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Oh brother, here they come again…
“THE Holidays”

As we entered the final quarter of each year, I began to feel the trepidation, as they sort of loom in the not so far off distance…
Every year I try to battle my trepidations with same old method of trying to look at them from new and inventive perspectives.
The general theory behind that is; each year being different, each year yielding different lessons and experiences, leaves me slightly different from the year before. Therefore it shouldn’t be hard to find a new perspective. It’s almost expected…

This is my second year as a single mother.
This year has been chock-a-block full of life altering, personality molding, wisdom earning experience
Has it changed that nervous feeling in the pit of my stomach when I think of the holiday season…?
Not exactly.
Lets face it, some changes don’t always yield the tangible positive end results we expect from them…
Yup, I still get knots around the holidays…
Now,  Don’t get me wrong, I have more than ever to be grateful for… and I am… Deeply indescribably grateful…
It seems the more I go through, the more I can appreciate having gotten through it. Thankful that I’m not down and out. But instead, Moving forward in an upward angle. I have become a living testament to that old phrase “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” This is invariably true in my life.
And I certainly shouldn’t downplay how incredibly lucky I’ve been thus far. For every pitfall I’ve run across,  There has always been a way out. Many of you might consider me blessed. I wouldn’t discount that assessment, as I’ve got no reasonable explanation that would better suffice.
However, there are still holiday drawbacks that weigh on my mind…  for example, Its no fun to be to be so far away from family at Christmas.  I was hoping to be in CO with my sister and nephew this year for the holidays, or at least for my nephews first birthday {which just passed}… and it’s hard to think on how much they miss us, and want to be with us at the holidays, and we just can’t make it.
Obviously, the holidays are never easy on any single parent… the shopping, hiding gifts, decorating the house, picking a tree, carefully choreographing the finances to accommodate everything, the wrapping and cooking, and then there’s the aftermath! Phew! it’s a lot for 2 people… its positively daunting for ONE.
And then there’s the actuality of being alone as it pertains to me personally… No one to kiss under the mistletoe, or as the new year’s ball drops… you know, that  stuff… Blah! 
I’ve learned the most in that  area of my life over the past year…
I learned not to take these things so seriously.  There’s just no need to.  Its just so much easier to let the pieces fall where they may… and just live MY life.
The ability to get along, without expectations, has made me a MUCH happier and healthier person.  And because I can just relax about it, being alone simply doesn’t suck as much… It’s still does a little at Christmas, but not as much, and it WILL pass…
Now that aside, I wonder –  what am I really looking at this holiday season…?
Another WONDERFUL Christmas with my amazing boys.
A Custom, Made-to-order, Marvelously Crazy, full of laughter, full of love, full of a deep rooted appreciation for all we have, family holiday that will go down in the kids memories as another year that we pulled it off, and made something fantastic happen, against the odds.
And that right there makes all the fretting, the extra stress, the financial tango, and the clean-up so very worth it…

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A single drop of blood is drawn
and a fiercesome war is waged
A call to arms and I become
a soldier in my sisters army
Scantly prepared for whats to come
But no one ever is
There will be many battles
The first will be to conquer fear
with love and support
Then maintain bravery
in the face of the enemy
This unwarranted invasion
She alone cannot fight
the cure is almost as terrifying as the cancer
I keep wishing “If only love could save her”
She’d never have to fear again
I’d give her all that she could bare
But now she’s up against a most fearsome foe
I will not let her face alone
So I pick up my sword
And prepare for war.

Saturday evening… the end of a long day.

I turned in for bed wondering what I might do with my boys the next day.  Its our weekend together, and I really wanted to do something outside the regular weekend errands. 
Sleepless night, with much on my mind, I tossed and turned for several hours.
12:00am – “I’d better get some sleep, because I don’t want to waste the day”
1:00am –  “Ugh! I’m going to be Wrecked all day”
2:00am – “Dammit! What am I going to do with my boys, if I don’t get any sleep??”
2:30am – EUREKA!!! I’ve got the perfect plan!

