Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Most Shocking Post I've Ever Written

A few weeks ago I was at the YMCA gym, working hard to tone my butt on the ARC trainer (because why not), and thinking about how nervous I was that it was the first time that my now eight-year-old daughter wasn’t in the kid’s area of the YMCA childcare center. I was nervous as all get-out to have her move up with the older kids (overprotective much?), but she was nothing short of EXCITED.

In fact, the only reason we were at the gym that night was because she had begged me to take her. She knew that in the “big kids room” there was a large TV with bean bag chair viewing, a ping pong table, computers, arts and crafts, and the most fun part to her, was that the kids could check out tablets to play games on.

So, after hearing her beg, whine, and plead for several days on end, we made our way to the YMCA so that she could finally experience the Disneyland version of YMCA childcare; big kid style.

Sweating to death on the ARC trainer, I cursed the timer that seemed to be moving incredibly slow, and then found myself looking around the gym to see if anyone else appeared to be feeling the same level of physical fitness failure that I seemed to be suffering from that night. But what caught my eye was not some random person falling off of a stair climber, but rather the face of my daughter who was standing in the hallway.

She was crying

Well, crying would be putting it mildly, because she was actually at the point where she was hyperventilating. I jumped off the ARC trainer mid stride, and when I met her in the hallway she threw her arms around me and buried her tear streaked face into my side.

When she had calmed down enough for me to talk to the childcare worker who was with her, the story unfolded that when she tried to check out a tablet, she realized that she didn’t have her ID card with her. A childcare worker volunteered to take her to find me so she could get her card, and off they went, to the “gym” where I had said I was going.

But, I wasn’t technically in the gym, I was in the fitness center.

When she didn’t find me in the actual gym, she decided that I must be in a dance class, so they looked there. When I wasn’t there, they checked the spin class, locker rooms, bathroom, and then made their way back to the gym. The track in the gym runs around the enclosed basketball courts, and because of that you can’t see the entire track from the door. So I guess, as the story goes, she thought that I must just be where she couldn’t see me and she started to walk around the track. When she still didn’t see me, she panicked, and before the childcare worker knew what was going on, my tiny eight-year-old girl, wearing braces on her legs and with panic in her heart, started running around the track crying and calling out for me.

When the childcare worker managed to get her off of the track, she told her “my daddy left me, and now my mommy left me too.”

Hearing that CRUSHED me, because it made me realize that after four and a half years, countless hours of trauma therapy, and all the reassurance in the world that I would never leave her, she still harbors the realization that parents aren’t always permanent, and love is not always unconditional.


On Friday morning I went to court for the dramatic situation that is the unpaid child support that I am owed. Not to beat a dead horse here, but as a SUPER quick recap (click here for the full story) I will remind you that my ex owes me a great deal of money in unpaid support, and after many, many court dates, was finally found guilty in court, and was sentenced to jail. Then the judge decided that jail was too harsh and he would give my ex time to pay me half of what I was owed, in order stay out of jail. My ex said he could pay it in 60 days, and the judge said he would give him 90 days, but here we were, over 90 days later and he still had not paid me.

Per the judge’s order of “Mr. Strong, if you don’t show up with a check you had better show up with a toothbrush,” Mr. Attorney Man assured me that we had a decent shot at my ex being thrown in jail.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

I'll Take Insanity For $500

Well, it's that time again. Time to head somewhere that typically just pisses me off and makes me a rather unpleasant person to be around for the 24 hours after I leave said place; mostly because it's a place filled with creepy people, a ridiculous judge, and an ex husband that I despise.

Oh yea, and there was that time Mr. Attorney Man and I almost died there. Not really, but almost. 

Yep, it's time to head back to court again on the never ending quest to get my ex husband to pay child support! Remember how the last time I went to court, a judge found my ex guilty of contempt for not following a court order, and not paying child support? Remember how thrilled I was to hear the verdict, until mere moments later when the judge said "Oh, sorry, struggling single mom of two special needs kids, who has been in front of my bench 15 times in the last four years since your ex never pays you, I'm actually not going to send him to jail. Instead I'm going to give him an extra 90 days to pay you half of what he owes. Because he only has himself to worry about and one job to work and I think that you look capable of getting a few more jobs to take care of your sick and disabled kids when you aren't sitting in a hospital for weeks on end, so just hang in there for a few more months since it's only been four years, and then just take the discounted money and be happy with it OK?"

