Making the most of my "Dash"

Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

The Newest Member of Our Family

Today was a wonderful day for our family!  We added a new member…Mugsy!

Mugsy!  No, he doesn't normally look possessed. Thank you camera.

Mugsy! No, he doesn’t normally look possessed. Thank you camera.

Mister finally gave in to his missing-a-dog-in-his-life feeling.  He had two Shih Tzu‘s for over 16 years, but they passed away several years ago.  From everything he says about them, as well as others who had the pleasure of knowing them, they both were absolute darlings.

Mister fell in love within the first 5 seconds, and same for Mugsy with Mister.  The minute I saw their connection, I was in love too!

Mister fell in love within the first 5 seconds, and same for Mugsy with Mister. The minute I saw their connection, I was in love too!

I have been catching him looking at rescue websites to see if there were any Shih Tzus who needed to be adopted.  This past weekend a facebook friend of ours posted some pictures of a sweet doggie, and that did the Mister in.  He spent the rest of the weekend searching for Shih Tzus in our area, and came up empty.  So, he posted a Craigslist ad asking if anyone knew of someone needing a home for a Shih Tzu.  Less than two hours later we received a reply!

The story is that Mugsy’s first home was with an elderly woman who became too ill to care for him.  Her neighbor took him in, but apparently wasn’t sure how to take care of him and maintain his fur, and so he ended up quite matted.  She gave him to a woman in Bullhead City who rescues dogs from kill shelters in surrounding areas.  She cut his hair and cleaned him up.  Her daughter was the one who replied to our ad, letting us know that she had planned on taking the dog from her mother, but wasn’t able to follow through.  She asked if we would consider him because her mother could no longer care for him, and so she sent us pictures.  Then, I fell half in love with the little feller.

We made arrangements to meet with him today.  The moment we opened the door and saw him, I fell completely in love.  Mister was only four seconds behind me with the falling in love part.  The dog’s name was Jaques, but they called him Joey as well.  He was a delight, running back and forth between all of us.  Playing, pawing at the ground, hopping around, and rolling over to let us pet his belly.  There was no way we were going home without him, and he immediately became part of our family!

All relaxed and enjoying his new home.

All relaxed and enjoying his new home.

We didn’t really like the name Jaques or Joey for him, and since he didn’t seem to respond to well to either name we decided to try Mugsy; short for Mugwump.  He has been responding to us just fine with that name.

We surprised the kids, as they each come home at separate times in the afternoon.  None of them knew of our plan, and were very excited to meet the little feller when I told him they were going home to meet their new fur-brother.  He LOVES the kids.  And by that I mean, this dog is seriously a kid lover.  I am glad for that, because Shih Tzu’s tend to be one-person dogs only, but this one seems to love everyone.  He may be a mix of some sort, and not pure-bred, which may be some of the reason he is doing so well with all of the people here.  The daughter, who contacted us, seems to think he is Havanese, or maybe part Havanese, part Shih Tzu, which is its own breed: Havashu.  Seriously.  A Havashu in Havasu, how funny is that?!

Anyway, he loves us, and we love him.  His first day in the house has been great.  He’s been relaxed, he’s napped, he’s eaten, and he’s done the potty thing in the right place. I am so glad!

Do you have pets?  How did they become a part of your family?

Whoops!

In my haste to get my post published yesterday, and in an earnest attempt at keeping it short, I completely forgot about one of the highlights of 2012!

October!

Not only is October my favorite month of the year (Hello, Halloween!!), but it’s Mister’s birthday month.  So for his birthday in 2012 we planned a trip to Oregon to bring the kids there to meet his family.  We had such a wonderful time!

The kids were able to meet his mother.  We spent time  with his sister, Jan and her husband, Mike.  The kids loved visiting with them, and they really enjoyed getting to explore their beautiful back yard… Koi pond, garden, and sweet doggies too! I’d like to say that the kids were well-behaved and using their best manners at Jan and Mike’s house, but…

Josh decided to interrupt just about every conversation by popping in with,  “Just a random thought…” and then go on with some odd thought.  Mike and Jan also served lunch and set out a veggie tray around 11:30 am.  The kids, who had eaten heartily at the Residence Inn breakfast buffet acted like I had not fed them in two weeks.  There they were, three children hovering over the vegetables, shoving them in their mouths like they were marshmallows dipped in the chocolate fountain at the Golden Corral. I gaped at them for a moment before having to shoe them away like flies.  My kids don’t even LIKE vegetables.  I really think it was some bizarre plot to make me look like a bad mother who forgot to teach social graces to her children.