So at 2:30 am I woke up my kids and loaded them into the car. Flashlight, Blanket, Beach chairs, bug repellant, and a tank full of gas is all I needed, and we set forth on our adventure.
It’s an hour and fifteen minute drive from my home to our destination.
My two boys Love this drive.  They put on music, we tell jokes, and watch for deer, bunnies, raccoons and other night time critters along the way.
We arrived at the Montauk Point Lighthouse at about 4 am. Just before sunrise.
We took a few moments to stretch, gather up what we really needed, and took off for the beach.

When I was a teen, I came out to this very place with my friends for this very same experience, and ever since, this has been my favorite escape. I’ve brought my kids here many times over the years but never for the sunrise, which is Spectacular at this location, since it is the eastern-most point on the Island and there’s nothing but the Atlantic Ocean and the wide open sky as far as you can see.

It didn’t disappoint… What a gorgeous sunrise! What a way to start the day! The boys enjoyed it immensely. And once the morning was in full force, we went for a long walk on the beach and enjoyed the sights, the seashells and everything else we came across. It was a perfect family day. =)

MTK 7-21-13 (2) MTK 7-21-13 (5) MTK 7-21-13 (6) MTK 7-21-13 (7) MTK 7-21-13 (8) MTK 7-21-13 (9)MTK 7-21-13 (10)     Montauk Sunrise 7-21-13 (18) Silly Boys Montauk Sunrise 7-21-13 (19) Montauk Sunrise 7-21-13 (20)

Firstly, Let me start off by saying a very heartfelt Thank You to everyone that has been so supportive regarding my current custody/visitation situation lately…  All the kind words, the thoughts, the prayers, and vibes have been more appreciated than I could ever put into words.  I am sincerely grateful.

Things didn’t go badly for me in court, thankfully.  The situation isn’t quite over yet though, and I have a ways to go yet…

On the date in question, I went to court nervous-sick because I was afraid the judge would order that I sign an agreement which would allow my youngest son sleep over visitation with his father.  I was afraid I would have to refuse to cooperate, {which I have never even considered before} for the sake of my childs safety.  There are usually hefty consequences when you refuse to cooperate with a judge.  Especially harsh are the consequences for women in my county.  Gladly I can report that this is not the case for me at this time.  The judge decided to compromise in such a manner that would be more appropriate for my child. switching the weekly Sunday visitation to bi-weekly Saturday and Sunday WITHOUT sleepovers at this time.  WHEW! what a relief!  the idea of having to sleep over there had my sons stomach in knots {and mine as well}.  I was hoping for the judge to show some mercy and not find me in “contempt”  for refusing to allow my youngest son to sleep over with a man who has no regard for our child whatsoever. I am so very grateful that the Judge chose this different route instead.

Sadly, the county courts are generally unconcerned with what is actually BEST for my son… and only concerned with following politically preset standards.  There are only 2 exceptions to this pre-packaged outcome… 1. – If he’s a convicted child molester, or if there is irrefutable evidence of child molestation.{he is not, for the record.} or
2. – if he is on hardcore drugs, and I could procure a blood test to prove that.  {He’s a  heavy drinker, that much is for certain, but the court doesn’t care.}
He’s a man with a very violent temper, narcissistic, selfish, and no concern {absolutely zero} for the safety and well-being of his children. people are possessions, and he’s obsessive about his possessions.   He’s incapable of love, or loving kindness.  He’s taught himself to fake a certain amount of it, but he can’t ever keep up the ruse for long, and when the facade finally cracks, he explodes in a blind violent rage.

This is what precipitated our split, and eventually divorce. He struck me for the last time. and I refused to take it any longer.

The fact that this man had no relationship with either of our kids prior to our separation, and the fact that he’s also been violent to both children {a fact that was hidden from me- but I suffer tremendous guilt over, and will for the rest of my life} means little to nothing as far as the courts are concerned, in my county.  It simply makes no sense. but its a plain fact.

This is something I have no choice but to deal with and accept.  As a mom, it’s painful. Every time my little guy is picked up for visitation, I worry… I fear that he may not come home in one piece. This isn’t irrational fear…  it’s set in place by a factual, documented history of him endangering the lives of our children.  For this reason, My oldest son no longer has any contact with him.  He is a high-school age, exceptionally bright young man…  His father made him plead for his life,  {Something no child should ever have to suffer, ever!  let alone from his own father!} and he turned his father in, and the two of them have had no further communication since…  that was over a year ago.

