows exactly what she wants and she has a detailed plan in place for achieving it.

This weekend alone I watched her make several major steps towards adulthood.

She just had another man walk out of her life, and he brought her a great deal of joy. She will miss him dearly, but even at nineteen she knows he was not meant to stay.

She tells me that its okay, because she knows that she had to let him go to make room for another dream to come true.

This past two years I have watched her face rejection after rejection and she keeps coming back even stronger.

He hasn't even left yet and today one of those dreams came true. She refused to let go, and a small dream came true. I've never seen her so happy.

She also drove the 25 road from bottom to top and back down again, probably the most frightening road in the ara for a beginner. Uncle Larry kidnapped her and walked her through the whole thing. He's pretty awesome too.

Brookie is on her way.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

What Does NO Mean?

When your mother is a domestic violence & sexual assault advocate you are familiar with the phrase "No means No" from a very young age.

It was a phrase that I really wanted them to know and understand. It was a phrase that I wanted them to take to heart.

Now and then my kids are pestering me for something and all I have to do is ask a single question....

"What does NO mean?"

I guess it help when your No really does mean No though, huh?

For Love or Money?

All the of the kids are far less likely to pull punches these days, but I'm doing the best I can to take it without being defensive.

They aren't angry with me, it isn't arguments, they just have a lot on their minds and it needs to come out. It's more like tying up lose ends before adulthood I think.

I didn't know how many people had teased my kids over the years just because we were poor. I didn't want that for them at all. In making the decision to sacrifice career for kids I took a lot of crap, but so did my kids.

It makes me sad, because I wanted them to believe that love was more important than money but maybe I really am the only person who believes that?

Yet... my oldest daughter still wants to be a work at home mom someday.

So maybe not.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Just Like Old Times

All three of my kids are home and its awesome. We had a great day just hanging out, watching some stand-up, taking about politics and psychology and religion and...

The things we do.

We played a few board games, neither of which were completed. The first was ended with too much laughter to continue, the second we just ended up talking.

Mystery had her head in Brooke's lap, Justin was sitting behind them peeking over the ledge and it was just perfection. My babies all together, talking, laughing, and just being themselves.

These are the happiest moments of my life.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

I don't want them to call me mom anymore.

I wish I had been more cautious about getting close to my kids friends. Other parents seem to keep a certain distance, but I couldn't. I let them in my heart... and I really wish now that I hadn't.

I was a real dumbass as a teen, I hurt a lot of people too. Perhaps the kids here were my karma. That was why I wanted things to be different in the first place though. I thought I could give them what I never had.

I wonder sometimes if it really was the right thing to do. Taking them into our home, taking them into our family. I thought unconditional love was something that everybody deserved and I tried to offer it to one and all...

Some of them stold things from me, some simply lied to me, a few owe me money, and some just took what they could and ran. They knew how little we had to give, and they knew that I gave it without hesitation.

There were some good kids in there, kids that I still believe in to this day... but without trust....

I'd like to think I did add something to their lives, that something I taught them will help them find happier lives.
Sometimes when I see them, I wonder if they even remember me at all.

They used to call me mom...

I'm trying to keep my distance these days. To act like a normal mom, polite but distant. No more loaning out money, or giving them rides, or inviting them to stay for dinner. No more inviting them on family outings.

The thing is... I don't know what is right. I didn't want to be this person, I wanted to be mom. A few of those kids ripped my heart out and they knew it. They moved on and I just had to watch... they didn't even say good-bye.

I don't want them to call me mom anymore.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Great American Custody Swap

It's the time of year that modern parents live for. The great American custody swap.

It's time to bring my baby girl home. Sugar and I are heading to the Springs today and will be back tomorrow with a Mystery in tow. My family will be complete for a few months at least.

A few more hours baby girl!


PS. Dear Burglars. We have housesitters and a rottie and a ChiTerrRoo that barks at every leaf and live in a town that requires gun ownership. Besides... we poor..

Not a good idea.

All of the Labels I Have Worn; Poor, Uneducated White Trash?