On Mister’s birthday we went to our favorite pizza place in the whole wide world… Padington’s Pizza.  His sister had planned a surprise party for the afternoon, so we let him think we were just going out for pizza and “dessert” at her house afterwards. We met Mister’s other son and a few of his children there, as well as Mike and Jan and Mister’s mom.  We had a delicious lunch (Whippersnapper…Yum!), then headed to Jan & Mike’s house.

Mister is a big Jimmy Buffet fan, but he’s never been to a JB concert.  So, I bought tickets and a room in Vegas for an upcoming concert, and let Jan know what I planned.  So she decorated her house in a tropical theme and had Jimmy Buffet playing in the background when we got there.  Mike made this huge palm tree decoration, it was incredible!  I wished we could have brought it home, but there was no way to take it on the plane.  Funny thing is, Mister didn’t even put together the tropical theme or Jimmy playing in the background until he opened his present from me and saw the tickets.  Frankly, I was a bit puzzled at his initial reaction, because he did not look excited at all… more confused.  Then he admitted that he thought I was buying him tickets to Atlas Shrugged Part II in Vegas (Wha?! Seriously?!), so he was a bit uncertain as to what the tickets were.

Anyway, we had Jan’s delicious cake with a mexican chocolate mousse filling (to. die. for.), and had a pretty fantastic day.  The trip went by far too fast for us, but we thoroughly enjoyed it.  It was such a treat for the kids to get to know his side of the family and see how kind and amazing they are!

Ready to eat some yummy food!

Ready to eat some yummy food!

The other fantastic part of October was… The Jimmy Buffet Concert!! BOY HOWDY, did we have fun!!  A couple of weeks after our Oregon trip, we drove up to Vegas in the morning and I took Mister to Margaritaville for lunch.  I mean, how could we go there for the concert and NOT go to Margaritaville to eat?!

Hangin' out at the pre-concert pool party.

Hangin’ out at the pre-concert pool party.

After that we headed over to the Flamingo pool for the pre-concert party.  That was so much fun we had to take a little nap before the actual concert!  Then, it was on to the MGM Grand Arena and the concert of a lifetime (to me anyway!).

Proudly sporting our fins!

Proudly sporting our fins!

I wore my styrofoam fin hat with pride, and a whole lot of giggles.  I think Mister and I laughed and smiled and danced (he doesn’t dance normally, but everyone else was too busy dancing to notice him anyway), and laughed some more.  What a fantastic day!

Whew.  Good thing I made a separate blog post.  I am WAY too wordy!  By the way,  I changed the blog appearance.  I thought it needed a fresh look.  I hope you like it!

Have you had favorite birthday or concert experience?

I’d love to hear about it!! 

An Unexpected Hiatus

Hello!  Hello… Hello… Hellooooooo (echo, echo, echooooooo)?!

While I certainly didn’t plan to take any sort of break from blogging, I just looked and saw that my last post was March 16th of 2012… 301 days ago.  7,200 hours ago.  432,000 minutes ago. 25,920,000 seconds ago! (Just in case you needed it broke down like that.)   Time has just whizzed by for me.  So, I will do a brief (well, as brief as I am capable of being) post of what has happened since March of last year.

Grand Canyon

Taking a ride on The Grand Canyon Railway!

First of all I did NOT forget my anniversary on May 7th.  Mister planned a great little trip for us to Zion National Park and the Grand Canyon and we took that in late May.  The landscape in our desert states are simply beautiful, and surrounding myself in it was a feast for my eyes, heart and soul.  We went to the Grand Canyon via The Grand Canyon Railway, and it was so much fun!  I absolutely love to travel with Mister.  So many new experiences and lots of laughter shared between us!

Mister's son is an expert on how to efficiently relocate to another state!

Mister’s son is an expert on how to efficiently relocate to another state!

In June, some of my favorite people in the whole world, Mister’s son and daughter-in-law and granddaughter, moved to Havasu!  We are thrilled to have them here, even though we tried to warn them off.  Really, we tried to tell them not to come here.  Not because we didn’t want them to move here, but because the beginning of summer is the absolute worst time to try to acclimate to the desert.  Particularly when previously living in Oregon.  However, they did great and sweated through the Arizona summer heat like champions.  I think they’ve acclimated pretty well, because now we are all freezing our patooties off as it’s currently 39 degrees outside.

