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.