I had kids before college, and never could make it work. I am a two time high school dropout that they finally graduated just to get rid of, and a beauty school drop out as well. One kid, two kid, three kid, and minimum wage doesn't even pay daycare. I've had to do without a lot of material things over the past twenty years or so.

It was my choice.


In the last 18 years I have worked at three different local restaurants, Taco Bell, Wendy's, Wal-Mart, Salvation Army, landscaping, housekeeping, I ran a flea market booth, cleaned a salon, I was a manger at a dotcom gone dotbomb, I was a security guard, worked in a daycare, and have run two different store fronts one for five years and the last for a year.

I have never been fired from a single job. 


Formally I took a year and a half of architectural drafting, six weeks of beauty school, I have a nail technology degree without the license and I am a Colorado trained and certified Domestic violence and Sexual Assault Victim's Advocate. I maintain a web presence at Squidoo, and on five different personal sites dedicated to niches.

Informally I taught myself web design, graphics, marketing, bookkeeping, and of course... writing. I've volunteered a lot too.


All I have ever wanted to be was a writer, but everybody pushed me towards the traditional paths. I tried and I tried but I didn't fit inside of the box they had chosen for me. I didn't fit into any one box at all. Different sizes, different shapes, new vantage points, and experiences to absorb. I have never ever stopped learning, stopped experiencing, stopped living.


After I got sick the doctors told me that I would never work again. I kept thinking about applying for disability, but in my mind that was giving up. That was giving in to circumstances. It was a box. So instead I applied for a Job Retraining Program. I told them that I wanted to be a writer from day one, but they said they didn't fund writers. They did fund video game designers though, so I took it. I built and sold avatars in Second Life for many years alongside my beloved hubby.


As Second Life went downhill my writing finally picked up. Squidoo brought me out into the world and I have been doing little else for the past four years. I wake up, I write, I sleep. I try very hard to earn everything I take from this world. I didn't have a choice when it came to going on public assistance, but I never stopped trying to get off of it.


I'm not on any public assistance anymore, we finally reached a steady income and no longer qualify. My teeth are rotting out of my head, I can't afford prescriptions, my furnace went out, my car barely runs, and every single day something else breaks. It's sink or swim these days, but we are swimming towards something...


Yeah, there are a lot of labels in this world but they don't really mean much underneath. I was sick and tired of all of those labels but there they are. I have done everything I could to prove to others that they weren't true, but they still keep sticking them on me anyhow.

They think they are labeling me for my own good, but those labels are purely for them.


I'm doing the best I can to rip every single one of those labels wide open right now, but some people still only see what they always wanted to see. A failure.

I suppose only time will tell which of us is right. I'm not too worried though. I have no reason to be ashamed of a single one of those labels.

Besides I am too busy trying to add a new label...


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Career Mode, Mommy Mode, Career Mode, Mommy Mode...

I had a plan. It was all figured out down to the letter. After eighteen years of waiting, it was finally set to be unleashed. My oldest, a legal adult. The other two with their father during the school year, finally, after year, and years of waiting it was time to devote my full attention to a career.

It was the deal I made with my kids years ago. If you give me time now and then to write, we will enjoy the fruits of our labor together as a family. I will devote my time to you instead of building a career, and we all knew it meant that we would have to do without a lot.

My family had to make just as many sacrifices as I did to build my writing career and I have never forgotten that.

But of course... plans change.

Especially when you are counting on other people to complete their end of the deal so you can focus on what you need to accomplish. When they decide to change the rules of the game, it throws your whole plan into crisis. 

But they don't know that.

Or do they.

Accidentally on purpose?

I wanted to do this without outside help, and I did the best that I could. I still needed a lot of people to get me here, and I am thankful for every single one. I have never felt entitled to a damn thing from anybody to get me there.

The kids coming home meant that I had to step back out of career mode a bit and back into mommy mode once again. But just a bit... I am still trying to find a balance between career on the front burner and family first, but I am determined to do so.

I have always organized my work around my kids, that was the deal. My children come before me. I'm the mom, it's in my job description. We have all worked hard to get here. It may have taken me a bit longer to get it done than I would have liked, but I never ,ever stopped working towards it.