In July, we had the monsoon season to beat all other monsoon seasons.  Frankly, I’ve made a rather disturbing observation about our weather.  First, this past summer was one of the most humid in a LONG time.  All the local-yocals were talking about it (but not in front of the tourists… no, we buck-up and tell them that we’re used to this sort of heat and frown down upon them for complaining).  Then, we have this crazy monsoon storm that tore out roads, washed cars away, and created havoc all over town.  Now we’re having the coldest winter in a long time.  My only conclusion is that Mister’s family moved here from Oregon they brought some of the weather with them.  This crazy weather is all their fault.  And THAT is unacceptable.  I’ll have to have a chat with them to send it back.

People 'round these parts don't really make the best decisions  when a monsoon hits.  Obviously.

People ’round these parts don’t really make the best decisions when a monsoon hits. Obviously.

We had a lovely Thanksgiving with Mister’s family here in Havasu.  There’s nothing like spending the day with a loving family to help you appreciate all the blessings we are given.  Christmas was lovely as well.  We had a pre-Christmas celebration with the family here and then Mister and I spent Christmas eve and day together in Laughlin, NV (the kids were with their dad for the holiday). We have so much fun together, and this was no exception.  Plus, how can you go wrong playing three and  a half hours of slots on one twenty-dollar bill?!?! Tons of laughter, love and hugs; that’s what our life together is about!

Now it’s January and you may be wondering what prompted this rambling catch-up post.  I suppose it’s that I started to miss writing.  I am one of those people who learn something new and go gung-ho at it for a while.  Then, I see something else new to do and attack learning that with a vengeance.  The other “interest” tends to go by the wayside.  This blog was also  my therapy for a while.  I  had things built up inside my head and heart and I just needed to release it.  Once it was out, I had nothing more to say.  I felt lighter, and happier, and freer than I had for a long time once I had cleared out my head.

I started this blog to remind me to fully live my life.  To enjoy every moment with my husband, children, and his (now MY) family.  And, I found my groove…  I did my thang!  I am living my life!  And it is flippin’ WONDERFUL.  Seriously!  I think another reason I stopped blogging is because, honestly, how many posts could I write about how amazing life is being married to Mister before I drove you all nuts?!  I think we all know there would be A LOT of posts.  Because it really, really is amazing.

I remember a friend of mine asking me how another person (that we both know) could keep writing about her absolutely adoring and incredible  husband, and her super-fantastic life, incredible kids, and blah, blah, blah…  That made me hesitate about writing more things like that here. While I don’t want to sicken anyone with constant sugary tales of Mister mushiness, I realized that it doesn’t matter what other people think.  I don’t write about the salty-teared tales of the “discussions” between Mister and I, but they have happened.  Not every relationship is a rose-garden of beauty, and of course ours is no exception.  It takes hard work, and communication (reluctant tho I may be to “communicate”), and it’s not always clear or easy to make that happen.

I suppose I said all that to say that despite the “discussions” Mister and I have (or maybe because of them!), he and are are living a beautiful life together.  I am spoiled rotten, and I hope he feels the same.  We spend a lot of time in The Love Shack, mainly because now I’m learning to quilt.  Remember the jumping from learning one thing to the next I talked about up there ^? Yeah, basically it went from Crochet to Blogging to passing my Amateur Radio Operator test to Quilting.  I love sewing and spend a lot of time at my sewing machine.  I’ve made tons of crafty things lately, you can see them here if you would like.  My daughter even compleminsulted (yeah, that’s new word  I just made up) me by telling me they look like things I bought at the store.

Speaking of jumping from one hobby to the next, I’m taking a Motorcycle course the weekend of February 1st.  Hopefully I will be riding Mister’s Honda 750 Magna not long afterwards! Also just as hopefully there will be a fun blog post about it rather than a “you are NOT gonna believe what I did…” type of post.

Well, that’s the catch-up.  Not too much funny, not too much snark, and not too much mushy.  Just Christine living her life, and being ever so grateful for it!

So, tell me… How have YOU been? I’ve missed you! 

A Past Due Thanksgiving post…

Thanksgiving with two of my favorite people!

I didn’t have too much time to write about the holidays this year.  I’m a little behind, but I plan to catch up now!

 

Jill and I in downtown Vegas

This past Thanksgiving was my best one, ever.  Brian and Jill, Mister’s son and his wife, came to visit for the week.  We were SO thrilled to have them here!!  We picked them up from the Vegas airport, and stayed the night there.  Brian and Jill took us to a wonderful dinner at Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville, and we spent the rest of the evening at the penny slots in our hotel.  Way too much fun was had by all!

The next few days were spent where we live, in Havasu.  We drove them around the area one day, and took them to the infamous Sno-2-Go.  Jill LOVED their unique ice/cream treats.  We already knew Brian loved the place, and we all promptly promised the owner we would be back the next day for more.  And…. we were!