Well, he didn't exactly say that, but it was very much implied.


Not happy.

"You know, Judge, I really only wanted half the money anyway, in case I just wanted to start feeding my children half of what they need and only clothe them halfway."

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Mommy's New Man

If you remember from my last post, "To My Beautiful Daughter," both of my children had birthday's last month, and as I have done since before they were born, I had written a letter to each of the them; letters that are written on a weekly basis, and will one day be compiled into a book and given to them when the time is right.

For those of you who didn't read the last post, I'd suggest that you go and do that first, but if clicking over there is too much work, I'll post a brief excerpt for you (paraphrased for context):

"Typically my letters to them are based on goofy things they have said, the fun things we have done, the struggles that I encounter in raising them, and general updates to their life, but every year when their birthday’s roll around… well let’s just say that I tend to get a bit more sentimental.

Today I invite you all to read two of the letters that God willing, my kids themselves will one day read when the time is right. I'll warn you that they contain a lot of things that you have already heard me say on this blog and in my articles, so it may feel a bit redundant, but remember, these letters weren't written for you, they were written for them, and all the feelings that I have shared with you in raising them, well now one day they will get to read them too." 
So, last week was The Girl Child's letter, and today I'd like to share with you The Boy Child's Letter. Also, I will once again be sharing a few unblocked photos with you.

Thank you for reading.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

I Have A Dream (That I'll Think About Tomorrow)

Several years ago, shortly after I started writing this blog, I started writing a book. Initially my plan was to follow the course that many authors hope to follow, which would be to get picked up by an agent, sign with a publisher, and release the book “the old fashioned way.”

But then life got crazy, as life tends to do, and the enormity of the work I was doing to overcome more trauma than I even realized I had, led me to blogging here more often than book writing. I spent my days pouring my emotions out into the pages of this blog and reflecting a lot on my past, and even though I had every intention of writing the book, I just (constantly) figured that I would get to it tomorrow.

Over the course of the next year, I started the nonprofit, continued to work myself into an online writing career, and kept up with the blog, but "tomorrow" never seemed to come when it came to finishing the book. The kids had health issues, money was tight, stress was high, and the idea of working on anything that didn’t involve our immediate survival, seemed unnecessary.

I told myself that I would get to the book when life calmed down, and I pushed the idea out of my mind.

Eventually I began to think that maybe going the traditional route of writing a book “the old fashioned way,” wasn’t really what I wanted to do, and that maybe an ebook would be the way to go. It would allow me to work at my own pace, be my own critic, write exactly what I wanted to write, and above all else, it seemed easier.

I like easy. I’m a big fan of the easy route.

So I wrote most of the book, edited it a lot, and when I was just about done, I realized something…

I didn’t like it.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

To My Beautiful Daughter

I woke up as a flurry of excitement scrambled across my groggy body and then jumped up to stand over me. “Mom!” The Boy Child exclaimed. “Look at me! Look at my legs! Look at my arms!” he said, thrusting his arms in front of my face. “They are bigger, because I grew last night! I’m five today!!”

And he was.

Last month, both of my kids had birthdays. The Boy Child turned five, The Girl Child turned eight, and I cried, because as The Boy Child reminded me, “mommy, you don’t have any babies anymore!”

And he is right.

I don’t.

Neither of them are babies anymore, and from the length of their limbs to their ability to have a logical debate (read: argument) with me, I am constantly reminded of the independent people that they are becoming. People that are growing up before my very eyes, and beginning to distance themselves from the very life-saving tasks that they once relied on me to provide for them on a constant basis.

On one hand it makes me incredibly proud to look at them and know that I gave them life; that I provided well enough to sustain those lives, and that they will go on to lead their own lives that will hopefully make a positive impact on the world around them.

But of course the mommy in me wants to stop the world from turning so fast and take the time to just be. Just be with them and around them, and enjoy the moments that are passing before my eyes faster than I seem to be able to take them all in.

But I can’t do that, and so here I find myself, hanging on tightly for the ride of my life, and praying to God that wherever we are going, that it will all turn out alright.

And as I’ve done since before they were born, I sat down to write them a weekly letter to add to their books; a book of letters that I someday hope to pass onto them when the time seems right. A book that will share with them some very personal insights into how it was to raise them, love them, giggle with them, snuggle them, hurt with and for them, often fail in my parenting skills, and always, always cheer them on.

It's the book of our lives and the letters in our moments.