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....