Jill and Brian on the way to Havasu Landing

We visited our little casino across the lake too.  There’s a great little ferry that will take you across to Havasu Landing.  It’s free if you get the little tickets from the paper.  So, we went to the store and I bought several papers.  And then looked inside to find NO coupons.  Of course.  Turns out the paper doesn’t print the coupons during holiday weeks.  Whoda thunk it?!  We all “splurged” on our $2 tickets and spent a very enjoyable couple of hours over there at the penny slots.  We’re cheap like that.  We also like to leave with our money, which we did.  Bonus!

Everyone ready to eat, but I made them take just one more picture

Thanksgiving dinner went along without a hitch!  Everyone got to sleep in, take our time getting ready, and dinner seemed to cook itself.  Okay, not really, but I had a schedule (with instructions!) written down to the minute!  I did note on this handy-dandy little schedule that someone needed to carve the turkey, and it wasn’t going to be me!  I told Brian that neither his Dad nor I were going to carve the turkey, and he graciously offered to do it for us.  No *hint-hint* or anything like that there for him.  I think he just wanted to eat the turkey, and he knew someone had better take a carving knife to it before we all ended up like little Randy on a A Christmas Story when his mom asked, “How does Mommy’s little piggy eat?!”

We spent a lot of time out on the back porch, relaxing and chatting.  And isn’t that the best part of any holiday?  Getting to spend time with family you love and respect.  Completely relaxed, comfortable, and enjoying each others company.  Not to mention chatting up a storm, and laughing until your sides hurt!

Thank you, Brian and Jill, for sharing your holiday with us.  When I think of my many blessings, and things I am most thankful for, your friendship and love is at the top of my list.  We love you both so much, and appreciate you!

 

A letter to my Daughter: I know what it’s like…

I’ve been wanting to write this post since I started this blog.  But, it was “heavy” and the words never seemed to want to come out easily.

A few months ago I walked into Megan’s room and noticed she was very upset.  I asked her what was wrong, and as the tears welled up in her eyes she said, “Nothing.”  My first instinct was to MAKE her tell me.  I’m the Mom, she’s the kid, she’s hurting, and I want to know what’s going on RIGHT. THIS. MOMENT.  I had to resist the enormous urge of falling back into the familiar pattern from my childhood of the parent making the child spill her guts immediately.  Instead, I chatted with her, asked probing questions, and  realized she really wanted to talk about what was bothering her, but she was afraid of getting a bad reaction.  A MOM reaction.  An overreaction.  Given what I have learned from my own experiences, I assured her there was nothing she could say that would upset me so badly that I would freak out on her.  I promised that I would calmly listen to what she had to say until she was completely finished.

That’s when she willingly spilled her guts.

Honestly, I did not envision my 15 year old daughter being confronted with the situation she told me about.  She’s a good kid.  She hangs out with the good kids.  When she spends time at her dad’s house, she’s with good “christian” kids.  So when she told me what had happened, my head almost exploded from trying to keep my promises to her.  When she was done I told her three things:

  1. “Friends” DO NOT put friends in the position she was put in. EVER. Period. Full Stop. End of Story.
  2. “Friends” DO NOT attempt to manipulate us with emotional blackmail when we do not respond as they would like us to.  Attempting to control anyone in that way is one of the worst things you can do to another person.
  3. She handled the entire situation with more maturity than I would expect from an adult, and I was SO PROUD of her.

In the middle of our conversation, I told her that I had been meaning to write a list of things that I have experienced that were difficult to get through.  I wanted to present it to her as a ‘Letter To My Daughter’ sort of gift when she graduated from high school and was beginning to live her own life.  I wanted her to know that if she ever experienced any of the same type of things, that she wasn’t alone.  She looked at me, with tears falling down her cheeks and said, “I wish you had it for me right now.”

That was a knife to my heart.  I felt that I had failed her, because it had been on my mind to do for quite some time (clearly for a reason).  I just did not think she would need it yet.  Then I remembered some of what I experienced in high school.  I remembered the situations I was in, and how mean others could be.  I realized that I, too, could have used this advice at that time in my life.  So, with that said, I am finally getting around to doing what I should have done months and months ago.

Writing a letter to my daughter.

(A lot of this is deeply personal, but I’m putting it out on the blog just in case anyone else out there may be  experiencing similar things, and might feel very alone.  You need to know… you’re not.)