I am genuinely scared to let him alone with our youngest child.  Frequently I hear my son tell me how his father drank too much, forgot to feed him, drove erratically with him in the car, passed out for hours on end – leaving our child to fend for himself… and when he’s not being dangerous or neglectful,  he’s just being a downright jerk by telling my son that he shouldn’t listen to his mother, and that he should kick me… he calls me terrible names, and tells my son that I don’t love him, I just use him to steal his fathers money.
WHAT THE HELL KIND OF MONSTER IS CAPABLE OF DOING THIS TO A 10 YEAR OLD?!?!?!
This can’t possibly be the same man I married 16 years ago…  – Ah, but he is.
I don’t understand what happened to him after all these years…  he progressively got worse over time, and now he’s out of control. And despite all of this, Suffolk County courts feel its more important to protect his “rights as a father” than our childrens rights to feeling safe.
And so I go to court, month after month, to stand up for my kids. And I won’t give up, no matter what.

So,  it’s been a couple of months since I last posted. and I honestly intended to update before now.  But I’m very glad that I am posting good news. and not bad.  it was a lateral change, which is better than anticipated.

I will try to write more, as I find it cathartic, and comforting.
Little bits of this and that, and I’m sure a great deal more about my family.
I once again would like to thank everyone that has been so supportive, {and patient} throughout this ordeal.  Much love to all.

“They” say: “Home is where the heart is.”
{I’m not sure who “they” are but they are always saying something interesting.}

When most people think of this phrase, it conjurs up warm thoughts of their own home, family and more than likely their mother.
As  a mother, this phrase takes on new meaning. As a single mother, this new meaning has an even broader impact.
I find myself writing about being a single mother a lot lately. Most likely because this has become what my life is about, and as time goes by and I more settled into this role, I also feel more comfortable writing about it. I’m still learning as I go, details still need ironing out, and sometimes tensions run high… So here I am again, writing about things at home, and I suspect this will come off a bit like a rant. It pretty much is.

I have found myself thinking long and hard about what my kids minds will conjure up when they are adults and they hear that “home is where the heart is”? 
Will it be that they will remember all the fun silly things we do together?  Will they remember how very loved they are?

Or will they remember that mom was always busy, and stressed out, and the house was in disarray more often than not?
The former is far more appealing and comforting than the latter but both are the reality. This made me pretty sad because it’s *my job* to make sure that our home – no matter where it may be – is where the heart is.
Where is the heart in all the frustration, and stress, and mess?  It’s there, but it gets cluttered up, and then it can be like a scavenger hunt.  When it gets to this point, I feel like the only way to rectify the situation is to simplify my life.
I shut down in a lot of ways, and refocus on home, happiness and at the heart of it all – my children.

The first thing to go… Social networks {Facebook}  it’s a frivolous distraction, a guilty pleasure – yes, but very unnecessary and a time killer.  Social events – They constantly come up, and I feel a lot of pressure to participate, but I really cannot. It’s nice to break free from my life, to some degree, once in a blue, but this too can become excessive and draining.  Dating – uhm… riiiight. So, that’s out of the question right now… regardless.  I had been going to a writing class, it was a free class and it certainly has helped me out a lot, but unfortunately its on a weeknight and is a considerable distance from my home and work. It too became too much and I had to stop going. One more night each week at home, to cook a real dinner so my kids and I can sit down and talk, catch up on laundry {my nemesis}, and maybe {just maybe} once I’ve got things in order {it’ll happen, I swear!} I can possibly just *relax*…{?} I’ll have time to go back to my  time eating, guilty pleasures and distractions later on. 
I still have numerous divorce related court appearances to make, which also means meetings with my lawyer, bringing the kids to their law guardians, not to mention doctors visits, family counselling and school related meetings.  So, the schedule is certainly full enough – thank you very much…

Any little bit of peace and quiet, or moment to bond with my kids that I can possibly stitch together can only help in the process of weaving together a tapestry of warm and loving memories for my kids to look back on when they are older.  ❤