And if it means being labeled as white trash just a little bit longer, I can hang.

That was the plan all along. To ignore you and keep going.

I can taste it now, everything I have worked for and this time nobody will take it away from me. Everything that I did, I did for my family, and nobody can take that away from me either. Other people can live in their fantasy world all they want, but they can't force me to live there with them.

Lazy, white trash, welfare mom...


My kids know every single sacrifice that I have made to get here. They know that their mother is more than labels and childish insults, they know have always know that I was more than my critics judged me to be. My kids have believed in me every step of the way.

And I believe fully in them too. 

I will get where I need to be so I can get them where they needed to be. I did everything I have done for my children. I will keep doing everything I do for them. That is my job as a parent.  I refuse to let them down.

We don't need your permission to succeed and we do not need your recognition. All we really need right now is your silence. Whisper what you will, label as you may, saying it over and over again doesn't make it true. Your opinion stopped mattering to us when our best interests stopped mattering to you.

We are going to do this without you.

Because We Appreciate Him

I appreciate my husband. I try to remember to tell him that every day but sometimes I forget. Sometimes we get focused on the financial situation and everything starts looking bleak... but our marriage is our foundation. 

In July, we will celebrate ten years married. None of them have been easy. We have faced a lot of hardships, but it has been easier somehow knowing that his love for me was constant.

Ed is my strength when I have none left of my own. He comes in and props me up until I can stand on my own again. 

He has loved my children as his own since day one. He has accepted them as a extensions of me, of us. My grandmother is his grandmother, and he cares for her as he would his own.
My husband is a good man. 

I am so thankful that he chooses to give his love to us. 

I'm happy to say Ed's job is starting to pay steady as well. Still a bit off on the frequency front, but it is steady. 

He is the reason I work so hard.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Remain Unbroken My Child

My Dearest Child, 

I knew that I could never be the perfect parent, but I didn't want to be a broken mother raising broken children either. I didn't want to repeat the mistakes of my own life. I wanted to correct them, and I have.

In you, and through you, all of my dreams have come true. 

I wanted to raise children in a pain free world, but that world doesn't exist. What I could give you were the tools to face that world and to not be broken by it. So many others have been, but not you.
I wanted to raise children who could bend and not break, and despite all that you have been through and experienced you remain unbroken. 

Never let anybody take away your light.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Teaching My Children To Make Good Decisions

<p dir=ltr> Most people seem to see parenting as being something like a motorcycle, once you have kids you just slap on a side car and drag them along wherever you want them to go.

I could have done that I suppose, and there were certainly times when the control freak within came out. Where I pushed them to do something because I wanted it for them, but its hard not to. My kids only take it so far before they tell me. "Mom, back off." </p>

I simply expect my children to make better decisions than I did. I tried to see myself more as a set of training wheels for my kids. I'm there to help them when they need me, but they can't rely on me forever.

If I could have wrapped them in bubble wrap, I would have. There is even a tiny part of me that still supports legalization of chastity belts.

But I can't protect them from life.

I want them to experience life, to enjoy it, to revel in it. I want them to have healthy and productive adult lives. To do that they have every right to expect to be treated with respect and dignity.

A chastity belt might make me feel better (having three teenaged daughters does things to your mind I tell ya,) but it would teach them nothing about respecting themselves and their bodies.

Instead of forcing my own ideas on them, I've sat down with them and talked about the options. Openly, honestly, and without judgement. If they have a decision to make, they need all of the facts.

Then I tell them that I trust them to make the right decision. They usually do too.

They've never really been able to get away with anything because they know I tried it all. A lot of my rebellion as a child came from being caged in. From having too many people making decisions for me. I never really learned how to make a proper decision for myself.

<p dir=ltr>My overprotectiveness of my children is legendary in public, but I've still left them free to explore this laboratory called life in private. In fact I've encouraged it.

Raising children who did exactly what other people wanted was the last thing I intended to do.  I wont be there when the biggest decisions will be made. Drugs, sex, breaking the law. I want my children to do the right thing no matter who is looking.

The whole point of my parenting experiment was raising kids who can control themselves.

I have to trust them to be able to do that. </p>