Dear Megan,

As you go through life, you are going to have some amazing moments!  You will celebrate, you will be excited, and you will share that with those around you.  You’ll have some normal, every day moments and those you’ll share with your close friends. You’ll even share the irritating, piss-you-off stuff too. But, you will also have really bad moments.  Horrible, gut-wrenching, how-do-I-get-through-this kind of moments.  And you may feel like you have to hide those.  I know, because I’ve had some of those myself.  And, while your experiences will not be the same as mine, I hope that simply knowing that someone else has gone through difficult times will help you too.

I want you to know, you are NOT alone.  You aren’t the first person in the world to go through difficult things, and you won’t be the last.  You need to remember that there may be several million other people that might be having the same difficulty as you, at the same time as you.  I do not ever want you to feel like there is no one who could possibly understand.  I don’t want you to be afraid to tell anyone what you’re going through because you are afraid of how others will respond.  Of whether they will ridicule and reject you.  I especially do not want you to be afraid of me and how I may respond.  That’s why I need to share some of my darkest moments with you.

I Know What It’s Like…

  • I know what it’s like to hold all of your feelings inside because you don’t feel you have the right to really and truly say what’s on your mind.  Do not do this.  It is dangerous, because in the end you will become angry and bitter; or you will end up sacrificing your wants, needs, thoughts, and opinions in favor of others.  And you will lose you.
  • I know what it’s like to put myself in a potential date-rape situation.  I attended a high school birthday party sleepover where there was a lot of alcohol.  I had a few drinks, and put myself in the very scary position of being taken advantage of by a college aged boy.  I was fortunate in that I was coherent enough to say NO, and even more fortunate that he listened.  (This was one of the scariest things I did in high school, and something I’ve not told anyone about until writing this blog.)   Looking back, I know how badly that night could have ended.  I regret making the choice to drink, to not keep complete control over myself, and to have become so vulnerable as a consequence.  However, I learned a life-long lesson from what happened, and I would rather you learn by reading about this now and choose not to make such a bad choice as I did, rather than learn this lesson for yourself.
  • I know what it’s like to have lost a best friend.  You must remember that many friends will come in and out of your life, and their purposes are all different.  Sometimes they need you, sometimes you need them, and sometimes you need each other.  A Best Friend loves you as you are.   They’re the ones that know when you are troubled, even when you keep lying to yourself and everyone else.  They are at the ready to help in whatever way they can, and sometimes they have the difficult task of telling you that you need to help yourself. They’re honest, even when they know it hurts, but they will help you through the hurt.  When you have this kind of person in your life, be there for them in the way you want them to be there for you.  Remember that it takes two people to have a relationship.  Don’t abuse each others friendship.  Know that sometimes these kinds of friendships do end, and if that happens, do your very best to make sure you end it on good terms.  They may come back into your life.  Either way, you will have no regrets.
  • I know what it’s like to have gone to a four month ultra-sound check up during a pregnancy, and find out that my baby had been dead inside of me for a month.  When I decided to wait for my body to “naturally” go through the miscarriage, I emotionally and mentally flipped-out after waiting for two days.  I also know what it’s like to have the doctor have to surgically remove the baby, and that was psychologically one of the hardest things I have ever gone through.  I felt every little tug throughout the procedure, and my heart wrenched and the tears streamed down with each one. I also happened to be in a car accident the same day, at the beginning of the three-hour drive to the doctors office.  Later, as we were almost there (and in a different vehicle), one of the tires had a blow-out.  Remember, life is going to throw you curve-balls and sometimes they will all hit you all at once.    And you will learn that you ARE strong enough to get through them.
  • I know what it’s like to be so angry and yell at God. Out loud.  After losing my baby I had so many questions.  I was so angry at having to go through that kind of pain.  My mother immediately told me to never blame God or yell at Him.  I wasn’t blaming Him, but I absolutely was yelling.  I was questioning.  And while it might not be the popular thing to do, you need to know that God can handle what you throw at Him.  He’s big enough, and strong enough. If you need to yell at Him and question Him, then you do it.  And then… YOU wait and LISTEN for His answer.
  • I know what it’s like to be so overwhelmed at a job, and intimidated by the people there, that I wanted to quit.  I felt miserable, inadequate, and like a complete failure.  This was one of the hardest things for my ego to deal with, because I thought I could do everything well.  I decided to learn as much as I could from others around me, and do the best job possible.  I overcame the difficult obstacles, and ended up being promoted.  Don’t quit when things get hard.  Do the best you can, and see what happens!  If it turns out your best is not good enough for a particular job, then you can leave and move on knowing you gave it your all.
  • I know what it’s like to tell a family member some of the most embarrassing, humiliating and painful experiences I have endured, and later be told, “I just didn’t believe you, until [someone else] told me it was true.”  It hurts to feel like you’re screaming at the top of your lungs for someone to care, and find out they never even really listened to begin with.  I hope I will always hear you, Megan.
  • I know what it’s like to be told, “It’s just too much work and too hard to try” by someone who was referring to maintaining a relationship with me.  Relationships take work.  Sometimes it’s easy work, sometimes it’s hard work, but it always requires both parties to work at it together.  Love is so many things, but to me these are some of the important ones: Love is an equal partnership.  It is putting the other person’s wants and needs first, knowing that they are putting yours first too.  It is apologizing when you are wrong, and receiving apologies from the other person.  It is not keeping score of all the hurts you’ve felt, and then slamming the other person with them.  It is not harming the other person physically or emotionally.  It is not manipulating them to get your own way, and it never, ever, uses emotional blackmail.  It is constant communication, even when you don’t want to be in the same room with them.  It’s finishing arguments before you go to sleep, and then holding each other in your arms.  It is tender touches, looks, and kisses.  It’s respect for each other, always. And the moment someone in a relationship with you hits you or attempts to hit you, it’s over.  No second chances, no “they didn’t mean it”.  You walk away that very moment, while you still can.  It may save your life.
  • I know what it’s like to be so depressed that I didn’t care about anyone or anything.  Including my own children.  I wanted to be left alone.  I started to drink alcohol with the misguided thought of easing my pain.  I woke up in the morning wishing it was already 6:00pm and I could have a drink.  Alcohol is not the answer.  It is seductive, and is too easily abused.  Make it a rule to not ever drink when you are sad or angry.  It will not make you feel better in the long run.  It compounded my depression and I started lashing out at those around me. You probably remember that more vividly than I would like.  It took a long time for me to realize something was wrong, simply because I was locked in the “I am Super Mom/Woman and I can do EVERYTHING” role.  You must realize that taking on too much will eventually overwhelm you and may send you into a spiral.  You are not required to take on 500 different roles at once. Give yourself permission to say NO, especially to those who are closest to you. They are usually the ones to put the most pressure on you.
  • I know what it’s like to have felt so much pressure, and felt so hopeless, that I thought suicide was the answer.  Suicide is NEVER the answer, but when you are in that place it may seem like it to you.  It’s a dark and hopeless place, and it feels so overwhelmingly lonely.  But you must REACH OUT to someone.  Get help! Remember that there are people in the world who deeply love you, and losing you would be devastating.  You kids were my reason for crawling out of that hole and going to counseling.
  • I know what it’s like to have been so hurt and devastated that I felt like I could not breathe.  There will be times when you may be so crushed that you may feel that you can barely move.  You may want to crawl into bed, curl into yourself, and feel like you want to die or just sleep it all away.  You need to know that it’s ok to do that… Give yourself time. Grieve, cry, push it out of your mind and allow yourself to rest.  However, you CANNOT let yourself stay down.  Once you have regained your strength, you must get up, get out of bed and face it head on.  Do not run, do not hide. You absolutely MUST deal with whatever it is that has knocked you down.  Because it will follow you.  It will dog you until it drains every last ounce of energy and emotion from you.  You will probably need help getting back up and dealing with it. Get it; whether it’s a friend, minister, therapist or all even all of the above.  And know that you will survive it.  I promise.
  • I know what it’s like to have lost almost everyone in my life because I chose to no longer live the way others expected (and, I daresay, demanded) me to.   You know the difficulties in our family.  If this happens to you (I pray not), such a thing will cause you to lose your balance.  You need to know that you will find it again on your own.  It is your life, after all.  You will discover how strong you are, what YOU really think and believe, and where you really and truly put your faith.  My goal is to parent you in a way that you discover those things in a healthy way, without losing anyone around you.
  • I know what it’s like to have serious lies said about me by a family member, and upon correcting them, be told by another family member to “Take your lies, and sell your story elsewhere.”  Know that many people can be part of the same experience, but have completely different perspectives regarding it.  It is important for you to remember this, as it will help you put yourself in other people’s shoes and be able to understand them during difficult times.  It will help you to not hold anger and resentment against others.  You also must remember that you need to be true to yourself, should anything like this occur in your life.
  • I know what it’s like to have moved to another state with three kids and started life over.  Sometimes you may have to start over, from scratch.  Doing anything new can be difficult.  Being on your own can be scary. There may be a lot of obstacles, but if you know it is right, then you will do whatever it takes.  And you will be ok.
  • I know what it’s like to realize that I did not agree with some of the religious belief’s taught to me since childhood, to change churches, and then face such disappointment and anger from others.  Megan, you must serve God because you WANT to, not because someone else wants you too, or because you’ve been taught that great harm will come to those you love if you don’t do it right.  I don’t believe God wants you in church if you’re there for any other reason than because you want to serve Him.  God wants you to want a relationship with Him.  He is not going to force you into it, or threaten to harm your loved ones.  I believe He will be disappointed if you don’t want a relationship with Him, but He gives YOU the choice as He promised you a free-will.  I know you love God, you let Him guide you.

Megan, I want you to know that I am glad to have had these experiences.  If given the opportunity for a do-over, I would do them all again.  However, I would change my reactions in some instances.  I would take more time to think things through.  But, as Mister always says, the sum of your experiences has made you who you are today.  And I wouldn’t be the person I am without having gone through these things.  Even you have recognized and told me that I am a better mom to you, because of many of these experiences.  Only through adversity will you see who you really are, and what you are capable of becoming.  Without pain, and without suffering, you will never fully appreciate the good times in your life.  Or know the kind of people who you want to be in your life.

I also want you to know that when I felt that most everyone around me let me down, and I knew they felt I let them down, I always knew that I had never been completely abandoned.  I knew God was always there.  No matter what you do, or where you go, He will be there for you too.  My wish is to also be there for you, when you need me.  So many times I have tried to think of anything that would make me not want to have you in my life.  There is nothing, Megan.  I’ve imagined the most horrible things, and still, I love you so much that nothing I can think of would make me want you out of my life.

This is your life, Megan.  I will disagree and disapprove of some of the things you do.  I may express that to you.  But I will not force you to live your life my way.  I will honor your personal rights.  I will be here for you, I will encourage you, I will cheer you on, and I will do everything in my power to understand you.  And…I will always love you.

This is your dash. I hope this helps you to live it well.

Love,

Mom

I am Thankful

Several of us who have pages on Facebook have decided to post something everyday in the month of November that we are thankful for.  Diary of a Not So Wimpy Mom started this, and so many of us loved the idea we decided to join her and do it as well.

For November 1st, I posted that I was thankful for Mister, and November 2nd I posted how thankful I was for the people who have joined my  Facebook page.  However, today’s post was going to be a bit long for a Facebook status, and it is something that I really felt the need to blog.

For November 3rd, I am thankful for the fact that my kids love their Step-Dad, and that he loves them in return.  Anyone out there who has a blended family knows how amazing this is.  Introducing a new person into the kids’ lives, and making sure they understood that person was NOT a replacement for one of their other parents was quite a feat.  We worked very hard to make sure they knew that no one was going to require that they have any kind of affection for Mister, as well as letting them know that it was ok to have more than two parent-type adults in their lives.

Now, they all don’t outright say “I love you” to each other very often, but you can tell they feel that way.  Every night the kids give us both Goodnight hugs, and sometimes the younger two will give him a little kiss on the cheek too.  As they skip off to their rooms sometimes they’ll holler back, “Love ya!”  to both of us.  And the other day when I was introducing Mister as the kids’ step-dad to someone, Josh threw his arms around him and said, “And I love him SO much!”  That just melted my heart.

Mister & the kids at the Grand Canyon

I know how much Mister loves them, simply by how he treats them and helps to parent them.  They know it too.  Megan, the teenager, considers him her ally when she feels I am being unreasonable.  They all go to him with any serious questions or concerns.  There was even an incident about 6 months ago when Megan had finished a conversation with her Dad and immediately asked if she could speak with Mister and I afterwards.  When we asked her what was going on, she turned to MISTER, told him her issue and what her Dad had advised her, and then asked him what HE thought of it.  The kids all know that he is reasonable, fair, and they all know that he will give them an explanation if they ask for it (and many times even when they don’t!).  We never say to them, “Because I said so” although sometimes I am sorely tempted to!

I could not have asked for a better relationship between the kids and Mister.  I am so glad that they all do care for each other so much, and that they all respect each other.  I know all of that has come from no one feeling pressured or forced to “like” the other person.  It also comes from the kids having the knowledge that they have the freedom to say what they think and feel, and that they may respectfully question us, and our rules, and we will respond to them and their concerns just as respectfully.

I am thankful for this family!!

Our Family

Ambushed…

Callie

The other day I was ambushed by two adorable 5th graders.  They had the sweet smiles and the super-politeness down pat. They wanted to ask if Callie (who goes by her given name, Amanda, at school) could have a sleep over with her friend.

I need to stop here for a moment and explain that I have a difficult time with the whole “sleep-over” thing.  When I was growing up, I quickly realized that my parents did not like them at all.  I remember going to four sleepovers at my school friends’ house. Once in intermediate school, and three times in High school.  I do not recall ever having any of my friends over to our house.  I hated asking my parents if I could go, because I already knew the answer would be NO.  I don’t remember why, on those few occasions, they said yes.  Regardless, the general (unspoken) rule was “Don’t even ask, because the answer is no.”

I’m not sure why they were like that.  Whether they just didn’t want the hassle of arranging it, or the worry of something bad happening, or even having their kid being exposed to other people’s lifestyle.  Probably all of the above.  As a result, I have a really hard time with the idea of sleepovers for my kids.  I have all those same worries I just mentioned.  So, I was completely taken off guard when those two very sweet girls came skipping up to me on Thursday and we had the following conversation:

Little Girl: “Um, Amanda’s Mom,  Amanda said you told her she could come to my Halloween party on Saturday night, so, um, could she, like, please have a sleepover at my house tomorrow night? You know, she can, like, um,  stay all day and, like, help us get food and other stuff like that ready before we have the Halloween party….” [insert two brightly smiling faces]

Me [Holy crap did they really just ambush me like that? What the crap do I do?!!]: “Did your Mom say it was okay for her to sleep over?”

Little Girl: “Um, no, I didn’t ask her yet, but I’m going to ask her tonight.”

Me [Huge sigh of relief]: “Well, have your Mom call me if she is okay with it.  I’ll have to think about it first and see if we have any plans or not [we DON’T, darn it!].

Now, I was fairly relieved at that point because I kept thinking that in NO WAY will this be ok with the little girl’s Mom.  She is planning a Halloween party for a bunch of kids, and why on earth would she want to have an extra one underfoot an entire day early?  I was also a little panicked because I’ve never seen this little girl before, and I certainly don’t know her Mom.  I was thinking that on the off-chance the mom says YES, that now I have to go through the entire process of meeting the other parent, figuring out if they’re a psychopath out to harm my child or if they really are sane and my daughter is going to be safe with them.

I asked Mister what he thought about it, and figured he would agree that she shouldn’t go.  I was incredibly surprised to hear him say it sounded like a good idea, and that she could benefit from the socialization.  That was a LIGHT BULB moment for me.  I never even thought about sleepovers that way.  Then I remembered how much I always wanted to go have fun at my friends’ houses, but never could.  I could clearly see that Callie was very excited about this, and I realized that I do not want to take her fun away.  I don’t want her to get hurt either, but I know I have good Mom instincts.  Now I was kind of hoping the Mom would be okay with two giggly little Tweens under feet for 24 hours.

The little girl called later and said her Mom was ok with it.   I told Callie about a bazillion times that if she got really scared or any bad feelings that she should call me and I’d come right over.  I also told her that everyone gets weird-ish kind of feelings when being in a new place and doing something different, and that those will quickly go away.  She reassured me many times that she understood and repeated my cell phone number to me.  Then she gleefully packed her clothes while I did the best I could to put aside whatever outrageous scary thoughts that were trying to creep inside my head.  I had many horrific ones, I’ll tell you that.  I met her Mom after school yesterday, and she was very nice.  I had no heebie-jeebies or worries of closet psychopaths.  Callie merrily skipped off on her weekend adventure, and I went to bed shoving any bad “but this could happen” thoughts out of my head.

I must admit to having a hard time with not knowing for sure if she’s ok.  I wasn’t going to find out until I picked her up after the Halloween party tonight.  I wanted to have an excuse to call her last night, but I didn’t want to embarass her with a “good night” phone call.  I wanted to call her first thing this morning, but I didn’t want to interrupt her current enjoyment of [supervised] freedom from the family.  However, Mister just came by and read some of this.  He had no clue I felt ambushed or that I was so nervous about sleepover type things.  Apparently, I handled myself pretty well yesterday.  He said, “You know, it’s not inappropriate for you to call and make sure Callie is behaving herself and not creating any kind of difficulties by being there today.”

It took me all of two seconds to pick up the phone and call.  All is well.  I’m told she is being super helpful (exactly like Callie), and she and her friend have been decorating and baking since this morning.  Sounds like a perfect sleepover to me.  What a relief.  And I’m going to have an exhausted, but very happy, little girl come home tonight.

Letting my little girl enjoy her dash too,

Christine

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